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Some thoughts from the dance floor

A local dance community has a collaborative model for teaching new dancers. Would a similar model work to help teach financial literacy?

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I'm part of an organization called the Lavender Country and Folk Dancers (LCFD) that seeks to promote gender role free folk dancing (primarily contra and English Country dance). In contra dance, dances are taught during a walk-through and called out by a caller during the dance itself. Experienced dancers will be familiar with the various figures that make up a dance and will recognize the calls; new dancers may require more teaching and/or guidance from others on the dance floor.

While having a competent caller to teach and call the dance is important, it is also important that fellow dancers be willing and able to guide less experienced dancers when needed. Some of this comes naturally, and this seems similar to the idea of peer education that others have mentioned. To strengthen these efforts, LCFD has also offered training on how to effectively guide new dancers in real-time. There is a big difference between leading or guiding a confused dancer to where they need to be and giving them a push or shove in the right direction (or even just telling them where to go, for that matter). The former approach is far more enjoyable, helps build trust, and fosters a sense of collaboration. Collaboration is key in this type of dancing; if too many dancers do not understand the dance, the dance can break down (which affects everyone involved).

I realize that dance skills and financial skills are very different, but I'm wondering if similar attempts to build a collaborative environment or cultural mindset around financial literacy would be effective.


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Photo of Shane Zhao

Insightful analogous inspiration Jeff! I must admit that I have two left feet. When I took dancing classes it was actually the people in the class that I learned from the most vs the instructor. This goes back to what you were saying about more experienced dancers guiding beginner students. Perhaps this type of peer to peer and group learning can be translate into financial education. Looking forward to hearing more!

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