Ep16: Teaching Dance and Integrating Movement Modalities Online
In this episode of “Body Talk” Dr. Traci L. Scheepstra interviews Asmita Pal, a Grade 4 Virtual School teacher with the Toronto District School Board in Ontario, Canada. Elementary Virtual School is for students who do all of their learning at home and online. Asmita talks about her journey to integrate movement and dance into her students’ school experience. She reflects on how she shifted from asynchronous to synchronous dance-based lessons after Traci facilitated a virtual workshop with her students to explore emotions through their bodies. Asmita saw how willing her students were to dance online and all the fun they were having. She decided that she wanted to provide more of those experiences for her students where she was involved in the process. In this interview, Asmita talks about the diversity of students in her classroom and the lived experiences they’ve had. She ties that into her approach to dance as she is invested in making her lessons culturally relevant to her students. Traci and Asmita also talk about the limitations, challenges, and opportunities of teaching dance (and integrating movement) virtually. Some key considerations include creating a welcoming and safe community for students to feel comfortable moving their bodies, starting with low risk exercises to build comfort, and using simple props that students have in their homes to make moving fun. The interview concludes with Asmita sharing how teaching dance and integrating movement is making a difference for her students’ online learning experience by enhancing their ability to be self-expressive, to communicate their feelings, to be seen and heard, and more.