Originally Posted by TheRusty
I'm going to submit the idiotic opinion that pass rates are low for many reasons and that raising the pass rates without lowering the standards is not something that can be easily done.. My question is "What am I going to do about this"?
I agree Rusty, at this point, the pass rate will not change easily without compromising the standard, which I personally don't think is the right solution either. But the pass rate can be improved in the future IMHO with improved process. But please, CANDIDATES ARE TRYING VERY HARD! That is not an acceptable write-off. In some ways they are literally banging their head against a wall, often times in the wrong ways, its such a trial and error process for them.
Leadership from above can adjust training practices, it can also adjust the general culture of what it means to be involved in ski instructor training, such that mentoring and active involvement with ongoing coaching of ski instructors happens more pro-actively and more productively. Some people will deflect that comment by saying that is the resort's job, but its actually not and while Vail or Aspen might do it, or some more of them THINK they are doing it pretty well, they evidently are not doing it effectively. We pay dues to the PSIA to provide that. Resorts have little incentive to help instructors earn a higher wage. While they might give lip service to the idea that better instructors will be good for the resort, the truth is that it makes little difference to their bottom line and they know it. Its actually not at all in their best interest to build an army of L3 instructors. PSIA on the other hand, exists for the sole reason to provide education and a certification of noted education to ski instructors, independent of the resorts and the money making process there. PSIA, divisions and national, are the ones that are responsible here.
I have sat in a big room with 100 other instructors at a major resort and listened to the TD tell us all that we have to take ownership of our own cert process, ie.....don't expect mentoring. Sure they provide a couple cert clinics during the season, but that clearly isn't enough.
I hear what you're saying about national vs division, but nonetheless, national is the top leadership and they set the tone for divisions to follow. Most divisions are trying to follow national leadership as it makes sense. Didn't they just meet at Copper for exactly this kind of thing?
How can the process be improved? Consistency for one thing. Absolutely clear messaging about the standards and requirements, which some of you will think are fine, but I don't think they are fine. They are vague and subject to too much personal interpretation and subjectivity. I personally take issue with the skills concept on its own, also not providing enough information for how to be an upper shelf skier. The skills concept IMHO is a pretty decent framework for teaching single lessons to visiting guests and clients that only have time for small improvements. Its not a good long term coaching strategy on its own merits, and that is part of why ski instructors are not advancing to higher levels of skiing much more quickly then they are. (I smell the gas on the fire now).
Mentoring has been mentioned already, but its sorely absent. Leadership can effect ski instructor culture so that mentoring happens a lot more then it currently does. My observation is that peers are often afraid to approach each other and have productive learning situations because of perceived pecking orders and things like that. This makes it difficult for ski instructors to practice teaching each other. Of course once someone is finally L3 and beyond to trainer, then people will gladly accept the pecking order and take their guidance. So pre certs, how do they get to practice their higher level coaching? How does an instructor approach the more experience instructor (who is also very busy) and expect to get honest and continue mentoring towards certification? The resorts mostly don't provide it and PSIA itself is not either. I've been to many division clinics, At least 3x the credit requirement. They all present almost the same information, regardless of the title, and the mystery of how to pass the cert exam still persists.
What can I do about it? Not much right now because i'm not in PSIA leadership and if I ever will be, it won't be any time soon. What I can do is what I'm doing right now, pointing it out. Otherwise I have to hope that current leaders will take some of this feedback and try harder to improve the system from their end. Otherwise we continue to wait for new leadership I guess....