The Key to Learning… “Thriller”

Learning is serious business – or is it?

In October, the Heart & Sole Dance Zombies took to the floor and put on a show that was not only fun and engaging for the audience, but held the attention of all of the participating dancers. 

As a ballroom dance instructor, I’ve often found that my students attention and motivation will start out at a high level, and then wane as we get into the challenging technique and boring repetition. What I noticed about our Zombies was that the motivation and excitement to learn sated present throughout the entire eight week process.

Needless to say, I was fascinated and realized that anytime we’ve done something fun and engaging it was easy to keep students motivated.  I decided to do some research…

Yes, the idea of learning new things is exciting, and then the process itself (which starts out interesting) often quickly becomes dull. There’s a lot of hard, boring work involved in order to get beyond just scratching the surface of a subject – dancing included. 

Eventually, everyone hits that place where it gets tough to stay motivated.

Winston Churchill said, “Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught”.

It seems the approach to teaching/training hasn’t evolved much since Churchill was yawning at the back of a classroom.

Dance is not immune to the roller coaster ride of engagement and loss of interest. Learning, no matter what the subject, is not a one-off event. It requires repetition and dedication, which can become mundane and tedious. 

This is where fun comes in… Fun has a positive effect on motivation levels, determining not only what a student learn, but also and how much s/he retains. If an experience is engaging, learners stay curious and keep coming back for more.

So the key?  Make the learning fun, keep yourself (or your students) engaged. While it’s not fool-proof (the hard work still needs to be done), having fun while putting in the effort will keep the boring and tedious at bay!

We all need a hand from time to time… find the place, and the people that will help you stay in your joy!



Owner & Instructor, Heart & Sole Dance