Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Maryontheweb, Apr 5, 2008.
Would you normally expect an argentine tango teacher to hold qualifications - and if so which ones?
There are threads around talking about what to look for in a good AT teacher.
Yes, if there was a recognized authority which would deliver diplomas. Dunno, maybe the government of Bs-As.
There is an authority that delivers teaching credentials but not here (U.S.). Most teachers do not have such credentials (even in Bs as) as the standardization of AT is a relatively new and challenged concept, and will probably never happen to the degree that ballroom has...or, let's hope not.
As Peaches said, there are threads addressing qualifications or just things to look for, but, in truth, they are no different than what one would look for in all teachers.
A piece of paper does not guarantee a good teacher - in much the same way a wedding certificate does not guarantee a blissful marriage. It is the person not the paper.
Nicely put; as a rouge trader of the tango teaching world; I got a nice compliment from one couple who come to my class. He has a heart condition so sits out a lot of the stuff; but she said " he wouldn't come if he thought you weren't any good; he watches you teach and he knows that you know your stuff."
Really I've had enough of qualifications; I ditched the adult education route when it was becoming onerously beauracratic and insisted on issuing meaningless certificates at the end of each term, wanted me to sign a 30 page contract of employment, which amongst said that I had to teach anywhere in the county and I had to take a 30 day teaching course
which was free but of course I do have a day job. And the people who interviewed me weren't interested in what I had to offer and when I asked to see the studio space at the arts centre were shocked at my audacity. I told them to stuff it.
I may be not be 'professional' but I just watch and observe what works best for people
and some of the time its feudal teaching; four good people to practice with is worth their wieght in gold.
but having no paper guarantees even less.
A piece of paper guarantees only one thing. That you sat the exam. That's it.
Well there are some teachers nearby who are qualified Ballroom teachers, apparently, teaching AT! and we are getting migration of their students to our class.
They have also tried to muscle in and take over the AT scene because they were expecting legislastaion to go through to ensure that you couldn't teach dance unless you were qualified.
That hasn't happened and I would just go underground if it did ( which would add to my caché)
I decided to attend somebody else's yoga class for a change. Whilst in the folding over, hands on floor head to knees pose I felt a heavy hand back "forcing" me to get further down. Note - there was no other place that I could go - that is, my hands were already on the floor, my forehead touching my knees. The force of the hand was such that had I not been as flexible I could've ripped a hamstring (overstressing the sacral area can also trigger sciatica). She continud to press down and I reached behind, took her hand and flapped it away. Was she qualified? She would have had to be working out of that particular yoga studio.
Ah, yoga, simultaneously the cause and solution for many bodily problems. I get the impression there are many malpracticing yoga instructors around. Ditto for tango. The goal and intention of the instructor is fine, but the mechanism to achieve it is flawed.
I'll look for certificates when someone is teaching me something a bit more critical - like flying planes.
Yeah, or when they're about to open you up in theatre.
There was a case a few years back when a chap passed himself off as a doctor and carried out a few ops (most successful I seem to recall). So maybe knowledge and chutzpah are required in equal measure!
And there was the story of the sheepdog that landed a helicopter under instruction from a pilot on the ground when his farmer master had a heart attack that featured ont 'The Day Today.'
Yeah, in very much the same way the NHS pass off their cleaners as cleaners. The only prob, the fake doctor gets better results from doing heart surgery and the cleaner....well, need I say more.
Though I understand the levity of the comment, this is a critical problem here, and I recall a little of it when I was in the UK. People taking the attitude that what we do is not criticial; not worth taking seriously; and, not worth having to have a diploma or license to teach it. Of course, not realizing all of the physical requirements, musicality, mental awareness that one musters to do this well, I hear religiously, "Oh, it's just dancing.", and it burns my @ss.
I do not believe one must have a certification to be good, but it is a fact, fortunate or un, that the world in which we live looks more favorable upon those who have such. We know the old story of 2 persons going in for a job...the one with the degree is viewed more favorably than the one w/o.
Point taken. Dancing is clearly important to us since we go to such lengths talking about it. What of certification?
If I am to fly a plane, I must be taught by someone who can show that they know the laws of air traffic and airports as well as the means to operate a plane. Such things are easily observed by an authority and certified accordingly. To be taught by someone who does not know all these things will rapidly lead to disaster - planes colliding through not observing instructions from air traffic control and so on.
Dance is non-life-threatening (mostly!), but it is also rather more difficult to objectively assess who is fit to teach and who is not. Every teacher, bad or good can teach you some aspect of tango. The worst can merely show you bad tango and help you mimic it - is that good enough? The surest measure of their quality is the rapidity with which their students learn, and the depth of understanding the students acquire. How on earth do you test that?
Perhaps you need a martial arts style grading system, where teaching competence is awarded by more skilled peers. I have a sudden flight of fancy whereby milongas are filled with coloured sashes to indicate whether you can gancho or not... crrrazy!
I agree that it is difficult. Yet, we require school teachers of all subjects including dance to have some sort of certification/degree...why not dance outside of the educational system? Is it any less needy by teacher or student? school teachers might not be any good either, but the degree is still required as a hopeful masure of some competence. Without something, we end up with a larger problem than the existing one of every student who has had more than one half hour returning to "teach" someone else what they should be doing.
I do realize that this has been debated on numerous other threads.
A major complexity in certifying teachers that I am aware of in the dance world is encapsulated in the saying 'when the pupil is ready the teacher will come': often I find that my significant breakthroughs come from the least likely sources. That is not to deny the impact my regular teachers have in preparing the ground, but oftentimes I dont 'get' the next thing until something new is added to the mix which then causes the change. I know that the regualr teachers have prepared the ground and without them it would not have happened.
But how do you legislate for that ?
Welcome to the DF, Tricia.
Reply: In the same manner as we legislate every teacher. We already agree that many persons with degrees are far less than many w/o; many persons on street corners are more talented than those on the big screen, but the "stars" got the breaks; and, we could go on and on. Yet, there should be something that says this individual did at least study to some proficiency, and proved that to someone in authority. As Heather said somewhere, this really only proves that they studied the book, not that they can teach. This can only be judged on an individual basis (what works for one might not work for another), or by assessing that teacher's work (the proficiency of his/her students).
I recall one man going nuclear because his follower "just couldn't get" his lead. He sat next to me and moaned for England. His follower was so embarrassed hearing her reputation being slandered she picked up her coat and stormed out of the milonga (I later heard, in tears). This was at the time when Israel and Lebanon were bombing the beejeebies out of each other and many of lives were being lost. I turned to him and said, "for crying out loud, there's a war going on outside that window. It is just a dance". Nothing more, nothing less.
Your comment regarding us UKers taking that piece of paper non too seriously I have to disagree with. Do not confuse the Brit's penchant to exercise a bit of "reality check" muscle with total disregard to that piece of paper. Nothing is more important (especially the authorities/government bodies) as that piece of paper. No paper, no insurance. No insurance, no job. In much the same way your job acceptance may depend on whether you studied at Oxford or the London Uni. We tend to be a little more suspicious of that which glitters and a little bit more scathing of the Big Sell, that's all.
Question: what of the certificated teacher who still proves to be a uninterestingly bad tutor? Where then is the importance of that piece of paper? Do we send her on an advanced course, back to basics etc
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