Get 'em sliddin'
Wigs- Here goes. My apologies if this gets lengthy. After demonstrating how to get into the bindings (modeling) and then they do it, we side step up hill a few feet and back down. I then physically get them pointed downhill in a wedge, showing they aren't going anywhere because our skis are wide apart like a pizza. [Any verbal cue works well. We use the word pizza.] At this time I am in front of the student facing him (him, her, in the interest of being pc which I am not!
), so I'm in a reverse wedge, facing up hill.
This is where I got slammed a few years ago, claiming this is dangerous, going backwards. We are blessed with a very gentle slope, fenced off so other skiers don't come ripping through. Precautions are met to make sure the 'coast is clear'. PSIA instructors will point out that this is not the proper procedure according to the study manual. This probably will send them through the roof! But Wigs, .... this works!
Depending on how difficult a time my student exhibits, including facial espressions of fear,
I do one of 3 things. 1) get him sliding while bending over and holding the tips of his skis until I see increased stability, 2) gently hold his hands as we slid down hill. [Here I would ask him to not really grab onto my hands, let me do the holding, but he can if he needs to... asuring him I'm there for him. --- Of course, we have gone through shins against the tongue of the boots, etc.] This hand holding which is barely touching his hands automatically gets his hands and arms in the correct position. Then we start to go downhill, verbally encouraging him all the way and having him look at my head not at his feet. After about 20 feet we stop by 'getting big' which I already covered (making the pizza bigger and bigger and really big!) I say, Look behind you. As he looks behind where he used to be I say, "Guess what! You just skied! Every time my student turns back toward me with a huge grin of satisfaction on his face! 3) If thee is too much fear on his face- we slide for about 2 feet and get big. Wow! he stopped! Then I draw a line in the snow and say, "OK, let's go to here!" - Another 2 feet. He does, etc. until we can increase the distance.
At this point we are even with the start of the rope tow. We now step step step to point to the rope tow. I model it first then help them do it as needed. Now I say, let's duck walk over to the tow. These verbal cues seem to work beautifully. They rely on the students own schema (mini theories in life, or things we have espenienced and learned throughout life). i.e. we all know how a duck walks. This is from my own teaching experience in school. It is amazing how the student almost instantly starts walking correctly on his skis. Some get it right away, some have a bit of trouble but they too get it quickly. We are on level ground right now or relatively level ground.
Our slogan or mantra as it were is SHOW, DON'T TELL. Do as little talking as you can. Once I had a student who spoke no English. Boy did I learn this slogan fast! hehehe! Good teaching experience for me!
At this point we show how to use the rope tow, I modl and also show how to get off the rope tow by getting off after about 6 or 7 feet. I then ask them if they want to go first or me. Usually it's me. I wait at the top. (Little kids i go with them) It's a bit rough at first, of course, but they get it. Sometimes as you know, it's the hardest part... getting off the rope tow!
We then duck walk over a ways, and I help them get turned down hill and repeat what we did before. I watch the progress on his balance, letting go of the hands more and more staying in front until I am satified with his stability then I back out of his way backwards and turning and stay with him all the way down the hill praising all the way and reminding to get bigger - bigger and bigger and really big to stop. I'm right there if it doesn't work. 95% of the time it does.
At this point (with kids) it's gimme five! time and back up they go. They are so proud of themselves. I am too. It's my true paycheck! i stay with them the second run asking if they want me in front or just beside them, their choice. By this time they are on their own, skiing!
Now it is discovery time. (Their own practice) I watch for certain cues. They are already skiing by themselves. The 6 minutes or so is over. Perhaps some thought I meant 6 minutes and they are ripping down a green hill by themselves. My mistake if I led that impression.
During the next few runs I now add "get tall-get big. This is new input and modeling. I demo - straighten knees and get tall... skis come together and I go faster, get big (pizza) I do slower! Bigger pizza go slower yet and even stop. Do this back and forth. (change ups! see?!)
At this point they are making run after run on their own, having a blast. I am watching for safety and for a natural cue to happen. Pretty soon you see what's going on. I am sure you have seen this. When the student gets to the bottom, his brain is saying... "Now how am I going to get over to that tow?" Something natural and wonderful happens... you start to see a natural turn in the direction of the tow!!! At this point... new input after some review. We teach the turn!
This has been extrememly successful. Our management has gotten incredible praises directed to us, ski instructors. I've had parents come to me during lunch and praise me for their kid's lessons! I've used this method even with those who have never seen snow before as well! I taught one gal from Brazil. The following year I happen to run into a fellow who asked me, "Aren't you that guy who tuahgt a girl from Brazil?" I said, "Yes I remember her! Great kid!" He said, "She was an exchange student who lived with us for that year. She wrote recently that she is so proud of herself. She skis better than anyone in her class, in school, in Brazil. Someone please tell me where their ski area is! I guess there is one!
Wigs- All this follows the 6 point lesson plan format. Review, Input, model, guided practice, indipendant practice, evaluation, review. Yes, that's 7 but review is a repeat. This closely follows another lesson plan format called ITIP- Instructional Teaching Into Practice. These are two good formats, there are many others. All follow basic procedures.
This 6 minutes is to the point where they are sliding on their own, not ripping down a green or blue hill!
Again, my error if I lef anyone to that impression. This method we use is fast, efficient, instant success, big smiles! The down side of this is we often hear.... I want to go on the big people hill now! Buzzzzz wrong answer! hahaha Let's work on some more stuff and figure out a few more things first. safety first. If I think he is ready I will give the parent some things to look for and work with. Other times I try to stress, let's stay here for a while. When I see decent progress and hear, "I'm bored now" then we might try the 'big people hill'!
Later I can post a copy of how the 6 lesson plan works more clearly, but upon reading it I think you'll see that you have been doing it all along!
I guess I should chill a bit here. I expect to get picked apart, showing how this is wrong, bad, etc. But all I can say is we have had nothing but success, no accidents, no owies. I remiind- we are blessed with gentle slopes, family ambiance, small ski area, laid back atmosphere, fenced off beginner area, and ... patience - grasshopper! If all this works you- use it. If it doesn't - don't. Be eclectic. Use parts of this or that, show don't tell as best as possible, watch for all cues from the student as to what to teach next and how to teach it. It is learning oriented, not teaching oriented. Bob