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In dance lessons, in many cases, teacher-choreographers find it difficult to correctly determine the student's learning style and use diverse teaching approaches, which should ensure equal involvement of all students in the group.
In response to the mentioned challenges, we have developed an original innovative model of an inclusive dance lesson and teaching approaches based on choreographic pedagogy, inclusive education methodology, and four years of our pedagogical practice in integrated dance groups.
The developed lesson model is social, primarily focused on developing students' basic dance skills (14 skills) and implementing choreographic performances. In addition, we also use a synthetic therapeutic approach in the teaching process, where the techniques of music therapy and dance/movement therapy are combined.
By teaching dance in the inclusive dance class, we try to achieve harmony of mind, soul, and body, improve students' general skills and emotional sphere, and promote socialization and integration into society.
To achieve the mentioned work goals, it is necessary to consider each student’s learning style in the inclusive dance class.
"Learning style is a characteristic of a person and a preferred way of understanding, acquiring, processing, storing, and retrieving information that facilitates the process of acquiring knowledge and skills. For many, any method of delivery is acceptable, but we prefer one or the other. There are many models for classifying learning styles, but the most common among them is the VAK (Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic) model, which categorizes according to three main learning styles and methods: visual (visual), auditory (auditory), and kinesthetic (bodily).
The VAK (Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic) teaching model fully corresponds to the form of the inclusive dance lesson. It is important to consider each style to accommodate students of different dance abilities in the teaching process.
In the process of an inclusive dance lesson, the teacher should determine which learning style to guide with a particular student and then apply teaching approaches.
We use a variety of approaches when teaching inclusive dance classes. These are:
- holistic approach;
- development-oriented approach;
- capacity-based approach;
- an approach focused on emotional and cognitive involvement;
- multimodal approach;
- synthetic therapeutic approach (music therapy and dance/movement therapy).
Let's briefly consider each of them in the context of teaching inclusive dance.
- A holistic approach “emphasizes the whole growth of the learner, rather than emphasizing only specific parts of the human experience. It emphasizes materialism and promotes human experience in all areas: intellectual, emotional, social, and more."
- Development-oriented approach (multifaceted and harmonious education): In the inclusive dance class, great importance is attached to the student's multifaceted and harmonious education development. This means: 1) psychomotor development; 2) cognitive development; 3) development of emotional intelligence and social skills; 4) aesthetic and moral development.
- Ability-based approach: "Every student is unique with their individual physical and mental characteristics, abilities, emotions, interests, personal experiences, academic needs, and learning styles, which must be taken into account during instruction."
- Emotional and cognitive engagement-oriented approach: Emotional and cognitive engagement is a prerequisite for physical engagement. The expression of positive emotion by the teacher-choreographer in the dance group leads to an increase in motivation and the implementation of the desired behavior. The feeling of enjoying dancing is related to the positive mood created in the group. The role of the teacher in this case is immeasurably great.
- Multimodal approach: when overcoming difficulties in an inclusive dance lesson, the multimodal (multisensory) learning-teaching method is a kind of strategy and "golden key", during which two or three modalities of sensation are involved. A multimodal approach allows for the activation of different sensory channels. "If a student has a weakly developed modality when using multisensory strategies, it is compensated by a stronger modality."
- Synthetic therapeutic approach (music therapy and dance/movement therapy): In inclusive dance classes, we use different directions established in music therapy in synthetic activities, namely: a) analytical music therapy; b) cognitive behavioral music therapy (CBMT) and c) Nordoff-Robbins music therapy. Let us briefly describe all three directions.
Based on the discussion of the present issue, we can confidently say that when determining the student's learning style, when we are guided by the VAk model, it will help us to use a variety of teaching approaches in a targeted manner. This ensures equal participation of all students in the inclusive dance class.