So nice to have met and skied with so many Bears in Colorado in April. It was a great time!
I have been reading this thread on Holistic vs. Linear Teaching started by Susan Applegate. Actually, the posts/explanations of whole teaching and whole–part-whole teaching, as I read them, are all as I understand them, too. It’s the instructor’s educated choice as to which one s/he will use. Certainly, you can begin by presenting the whole; and if just one student gets it right out of the box, then great. For the rest of the students, you can break this whole into parts to meet their individual needs; and then, at some later time, put it all back together again. Think about it: what if five of your eight students get it right out of the box? Think of how much more you could do in your lesson with this newfound time. Or, you can begin by presenting the parts in some kind of sequence and build them into the whole. It would seem that somewhere along the line, instructors got the idea that they should always teach the parts first and then put it together into the whole. I question the always part. It should be the instructor’s educated choice as to which approach his/her particular situation requires. It also becomes the instructor’s educated choice as to what the whole will be. Here is where one’s personal philosophy of ski teaching comes into play. Horst’s explanation of Holistic vs. Linear Teaching is one to study. Refer to Arcmeister’s post of April 29th 5:26 pm on the epicski.com website.
We need to be careful to examine content and method separately. What the instructor chooses to be the whole (the task or the subject matter) falls under content. This choice usually reflects the instructor’s philosophy of ski teaching or that of his/her snowsports school. You may want to question the subject matter a teacher chooses, but that doesn’t make the method s/he uses a bad thing. The Styles of Teaching are methods, and Teaching for Experiential Learning is also a method: a method that incorporates all the styles of teaching and just about everything we know about teaching and learning.
Our Teaching for Experiential Learning model is based on David Kolb’s Experiential Learning model. It calls for the total involvement of the student (physically, mentally, emotionally) to be actively involved in the learning process. Therefore, not only does Professor Kolb call for the student to learn in all four learning styles (not limiting him/her to his/her one dominant style) but also that the learning styles be approached in a particular order: Feeler, with the focus on sensations; Watcher, with the focus on observations and reflection; Thinker with the focus on analysis and re-doing the task at hand; and, finally, the Doer with the focus on the performance of the modified task. Thus, a new Concrete Experience is created; and the student cycles through the model again. The power of the model lies in the fact that the student is learning in all four learning styles and not just in one dominant learning style.
1.The process of experiential learning begins when the instructor works with a student(s) to ‘create’ a Concrete Experience. The focus of this stage is on the “feelings/sensations” that are occurring during an attempt to produce a desired outcome. Through Direct and/or Indirect Teaching Styles, (Direct: Command, Task or Practice, Reciprocal, Use of Small Groups; Indirect: Guided Discovery, Guided Exploration, Problem Solving, Individual) the instructor will help the student(s) identify those feelings/sensations and associate them with the actual outcome.
2.Second, the student(s), with the help of the instructor observes the activity/task and reflects upon the feelings/sensations that are associated with the ‘actual’ outcome as they relate to the ‘desired’ outcome. These observations and reflections lead to the recognition of what happens relative to the desired outcome.
3.Third, using the information acquired through the observations and reflections, the development of needed changes are sought in the activity/task to better achieve the desired outcome - unless the desired outcome has already been achieved.
4.Finally, the next step is to test this new activity/task. As the new activity/task is tested, the new feelings/sensations experienced need to be associated with the new outcome. As a result, a new concrete experience emerges and the learning cycle continues.
If, in using this method, the instructor chooses to use holistic tasks that help students recognize the feelings/sensations of, for example, a steady core; or if that instructor uses a progression of parts to help the student recognize those feelings/sensations of a steady core, so be it. It is the instructor’s choice. This choice should be based on the student/instructor objectives, the outcome desired, the situation, the students, and the atmosphere desired. As in any discussion, there are those who say that Teaching for Experiential Learning is most effective when a holistic approach is used. Keep in mind that the goal is to help the student find his/her way to accomplish whatever it is he/she is trying to do. Without a doubt, it encompasses Horst’s “self discovery” and John Heron’s “feeling, imaging, thinking, practical.” It’s one more way!!