The Dance Class is a group of students put together usually of low performance who are separated from the resources they need. This class is always on the move but going nowhere. Students in this class cannot keep still yet they yearn to accomplish great feats and become important in society. Their special aptitude in Music, Art, Craft, Dance, Drama, Repairing gadgets, Video Games and Skills are not usually recognized and nurtured in the Curriculum.
Although they are the class with the greatest potential for learning, they are not usually twinned with the best teachers who could get them to learn anything. This class may have been put together by Policymakers and Administrators contrary to the research which says that slow students put together would consequently become slower. Is this the signature class of the Education Revolution? Are they not found in every secondary school? The apparent qualification to enter this class appears to be:
Excluded from needed resources
Comes from Rural areas
Low Income family member
Attention Deficit Disorder
Self Esteem Low
Disability is not inability and adjustments need to be made for those who are differently able to access all the resources to which they are entitled. For example, ramps or elevators allow wheel chair bound students to access higher level floors of Institutions.
Underachievers need regular reliable assistance to provide them with the support they need all year round to enable them to meet required academic standards. This approach is needed to prevent students from repeating classes.
Nutrition is an important factor in Education and Learning. Therefore careful consideration must be given to the foods made available to students at school. Schools should be leaders in the Wellness Revolution.
Poor performance in the CPEA exams may be due to weakness in Reading, Reasoning, and lack of Discipline. Many of these students need individual attention to overcome their difficulties. The available workers may need a flexible schedule that will allow Administrators to schedule individual classes before and after the normal school hours if necessary. Availability of assistance at Public Libraries can be very useful.
It is clear that students in the Dance class need a different Book List but they are often saddled with books on the regular Book List, which they are unable to read in most instances. Cooperative Learning classroom instructions might best be able to meet their needs but because the more able students are segregated out of the class, this may not be possible. Workshops on Differentiated Teaching seem to remain in the planning stages only and may not have found their way in the classroom.
Because Education is the great equalizer, family background, and where students live should not put them at a disadvantage. However, discriminatory laws on the books that fund schools differently must be removed. Each school should now have Counsellors available to work on self-esteem and some disciplinary issues. Equity in staffing and resource allocation as well as in promotion and appointments according to the principles of Meritocracy will be necessary.
Should we persist with these DANCE classes in our schools? The answer is obviously no. How can we adapt the curriculum to minimize discrimination to students from this class? Schools should teach students what they need to learn. Bearing this in mind and in consideration of recruiting workshops by a UWI team, the CORE subjects should be:
Additionally students of the DANCE class should learn TWO skills. If this is done students would be best prepared for academic advancement , entry level jobs, and to employ themselves and others. With 5 years preparation in the listed core subjects, and theory and practice in the two skills, students should have the best chance of knowing how to live and how to make a living.