By Yii Shinn (Nico) Chen —
This year at Oakland International High School, I was asked to teach a three-week dance post-session course that also embeds English language learning and multimedia skills. As an English teacher, teaching dance for the first time, I thought, “How do I get English language learners, who are often too shy to speak in front of their peers, to dance in front of their peers?”
Despite this initial hesitation, I embarked on three magical weeks teaching our newcomer students. I now see dance as an indispensable socioemotional teaching tool for English language learners. It gives our newcomer students a chance to learn English through kinesthetic learning, and ample opportunity to share their culture and learn about each other. Embedding multimedia also came as a welcome addition to increasing student ownership, as they were expected to keep a journal of videos with descriptions on Seesaw, a digital education platform. This platform gave them a space to share their work directly with their classmates. On exhibition day, students presented their best videos in English and shared what they had learned.
Dance is a universal language, and I experienced my students sharing their learning in a meaningful and compelling way. Despite all the challenges that these students face, I saw them revealing their joy and hope through dance.
Keep scrolling to see a sample of the student work and project process.
WHAT IS DANCE?
“Dance is my hobby that allows me to express myself. It makes me makes me happy. “
“Dance is relaxing and a way to expressing my feelings. Dance to me is love, freedom, and communication with the soul and myself.”
“The water inspires me because it is peaceful and represents my freedom. “
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