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How People Learn - Page 3

post #61 of 74
Quote:
posted by nolo:

I think we learn because we covet. One can only covet something he/she does not have, because to covet is to want something. We learn in order to get what we want. If we don't have a clear idea of what we want, learning is rather pointless. On the other hand, if you know what end you are aiming for, just about everything that happens to you or is observed by you could be fodder for learning (by analogy). If what someone is teaching you is not relevant in some way to your goal, you won't learn it. It will pass right by you.

Who decides what's relevant to a learner?
I think this is the key.

Last year, Caroyln Fushimi was my coach at ESA. One of the first questions she asked me was, "What is your ideal skiing goal? What kind of skier do you want to be?"

I told her I was not interested in ripping through the trees (of that, I have absolutely NO desire). I don't want to be the "hotdoggus alpinus" that is hucking off cliffs, racing the gates, or going off piste stump jumpin.

After we clarified what MY goals were, HER goals for teaching me were also clarified.


I learn what is relevant to me.
post #62 of 74
Manus, I don't really disagree with what you are saying. In a perfect world, our job is easier, and we always have students who believe we can deliver.

I personaly had return students age 3 and 82. Obviously I didn't appraoch the lessons the same, and they both must have found me credible. But this is the issue, "they" both found me credible. In the end the credibilty issue lies within the student, and if a student feels that they want their instructor to share some common ground with them in a been there, done that, experienced that, then should we force them into a lesson outside of their preference?

Another example, I had an all day private referall simply because I have a holistic approach to my teachng and warm up with tai chi and chi kung exercises everyday, (well I try to). This woman finds more credibility with instructors that share this common ground with her. Her lesson needs could have been met by another instructor, but we had instant common ground and shared interest. She normaly requests women, so you could say that we had shared common ground and broke a stereotype.

I'll say this, when I'm learnig something new and it's something that give me hurt or challenges my physical abilities, as in knee problems, I'll take someone who has experienced something similar as opposed to someone who hasn't if I have a choice. Both may be capable, but one will simply have the credibilty of similar experience. Wrong,,,maybe,,,but it's human nature. I think good instruction starts within the common ground and helps students move outside their comfort zone or view window, into the unknown.

Manus I certainly didn't mean to infer that age your relates to your competancy, only that age, amoung many other things, relate to our experiences, which does relate to how others view our credibility from their own view point. this can bve a very messy subject. later, RicB.
post #63 of 74
Thread Starter 
Honestly, I don't think age has a thing to do with it, nor gender. A great teacher transcends his/her age and gender. I'd hate to think that people chose me for any other reason than that I'm good.

If a program called "For Women Only" has male instructors, I think that the title is misleading. But to segregate women from the Wednesday Workshop shoots it in the foot: a lot of the guys signing up for that program are hoping they'll meet a compatible woman in their group, and there's nothing in the title that suggests differently.
post #64 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Honestly, I don't think age has a thing to do with it, nor gender. A great teacher transcends his/her age and gender. I'd hate to think that people chose me for any other reason than that I'm good.
I basically agree with you on this, however, I think that some older people, regardless of how good a young instructor might be, have difficulty accepting their lesson from what they perceive as a young kid. It's more of a pleasing the customer thing.
post #65 of 74
I think there is truth to all of these view points. Maybe I'm asking for too much here,,, hell I don't know.

Nolo, isn't a good instructor the sum total of their life experiences coupled with their professional experiences, and doesn't our life experiences to some degree bring perspective to our professional performance. I'm not saying that a good instructor doesn't strive to transend their personal perspective on a daily basis, but that the credibility as the client sees, is just a recognition of an instructors personal journey and the perspective they bring to the table. To say otherwise to me would be saying that all good instructors are the same.

I'm sure everyone of your students chose you because you are good, but don't you think that personal journey, gender, and yes, age have something to do with some of your students choices? I mean just as we strive to find something to relate to in our students, don't our students strive to find things they can at first relate to in us, so that they may find the initial experience more credible from their own personal perspective. even if we constantly strive to break down stereotypes we have to always work with what our students and ourselves bring to the table.

This is one of those issues that confuse me because I see validity on all sides, which tells me maybe that the issues may simply need to be dealt with within myself and not by changing everyone else around me. That's probably confusing as hell to anyone reading this. Oh well. Later, RicB.
post #66 of 74
Thread Starter 
Quote:
think that some older people, regardless of how good a young instructor might be, have difficulty accepting their lesson from what they perceive as a young kid. It's more of a pleasing the customer thing.
This is fine, so long as the person making instructor assignments doesn't assume what the customer perceives about "young kids" or "old farts", for that matter--in fact, I think this is what Manus is decrying: ageism in the mountain sports school.

I hate it when I get pigeon-holed and I believe others do too. I teach students who range in age from 12 to 74, and the 74 year old doesn't act his age or he wouldn't be skiing.
post #67 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
This is fine, so long as the person making instructor assignments doesn't assume what the customer perceives about "young kids" or "old farts", for that matter--in fact, I think this is what Manus is decrying: ageism in the mountain sports school.

I hate it when I get pigeon-holed and I believe others do too. I teach students who range in age from 12 to 74, and the 74 year old doesn't act his age or he wouldn't be skiing.
I guess that's the real problem. Institutionalizing generalizations and stereotypes through asumptions about our customers. Guest Centered Instruction run amuck. Does anyone see this as a response to a lack of depth in the instructor pool, or is this just another exampl of PC out of control?
post #68 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
I guess that's the real problem. Institutionalizing generalizations and stereotypes through asumptions about our customers. Guest Centered Instruction run amuck. Does anyone see this as a response to a lack of depth in the instructor pool, or is this just another exampl of PC out of control?
Well, being the official, self-appointed, anti PC vigilante, I would say that obsessive PC and generalizations is the basis for many of today's problems . Fortunately, as a society, I think we are slowly becoming aware of it. If you look at modern humor ; the jib/jab This Land thing, the republican vs. democrats jokes, all poke fun at our need to stereotype.

Hopefully, this self deprecating humor will enlighten us. If we can get beyond being PC, and start listening to what an instructor is actually teaching us, the learning process will be improved enormously!
Rant Over!
post #69 of 74
we all want our job to be easier, from a logistical and effectiveness standpoint, so I'm sure the "profiling" that happens in lineup is probably done with the best of intentions. The down side is that we end up feednig our own stereotypes.

If I think about what I want in a clinician, I see myself gravitating towards the more creative thinker, versus the strictly critical thinker. Both are needed, but I find more credibility in a person who is willing to look at the subject from any view point and explore the subject with a willingness to go where it leads. The evolution of ideas on a subject seem to require creative thinking for pushing the boundaries and critical thinkng for keeping it truthfull.

Then there is the practical problem solving thinking that seems to play such a big role in teaching skiing. Maybe this is where we start to rely on our stereotypes and profiles too much. When time is critical, maybe we short circut both the creative and the critical in the interest of practical expediancy. In the interest of getting somewhere in my learning myself, I may make look for someone who is closest to my own image and shared experiences, someone who I think I have more in common with, thinking this will start us off with enough common ground that the things will progress faster, that my learning will be "easier".

I'm sure the line supervisor does this as does the student. Maybe we think our listening will be more productive if we listen to someone closer to our own perspective. we try to establish to some degree our learning enviroment by our choices. The danger is that I may not evolve my thinking if I don't look creatively from a different perspective, or thatthe student wil lmiss an opportunity to learn from someone outside of their percieved comfort zone, and that Manus or Nolo will be passed by or chosen in the interest of practical expediancy. Later, RicB.
post #70 of 74
It doesn't matter what is being taught, if the person instructing is offensive in any way (talking down, talking up, swaggering in manner, doesn't listen to students, seems uncaring, etc), there will not be another lesson.

I recall a boisterous ski instructor on the hill at Okemo who was barking at his students. I remember saying, "I'm glad that isn't my instructor". Yet there are those who like to be pushed that way.


There is no one style of learning. There is no point in pigeonholing anything or anyone. Just when you think you have it figured out, it'll change.

The only thing I can think of that would be constant would be FUN. If it's FUN, it'll happen.
post #71 of 74
Thread Starter 
Very true, Bonni! Bottom-line, skiers want to have fun.

The old saw about "safety, fun and learning" (in that order) is misleading, I think, because a good instructor knows that learning IS fun. The teaching trick is creating an easy-going, non-judgmental environment where people are safe and comfortable, and allowing people time to incorporate the new learning in with what they already know. Call it practice, process, play, adventure--it's critical to anchoring the new learning and making it mine.
post #72 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonni
It doesn't matter what is being taught, if the person instructing is offensive in any way (talking down, talking up, swaggering in manner, doesn't listen to students, seems uncaring, etc), there will not be another lesson.

I recall a boisterous ski instructor on the hill at Okemo who was barking at his students. I remember saying, "I'm glad that isn't my instructor". Yet there are those who like to be pushed that way.


There is no one style of learning. There is no point in pigeonholing anything or anyone. Just when you think you have it figured out, it'll change.

The only thing I can think of that would be constant would be FUN. If it's FUN, it'll happen.
I wonder if SSD's realize how negative the impact of this sort of instructor is on the entire resort, as well as the sport itself. My very first lesson at Killington was exctly like that. It took me 12 years to try skiing again. I still have a really bad feeling about the place.

I consider myself lucky, in that with all the lessons I take, I've had exactly 4 instructors who I would consider awful. About 5 years ago, it was one bad lesson that got me into internet posting. The guy had been teaching for 25 years, and bragged about his family background of Austrian skiers. But what an attitude!

Not knowing proper "nettiquette" at the time, I posted which resort it happened at. This is not the sort of publicity resorts want.
post #73 of 74
I think you guys have hit upon a key to teaching and learning, which is the fun factor. A good instructor has to be able to make it fun for the student, and then learning will happen, but if its not fun, the student just gets put off and feels like they've wasted their money (no matter how much validity may have been included in the lesson).

Being an instructor, we have to learn to balance the fun and learning, which is not always an easy task, but we have to be honest with ourselves. Its like why I do not like teaching our Young Learner programs, 3-5 years olds, and they are a blast, but I personally feel like I have trouble with the fun/learning ratio, I always end up leaving a Young Learner lesson feeling that I have not taught the kid(s) enough, but I know that if they had fun they'll be back.

And Lisa, I think most SSD's realize what the public perception of instructors like you and Bonnie have mentioned, but they also have to think about what they (the barking or snobby instructors) have to offer in the long run, sometimes they may not be great with adults but incredibly patient with kids or vice versa. My biggest gripe is instructors that get too wordy, analytical and critical and in the long run don't get much done, and often times create so much confusion that you can see a regression of skills. However, even though I dislike the teaching style of this type of instructor, I see the need, because we do get clientel like that too (MIT), and they can learn a lot sometimes.

Personally, I believe in the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) philosophy and try to make it fun for everyone. When people are having fun, they are much easier to teach, and they are easier to push and take them completely out of their comfort zone to get them to learn dramatic amounts in a short period of time.
post #74 of 74
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