Shannon Watters is a dance instructor, choreographer, performer, and Treasurer for the Dallas Repertoire Ballet Board of Directors. She is also a certified Pilates instructor and member of the Cecchetti Council of America. Shannon's teaching philosophy encompasses educating dancers on their bodies in movement, addressing critical thinking about the movement, and introducing the many options available within the art. It is an exploration, both physically and critically, of the individual, the group, and the environment to find engagement and embodiment of material that creates meaningful experiences.
Faculty Teaching Philosophy
My pedagogical approach to the classroom encompasses educating and communicating with students through available tools. My approach is similar regardless of the course title. Students are expected to analyze and critically think about existing and emerging information in order to develop a deeper understanding and an ability to apply their knowledge in a real-world environment. As such, I believe students and I learn together as we examine existing paradigms and explore new ones.
It is imperative for the professor to establish a proactive, positive, approachable, and responsive presence to the class. To start, I present the significance of the material to be learned. In my opinion, when students see the relevance of the coursework they apply themselves more. Further, I provide expectations for the course and respond promptly to questions and requests for assistance. I encourage communication with my students both individually and as a group.
In addition, the professor must facilitate a community within the class that challenges the students to think differently through interactions with others. Classes are made up of diverse and unique individuals. These varied perspectives enrich the learning environment when a trusting and safe space for sharing is established. Therefore, it is vital for the professor to create an appropriate learning environment that initiates conversations and communication with peers through applicable and fitting assignments.
My teaching style integrates lectures, critical readings, videos, and first-hand experience when available. From there, the class involves thoughtful discussions of ideas, gathering of varied materials, and analysis and synthesis of information into academic writing and other projects. When applicable, I find the inclusion of self-directed tasks, studio-based practice, and/or experiential learning to assist in heightened comprehension.
My pedagogical approach prepares students for their future, and I enjoy working with students both in groups and individually to achieve their goals. I aim for students to acquire the knowledge outlined in each course’s learning objectives, comprehend how this knowledge applies to their development, and present opportunities for application of their newly acquired understandings. I introduce ideas to explore, and I educate students on the history and evolution of the subject matter, pushing them to take these concepts and innovate further.