Elizabeth Melchoir M.Ed is a dance lecturer in the School of Primary and Secondary Teacher Education at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She also works as a dance facilitator providing professional development and support to teachers in primary and secondary schools and coordinates the Wellington Dance in Education Networks. She is a member of the Educational Advisory Board for DANZ and of Footnote Dance Company.
Dance is the fastest growing curriculum subject in New Zealand secondary schools. While this is to be celebrated, responding to the diverse needs and interests of students in the classroom is a constant challenge for teachers. In the light of current educational research concerned with student diversity and cultural identity, this paper discusses strategies implemented by one particular teacher to enhance student participation and engagement in her dance class. The focus is on a professional development process and the changes the teacher made in her practice to develop a culturally responsive teaching and learning environment for her students.