In pole dancing, one of the largest disconnects we come across – as students and as instructors – is learning different mechanics, moves, routines, and so on the way that we need to learn them.
As a student, it can be hard to figure out why we aren’t able to ace a move or grasp an idea. At a certain point, you might hit a plateau and feel like you’re waiting for those few bits of knowledge to “click.” That’s where your learning language comes in.
As an instructor, in addition to reading the individual skill levels, coming up with a curriculum, and running each class, it’s also important to understand each person’s learning style.
One or two people may be struggling to understand a concept you’re teaching that the rest of the class has gotten, and while it is partially their own journey to trek and understand the concept internally, you – as an instructor – can also be aware and do your best to teach in their learning style and help coax out that magical internal “click” that ties all the information together.
Now, while there are technically more styles of learning, there are three primary styles, also called representational systems. Most people typically have two primary learning styles that will help them learn best, though we are technically able to learn through all.
With a visual learning style, you might find yourself thinking largely in pictures or other imagery.
You may naturally tend to use phrases like “looks like [xyz],” “in light of [xyz]” or “picture this.”
You may be easily distracted by visual activity, such as a piece of paper flapping in front of a fan next to the instructor, or people walking back and forth while you’re trying to listen to instructions.
Remember that it’s OK to remove distractions, like politely asking people to pause while you listen, walk behind you instead of in front, or move that piece of paper out of the fan’s line of attack. It may be difficult to put the obstacle you’re encountering into words.
You may learn better by watching someone do a move and go through the mechanics of each movement before trying it out for yourself. You’ll find that video tutorials are helpful if you’re learning at home and using mirrors will help you align your own movements with what you’ve seen others do.
With an auditory learning style, you might find yourself thinking about sounds or using sounds as a cue to your movements.
You may naturally tend to use phrases like “rings a bell,” “hardly a peep,” or “tune into [xyz].”
You may also be easily distracted by noises, such as high-pitched instruments in a song, a dripping sink in the background, or people chatting while you’re trying to listen to the instructor. Remember that it’s OK to change the music or turn it down if you need to, or politely ask people to pause their conversation so you can listen.
You may learn better by talking through the move and listening to the flow of music or listening to the instructor’s cues/counts. Listening to someone explain the move – sometimes more than once or in different ways – will help all the information come together. You may also find that connecting sound effects with your movements helps.
As silly as it may sound to make cartoon noises during your studio training, making sound effects while you run through a transition or routine may help you cue your body and remember it long-term. (We don’t recommend doing this during a show or competition, however!)
With a kinesthetic learning style, you might find yourself miming or mimicking movements to run through it mentally.
You may naturally tend to use phrases like “Get a handle on this,” “It feels right,” “gut feeling,” or “Before diving in.”
You may also be easily distracted by emotions or physical obstacles such as a wall that’s “a little too close for comfort,” or uneven finish on the pole. Remember that it’s OK to change to a different pole or move other objects around if it helps your pole progress! Just get permission if it’s someone else’s belongings.
You may learn better by mimicking or miming movements, writing physical notes down on a piece of paper, or testing out smaller movements as building blocks to a full move or routine.
Feeling individual movements out before you commit to a big movement will help you build a better foundation. Mirrors will also be beneficial to you, allowing you to visualize what your body is doing and connecting that movement with how you feel physically.
Of course, with everything else in pole dancing and in life, it can be an internal journey to figuring out the correct answer – but being aware of these small things is the first step to achieving success after success!
What learning style(s) do you most identify with when learning a new pole move?
Tell us in the comments below!