Originally Posted by zentune
...or should we get back to work--@liquidfeet, comments?
I'm not done. I hope we are not done.
PSIA instructors who have been on the job for years and years don't need anything new from PSIA. They're fine; they have figured out how to work with the system as it is. They have figured out what they like to teach and in what order they prefer to teach it. They know what type of student usually responds to what. They have a big tool box of alternatives to use which they can dig into on the fly if their current progression is failing. None of this came from written materials provided from PSIA. Maybe some of it came from clinics (can we call that oral history???); maybe some of it came from their own self-teaching. Maybe other instructors helped them with stories of their own teaching exploits; maybe their ski school makes a concerted effort to inform instructors what works and what doesn't each year early season. If they hadn't found this stuff somewhere and adapted it for their clientele, they would no longer be instructors. These seasoned instructors may empathize with rookies, or not. I don't know.
I've been a rookie instructor within recent memory. I needed more from PSIA; other rookies need more from PSIA. With this discussion we've been having, I've realized that the four skills way of organizing one's conceptual approach to MA is probably fine for seasoned instructors; many sound pleased with it. Also, people are different; some are going to like BERP and find it useful; others won't.
I firmly believe those four "skills" are not anywhere near enough. I believe PSIA needs to supplement BERP (even with DIRT added) with something entirely different. Maybe two somethings. First, PSIA needs to talk about how to make a turn happen. It needs to describe, in writing, so there's no argument, at least these things....
1. different types of turn initiations (there is more than one way to initiate a turn) with a focus on different types of release
2. different types of turn finishes; there is more than one way to finish a turn
3. different means of shaping a turn (steering, carving, zipperline bumps, etc.)
4. differences in ways of addressing different types of terrain and conditions (yes, exceptions to the rule always apply, but that doesn't mean an educational organization shouldn't have laminated cards, or manuals, or web pages, describing how to ski bumps or steep ice (...etc.) in different ways.
5. the difference between steered turns and carved turns, with a reference to platform angle (this needs to be up front in PSIA's manuals).
6. maybe more.
OK, that is a list of new things that could be addressed officially in some way, without dismantling the four skills.
Second, PSIA needs to provide "reference progressions" that address common situations that instructors will encounter. These reference progressions could be done in levels, with some for rookie instructors teaching primarily beginners, for Level II hopefuls who want to teach intermediates, and for instructors working towards Level III as well. Each "reference progression," of course, would be for an "ideal" student. PSIA should provide all kinds of alternatives for instructors to use when the student doesn't respond in the expected way, which admittedly would be more often than not. This is the way we think; just because there are exceptions doesn't mean we should avoid discussing the ideal.
Why doesn't PSIA teach instructors to teach? In the certification exams, instructors are asked to teach shortened lessons custom designed for imaginary students; they must provide a progression. "Progression" is not a bad word, unless it's prescribed as holy and unchangeable. That's not what I'm suggesting. PSIA should offer written advice on some common progressions to use in their educational materials. Why leave instructors to their own devices when trying to teach? Some ski schools provide this kind of training, but not all of them. PSIA needs to step up to the plate. It's an abdication of responsibility not to do so.
Another option brought up by Borntoski is to replace the four Skills with another set that addresses how to make a turn happen. He has discussed the benefits the PMTS set of "Essentials." I like this set. But this alternative teaching system I believe is protected by trademark, or something of that sort (IANAL). I don't think PSIA can just adopt that system, even if it were to add another element addressing steering the skis with rotary movement of the legs. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.