I know at least two people who never want to learn anything formally again. My husband says that everything he learnt at school has changed. He learnt about feet and inches, pounds and stones, pre decimal currency. When he was young the maps of the world were different. Countries had different names, borders. I even think rods, poles and perches were around when he was younger.
His argument is that it is not worth learning anything because it all gets changed. Isn’t that the point though? As knowledge expands it changes and things move on. Thank goodness for medical research, scientific exploration, and engineering advancement.
So I’m coming back today to a familiar theme, the need for Continuing Professional Development. As dance teachers we could take an Associate level teaching qualification and never take another examination. Imagine if your doctor or lawyer did the same thing. They are professionals and their profession requires them to constantly update and attend courses to receive point credits. By receiving point credits they have their qualifications revalidated. What if our dancing qualifications had the same requirement?
Sometimes when I see people dancing, I wonder whether their teacher was taught in the “good old days” when bicycling the legs in the Cha Cha Cha was the way to go, and when you took an age to lower through the foot in the Rumba to show a good use of ankle. I doubt whether these teachers have even heard of foot speed.
Yes we owe it to our students to keep up to date but don’t we also owe it to ourselves as professionals? I often hear teachers teach something and follow it up with the phrase, “I don’t know whether that’s true but that’s what I was once told”. I’d like to suggest that we ought to find out for ourselves. Wouldn’t it be great if we received Continuing Professional Development points for attending Congress and lessons. Then we could show that we invest in our work and our students could see the value of teachers. If someone does not take any continuing professional development they could have their qualification suspended until they did. Now that’s a radical thought.
Many of us bemoan the person who sets up classes near us and does not have any qualifications to teach. Shouldn’t we also be able to say that they took a qualification years ago and have learnt nothing since?
In case you are worrying about my husband drowning in a changing world, he is learning by a sort of osmosis. He is not a dance teacher but listens to me constantly rattling on about things and postulating theories. He always has a knowing smile on his face. I think he knows more than he lets on.