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RAD Grade 1 new syllabus


JulieW
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Anyone else had problems with the syllabus on the new grade 1? A poor teacher at our school is devastated because some girls went in for their exam this week and it turned out they hadn't learnt the character dance and reverence. Lots of very upset girls and parents as you can imagine. They will be given the opportunity to learn it and record it I've the next coupe of weeks, re-take the exam or take a cut in marks. It seemed like the RAD may have had this happen before as they were pretty quick off the mark on the day to say what the options were.

 

I'm just I interested to know if anyone else has had problems with the syllabus not being clear.

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Don't think my dd teacher has had any problems, although she has said there is quite a bit more unset work than in the old grade 1, which the teacher has to choreograph if I understood her correctly. My 7 year old has definitely been learning a character dance with a watering can! She's taking her exam next term and will be in the first set of her dance school to do the new syllabus, they will have taken 4 terms to learn the work instead of the 3 in which they normally do it as her teacher felt that she, herself needed an extra term to get her head around the work!

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I think the syllabus book is quite thorough, there have been teachers courses and there is a DVD available. I always double check most of my syllabus knowledge with one of my former teachers who is an examiner (my very first exam session I had her come and do a day of mock exams!)

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Well, quite, my thoughts exactly - I don't know what the book's like but I know there are courses and the dvd. I'm not really clear why she thought it might be optional (it doesn't matter to me - we're leaving! Just curious as to whether anyone else had any problems with it)

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I went on the course and it was all very thorough and clear to me, as is the dvd and syllabus book!

 

There are some, in my opinion unclear instructions concerning settings of some exercise that we teachers have to set ourselves eg  the gallops.

 

But no where does it say character is optional for the exam.  It may be that the teacher got confused with the performance award whereby students perform just three dances- and these don't have to include character (I believe, having only had exam entries so far!)

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No problems at DDs dance school either but I agree with hfbrew that she may have confused the exam syllabus with the performance awards and to be honest I think with the new syllabus grades most teachers are checking and double checking what they are teaching and taking that extra term or too to make sure it is right.

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The new work in general is tricky for the teachers and students to get the hang of as it is soooo different from the old syllabi. We don't enter Grade 1 students in our school for exams, but for the first time in years we didn't enter Grade 2 and 3, because they simply weren't ready with the new work by the time our exam sessions came round. I imagine that the children who will be brought up on the new syllabus will find it less difficult when they get up to Grade 3, than those children who did the old Grades and suddenly have to contend with quite different technical demands.

 

I saw that this year my Intermediates struggled with the new syllabus, because they had not learnt the new IF which would have prepared them better. I'm already introducing some of the Inter work to the class who will do it next year and they are not finding it so difficult, because they did learn the new IF. However, I have to say that as a teacher the first year of teaching new work is the hardest - I found it much easier to teach the new IF this year, because I had already taught it last year. It is quite daunting to deal with new syllabi, be it Grade 1 or Inter and it is very easy to make false assumptions the first time around. Your poor teacher who messed up with the character must feel mortified :( !!

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I think it must be difficult for the teachers having to learn the new syllabi, and whilst I can understand how upset the children and their parents must be, I do have some sympathy for the teacher - she must be very upset. Sounds like tge exa miner was very understanding though.

My DD was the first pupil to ever do grade 8 from her school, and there were a couple of minor misunderstandings which meant the exam didnt go 100% smoothly. Fortunately my DD was able to take it in her stride and the examiner was very understanding. She got a very good distinction anyway, and her teacher will find things easier with subsequent classes I am sure, so it worked out well in the end. Even the best teachers are human and can slip up from time to time.

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The old system tended to put each step into a separate exercise - for example there would be an exercise for glissades, an exercise for pas de bourees, an exercise for pas de chats, which would basically consist of three or four of the main step plus a changement or pas de bouree to change feet. This was the case even in Intermediate - brisee, brisee, pas de chat pas de bouree is one example. So the students practised these very basic exercises until they could do them easily. Later of course you'd have enchainements using a variety of steps, but it was certainly easier for them to pick up the foundation steps. Another example is the IF and Inter adage sections. Previously you had three or four different adage exercises - one for fouette of adage, one for developpes, etc etc. Now you have one adage with everything in it and there are 10 marks for that one adage. Similar thing for the allegro enchainements. They are very complicated and before you can teach them, you have to teach the components separately, so whereas before the separate components were the finished exercise, now they're just a preparatory exercise, which the teacher has to think up. It's good, I think, because it is more interesting and varied for both teacher and student, but harder to execute.

 

In the lower grades, they have introduced some quite difficult steps - for example sissone over de cote in Grade 3 and even a grand jete exercise. I don't teach those grades, so I don't remember exactly, but I am waiting rather in trepidition to see what we wil have to teach in Grade 4 and 5!!!

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I think the new grades are excellent - and once children who have been trained on the new PP and Primary start to progress through to the grades the work will really make sense and they will have the strength to easily perform the 'harder' steps. They are really carefully built up, eg transfer of weight is the foundation of the glissade and comes into primary, as does a parallel assemble. All of the jumping and springing steps will build strength and power for the sissonnes and jetes. The difficulty will come with children who go from the old grades to the new - I currently don't teach syllabus work but if I did I think I would have children who had just taken the old grade 2 to study exercises from new grade 1 and 2 before starting 3.

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I think the confusion may have arisen because I seem to recall early versions of the syllabus stating that "2 dances out of 5" would have to be shown, without specifying that one must be classical & the other character. The current specification on the website is very clear though.

 

Re changing from the old grades to the new - IMO it is very wrong to be expected to change all 3 grades over at once. There should have been a much longer transition period for Grades 2 and especially 3, because the norm should have been for students who had commenced on the old syllabus to remain on it all the way up to Grade 5. whereas even more crucially, NO-ONE should be in the position of doing Grade 3 on the new syllabus & then having to go back to the old one for Grade 4, which I understand has been happening.

 

The progression in each version of the syllabus makes sense, but they are totally incompatible with each other! I really don't get why teachers are choosing to switch from old Grade 2 to new grade 3!

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I have found that the book can be confusing but the specification is very clear, alas not all teachers check the specification. On a similar note, in my Advanced 2 exam last week one of the other candidates had been told by her teacher that she only needed to choose one out of the three dances and didn't realise the polka is compulsory then you choose one of the other two as well.

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youngatheart - I totally agree with you!   It's really daft that children who have grown up in the old syllabus, had to learn the new Grade 3 this year, but will have to go back to the old syllabus for Grade 4 next school year and then will have to switch again to the new Grade 5!   We only have one exam session a year, where I live, so it's particularly annoying!  

Edited by Dance*is*life
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