Revamp and Revise Using Evaluation Results


Photo courtesy of Dan Gordon

We have discussed what to assess and how (see Measuring Success: Data Driven Dance), now let’s think about how that information can prepare us for a fresh look come fall.

Each year, I need to take a breather right at the close of the year but soon my thoughts turn to preparing for fall and looking ahead to the exciting things that can happen as a result of the hard work

Looking back:

  • What happened?
  • What did you teach? Why did you teach it? How did the students respond? What questions still remain?
  • How did it happen?
  • How did your presentation of material shift through-out the year? What worked best in engaging students and maintaining your own interest? How did the experiences range in type of activity? Efficiency? Engagement? Progress?
  • Whose voices were heard? (see Acknowledging the Person Before the Dancer)

Did you strike a balance with students in sharing and exploring information, experiences, and perspectives?

When you close your eyes, whose voices can you still hear- what were the questions that were asked, answered, or redirected?

What were you really telling your students in how you handled interactions and how you modeled appropriate responses?

Looking forward: 

I tend to think of revising curriculum and practice like adding layers to an onion or artichoke rather than taking them off.

At the core are the people and the relationships we are protecting, developing, and nurturing.

Surrounding those is the content that you delivered last year or years prior, upon which the foundation has been created.

The additional layers are the refinement of that content – the resolution of questions still hanging in the air, the introduction of supporting content that delves deeper into concepts and connections, and the communication of how it relates, why it is important, and what students can do with it.

After examining the work that has just been done, and after having decided what will remain and what will be cast off, I then start to assess how to push the good to the best.

How can I make this more relevant to kids’ lives, more fun to do, more applicable to more personalities?

Can I add technology, can I further challenge their notions of dance, Art, or themselves?

Can I add something unexpected?

Can I trust them to want to measure their progress more accurately?

What do I need to make the difference?

New apps?

New music? Old music?

New sources of inspiration?

More perspectives on how and why dance is evolving?

More information on building class community?

More consideration of what dancers can do with their training even outside the performance and choreography norms? (see Alternative Dance Careers)

More tools to get students thinking about dance? (see Summer Dance: Fiction with Real Insight and Heart)

Or just somewhere to set this down for a while in order to regain some peace and quiet and the strength and innovation that can come with it? (see Summer Strength Training).

More research on the emphasis of creativity in schools and higher order thinking?

Be thoughtful but be realistic. It is summer and deserves to be enjoyed. 5,6,7,8.

How will you be debriefing and revamping for the year ahead?

More useful reading:

Reflecting and Connecting as You Close the Door on Your Year

So You Think You’re Prepared for Fall? Curriculum and TV Dance

Heather Vaughan-Southard
Heather Vaughan-Southard is a dance educator and freelance choreographer based in Michigan with rich teaching experiences in higher education, K-12 public schools, and private studios. With an approach of teaching dance as a liberal art, she draws from her experiences dancing professionally in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles to create experiences that move beyond the boundaries of a studio, producing well-rounded, thinking dance citizens. She is author of the blog EducatingDancers, where she chronicles her perspectives on dance and dance education. Heather holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Michigan, BFA in dance from Western Michigan University, K-12 Dance Certification from Wayne State University and is the mother of two small children whom never seem to stop moving.
Heather Vaughan-Southard


  1. anthony maples says:

    That was as a short effective article. Thanks

    Revamp and Revise Using Evaluation Results

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