The DEL Institute Teacher Certificate Program culminates in a customized teaching practicum and final project designed to enhance one’s professional portfolio in the field of dance education. Each participant works under the guidance of a DEL Mentor teacher to implement and document a curricular project with students.
We’re so excited to share some thoughts from participant Danielle Lydia Sheather on her final project and what she learned from the program!
Danielle shared with us that she learned a great deal about inclusive teaching and supporting the increasing diversity of her student population, citing Dr. Nyama McCarthy Brown’s workshop in particular. She discussed that she’s working on applying more inclusive practices to her classrooms and the culture of her university’s dance department as a whole.
The DEL Institute’s emphasis on the overall importance of dance education also gave Danielle a deeper understanding of how to advocate for her dance students and their education. “Resources and technology [are] a constant battle here in rural Utah. But just navigating that and having the words to know why these things are important… I’ve learned a lot about that in terms of advocacy,” she said.
For her practicum, Danielle created and implemented a curriculum for a jazz course geared towards first-year dance majors in a university setting. Her students learned about the social dance roots of jazz, the historical contributions that Black, Indigenous, and Latinx dancers, choreographers, and composers made to the form, and that participating in jazz dance is a democratic process. Students engaged in embodied activities, like improvisation and developing personal grooves on learned material, and studied readings and viewings.
Danielle’s final project reflects the importance of both an inclusive and diverse education and dance education advocacy. Her students were “able to analyze the histories of jazz dance and… not only learn about it intellectually but also participate in it from an embodied perspective.” Her project has also led her to “find folks who are on the same page in terms of understanding the roots of jazz and tap innovation.”
Danielle’s experience in the DEL Institute bolstered her drive as an educator to “innovate as much as possible,” especially when it comes to creating a more culturally responsive pedagogy in her dance classes.
“I’m just very, very, very grateful for everything that I’ve learned,” she said.