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May 25, 2006

Good students

There was a relatively calm discussion – for once 😉 – on the Tango-L not too long ago on what are the defining qualities of a “good” Tango student.

Speaking from my limited experience of teaching beginners and intermediate-beginners, I consider good students to be the ones who come to the classes with an open mind and ready to be challenged with new concepts. In other words, they are prepared to accept unfamiliar things at face value and always have a never-say-die attitude (see also my previous thoughts on visiting instructors to Singapore). Lastly, enthusiasm is also something that can that enhance the learning as well as the teaching experience!

In outlining a good student, I have deliberately refrained from talking about the technical competence, body coordination, etc. For me, as an instructor, all I ask is some dedication – to try and experiment – and have fun while learning. If one was to immediately set up a psychological fence when faced with something foreign, or to always force new ideas into the existing thinking too soon instead of allowing these new concepts to develop (and perhaps show their limitations in time), our minds remain shut off from the world and we won’t be able to grow as a dancer. I am a strong believer that each and every one of us can achieve greatness in our own ways – as long as we remain open-minded.

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