For my Senior Project, I am excited to bring a Contemporary Master Class series to a variety of Columbus and Cleveland dance studios, investigating teaching strategies which inspire students to experience the Flow State of Psychology while instructing a diverse student population. Growing up, I remember being thrilled whenever I was granted the opportunity to take a Master Class. The idea of learning from and being inspired by someone that I did not see in my weekly classes excited me and I valued the time spent with such professionals, no matter how short. Now as I establish a career for myself, I have found myself teaching an extensive amount of Master classes, especially while home on breaks. As I connect with more dancers and more studios through these experiences, I wonder how much I can influence those who I work with. Through this project, I hope to gain insight on my effect as well as gain new perspectives that can be used to improve my pedagogy as both a Master class and regularly schedule instructor.
As I develop my teaching persona, I have found a theme of a positive mindset to be constant – especially when structuring Master Classes. Though it may seem simple, the idea of loving what you do and being confident in your own skin is something that I have definitely struggled with over the years, especially growing up in the studio scene. When I teach, it is my underlying goal to make an impact on the human that I am educating, not just the dancer. I feel that I am a successful teacher when I can inspire my students to grow their passion, feel confident, and embrace a positive energy that will set them up for success. With this in mind, this project pushes me to bring these underlying themes to the forefront of my mind, ultimately challenging me to define my role as a dance educator.
My minor in Developmental Psychology has led me to learn more about the students that I teach. Additionally, it has introduced me to a variety of classes which I have taken to supplement my pedagogy, specifically. These classes include the Psychology of Creativity and Positive Psychology, both which have focused extensively on the Flow State and the characteristics and experiences that it encompasses. As dancers, we seem quick to say we dance because “it feels good” or “it feels right.” In my opinion, taking into account my studies, I think this “feeling good/right” is actually the experience of the Flow State and I am interested in exploring this concept more as I take on this project and process.
As of now (December), I have taught two out of the three (possibly five) classes that are a part of this Master Class Series: one at Magnificat High School and another at OSU Dance. Out of respect for my students and to maintain integrity within this research and experience, I am holding onto findings until the last class has been taught. However, I do know one thing for sure and that is the fact that I am incredibly overjoyed with the work that I am doing and the discoveries that are being made. I cannot wait to continue “finding my flow” and leading others to do the same. Stay tuned for final conclusions and understandings to be shared during my Spring Semester.