BY CLAIRE THORNOCK
Dancing around a gym, chanting words like ?Freeze? or ?Move your bodies? and banging a drum while kids run around and laugh is not an unusual sight when it comes to being a major in the Elementary Education program.
BYU students in the Elementary Education program know the importance of getting out of their classroom setting and applying concepts they learn in class to the real world of school teaching.
Students in this program have the opportunity to go to local elementary schools and teach what they have been taught in their various classes so they can have firsthand experience in the field of their careers.
Elementary education majors in the 326 Creative Dance class visited Rock Canyon Elementary School throughout last semester to teach the kids about creative dance and how they can use it as a way of expressing themselves and getting out of the classroom setting to do so.
Pauline Kacher, a BYU professor of 326 Rhythm and Dance, said she knows allowing her students to go and teach in a school atmosphere really helps them to learn, and that is why she makes it a requirement in her class.
?The students go into the schools once to watch a demonstration class by their BYU instructor,? Kacher said. ?Then at the end of the semester they go back and teach the children themselves.?
By giving her students this opportunity, Kacher feels her students are getting a real experience of teaching and learning how to interact with children.
?The BYU students practice teaching each other often during the semester, but they love having real experience of teaching children,? Kacher said. ?The children behave differently than the BYU?s students peers, and when they teach in the schools they get a taste of classroom management but more importantly they get to see how wonderfully creative the children are.?
Kacher said this opportunity of teaching Creative Dance at the elementary schools is not only beneficial to the BYU students, but it also impacts the elementary students as well. She said the purpose of creative dance in schools is not to make children become trained dancers but to let them enjoy moving, creating and expressing themselves.
?The children always love an opportunity to get out from behind their desks and move and in creative dance the children are allowed to move in a way that is natural to their own bodies as they explore movement ideas that are given to them by their teacher,? Kacher said. ?The teacher encourages each child?s uniqueness and thereby enhances their self esteem and self confidence, and creative dance involves the whole child-body, mind and spirit.?
Alyssa Norr, from Colorado Springs, Colo., who took the 326 dance class in the fall, feels that going into the elementary schools really benefits her.
?I like being around kids and they have an energy that adults just lack,? Norr said. ?I get to see just how creative kids are and doing this helps me to relax and not to be so worried about what people or the kids think of me and to take whatever comes.?
Norr said not only does she feel she is learning from these activities, but the students are too.
?The kids get so used to the same teacher everyday and its fun for them to learn from someone different,? Norr said.
Amy Thurber, a junior from Richmond, Colo., feels creative dance is great for elementary aged kids.
?It?s a way for them to express themselves in a non-traditional way like writing or speaking,? Thurber said. ?Kids have a natural energy and not all kids like sports to stay active and so it is a good way for them to get out of the classroom setting and use their natural energy.?
Sherri Steele, a 5th grade teacher at Rock Canyon, had her class participate in the activities with the BYU students and feels it is beneficial.
?Anytime BYU students can work in a real classroom environment will help them,? Steele said. ?I feel that any sort of activity is beneficial to the elementary students.?
Dean Nielsen, Principal at Rock Canyon Elementary, said having BYU students come and teach is a great blessing to his elementary students.
?The saying ?it takes a village to raise a child? is very true,? Nielsen said. ?BYU students have excellent talents and skills and we appreciate having them come and share with our students and to tap into their resources and skills is a great blessing.?