This week, we asked Colleen Quinn, our Lower and Upper Elementary movement instructor, to share a favorite story that illustrates that moment of joyful discovery when an idea really clicks for a student and the “aha!” epiphany brings new life to learning.
Colleen’s Virginia Reel Story
“Aha! Dancing CAN be fun!”
The Upper Elementary students come bounding into the barn for movement class. They are smiling, laughing, and full of energy. I say, “Today we are going to learn the ‘Virginia Reel.’ Their response is less than enthusiastic. Some are excited but many lose their smiles; they stop laughing, they are not jumping up to participate. Still, I persevere. We do-si-do, link elbows, cast off, reel the set. It is a surprisingly intricate dance, challenging for the mind and body.
After 45 minutes of full-out dancing the class is dismissed. One of the students who was most reluctant to participate comes to me, smiling, laughing, very excited and says, “I didn’t think I was going to like that, but actually it was a lot of fun!”
I always thought dancing was fun. I AM the dance teacher, after all. But it is endlessly satisfying when the students come to the realization that aha!—dancing can be fun!
[This post originally appeared in Rhythm & News, the Inly School newsletter, on May 1, 2009.]