How to Make Sure Your Punishments aren't Destroying Your Dancers
I want to start by saying this is a challenging topic, and there is no one “right” solution to punishment and discipline in dance. Whether you are part of a school program, own a studio, a private company, teach dance anywhere… there are different things to consider. So rather than telling you how to punish or when to discipline I want to share a little about the psychology of punishment and then you can decide for yourself how to best apply it to your dance context.
All that said, punishment and discipline usually present difficult challenges for teachers and coaches in any discipline. For us, we want our dancers to be motivated and dedicated. You expect your dancers to follow the rules. Sometimes we live in a beautiful fantasy world where every dancer gives 100% effort in every practice or class. No one breaks the code of conduct or studio by-laws, everyone treats each other with respect no matter what, there are no poor decisions all year… of course all of us understand that’s a fantasy world. The unfortunate truth is that as an educator, you often have to discipline your athletes.
Many of us choose to coach and teach with the same disciplinary approach as we were taught with and that often includes punishment. Why do we use punishment? Because it usually works and provides the desired short-term result. But is it the best thing for the long-term goals of your program?
In this episode I want to let you know about the research in psychology around punishment and performance, discipline and mental health. Hopefully you can take this information and use it to guide your on own teaching style based on the age of your dancers and your overall approach to education.
And if you have struggled with punishment and how to handle it in your specific dance context, send me DM on instagram, I’d love to chat with you more about it!
Here are some highlights:
- [2m 35s] Why do we use punishment?
- [5m 10s] Punishment and the fear of failure
- [6m 44s] Punishment that reinforces poor behavior
- [8m 37s] When do NOT use punishment
- [10m 42s] Times when punishment is necessary and how to do it
- [12m 35s] Guidelines to implementing punishment
- [25m 5s] The balance of punishment, when and how often
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