Rocking Dan. Teaching man.
Primary school teacher Dan Colquhoun’s songs are inspiring a generation of children to embrace learning through music.
With an international following for his successful musical lessons, it comes as some surprise that the YouTube star known as Rocking Dan Teaching Man had a learning difficulty and struggled in the classroom as a child.
Dan Colquhoun said he wants to help all children succeed with learning, which was one of his motivations for writing songs to help the children in his classes learn numeracy, social skills, and literacy skills.
“I struggled at school because I’m dyslexic, which meant I had trouble blending, segmenting and manipulating individual sounds which results in difficulties with reading and writing,” he said.
Writing songs to provide a different approach to learning seemed an obvious way to find an alternative for those kids who are challenged when learning the building blocks that the rest of their schooling is based on.
Doing things differently
“Music and movement help with oral language development, vocabulary, coordination, gross motor skills, maths, rhythm, rhyme and self-regulation. Music and movement can help children learn and retain concepts more readily as it opens up multiple pathways to the brain. I struggled to learn in a conventional way so I tried to find a way to help all children learn concepts they might have difficulty understanding.”
Small fans, big reach
Not only do his small charges at St Declan’s Catholic Primary School in the Sydney suburb of Penshurst love his musical creations, but so do their parents, other teachers, and a swathe of Google + and YouTube followers around the world.
Most of the hits for the 47 songs Dan has written and recorded come from Australia, Britain and the United States. The YouTube channel has had more than 2.1 million hits, and when he did his first animation, it was seen in more than 100 countries.
“It’s amazing to hear children from Delaware, Nashville, Missouri or somewhere else in the world singing every word of one of my songs live via video link up.”
Dan Colquhoun studied postgraduate education at ACU.
Learn more about studying education at ACU.
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