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Skiing in the Teaching Exam

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
In 3 out of the 4 modules of the level 2 teaching exam, and probably the level 3 exam as well (I haven't looked at that one yet), you will be skiingfor your peers who are taking the exam. This presenst a chance to help (or possibly hinder) thier performance in the exam. So my question is should you, and if so, how can you go about it?

In two of the segements of th exam, the presenter is teaching to his peers, the other candidates. They can do this however they want, but there will be some skiing. You can use this as a chance to help them see things they might have missed. Let me give a couple of examples.

One guy in my exam was trying to teach side-slipping, and he just kept saying "get small, and then get tall", thinking that all you have to do is get tall to release the skis. So as he was saying this, I stood there and tried what he was saying, getting small and then tall, but not checnging the angles of my skis on the snow at all. He slipped down a foot or two and saw me still standing there gooing up and down and then brought in moving CM across the skis by moving our knees downhill or whatever he came up with.

On the one hand, it seems kind of mean to do this. Should I just follow his demo and do what he thinks he is saying, or should I stay there and do what he's really saying? The examiner is not being fooled, so I say give the guy a chance to correct himself.

For another segment (creative teaching), a woman was given a "45 yo computer programmer who reads EpicSki (I'm paraphrasing a little) a lot and makes wedge turns controlling his speed by varying the size of his wedge". So asks us to step through our turns. I start gliding along like she asked, but when I got to where she said to turn I did huge stemmed step turns. She had never mentioned V's vs. A's orr anything like that, and I don't think she ever saw it. I did it through the entire segment. Was this mean of me? I was trying to give her a chance to see this because her coaching was pretty wide of the mark. She was focused on being creative, but was nowhere close on the technical side of what skill needed to be addressed (never focused on turn shape and never said how or why we were stepping through the turns).

In another creative teaching module there was a "30 year old yoga instructor who skis parllel on blues and blacks, but can't ski the narrow parts of the mountain. Teach this person how to ski the narrow parts". (Incidentally, I would have loved this card. Pivot slips baby!) The candidate somehow decided that she should focus on tactics here rather than a skill, and when she did decide to focus on a skill, it was more edging. (?) She asked us to cut the slope in half and just make turns down that, then the next progression was to cut the slope in half and make turns down that. I could picture saome gu yellingto his wife "JUST TURN!" No skill was ever addressed. Finally, the examiner told us skiers to go away and talked to her for a while. She came down and now had us do edging drills. Then as we got near the bottom of the run, she asked us to "carve C's in the snow with our inside skis". OK? She skiied down doing short-radius turns with no obvious engagement of her inside ski. I turned to the guy next to me and said "Did you hear what I heard". He said yes. "It sounds like she wants Short-radius white pass, I'm not sure if I can do that here, but I'll try". As I skiied past, I heard the examiner say "I'd like to have him in my class, he's doing just what you said". Maybe this one was a little bit mean, bu again, I don't think she was fooling the examiner, and perhaps this would have given her a chance to come up with ^something^.

One final example would be the movement analysis. I had to ski task of "two skiers make a series of hockey stops. They start and finish at the same time". Just to give a little extra to coach, I told my partner, you start your straight runs by dropping your tips in, and I'll start mine by stepping into them. The presenter never saw this, and instead wanted me to give more edge. I almost (unintentionally crashed in that demo jamming my wrists as I caught myself with my poles). Anyway, this is just an example of where you as the skier can give them something to coach.

So what do you guys think? Helpful, Mean, Unethical?
post #2 of 10
Aspiring to same day take L2 myself, it sounds like you are being helpful. One of my fears of L2 teaching is knowing that everyone already passed L2 skiing. That means they aren't going to be mediocre skiers making obvious mistakes. If you ski with something that has to be corrected, it sounds to me like you are making it easier for the candidate.
post #3 of 10
Not mean or unethical but I would do a combination of what was said and what was demoed.

In the example with the 45yo programmer stepping through turns. If she demoed stepping with the uphill ski diverging I would have done that even if she did not specifically say it. She was communicating through action and that is ok. A demo is worth a thousand words and any examiner knows that. Even if she had she stepped incorrectly, I might have done it correctly. You have to play this one by ear. The examiner might just think you don't know any better either or might see you as trying to help her.
post #4 of 10
epic, what's a pivot slip?
post #5 of 10

Check this thread and all your questions will be answered, well almost all.

post #6 of 10
thanks T-Square - though having read both epic's exam related posts I just got the feeling that he was bursting to teach them to someone
post #7 of 10

What really makes an exam enjoyable is when the entire group works together as a team. It's great when the group members "help" each other out with obvious opportunities for feedback. Of course, getting together ahead of time and agreeing on a signal (e.g. a noise, a tip of the head or hand) and an approach (e.g. give me help or not) is the key to making this work. Other signals to agree on are wrong (forced smile), something is missing (chin up), request for feedback (just ask or a head tilt), wrap it up (chin drop) and this is not a safe spot (can we move). A lot of times, simply asking innocuous "how does that work", or "what does that do for ..." questions give the candidate an opportunity to see the trap they are headed for without being condescending. Usually, the examiners aren't fooled, but they won't ding anyone for "cheating". The key that they are looking for is whether you "draw" information out of the candidate that they already know vs "give" information that they don't know. A group that works together can help a borderline candidate pass.

That said, there usually are candidates in a group who simply are not prepared to pass. Trying to help them can make things worse or give them something else to blame for their failure. There comes a point in the exam where it's pretty obvious to the passers who the not passers are and it's hard to keep "offering" help when it's not taken or not helping. Personally, I've never had the balls to go to someone in an exam and give them the "you aint making it, here's what you need to do to pass" (primarily because I was borderline and also because I don't think it's possible). But the temptation is maddening is maddening when they cuss too much, do "run on and on" teaching segments or talk tech like they know the truth when the examiner is hinting thanks for your (wrong) opinion.

In my snowboard level 2 exam, we did have a group discussion where the stronger guys were kind of offering to help in general and the 2 weakest guys admitted that they knew they weren't making it and told us not to worry. But we still helped each other. The best part for me was when the strongest guys in the group reacted to my teaching segment with a "this is so cool - I'm going to use this" enthusiastic attitude that was also real. One of the things that examiners look for is an ability to positively impact other group members. If something works for you, don't hesitate to take the lampshade off the light bulb over your head.

BTW - there are situations where a "just do it" teaching approach is ok as a guided discovery method of teaching. One of the funniest lines from a clinic I attended was advice on how to stop your skis from getting bounced around in the heavy crud. "Don't let them get bounced around." After a pause for effect, the discussion was about applying tension to the skis and how, when the skis are on edge, it's easier to keep them from getting bounced around. But the message was "You have the tools and the knowledge - the only thing missing is the intent."
post #8 of 10
How is the behavior of the student population addressed by the examiner? Usually, at the begining of an exam the examiner will field questions. This is a good time to ask...what to do in a situation like this.......
Ex...(just in case it happens) How should I(we) deal with poor verbal and or demonstration instruction.
I would assume most would say do what is asked and shown (as you did). If the 'teacher' sees you doing something different from what they thought they explained/demoed....they have the opportunity to address it. Doing so results in a huge learning process for all. In the end it gives everyone greater teaching ability.

To prevent this from happening ....be very specific explaining the movement patterns from the feet up....Emphasizing the goal of the particular practice drill..Demonstrate the drill emphasizing the movement pattern and goal.........and finish the presentation with the result that you are looking to achieve.

Remember examiners want you to do well......but they will give you enough rope to hang yourself.
post #9 of 10
Just a note, Epic's reports and comments are great but be aware that if you are in a different division the requirements and format may be different. Take what you can from his posts (so far all fantastic) and learn from them but it might be different in your division. Although many of the skiing requirements were simular in my LII exam, the format was completly different for PSIA-W.
post #10 of 10

skiing in an exam

Group dynamics can play such an important part for the success rate in a given group. I've seen groups swim or sink because of such interactions. The more comfortable the group is with each other seems to translate to a more relaxed, natural performance. As an examiner and someone who's been on both sides of the fence on this issue, being someone that is willing to make another look bad so they will look good hurts all involved in the long run. This type of action seems to foster division within the group. Why didn't you just ask him to clarify his movements? The preasures that canadites put themselves under at exams can be overwelming and lead to omissions in content or just performance breakdown. Sometimes just a little help/ encouragement from the group can push performance to a passing level. An aside, when giving your presentation make the best possible demo you can. In the Rocky Mtn division this is scored under the understanding / facilitation of movements.
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