One to One lessons are a big part of my business and probably therefore a big part of many dance teacher’s core work. Hiring space in a hall has meant that I have to hire space in multiples of an hour. I have rather predictably then kept my lesson timings to the full hour for a one to one lesson. Many professionals though teach a 45 minute one to one lesson. So what are the advantages or disadvantages of both?
Research tells us the average full concentration time for a student aged between 18 and 25 is around 15 minutes . For other ages it may be shorter and for those who train their concentration, such as athletes, it is much longer.
For many of the Social dancers I teach I would suggest that 15 minutes is probably correct. It does rather make you consider the celebrities on Strictly who sometimes do 8 – 10 hour days learning and perfecting their routines. How much of that 8 -10 hours is productive? I do not profess to know the answers but am interested in practice and research in the industry. Most dance teachers who teach younger children will appreciate the need to change the focus of a class regularly in order to maintain attention. It would be very difficult to concentrate on a small aspect of technique with these younger people for longer than around 10 minutes.
Another point of consideration which is always a challenge to me, is that I try so hard to provide value for money that I am prone to impart too much information at once. This has two effects. Firstly that the student feels overwhelmed with knowledge and processes it by wondering whether they will ever achieve it all and secondly that they do not have clear goals to work on for their improvement. I battle this all the time, constantly checking myself to ensure I do not fall into the trap.
So returning to my first point and given that concentration periods are not as long as one might imagine, should our one to one lessons be much smaller, almost bite size. I cannot imagine that a student would want to be bothered to travel to a lesson when spending more time on the travel than on the study.
Forty five minutes seems a good option to me. It allows a changeover time for students, so that they may change their clothes and shoes and the teacher has time to ask how they are and have some social interaction without the student feeling that the social chat has just cost them a great deal of money. I always resented the teacher making me a cup of tea in the middle of the lesson and telling me about their dog etc. when I was paying megabucks for a lesson.
I am really interested to hear views from students and from teachers. So much more research needs to be done in this area.