May 16 2012

Damian’s Work Placement Blog

Issie Teaching her ESOL Dance Group

by Damian,Student on Work Placement

Over a period of two weeks I joined Valley and Vale Community Arts, working alongside Issie Lloyd as part of my work placement experience.

Valley and Vale Community Arts is a charity whose aim is to bring and supply different art forms such as dance, drama and film to the communities of Bridgend and its surrounding areas, South Wales and beyond. Issie Lloyd works as the Dance Development worker within the organisation.

As a current student at Cardiff Metropolitan University studying a BA Hons degree in Dance, it was exciting to see how Issie’s role is fulfilled in reality instead of just on paper. As part of her role Issie takes and runs a number of classes for a range of children and young adults of all ages and abilities.

Teaching has never been something I have been particularly confident in. By assisting Issie in her role as teacher I gained confidence within three very different teaching situations. The three groups were the Marion Centre in Cardiff for children under the autistic spectrum, her ESOL group and her Soul Fusion dance group.

As a teacher Issie taught me that every class you go into will be different and although you can go into a class with a plan you must be prepared for change. There should always be a devised structure but how you address this structure depends on the attitude received from the group. Teaching is not something that comes naturally to me, so teaching kids with disabilities and those where English was not their first language was completely new to me. While gaining valuable experience I learned that when it comes to dealing with children under certain and often difficult circumstances, they are all still able; they just have a more diverse and different level of capability and as a teacher it is your role to tend to those needs.

Issie has also applied for her own funding to help further her own training. Issie applied to, and was lucky enough to receive a travelling scholarship from, the Lisa Ullmann Fund, to support a trip to the West Coast of USA to train at the birthplace of the funk styles. This was a really important thing to learn as many dancers do not know of such scholarships and how to apply for them, so to learn more about this information was a great learning curve for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Valley and Vale Community Arts. As a small organisation they are pushing the boundaries of Community Arts while still staying true to their roots. As far as my placement went, they gave me a very welcoming and friendly environment to work within. As a young dancer practitioner just stepping out in the professional world, Issie is a real inspiration. To know that she too has graduated from the BA Hons degree in Dance and to witness how and where she has got to and experience her attitude to life itself has given me a massive confidence boost. So with graduation creeping up fast I feel a lot more confident and secure at looking forward to what the future holds.