Managing student problems

Teaching students to dance can be one of the most rewarding things there is. Occasionally, however, those awkward issues can arise that can make life harder, and not so enjoyable, for both teachers and students. Members share their experience and ideas for dealing with such issues here.

For those who have not yet done our ‘Teaching Methods used in Belly Dance’ course, this has a section on managing student issues.  Whether you have done the course or not, sharing experiences is a great way to come up with solutions.

Overly Talkative/Chatty Students – From people talking at beginning of class so we’re late getting started, to people chatting in the middle of class. A problem we’re all familiar with! Perhaps we could:

  • Wait for them to finish talking…. Pointedly
  • Distract them – e.g. increase the co-ordination required to do the moves/give them harder things to do
  • Give them a drink break (but then you have to manage getting them back dancing again)
  • Humour
  • Just start the class/move onto the next thing
  • Tell/ask people to shut up (obviously depending how well you know them!)
  • Give them “the look”
  • Don’t try and talk over them if it’s noisy
  • Take account of the needs and context of the class – does it need to be silent? (e.g. a group that are there primarily for social reasons won’t want to be silent)
  • Chatting might be a sign that a student hasn’t understood what you’ve asked them to do.
  • Give a 2 minute warning before the start of the class
  • Zaghreet or turn up the music (briefly) over the top of the noise to get attention
  • “Have a word” as a last resort with repeat offenders.

…Northwest Networking Event Problem Sharing (2016)


Body Odour – A tricky issue to address, when someone’s body odour is causing an issue in class. How could you approach this as a teacher? Maybe:

  • Consider whether a general class wide chat or personal approach is best. Perhaps remind everyone to bring a clean t-shirt, even if they don’t have time to go home and get changed before class.
  • Keep an eye to see whether other students are noticing this (eg watch their facial expressions, or for moving away) before making an approach to check that you don’t just have a sensitive nose!
  • Include this in your Code of Conduct, for example mentioning that everything is expected to be showered and wearing deodorant.

…Northwest Networking Event Problem Sharing (2016)


Students Failing to Pay – This problem seems to depend how you run your class, whether you use an honesty box, ask them to prepay for the term or have a prepayment card. It appears that quite a few teachers have experienced students slipping through the payment net. How could you approach this? Maybe:

  • Take cash in hand
  • Make an announcement at the end of class to remind people
  • Offer or insist on prepayment
  • Code of conduct at start of term
  • Pre-pay card and tick off when attended
  • Loyalty card (buy 10, get your 11th free!)

…Northwest Networking Event Problem Sharing (2016)


We would love to hear your tips and experience. Please email them to for inclusion. Thanks!

Courtesy of the JTA.

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