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DEPA values our teachers and are proud to honour their experience and knowledge.

Here, we introduce a DEPA NSW member and take a peek inside their studio/classroom to learn more about our community, and consider best-practice pedagogy.

Hi! I am: Lauren Hickson

I teach at: St Patrick’s College Sutherland

I’ve been here: 4 years as Dance and History Teacher

I first began dancing: Age 6, at Seaton Academy of Dance.

I first began teaching: 9 years ago, at Kirrawee High School!

My favourite style to teach: Contemporary

The most special teaching memory of my career: Was helping a particular student achieve way beyond her expected potential in Dance. Seeing her joy and happiness when she told me her result was very special.

The most ridiculous thing that has ever happened in my classroom: A bird entered my classroom and decided to maintain his spot on the lighting rigging in the studio. Needless to say not a lot of dancing occurred that lesson.

The greatest teaching success I have enjoyed was: Growing the dance department at St Pats. 4 years ago I was employed to establish Dance as a subject and the growth of the program in the past 4 years has been phenomenal. We have achieved fantastic HSC results and I am excited for the future of the subject at our school.

My proudest teaching moment was: Watching a student receive a band 6, 3 Callback nominations and perform her Major Performance at Callback. This was particularly student was not going to even pick dance as a senior subject and only did 1 hour of recreational dance externally for the entirety of her HSC year. This student’s passion for dance grew so much during her senior years she undoubtedly deserved everything she achieved in the course.

Pedagogically, I specialise in: Differentiation and identifying creatively gifted students. I currently work as a NEWMAN teacher which is our gifted and talented streamed class at St Pats. I enjoy the parallels and differences between academically and physically gifted students. This year I am furthering my specialisation by studying a Certificate of Gifted Education at the University of New South Wales.

One tip I’d give graduating dance teachers in their first year: Ensure you have work samples (video samples) of assessment tasks. We are often questioned about marks and are required to prove student grades, if you have video evidence it is easier to prove your understanding and justify your mark allocations. It is also good practice to have these for compliance as well as student reflection.

A short learning experience, programming, administration or student-management trick which never fails: Learning students names as soon as possible. This is a great trick to reassure students that you know who they are and is great disciplinary technique.

My favourite aspect of teaching in a school is: Teaching dance as an art-form where students with a variety of abilities can excel.