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Level II Teaching and Technical

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Epic's thread on "What's it take to pass Level II Skiing?" got me thinking. So Here's the logical extension of that thread. (Thanks EPIC. )

In the east, the Level II and III exams are split into two portions, Skiing (2 days) and Teaching and Technical (2 days). This year I plan on taking the Alpine Level II Teaching and Technical portion of the exam.

I've got all the books and exam guides. They are pretty detailed, however, cold words on a page don't always tell the full story. What goes on during this part of the exam?

Comments from examinees and examiners will go a long way in helping any of us get ready for this.

In advance, thanks. I know you guys will give me a good ear full.
post #2 of 15


If it's anything like the PSIA-W requirements, plan on teaching. Teach what you know, Teach like you would a class. Keep the class moving and don't teach anything you don't understand. The examiner will nail you with questions if they think you are just teaching an exercise you don't understand. Be ready to explain why you used a specific exercise, and focus on one skill, build on that skill. Be ready to with alernatives, Understand cause and effect, practice your MA, and learn to break down the skills. Most of all, be relaxed and have fun. Make it fun for your "students". K.I.S.S. DON'T use any technical terms if you can avoid them. If the examiner want's to know, they will ask.

When I did my teaching portion (PSIA-W does skiing and teaching together as one exam, 2 days, 2 examiners) I would do an MA on someone, Give a short summary of my plan and why, then Teach it. 15 minutes and use at least one full run. If the examiner saw something they didn't like or wanted to know why you did something they would ask. If it was obvious they might have you demo, them move on. end with a summary. The chair ride after the the teaching session we got grilled on alternatives, how would it differ for a child or adult depending on what your assignment was? What if xyz didn't work? and maybe some mechanics.

Bonus points for exercises or tasks that they have never heard before!
post #3 of 15
dchan has given great advice.

I'd add a bit of tactics: pay attention to the other people in your group and try to figure out the one thing each person could improve on that would improve their overall performance. When it's your turn to teach, whatever the topic you're given, you already have an outcome to teach to for each of your "students" that relates directly to them. Who knows? You might actually effect a positive change that could help the other person(s) pass too!

If you can make the lesson SMART--specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely--your teaching will pass with high marks.
post #4 of 15

Level 11 teaching and technical

T...the teaching segment is in 4 parts, 2 of which you can prepare and practice before the exam.
Creative coaching.....have a fun, creative coaching progression using teaching for transfer, guided discovery or any imagery-rich presentation.
Practice, practice, practice! Own the exercise, feel comfortable answering probing questions about it from the examiner, ask fellow instructors to pick it apart. Remember, this is YOUR segment..you should get 4 out of 4 for it!

Industry knowledge.....what do you know about your resort, it's place in the ski industry, where is the ski industry heading? You will be asked to share with the group some challenge you faced in your job, how you handled it, and what you learned from the experience. Once again, you can prepare for this, it is partly done in an interview format on a lift ride, and partly showing the group how you handled the challenge you specified. Once again, you can prepare totally for this, and should get 4 out of 4 for it.

Movement Assessment....this involves synchro skiing, looking at how the skiers move, and offering feedback, plus suggestions for change. You are assigned a synchro pattern to get your group into, then do the assessment as the group ski by you. You stand with the examiner, and give constant evaluations. Important aspects of this are...how successful your group gets synchronised is irrelevant, don't worry about that part, be positive and certain about your assessments of each skier, be prepared to defend you assessments to the examiner. Your coaching should be positive, with no negative comments, avoid 'but'!

ATS Knowledge (I might be a bit off on the name of this segment!). You will be given a teaching task, to coach your group. The examiner is looking for good familiarity with ATS terminology, a good teaching progression, and to see some change in your groups' performance. Specific and accurate feedback to your groups is critical, deep knowledge of the ATS teaching model is vital.

The last 2 segments are the most difficult, you draw cards for your assignment, it is important to have a wide knowledge of Level 11 teaching requirements.

Your demos must be pertinent to the task, crisp and clear. The expectations of the examiners are really high at this point.

Hope this is helpful, I'm sure I've forgotten some stuff, will add when I've had my 2nd cup of coffee!
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
dchan, nolo, skiswift, great input thanks.

Now some questions. (You all know the rewards for doing good work? More work.) My background is adaptive and 90%+ of my work has been adaptive. I achieved Level II Adaptive in 2003. I'm fishing for ideas that will make me a better instructor along with having some interesting things for the exam. (I'm always trying to improve my toolkit of ideas and exercizes. The reason I'm doing the Alpine exam is to round out my experience and become a better teacher.)

DCHAN, good words on teaching what you know. I've watched people in exams get sucked into the undertow by not following that advice. (Heck, I felt the pull on my legs once when I ventured into the unknown. Some quick work and a prod from another examinee got me out of that one. It was a humbling experience that I don't want to recreate.) On the wow factor; what things did you see/do that had that wow factor? (I used some wow things in my Adpt L 2. Unusual disabilities that I had actually encountered with clients.) I've heard stories of everyone doing the same thing in an exam and it really, really bored the heck out of the examiner. (They were using the term counter-rotation.) Plus a bunch of them got it wrong and that irritated him. It was not a good thing for the whole group.

NOLO, I really liked SMART. I'm going to steal that and use it. Another one I picked up from an examiner is TIDbit, Timing, Intensity, Duration as it relates to all the BERP elements. Also, I will keep my eyes open with the other members of the group and tailor my teaching to them.

SKISWIFT, good overview, thanks a grunch. You bring up the creative teaching module. That got my interest going. What did you use in your exam and what idea did you see that worked. Conversely, what did you see that did not work. I know that this needs to be mine and I have to own it. However, having ideas of what has and has not worked in the past will make it easier to see where to go with it.

Good words all, again, thanks. (I'm starting to get the ski itch bad. The leaves are turning up here and snow can't be far away.)

(Is the use of parens going to get the english fairies on my butt? )
post #6 of 15
Originally Posted by T-Square
dchan, nolo, skiswift, great input thanks.

DCHAN, good words on teaching what you know... I've heard stories of everyone doing the same thing in an exam and it really, really bored the heck out of the examiner... (They were using the term counter-rotation.) Plus a bunch of them got it wrong and that irritated him...

You bring up the creative teaching module. What did you use in your exam and what idea did you see that worked. Conversely, what did you see that did not work. I know that this needs to be mine and I have to own it. However, having ideas of what has and has not worked in the past will make it easier to see where to go with it.
"Teach what you know" is particularly true about the Creative Teaching module. The Study Guide says they are looking for transfers from other activities, and that's fiine if that's what you know. I told the Examiner that I don't know any other sports well enough, and when I try to make an analogy to another activity it usually backfires. That was my best module. The guys who tried too hard to come up with something didn't do so well.
Be prepared to discuss how any exercise you do could be modified for little kids, old people or teenagers.
For the On the Job module, be prepared to discuss what you are doing to increase retention of new skiers.
For the Movement Assessment module, all that synchronized skiing upsets everyone's timing, and puts them into a rushed entry and a too hard edge set at the end, so have a drill ready to address that. When you talk to the examiners, keep it simple as use terms as they are defined in the manuals. Get the Pocket Guide to Effective and Ineffective Movements and refer to it.

It's not that hard, really. If you are prepared, you control 2 of the modules so you should score 8 for 8 on those. Then you only need to score 2 for 8 on the 2 remaining modules. If you are looking for more than 10 out of 16, you are a perfectionist and should ski more and train less.

Regards, John
post #7 of 15

Level II Alpine Exam

Teach the basics and ski the basics for a level II, no more and no less. Go to the National web site and pull down the National standards.

Most candidates fail because they want teach everything they know and ski every way they can. The exam is about Level II and how you would impart that knowledege to a skier in a classroom (snow setting). Stay off of technical terms, you wouldn't teach them to your student so don't teach them to your instructor students. Practice your demos so they show what you would want your student to see. That means the demos are and will be animated so the student will see what you want. If asked a question you do not understand, then say so. If asked a question you can not answer, say so. What would you tell your student, a lie? You are not expected to know everything but you are expected to ski and demo what falls within a level II assignment and teach same plus a little more in the free skiing aspect on small bumps and groomed blacks.

NEVER EVER attempt to teach something you have never taught before to someone, even if it is other instructors.

Remember, the tasks you will be asked to perform are designed to see if you have the basic skiing skills of a level II, the task itself is not the goal, what is within the task is. It still comes down to balance, edging, pressure and rotary but those words are taboo. Movement pools or the dynamic combination is what skiing is about and certifying an instructor to every level.

Teach and speak to a student, that is what it is about.
post #8 of 15

L2 teaching exam tips


The cool part about passing teaching is that there is a huge grab bag of stuff you can use to pass. It may be daunting to look all the recommended study areas and teaching skills to master, but you don't have to be perfect everywhere (or anywhere for that matter).

Remember "Safety, Fun and Learning". You can easily flunk by being totally void in one of these areas. You can easily pass by keeping the priorities in the above order. Make an effort to demonstrate safety and fun during your exam.

One of the things that examiners are looking for is "can you make a positive change in your peer's skiing" (or teaching). It takes experience to be able to do this. However, even if you are the weakest member of the group, you should have something to share that's useful.

Even though teaching segments are "fake", follow the teaching model. Stay away from progressions because they take too long. End your segment early (and definitively - don't drift off). As long as you've followed the model, you're ok. When you finish a teaching segment, be prepared to answer questions from the examiner. Don't be defensive. It's ok to be "wrong" as long as you can present a logical flow from observation, assessment of a skill to work on, choice of a task to develop/reinforce the skill, demonstration, practice, feedback and summary. Sure, you can get dinged for seeing an edging problem when it's really rotary, but you more than make up for it by putting "everything else" together. You'll have other opportunities to demonstrate MA skills. If there are no questions after your segment, then shut up - you've passed.

When an examiner gives you feedback and "tells" you something, don't argue. When an examiner "asks" you something, it's ok to have a different "well constructed" opinion. They are looking at the construction/justification as much or more than the "rightness" of the answer. The "well constructed" answer comes from a blend of experience, good coaching, industry technical knowledge and teaching technical knowledge.

Remember that even though the format of the exam is that the examiner is trying to solicit information from the candidates, a great teacher is a great listener. An examiner will give you plenty of opportunity to talk, but you will have far more opportunities to listen. Don't waste them.

The biggest weakness I see in the L2 candidates that I work with is movement analysis skill. To pass L2, you need to be able to look at a skier and accurately describe what is going on (e.g. what is the first body movement that initiates a turn?). If you can't take any random skier and describe their balance, edging, rotation and pressure movements with more than 2 minutes of comments, you need work. You don't have to be 100% correct, but you do need to be essentially correct more often than not.

The bottom line for L2 teaching is that you must be a better than average teacher. Do you have the knowledge, teaching skills and people skills to successfully impart positive changes to your students in a safe and fun environment? If the answer is yes and you can relax enough to just let your regular teaching routine "happen", you will pass. The cool part of having all that "extra" stuff to study is the subtle growth in your teaching skills that take you beyond what what you need to pass L2.
post #9 of 15
While I agree that MA is the most under prepared aspect of the exam, PSIA (at least on the east) has no set method for training for MA (especially in an exam prep perspective).

This is something that I brought up when attaining both my level II and level III pins. For Level III I had taken a Master Series on Movement Analysis, attended the exam pre-req (and mentioned that I wanted to focus on MA as did much of the group skied with), and yet I was still a bit under prepared for it. I mentioned it after the exam to the MA examiner, and he agreed that there wasn't really any good way to prepare for it other than watching people and comparing thoughts/ideas with other certified and higher ranking instructors.
post #10 of 15
With regard to MA; at Keystone we did weekly training in the evenings, watching videos, and then discussing how to analyse their skiing, and how to teach them. We then used the GCT matrix to formalise our approach, and to practise for the exam. In Rocky Mountain, you were expected to understand and use Guest Centered Teaching. It was quite a handy tool, I must say.
I suspect that to prepare for an exam, having some kind of model to follow for your D and C (Detection and Correction) might help a lot.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the great input. I've been mulling things over and have some good ideas for my teaching segment. (I'm thinking about a teaching segement on developing pole use. Something I don't think many other examinees do.) I've also come up with a good example of a rewarding teaching experience.

For movement anaylsis, I plan on taking the MA Master level course as a prerequisite along with the Level II practice exam. I've alway been a chairlift MA freak; watching skiers below and discussing what was observed with the other instructors on the chair.

I agree with you all about being prepared and having fun a the exam. Even though my stomach might not agree, I plan on having fun, keeping my eyes and ears open, and "playing" as much as possible. After all isn't skiing supposed to be fun? Aren't we teaching people to play? :
post #12 of 15
That sounds like a good plan, all except the part about a practice exam. Why do that? It's only an exam with no opportunity to pass. If they tell you that you would have failed, you're still going to feel bad. The hardest part of exams is the pressure, and a practice exam can't prepare you for that.

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
John, I understand what you mean. However, I want to take the practice exam to get a feel for what is going on during the process. They also give you great feedback on how and what to improve.

This is the first Alpine exam I've gone through and the process is slightly different from the Adaptive exams that I am familar with. Plus I"m and old Navy guy and one thing I learned there is you can never be over prepared.
post #14 of 15
I think I've covered this before in another thread, but I've found that using computerized video analysis tools (e.g. V1, NEAT, DARTFISH) can help accelerate the development of MA skills in instructors. The ability to sync 2 video clips side by side, the drawing tools and the ability to quickly control and repeatedly replay short slow motion clips and varying speeds can help develop the "eye" much more efficiently than using a normal VCR.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
The Rusty, those programs sound neet. Where can we find them?
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