Creative and performing arts, including dance, can help the physical and mental wellbeing of many students, build confidence, allow them to avoid stress, and help them improve their grades in other subjects.
This is, and has been, the conclusion of many reports, research and articles over the last decade.
But the question remains. Is the importance of dance still overlooked in education for young people? As a subject and art form, are we still unable to properly tap into Dance’s rich benefits for pupils and students? Schools expert Sir Ken Robinson seems to think so.
Rewind to 2006, where Sir Ken Robinson delivered his first Ted talk in California, titled “Do schools kill creativity?”
During his talk, he spoke of a “hierarchy of subjects” the education system needs to readdress in order for all pupils and students to flourish in education.
“Every education system on earth has the same hierarchy of subjects… At the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and at the bottom are the arts.
“And in pretty much every system too, there’s a hierarchy within the arts. Arts and music are normally given a higher status in schools than drama and dance. There isn’t an education system on the planet that teaches dance every day to children the way we teach them mathematics… why? why not? I think this is rather important.”
Fast forward 12 years and the educator still believes there’s a lot more to do.
Sir Ken Robinson has recently published a book ‘You, Your Child, And School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education’ as a means to empower parents and improve the way their children learn.
He believes we all need to move away from believing that traditional (STEM) subjects and university is a guarantee of a good job for life, and see the real value in the arts and dance in young people’s lives.
“Children dance all the time if they’re allowed to, we all do,” he said in that groundbreaking TED talk. “We all have bodies, don’t we?”
Dance is thankfully becoming more and more of an educational tool for schools and after-school clubs. And we don’t have to look far to see the impact street dance in particular has and can have on young people and their education.
Our workshops in schools are a prime example. Before a class, we’re often told in advance to be mindful of pupils who have behavioural problems, or lack of focus. But the outcome is always the same. Teachers tell us that was the first time a particular pupil has been that focused, engaged or enthusiastic.
And many we teach in our street dance M Word classes have also grown in self-confidence and general wellbeing, which then positively affects their school life in general.
We teach weekly street dance classes for 11-16 year-olds in Oxford.
- Barton | Tuesdays 6-7:15pm
- Blackbird Leys | Wednesdays 4:30-5:45pm
- Rose Hill | Wednesdays 6:30-7:45pm
Classes are only £1 to attend! Find out more here.