Loooong after Sandy and Danny brought down the house at Rydell High, the hand jive and various versions of it still permeate (pop) culture, both in the States and in societies throughout the world.
Last week, in Tanzania during one of Toa Nafasi’s Friday workshops, Ema showed the teaching staff two videos that incorporate hand jive-like moves. They are both videos about teachers whose fancy fingers have the ultimate goal of trying to reduce the barrier between teacher and student and relating to the child on an individual level.
Please have a look here at Barry White Jr who seeks to build trust with his 5th grade students in the USA by creating a different handshake for each child. Mr. White says that due to issues at home, lots of kids come in closed off to learning so before he can begin his job of educating them, he tries to set them at ease and give them some joy.
Then check out Ghanaian teacher Sackey Percy who reports that dancing with his students improves their confidence and helps them to relate to him. He also talks about uncovering talent that would not necessarily have been discovered without his “hand jive.”
After our teachers watched these two videos, Ema got them to thinking how they could be more like Mr. White and Mr. Sackey and incorporate some of this seemingly fun and silly dance stuff into their lessons with Toa students. It will surely take some time for our modest and demure Tanzanian ladies to get loose and jive with the kids, but I think that it was impressed upon them how important this kind of activity is for building trust, creating identity, and just having fun and letting loose.