Effective teaching

How do you define ‘effective teaching’? Gerard Charles, the RAD’s Artistic Director, introduces the results of an RAD research project.

Dance Gazette | Art of the matter | Issue 7 - June 2023

The RAD was founded with the intent to improve the quality of dance teaching. It is therefore important for us all to understand what we mean by ‘quality teaching’, so we assembled a team of members, teachers and outside experts to debate this question. 

The answer was never going to be easy as there are so many different realities and points of view to take into account. As ‘good teaching ‘ or ‘excellent teaching’ do not define how teaching is conducted, ‘effective teaching’ was thought a better choice as it indicates the effect of the teaching discernible in the students. So what is effective teaching? After months of work and pages of well researched writing, I am happy to share that we distilled our thoughts down to this deceptively simple statement:

Effective teachers achieve positive outcomes for a full range of students through:

Knowledge, the personal experience and in-depth understanding of their craft
Communication, the ability to share their knowledge effectively
Passion, which drives them to learn about their subject which in turn inspires others to learn

These statements can apply to teachers of all levels, and all genres, but they must be put in context. There is a lot to unpack in each sentence!

‘Effective teachers achieve positive outcomes through knowledge, communication and passion’


We know that teaching is multi-faceted, and no one person will be effective to the same extent in every area. Think of this list as a set of aspirations to check in with every so often over the course of a teaching career. These attributes could be achieved by:

• Creating engaging classes and facilitating a holistic and joyful learning environment appropriate for all students.

• Encouraging and nurturing students to develop and embody individuality, musicality and artistry in movement.

• Embracing a secure and ever-deepening understanding of the syllabi and movement genre taught.

• Encouraging a positive environment of collaboration, self-reflection and ownership fed by mutual respect; inspiring and supporting students to take responsibility for their learning.

• Keeping all students engaged and inspired through secure communication and use of teaching strategies.

• Identifying and responding to the needs of a group and individual students.

• Having an understanding of ‘safe space’ and embracing safe practice in all aspects of work/class.

• Working with the acknowledgement that there are differing ways to acquire knowledge, and at differing paces, and that adaptability is an essential aspect of the successful sharing of information.

• Embracing life-long learning and with that the continued development of personal practice.

• Ensuring through feedback and feeding forward that students are aware of what they have achieved and are able to use information given to deepen and hone their personal skills and artistry.

• Acknowledging and embracing the evolution of the art form through the unique characteristic of each person, celebrating diversity and the way that people may differ.

This is definitely not the last word on all of this – but rather something that I hope will stimulate some healthy feedback as this is something that I believe is crucial for us to get right. I look forward to receiving your thoughts at artistic@rad.org.uk



REST OF Issue 7 - June 2023


Be well

There’s a mental health crisis in the post-pandemic dance world, say RAD teachers and other dance professionals. Isaac Ouro-Gnao asks if a new focus on wellbeing can lift students and dancers struggling with their mental health?


Together forever

This issue of Dance Gazette brings together three pairs of dance people to share and compare experiences. Dancers in different styles, RAD teachers of different generations, RAD directors in different countries – do they share more than divides them? Deirdre Kelly listens in.


Full circle

From gold medallist at the Genée to choreographer at the Fonteyn – the Royal Ballet’s Valentino Zucchetti tells David Jays about creating work.


TikTok: good for dance?

No social media platform has had a greater influence on dance than TikTok. But just how do you go viral, and is the app safe and valuable for dance? Nicolas-Tyrell Scott investigates.


Family guy

From the RAD’s Production Club to the world’s great ballet companies: Jonathan Gray explores the life and legacy of choreographer John Cranko, who died 50 years ago.


‘Dance is my blood’

In Georgia, a celebrated national children’s dance company shakes off the shadow of Russia and aims to nurture national pride. Sally Howard reports from Tbilisi.


‘It’s a force stronger than me’

David Hallberg – star dancer, now artistic director of the Australian Ballet – tells David Jays about surviving bullying, being the boss and why dance still compels him.

Big Picture post

RAD Members’ Day

The RAD global community came together on 23 April for a special Members’ Day united around the theme of ‘togetherness’.

RAD Q&A post

Amanda Britton

Amanda Britton leads Rambert School, and will be a judge for The Fonteyn. She discusses dancers’ training and the RAD’s collaboration on Rambert Grades.

Inside RAD post

New RAD Chair

Stephen Moss is the new Chair of the RAD.

Advice Bureau post

Alexander Campbell

Stay true to yourself, says the Australian-born Genée medallist and Royal Ballet principal.

Why Dance Matters post

Tiler Peck

The star ballerina on coming through both injury and lockdown.

Playlist post

Benji Reid

The ‘choreo-photolist’ shares his favourite music.