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What is Right or Wrong with PSIA Educational Materials

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
changed my mind
post #2 of 34
WW- This sounds like it would have been an interesting question! Why not follow up on it?
post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
vail, I was at my frioends house theother night(you know them), and was looking at some of the books they had lying around. There were books i had never heard of before. Since both of them are cert 3's, I asked them why they read tthis stuff. They told me that Psia writes most of the stuff, but doesnt do a complete job. That was going to be my point of the post. But I decided that I didnt know enough history about it to make a good post. If you think itis interesting please take over and say what you think.
post #4 of 34
WW- I do find your thought to be interesting. It may take me a bit, but I would like to follow up on your original idea.
post #5 of 34

Possible Rant in reply to WW's original idea.....

WW- I hope this isn't to far off your original idea. As I thought about it, it began to move in maybe a slightly different direction than you expressed. But here are a few of my thoughts.


I had the pleasure of skiing with Joan Heaton and about 10 other Bears (and friends) yesterday here in Vail. Since several were instructors, and unaware of Joan's contribution to the history of PSIA and the now famous Teaching Styles Inventory, it was brought up during several conversations.

As the Centerline thread has been up and discussed for the past week, I was drawing a comparison between the two concepts. It seems as though every change in leadership of PSIA mandates a change in the published materials created by PSIA, resulting in the perception by most instructors that the new material supercedes or invalidates the previous material.

As all of the various methodologies (Centerline, Stepping Stones, etc) come and go, Joan's Teaching Style Inventory has stood the test of time. It is still as valid now as it was when she introduced it as the Keynote Speaker at the PSIA Nat Academy in 1982. And it is still used actively in any "teaching manual" I have seen since. I believe that only Horst Abraham's "Skill Development" concept has managed this same test of time, and it came about a full decade earlier!

Unfortunately, many other ideas of the period have been discounted or thought to have no validity any more. This could not be further from the truth. Being the best instructor possible is not a result of reading only the most current information available. It should be a result of understanding where the current information evolved from.

The current state of instructional materials are nothing but a "sound bite" of what it takes to be a good instructor. A snapshot, a brief moment in time. But that seems to be all todays crop of new instructors want- something they can digest in a few minutes, obtain a superficial understanding, and go out and spout it as gospel.

Then they get to an exam, let's say L2 or L3, and the examiner begins to probe the depth or breadth of their understanding. All to often, they are found to be severely lacking, in both understanding and experience.

Is it wrong to expect a L2 or L3 candidate to have read something beyond the current PSIA Technical Manual, the Core Concepts Manual, and Bob's Encyclopedia? What happened to Joubert, Bear, Campbell, Vagner, and the past PSIA Manuals? Are they and all of their research invalid?

By virtue of the fact that almost all of the publications I have mentioned are out of print, you would almost have to say YES. But you would be terribly WRONG!

Sking and Ski Teaching did not begin 2 years ago, or even with the advent of the shape ski. If you really want to discover what brought us to where we are today, scour the used bookshops, collect all the information you can find- even the most obscure, and read it. Then when you stand in front of an examiner or a demanding student, you'll be ready!
post #6 of 34
I agree with everything you just said Ric. One question though. If PSIA recognizes that this previously published information is still relevant, why don't they put them back in print or incorporate this info in their current literature? If their goal is to develop instructors this information should be readily available IMO. It begs the question of whether the new instructors are trying to short cut PSIA or vice versa.
post #7 of 34
It costs a great deal of money and time to maintain literature and keep it in print. Unless it's selling enough copies to pay for the upkeep, all publishers allow things to "go out of print"

As to why it's not incorporated, Who knows? Politics? Ego? Loss of purpose? The other question is would new instructors really read all this stuff? I have collected and read a great deal of these older books but I know most of my collegues have never even sought out any of it. Most don't even have the current tech manuals or teaching manuals. They all borrow them from each other just to get through the exam process.

DC
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by dchan
It costs a great deal of money and time to maintain literature and keep it in print. Unless it's selling enough copies to pay for the upkeep, all publishers allow things to "go out of print"

As to why it's not incorporated, Who knows? Politics? Ego? Loss of purpose? The other question is would new instructors really read all this stuff? I have collected and read a great deal of these older books but I know most of my collegues have never even sought out any of it. Most don't even have the current tech manuals or teaching manuals. They all borrow them from each other just to get through the exam process.

DC
You're right and I understand the reasoning behind something being out of print.

Are you sure your collegues are even aware of that this "out of print" information even existed? I know that if I were a new instructor candidate walking in the door I would know nothing of the previous teaching styles or authors (absent what I've read here on EpicSki).

Maybe I'm missing something, but if we're saying the current info makes no reference to, and doesn't incorporate previous material, and yet this info is vital to the development of the end user, then...???

The only possible answer, if this is true, is that we expect the instructor to understand that something preceded the current info, that it's important, and that they should hunt it down on their own. I think we can agree that it's a stretch that many will put all those pieces together.
post #9 of 34
dchan and coach- you are both right! But not only does PSIA have an obligation to recycle this info, but the pro's have an obligation to make use of it. I think David's thought about instr's trying to "short cut" the exam proccess is more than accurate.

I myself have a full 4 drawer filing cabinet of materials I have collected over the years... When I told Joan that I not only had original written copies of her presentation, but also had tape recordings of it (I was at that Academy), she about fell out of the chairlift! She told me that some one had video taped the lecture as well, but she had never been able to find out who it was that had done so.

EDIT- Sorry, Coach, it was you that made the reference to "short cutting" the exam ...
post #10 of 34
Yep. It's a 2 pronged issue, but the first step is it's availability. And,,,I'm sure both of you are correct in that many try to shortcut the cert. process. In any profession we know the span of dedication is widely varied.

Maybe the answer would be to provide the info and then give the exam enough depth that it'd be near impossible to shortcut. If the profession is serious about it standards, that's the way it should be IMO, at least at the higher levels.

Ric-I have no doubt at all that you have, and have studied, a mountain of material. It shows up in your knowledge, which one can't shortcut.
post #11 of 34
In my career I have had the divine blessing of working through the PSIA "Milestones" while references to the old "Final Forms" were still being made. At the same time I was teaching at Jay Peak, VT where Walter Foger had for years ruled the SS teaching "Natur Technique" and many of the senior instructors at Jay were still incorporating some of those moves into their teaching PSIA's ATS (then ATM ). During my initial ITC Otto Frei even showed us some pre WWII Swiss School moves. Currently within the Windham Mountain SS we have "The Simplified Mechanics of Skiing" being evolved. I share all this because I believe that all things that stretch and explore balance in motion and broaden the skiing experience have their worth. With this in mind there is value in old ski instruction books, and that is why I have kept all of mine including the old newsletters. It is very hard to keep material current and published in hard copy. About five years ago we were told that PSIA-E was going to print manuals in loose leaf format to make updating easier and cheaper to do on a page by page or chapter by chapter basis. However, with the internet and .pdf why do we have to keep the basement full or our pocketbooks empty?? Some old copies of the quartely newsletters and other publications are available online. Many (not all) may even be accessed while logging in as "guest". I'm rambling a bit but the jist of it is. Old stuff still has it's place, new stuff should be easier and cheaper than ever to publish and update digitally.
post #12 of 34
A little off topic, but while I'm not suprised that some instructors do not do the tough research required to find old info, it's almost criminal that they don't use the current stuff.

I access the PSIA-RM site all of the time to read, download, and buy stuff to read. If I was an instructor, I surely would. The RM site's got quite a lot that you can download for free in pdf format and I think the Aphine Tech Manual, Core Concepts, and the RM Skiing Standards DVD cost me all of about $50 combined. How hard can that be?
post #13 of 34
Welcome to the 21st century. What excuse is "out of print" these days? I don't think it would be too hard to put the pdf files on the PSIA web site.

Is anyone listening?
post #14 of 34
I have found that the books that are out of print need names and authors to help those of us that are searching per say to be the "all knowing" Vail Sno Pro {no offense VSP}. Where is a good place to find and search for these older and obsolete masterpieces of fine literature? i keep hearing that i need to find this info and need to research it but never get the true "what" why "how"where "when" to go to find it? Yes Yes internet! Please give some suggestions like the one further back in this thread JOAN HEATON! Keep up the name dropping i'm all ears!
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
Welcome to the 21st century. What excuse is "out of print" these days? I don't think it would be too hard to put the pdf files on the PSIA web site.

Is anyone listening?

Ummmm - from memory the x-c/telemark mob here did that.... I seem to recall seeing a website with their teaching manuals etc all on it.... sort of seemed logical that they should be electronic...

I think APSI has their stuff available on CD rom... surely pretty simple these days to just burn copies for those that need them....
post #16 of 34
It's easy enough if the files are digital, but if all you have is an out of print hard copy, you have to go the OCR route, which means editing, reformatting, and burning, not to mention getting 2nd N.A. rights to republish (PSIA retains only lst N.A. rights). It's not a piece of cake to do this.

I started working toward Level II in 1980 after I married a Level III with a pretty good library of instructional information. Over the years I have wandered into used bookstores and found some excellent additions like Invitation to Modern Skiing by Fred Iselin and Ivan Spectorsky and the hallowed White Book (The Official American Ski Technique) by Paul Valar et al.

What I did that I notice not many have done is look at the bibliographies and read those authors too. I had a nice little cottage industry writing articles for TPS on those primary sources--I wrote articles on Bloom, Maslow, Gagne, Singer, Mosston & Ashworth, etc. etc. (One of the primary sources told me that one can't really learn unless they do something with the material--transform it into some product or another--so I did.)

The upshot of my mini blue stocking bio is to say that to learn is to follow a trail, not to be spoonfed. Go deeper than the secondary materials and you will find a wealth of knowledge that was condensed and synopsized and probably minimized in the process.

I was extremely lucky to have been taken under the wings of some master ski teachers, among them Horst Abraham, who told me that of all the PSIA pedagogues he considered Joan Heaton the best of the best. He's also a fan of the work of Robert F. Mager in adult education. In grad school I became acquainted with the work of Jerome Bruner on Constructivist Theory (following Piaget) which is the major influence on my current practice: http://tip.psychology.org/bruner.html

How's that for some name-dropping?
post #17 of 34
Quote:
vail, I was at my frioends house theother night(you know them), and was looking at some of the books they had lying around. There were books i had never heard of before. Since both of them are cert 3's, I asked them why they read tthis stuff. They told me that Psia writes most of the stuff, but doesnt do a complete job
Quote:
Stupidity SHOULD hurt!!! :
:
post #18 of 34
It's not the materials, but the inconsistent knowledge that instructors have within a given resort and from resort to resort. As a result, the quality of learning outcomes from the PSIA as a whole are uneven in quality. It's like having a medical doctor from today and one who has knowledge exclusively from 20 years ago. With the PSIA you're not sure what you are going to get, today or yesteryear. The PSIA really needs to overhaul itself and get everyone on the same page, but I don't think that long-winded educational materials are going to do it. Skiing needs to mimic how other sports are taught, which is by simple examples while doing. Instructors could be brought up to speed with videos and/or DVD's with simple instructions and examples, the same things that would be taught to students.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
It's easy enough if the files are digital, but if all you have is an out of print hard copy, you have to go the OCR route, which means editing, reformatting, and burning, not to mention getting 2nd N.A. rights to republish (PSIA retains only lst N.A. rights). It's not a piece of cake to do this.
Nolo, it doesn't have to be that high quality. Simply scanning to an image in a pdf file would work fine. Still a bit of work, but probably worth it.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightcat
It's not the materials, but the inconsistent knowledge that instructors have within a given resort and from resort to resort. As a result, the quality of learning outcomes from the PSIA as a whole are uneven in quality. It's like having a medical doctor from today and one who has knowledge exclusively from 20 years ago. With the PSIA you're not sure what you are going to get, today or yesteryear. The PSIA really needs to overhaul itself and get everyone on the same page, but I don't think that long-winded educational materials are going to do it. Skiing needs to mimic how other sports are taught, which is by simple examples while doing. Instructors could be brought up to speed with videos and/or DVD's with simple instructions and examples, the same things that would be taught to students.
The real world truth is that it is the resorts that have the control over their employees, and their employees knowledge or lack of knowledge. Until the person signing the checks wants everyone on the same page it won't happen. It is their (resorts) resposibility. I take this opportunity to call BS on the resorts. Later, Ricb.
post #21 of 34
Yep. The question is how many would want the product, JohnH, and would the demand justify the expense to create the supply?
post #22 of 34
I apologize if this is too far off topic but it's what came to mind as I looked at this thread.

I certainly can understand the value people put in past literature and I don't want to be negative about that at all. However, this discussion seems to me a bit esoteric. As a total outsider, I see a major problem lying in the lack of any authoritative, even semi-comprehensive written guide out there for skiers that outlines the learning path they are trying to travel along (i.e. that adequate defines the product). Without that I suspect that guides and other materials for instructors are doomed to vagueries and misinterpretation. Without some written materials for the client how can what is taught be called a teaching system? Seems to me that the whole thing is very mysterious to the average client.
post #23 of 34
Si,

you are right on the mark. There is no reason that skiing cannot be explained clearly and simply. The footnotes, which might be extensive, could explain examples of particular problems with certain body types, temperaments, ages, levels of fitness, etc. But the actual skiing instruction should be like skiing: simple. And it should be available to everyone. Willi "Fiffi" Steinrotter of nearby Brantling Ski Resort (250' vertical) has coached a large group of very successful skiers, including Diann Roff, a recent NCAA GS champion and several state and nationally ranked skiers. He stresses keep it simple. Stand centered, tip the skis, get your weight to the other ski to turn with the other side. He--and his other coaches--demonstrate these in lessons and in his coaching. He has all his skiers do these things as they run the gates. He says that there is too much talking in ski lessons when there should be skiing. It would not cost a lot to lay out a simple online PSIA technique with photos or brief video sequences--unless, of course, the PSIA wants to keep it esoteric, to keep it from the public.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
unless, of course, the PSIA wants to keep it esoteric, to keep it from the public.
Why would you think this unless someone is putting beans in your ears, Nightcat? PSIA is run by committees of well-intentioned people who are surely trying their best to make it simple. But you know, sometimes we mistake simplistic for simplicity, and that's a shame. There is no "easy learning" folks. You have to do something with it to make it your own, you can't just passively absorb it.
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Si
Without some written materials for the client how can what is taught be called a teaching system?
I think you've touched on the crux of the issue. Unless I'm mistaken PSIA, unlike PMTS, doesn't hold itself out as a "teaching system".

I agree with your basic premise though and it would be nice to have some info produced specifically for the recreational skier. There is some good info on the PSIA sites in the form of articles and other sources like the RM Skiing Standards DVD from which the public can get some use from. But again, I know of nothing produced by PSIA for the public as it's not their focus. Maybe the debate should be whether or not the public should be included in their focus.
post #26 of 34
nolo:I think i was desiring the name drops as i was told by two examiners after my level III failure this year to dig deeper and read as much as i can to gain knowledge in the things that i am teaching. However, I passed the teaching side of my exam with ease according to my feedback!

RicB:As far as the issues of resort help, good luck with all that! Until you write the checks your on your own!

Nightcat: A good friend once stated that he who has the most gold makes the rules! "PSIA" "GOLD" ????????
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13
I agree with your basic premise though and it would be nice to have some info produced specifically for the recreational skier. .

From what I have seen the average recreational skier does not have much interest in info.... unless it is on the toys etc they can acquire...

I have watched gob-smacked while a student insisted that he did NOT do any of the things the instructor was telling him he was doing.... & that he DID do all the things the instructor wanted him to try already... It totally confounded me - I THOUGHT people took lessons to learn... seems NOT in most of the fellow students I have met....

I have had a supposed "expert" that had never had a lesson tell me (intermediate skier) that it was physically impossible to ski the local hill before 11am - despite the fact I was out skiing from 8:30am...

The thing is these people will not take the info in no matter how well you present it - it does not match their idea of what skiing is about - so they can't see it... Just as skiers like me cannot envisage NOT learning these guys are unable to make the mind leap required for them to learn.

having said that - some decent info readily & frequently updated would be nice for those of us that are information addicts.... but do not expect high sales volumes
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by REAPER 51
RicB:As far as the issues of resort help, good luck with all that! Until you write the checks your on your own!
Well I see there being three seperate issues here.

Psia's support of it's membership through it's educational materials. Needs improvement.

Personal responsibility of the individual instructor for their own performance and knowledge. Most will only rise to the level that is expected of them.

Ultimately though, it should be the ski school and area managment that takes resposibility for the product they are charging for. If they leave it up to chance they will get chance results. Later, RicB.
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13
I think you've touched on the crux of the issue. Unless I'm mistaken PSIA, unlike PMTS, doesn't hold itself out as a "teaching system".
I don't see how any sports instruction certification program can exist without something like a teaching system as its basis.

A document that outlines the learning pathways of a system may or may not be of interest to the skier client. For those who want to use it as a reference manual or perhaps even a self learning guide fine. Nevertheless, it seems to me that such a document or guide is needed to develop a well defined teaching system. If you don't start out with that which you are instructing towards I think the instructional methods and steps that are taught are bound to create confusion and open up the door to misuse.
post #30 of 34
PSIA did produce ATS - The American Teaching System
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