Just because children are told to sit still, that doesn’t mean that’s the best way to study.
“Put a group of 8 year olds in a room and play some music with a clear rhythm, and they will move. Some will move gracefully, others may jump about waving their arms and kicking out.”
We looked at my colleague as he said this – still an enthusiastic and highly energetic dancer himself, although well past the age most people associate with anything more than a slow waltz.
“So it’s a primitive response to rhythm,” said another of the editorial team in a ‘I’m stating the obvious’ voice. “Does that help children learn French?”
“Yes,” said the dancer. He swears by dancing, dances modern styles rather than ballroom several nights a week, and travels across the country, even across Europe whenever possible.
“But most people don’t dance,” came the counter argument.
And then I got the point. True, in our society most people don’t dance – but children do dance. In most cases, no one has taught them, they just do it. Which is why dance and movement are ways to teach other subjects – in this case French.
Because if you can actively involve the body, learning comes more naturally and stays in the memory far longer.
Which is why we have a DVD of simple routines which combine movements with repetition of important phrases, making learning languages easy and enjoyable.
To see how click on this link, it takes you to a part of the les couleurs video where Lynn Dryden, the author of Jouez, Dansez et Apprenez le Français demonstrates her dance routine with the children of Mountfield Primary School in Newcastle.
“Show me research that suggests that sitting still enhances learning,” I said, and there was silence for once in my office.
“Movement is distracting,” replied the main objector on my team (why is there always one nay-sayer in every group?)
“But not when everyone does it,” I replied.
And so here, for each topic, in addition to the main dance routine, there is also a bank of movement activities that introduce and reinforce the vocabulary, enabling the whole topic to be taught actively.
These tried and tested routines and activities have been developed by a language specialist who is also a qualified dance teacher and have been utilised with pupils and students of all ages, achieving outstanding results throughout.
There is more information on Jouez, Dansez et Apprenez le Français on our website.