When a student is taking lessons with multiple teachers, sometimes they feel they're being told different things. How does a teacher handle this kind of discrepancy responsibly and ethically?
It's very common for students to take lessons from different teachers at the same time. There are several reasons for this:
In any of these cases, there are times when the student's perception is that they are being told different things. In some cases this is true. But very often it is a misunderstanding by the student—two teachers are saying the same thing, just using different words or explanations.
I'm currently teaching a couple in this situation. They frequently say things like, "Billy [another teacher] says we need to swivel our hips more on the cha cha," or "Jane [another teacher] told me to turn sooner than you told me to turn."
How does a teacher handle this kind of discrepancy responsibly and ethically? Here are three examples:
I hope it's clear that 1 and 3 are the ethical and professional responses, and that 2 is a disrespectful cheap shot.
It is ALWAYS better to speak respectfully of other teachers. Since we were not at the lesson to hear what the other teacher said, we don't really know whether the other teacher is advocating a different technique or the student simply thought it was different.
What reputation as a teacher do you want?
It's important to recognize that EVERYONE has a reputation. And if we want a good one, we cannot fall into the trap of making ourselves look good by dismissing or belittling other teachers.
This issue will come up long as you are teaching. I support you in dealing with it thoughtfully and respectively each and every time.
Check out Diane's blog here
About the Author:Diane Jarmolow is a pioneer in the field of ballroom dancing. She founded the first vocational training for ballroom dance teachers, the Ballroom Dance Teachers College (BDTC). Based in Oakland, California, BDTC has trained hundreds of people to become successful dance instructors, and Diane's BDTC-in-a-Box is being used to train teachers in studios throughout North America and abroad.
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