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holistic vs linear teaching - Page 4

post #91 of 168
Mike, Blanchard and Johnson talk about the full and empty barrel theories of education in The One-Minute Manager, a classic.

I confess I haven't got very far in the golf bible yet, but it's on my bedside table. (It actually covers the entire top of my bedside table.)
post #92 of 168

Would it then make sense that a thinker, as you described, would benefit greatly from video analysis of their skiing to help make the connection betweem mind and body? I certainly have noticed that many times after a skier sees themselves on video, their next skiing session becomes a revelation as to connecting the visual with the sensual.
post #93 of 168

There is no better way to show them the fruit of their thinking!

If it is way off from what they think they are doing, they'll need to reset their models quite a bit. That will give them new sensations right away, and with great impact.
post #94 of 168
Originally Posted by ant
Bud, is that the "real" guided discovery? cos that's closer to how I teach. I like to explore a concept with them and use a number of different things to get them to feel and use a 'thing', often going outside it, so they can feel and understand the difference between "the thing" and "not the thing".

But that's in no way similar to the "guess my secret" crap so many teachers and trainers put me through!
It is as I have always understood it! I am certainly not as versed in this subject as Joan, and I hope I did not diverge from her thinking. She may see it differently.

I know going in that I want the students to discover 1) pressuring the toes helps initiation, pressuring the heels helps completion and standing pretty much in the middle is good but even better is working ball, arch, heel through turn. 2) "thinking with our feet" is a great way to ski cause the brain's analytical checklist can not keep up!
I did not tell them any of these things, they figured it out on their own so they believe! The key as Joan mentioned is to have a clear picture of where you are taking them and anticipate questions and outcomes to better guide them to the peak of the pyramid (desired goal/outcome).

It does take some planning and practice vs. just winging it, which may yield the kind of results you have experienced. Done correctly it is a superb way to get students to take a more active part in their learning and retention. Personally I had always tried to use command style teaching and lining students up like soldiers, as little as possible.
post #95 of 168
Hold on, yd, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Let’s re-examine the criteria one uses for choosing a style of teaching for a particular situation: student/teacher objectives of the lesson, the outcomes for which you are striving, the situation, your students, and the class atmosphere you want to create. Based on your analysis of Guided Discovery, yd, one might very well look for situations where the instructor meets with the same students every week such as our seasonal programs; or, in our in-house clinic situations where the snowsports clinicians know the abilities of their instructors. Here the instructor/clinician can work on something that is pre-planned and even involve the students in helping to plan next week’s lesson, Guided Discovery is certainly a style to consider in these situations.

Keep in mind also that Guided Discovery is not only a style of teaching dealing with discovery but it is also a style that takes the students through a “process of learning”. Hopefully, in experiencing this process, the skills acquired will become useful to students in other learning experiences. If the student begins to acquire the abilities to inquire, to compare, to draw conclusions, to make decisions, to use different strategies in approaching a problem, to invent, to discover, to reflect, it is not such a bad accomplishment for a lesson.

What don’t you like about Reciprocal Teaching??
post #96 of 168
Big E,

Just from what you have written and with all due respect, I think that you might enjoy working with our Teaching for Experiential Learning model. Rightly so, it is in the second stage of the cycle, where you think the model breaks down, that the instructor’s role becomes paramount. It is in this second stage, the observation, reflective stage, that the student does, indeed, need help to figure out if s/he did the ‘actual’ or ‘desired’ outcome. The instructor needs to help the student make that decision!

Then, again, in the third stage, based on the information acquired through the observation and reflections discussion, the development of needed changes are sought in the form of modifying the task being used. The task, then, becomes the instrument for teaching. Here again, the role of the instructor is paramount. In stages one and four the student is performing pretty much on his/her own with the instructor observing the performances.

post #97 of 168
Originally Posted by nolo
(It actually covers the entire top of my bedside table.)
I use it as a paperweight when I'm not reading it.

But it is one hell of a book. It is interesting how I can go off and read other books, watch some DVD's I have , or reprise some lessons I have taught, watched or been the student in then go back to the book and more and more makes sense. Guess it is the validation of my "onion" theory-keep peeling the layers and soon you'll get to the pearl of wisdom. Doesn't matter whether it is golf or skiing.

Wow, after 142 straight cuts made Tiger finally missed one today. That is a record for the ages. Figures it would finally happen on Friday, the 13th.

We open the range at Breckenridge tomorrow and I conveniently have the day off-guess I'll be pounding balls and creating a few blisters.
post #98 of 168
Originally Posted by ydnar
This is a very common problem with the idea of Guided Discovery. While it can be a excellent method of teaching in the right hands,it far too often it turns into I Know a Secret, You Try To Guess It in the hands of 97% of the instructors who try it.

Throughout my ski teaching career GD has been touted as the best way to teach because the student will better retain what they learn if they discover it on their own rather than if they are just told what they need to know. This may be true but if it degenerates into a guessing game you end up with a frustrated student who feels, after an hour of lesson time, that if the instructor had just told them what he/she wanted them to do they could have moved on to something more.

It has also been pushed that GD is more student centered than say Command style of teaching. This is caca de toro. A good instructor can be just as student centered doing Command as doing GD. Being student centered has to do with developing a relationship with the student beyond the ski god teaching klutz relationship that, unfortunately, many instructors start with and involving the student in the decisions that take place throughout the lesson.


I still have to get to ski with you
post #99 of 168
Originally Posted by ydnar

Yes, that pretty much was my understanding of GD although your explanation goes deeper than most that I have encountered, thank you for that.

In fact your description impels me to bring up a point that I hadn't mentioned because I felt that it might be just my personal reaction to GD. I've always felt that effective GD lessons had something of an out of the can feel to them. The instructor is on a path that they feel they can't deviate from or the lesson will fail. This might be why when the unexpected question or response comes up the instructor seems dismissive. They were unprepared to incorporate the question/response into the lesson plan and unwilling/unable to be flexible in the lesson. As you point out this can be largely attributable to lack of preparation on the instructors part but it can also be a result of having an unconventional thinker asking questions.

It also seems that the instructor has made a decision about the lesson without a lot of input from the student and once the decision was made it couldn't be modified. The instructor sees the target rather than the student.

Your explaination also makes me think that GD is even harder to do well than I had previously thought. Considering that most instructors (even the high ranking ones) have little background in education beyond what they picked up as ski instructors I would question if we are prepared to employ what is obviously a very sophisticated teaching style. I would go further and say that most instructors who attempt GD don't do it well because, among other things, they don't understan just what GD is. Your technical explanation goes through a couple of other people before it gets to the line instructor and experiences a degree of distortion. The instructor, who left the clinic on GD with the impression that it is the top of the teaching style pyramid, will then go out and try to do GD by the seat of their pants and end up doing the guessing game. I sometimes think that some instructors, and many students/clinic participants, would be better off if the instructor had never heard of GD.

Thank you for your responses,
Yes - most teachers I have experienced "trying" GD in physical sports areas do it poorly....
I find it more fruitful for me when I am taught this way academically.... because I learn fast & find the usual slow plodding quite boring - so I get distracted easily.... with a decent teacher using GD in academic areas I have found it quite interesting (especially science teaching & the odd mathematics) BUT again it is only the better teachers who can pull this off....
Again if the teacher is very high quality he/she can set the pace & steps to be interesting but not predictable or frustrating.... if not - YAWN/ANNOYANCE....

& I'd back the "I can't deviate from my path" thing re GD - the people using it generally struggle with questions from left field - the exceptional teacher can use it for getting the student even more involved/interested - but they are RARE...
post #100 of 168
Originally Posted by BigE
A serious thinker need not be athletically challenged. I know that for sure.

You are right that the pathway to feeling needs to be opened.

But why is it not already open? Why do thinkers have difficulty feeling?

Because they rely primarily on their mental model.

If their mental model is incorrect, then what they are expecting and what they are experiencing are two different things. They remain determined to feel what they think they ought to feel given the way they think the moves are to be performed.

This difference is often the cause of the serious thinker skiing like a statue. It's hard work to convince yourself you are actually moving as you think you are.

Your Watch,Visualize/Imagine,Do/Feel, Analyze stream is how a "watcher" would learn.

A thinker does it like this: Think, Imagine, Do, Analyze.

Feel is not necessarily in the list. But for real learning you have to get it in there somehow. You can tell a thinker exactly that. They cannot disagree.

The analyze step is often done just by looking at the tracks the thinker has left. eg. was I carving? Lets look at the track. Then the thinking skier will ask of themselves: "Why the tails slide out here?"

Often it's blamed on poor snow conditions or their skis. If you are lucky, they will start to sense what they are doing. This is the door to feeling, but the thinker is a long way off still.

Feeling often begins by use of another sense. Perhaps by listening: hearing the skidding. Perhaps visually by watching what their shadow is doing. This will happen before they start actually feeling what they are doing.

Only when feeling starts can you begin shaping the thinkers mental model.

It is your job to ensure they feel the right things. To be effective, the instructor MUST guide the thinker into a correct analysis. The analysis must include how it felt. Guided discovery is difficult, because a thinker can often provide the exact right answer and have felt nothing.

IMO, the best way to teach a thinker is to describe the overall intent (provide a framework), and then make baby steps to create components. Ensure that they are focussed on feeling the right component of each and every movement.

Remember, it is not easy to coerce a thinker to change their mental model. They spent a long time working on it already, and are not about to admit error. Thinkers pride themselves on thinking up the right anwers.

Change must be their idea.

To help them, the thinker needs to know EXACTLY on which sensation they will focus in each and every drill. The word "relax" should be used a lot. Drills that focus on relaxed postures and sensing body position/pressures are very key.

You can tell a thinker flat out that your goal is to help align their mental model of skiing with what is actually happening when they ski. It's my experience that thinkers love that approach!


This is what works best for me - easily hands down the best way....

I need to UNDERSTAND what I am trying to achieve & then have a nice explanation of what to focus on (sensation wise) as i have a try.... Any trying prior to the above information is USELESS.... I will get out if it exactly what went into the process - nada!
I then need VERY PRECISE feedback on what went right/wrong - if I cannot "fit" the feedback into my "mental picture" (imagine a partially completed jigsaw) then it will "float" & often just get lost again (imagine a loose piece of puzzle - you know it has the critters left eye - but where is the critter? - so you put it aside &..... it ends up lost in the jumble of other unconnected pieces)

Disagree about resisting change to mental model - just that you need to realise they have one & work on changing it rather than just the "follow me" "do this" stuff..... they don't change because there is often no realisation that they are desperately trying to put the round peg you just handed them into the square hole they thnk the last guy gave them....
If you can drill down to what they BELIEVE then present a logical explanation that melds the 2 pieces of information they will usually be very happy

Hence commands to simply "bend knees" etc work poorly long term without explanations of why - because they will carry the command as rock hard gospel FOR EVER.... not see them as a way to affect what they feel.....
post #101 of 168
Originally Posted by ydnar

I think that you are making to big of an assumption about thinkers not being able to feel. I know that I am a thinker/feeler and have met many who are like me. We are able to apply our thinking side to the sensations we are experencing. Further, I have never had a problem getting a thinker to get in touch with the sensations of skiing and apply their mental focus to that aspect of skiing.

This idea of learning types is another of those aspects of educational theory that have been addopted by the ski instruction world and blown out of proportion giving new instructors the idea that a learner of one type can't learn in other ways. The human animal can learn in all modes. One might work better for them than the others but I constantly run into this idea that people are very one sided in their learning type and it just ain't true. Watching is my least perfered learning type but I am constantly learning by this method as well as the others.

Yd - I saw it more as the thinker/feeler having the "labels" wrong on what they felt.... ie - they have an incomplete understanding - so they ascribe certain feelings to what the BELIEVE to be the truth
post #102 of 168
Big E - don't know if this helps... but a quick story.....
My main instructor & I had this discussion quite early on in our relationship....
He asked me to do something in a certain manner... I did not (I was trying but simply not doing) .... I replied that I thought I was..... he answered that I was definitely NOT doing it.... He then told me that as I lack my own internal feedback I needed an external source.... that meant I would have to learn to trust him to provide this...

This does not mean I never question him - simply that we have agreed that my awareness of limbs is not good - so he has the say on this.... Conversely I KNOW hwta I felt - he has to find a way to help me connect my FEELINGS with his SEEINGS - that is his responsibility... we both know I am acutely aware of vibration etc He must help tap this
post #103 of 168
Originally Posted by Joan Heaton
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. ........

This is the bit of this that worries me....
YOU have fixed the order of my learning..... from experience (at 50 lessons per season average for 7 years = 700 hours minimum experience) I know I learn best when I understand WHAT I am feeling/watching/doing .....

ie I like to do the THINKER part first - not the FEELER .... because without understanding the feeling/doing/watching is a non-entity for me

yet I have no choice - you have predetermined that I WILL do the feeling part first - so you will force me to attempt to learn in a non-constructive manner - despite being told that I do not wish to do so....

That is hardly guest centred & would certainly have me not return for a lesson!
post #104 of 168
More about Joan Heaton: http://www.hvksportslab.com/index.shtml

Disski, I am certain that any ski instructor worth his/her salt would give you a learning experience tailor-made to fit your style. All he or she has to do is ask you and LISTEN.
post #105 of 168
disski, maybe becomming a feeler and adding it to your other learning styles would be a benefit. The more learning types someone can become (to some extent), the better. I am primarely a watcher, but I have worked on also being able to learn from doing, feeling and thinking. When i take a clinic, I don't dislike it if the clinision uses other learning types other than my primary one (I like watching the demos). I know I must be able to feel something different, understand it and do it.

post #106 of 168

I wish I had a recording of my words when I began working with the Teaching for Experiential Learning model and I had to ‘feel’ what was happening first. If my words weren’t exactly what you said in your post, they were closer than you can ever imagine. I am a watcher and a thinker and, without question, I know exactly how I learn, said I.

When we started to work with our model, I continued to resist (big time) entering into the Feeler stage first, I insisted on clinging to how I know I learn! Finally, and after great discussion, we decided that since my skiing had not made any great improvements in a while; why not ‘shelf the old process’ and try something different? My friend, Jim, called it a “leap of faith”. I cannot tell you how hard I had to work on ‘feeling’ first and to stop thinking so very much. Needless to say, I have had more success in improving my skiing than I have in some time. My ‘thinking’ still creeps into my skiing, it’s usually when I mess up. But more surprising to me than anyone else, I actually do feel things in my skiing and based on those feelings I now have a place from which I can attempt to make changes.

As Nolo said, any good instructor will always attempt to accommodate your wishes. But just for fun DISSKI, take the leap!
post #107 of 168
This is interesting stuff. I assumed I was a thinker/feeler,but reading some of the descriptions, it appears the Thinker is very dominant. Maybe I need to do some serious work on the "feeling" thing too... although I teach very much "feeler", so now i'm confused!

How does one develop one's ability to learn through feeling? Like disski, I find it hard to just "feel", needing some guideance on what I am meant to be feeling first. I get worried that I might be feeling the wrong thing.
post #108 of 168

For me learning to be a feeler started with a balancing exercise. Skiing green terrain with my eyes closed. It gave me the awareness through my skis of how fast i was going, when i was accelerating and slowing, and the shape of my turn. It took me from a visual skier to a non-visual skiier(a feeler). After many miles of this, I was able to ski double blacks with a pace skier in front of me with my eyes closed (in balance and control). I do this on uncrowed times. I then took it one step farther. Starting on green slopes, I started sking backwards with my eyes closed. I teach a lot of novice groupes and the slow speed demos and sking easy terrain allows me to experiment a lot using different blending of skills and being able to feel the differences in the outcome. For many people, becomming a feeler is awareness that we balance partly by proceptors in our feet. We can balance by what we feel from the snow, through our skis and boots and to the bottom of our feet. World cup race boots have thin liners partly for more feel of the snow. You may have heard a comment that a certain skier has a nice "touch for the snow". This means to me that they are able to make approiate adjustments in their skiing by what they feel.
As we change the blend of our skills in skiing, there are different sensations that we can detect. Being aware of these sensations (better balance, less or more slipping, speed control, turn shape, or even skiing faster, but not feeling like you are out of your comfort zone) is becomming to be a feeler. Not all feelings are good either, but we try not to repeat that.
I feel lucky that I have the opportunity to do develope into a feeler and add it to my primary learning type (a watcher), it helps me as an instructor help others to be a feeler first so I can effectivly use the experiential learning model. I don't have my classes ski with their eyes closed or backwards with thier eyes closed, but I have mentioned to some that it helped me become a feeler, (and some have tried it on their own out of the class and loved the sensations of non-visual skiing) but for many explaining how we use our senses to balance is enough to open the door to becomming feelers. I hope this helps you.
post #109 of 168
Thread Starter 
Joan -

Thanks for ALL of your posts to this thread. I have dropped back in on the thread every once in a while but haven't been back to it for the last week until today.

I think I will have to print out your comments and refer to them from time to time. Just as I think I understand what you are saying I can feel it slipping away like water in my cupped hands.

I find it interesting that there was a specific learning style order in the way a lesson was to be presented and I am trying to remember some of my lessons to analyze what I did in them.

post #110 of 168
I do have my classes ski with eyes closed once in while. Find som wide green terrain, pair them up, and have the follower keep the one in front safe. Keep switching back and forth. This can really drive home how overreliant we get on our vision and how many of the movements we make are not producing good balance. this can be, and usually is an enlightening expereince. A line rotation also works well if the group seperates to the side of the run and the skier skis down the middle to them.

To dial it up for advanced students you can take them into a wide open bump run, pair them up and have one traverse over to their pair as their pair talks to them continuosly for guidance.

Both exercises help us get in tune with other sensations we use to balance and move. What we feel under our feet and what we feel in the way of subtle momentum and speed changes.

Ron, eyes closed, downhill in double black terrain? that's almost other wordly. Way cool. Everyone should try skiing with eyes closed once in while. Later Ricb.
post #111 of 168
Well, Susan, I must say that I have found my involvement with this forum so addicting that I have been getting little else done. Your Holistic vs. Linear thread was more than I could resist. I had to enter in. I hope I helped! The thought of the numbers of folks reading what is being written is absolutely mind-boggling. I want to round up everything I have ever written and post it! How I could have used Epic in the early 80’s when I started my ‘crusade’ in the name of the ‘teaching aspect of ski teaching’! EpicSki.com is quite an avenue for discussion.
post #112 of 168

I hope you'll consider contributing to the Premium Articles section. I just put up a memoir there by Horst Abraham of his days at the Bundessportheim with Kruck that speaks to this topic as well.

NB: The Premium Articles are one of the benefits of being a Supporter.
post #113 of 168
Ron, thanks for that info. I'll fiddle with it this season. 2 seasons ago at Stowe, I tried blind skiing, and the odd thing was, I had no sensation of speed whatsoever! I was just wedge turning down the main green there, and found it very nice, but the trainer remarked that on my left turns, I was turning almost back up the hill... and I had no sensation that they were different from my right turns.
When I got over-ambitious and tried parallel turns, I fell over. Some work need there, I think. but I'll definitely give it a go and see if I can drag some proprioception into my silly feet.
post #114 of 168
Ric B, your exercises quoted above sound like actually productive reciprocal teaching?! If you dont' mind, I'll put those into my "bag" for next season! thanks.
post #115 of 168
Originally Posted by ant
Ric B, your exercises quoted above sound like actually productive reciprocal teaching?! If you dont' mind, I'll put those into my "bag" for next season! thanks.
Taking it a step further, you can have the skier in the rear sync the movements of the skier in the front to give some feedback and clarity to any problems that happen. Open parallels are what I use for this exercise. Later, RicB.
post #116 of 168

In working with the Teaching for Experiential Learning model, we are not really categorizing the feelings/sensations of a performance as right or wrong. We are simply associating the sensations of a performance with an outcome, whatever that may be. If the outcome is what we want, then those are the sensations that are associated with the ‘desired’ performance. The sensations received during a performance that did not accomplish what was intended, are not really wrong, they are just not the feelings/sensation’s to associate with getting the intended job done. We are calling the later, the ‘actual’ outcome. Read this slowly!!
post #117 of 168
Originally Posted by Joan Heaton
Big E,

Just from what you have written and with all due respect, I think that you might enjoy working with our Teaching for Experiential Learning model. Rightly so, it is in the second stage of the cycle, where you think the model breaks down, that the instructor’s role becomes paramount. It is in this second stage, the observation, reflective stage, that the student does, indeed, need help to figure out if s/he did the ‘actual’ or ‘desired’ outcome. The instructor needs to help the student make that decision!

Then, again, in the third stage, based on the information acquired through the observation and reflections discussion, the development of needed changes are sought in the form of modifying the task being used. The task, then, becomes the instrument for teaching. Here again, the role of the instructor is paramount. In stages one and four the student is performing pretty much on his/her own with the instructor observing the performances.

from the may 9 post:

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 instructorobserves 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.
Yes, Step 3 is also paramount.

Your may 9 post confused me a bit. This new post makes it clear that it is the activity that will be modified in the analysis phase of step 3, and step 4 is doing the modified activity. (With same feeling as focus?)

The problem is that if the actual and desired outcomes are so far apart, the entire activity may need to be thrown out completely.

The student is then lead to what they may think is a unrelated activity. Devastating for guided discovery. The instructor appears to be all over the map, and the student(s) get really confused.

The key is that a solid conclusion must be reached at every iteration of the cycle. This conclusion must drive the next step. The conclusion may even be that the student needs to work on foundation skills before attempting to create the original "concrete experience" again.

You've written that this is the cycle of the Experiential Learning Model:

A) Feel. Watch. Think. Do.

Implicit in your original order (A), there must be some prior phase. In the bolded quote above, you mention a "desired outcome". I assume that usually the student is somehow made aware of the "desired outcome". It is very important just how that desired outcome was communicated.

If the desired outcome was simply told to them, the student(s) must think a bit about how to acheive it. The sequence is:

B) Think, feel, watch, think, do.

eg. Make 6 turns on your edges, no sliding. Start with tipping the skis, and then stretch the legs to let the edges engage.... focus on feeling the edges locking into the groove....

If you demo the exercise, then describe the outcome, and focus on feeling you get:

C) Watch, think, do, feel, watch, think, do.

eg. (You Demo a few carved turns). Then say: Make 6 turns on your edges, no sliding. Start with tipping the skis, and then stretch the legs to let the edges engage.... focus on feeling the edges locking into the groove....

Finally, if you DON'T tell them the desired outcome, just prescribe a task, and ask them to focus on a feeling you get:

D) DO, feel, watch, think, do.

Which can happen with a more advanced group. eg. "Make 6 turns no sliding. Focus on feeling the edges lock into a groove.

With great respect, I think forcing the starting point of the cycle to be feeling is somewhat artificial.

In every example, as long as you focus on feeling, any sequence will work. If you can, I suggest that the starting point of the cycle be the dominant learning style of the student(s) -- if one exists.
post #118 of 168
Originally Posted by Joan Heaton

In working with the Teaching for Experiential Learning model, we are not really categorizing the feelings/sensations of a performance as right or wrong. We are simply associating the sensations of a performance with an outcome, whatever that may be. If the outcome is what we want, then those are the sensations that are associated with the ‘desired’ performance. The sensations received during a performance that did not accomplish what was intended, are not really wrong, they are just not the feelings/sensation’s to associate with getting the intended job done. We are calling the later, the ‘actual’ outcome. Read this slowly!!
Joan, doesn't the very act of filing away these associations for later use or retrieval bring into play some form of judgmental association also? I'm thinking of the brain using emotions (Hanaford) as a filing system, as in emotionaly good or bad, right or wrong, positive or negative, ect. Doesn't the very idea of associating for future retrieval require categorizing?

To me this brings into play the reluctance we have sometimes to doing the most effective movements because of the emotions tied to the sensations produced by these movements stored from previous experiences, even when those emotions are from a different context than skiing. granted this is what we are trying to break through, but doesn't this require some messaging or new judgment of the asociation? Later, RicB.
post #119 of 168

A conceptual approach - looong

I wrote the following several years ago when the sport I instruct in was undergoing major changes. I believe that people will go further, faster in a sport when they have fudamental concepts down, rather than isolated skills. I have since isolated five core concepts that apply to most situations and teach how those are used for a given task. This was obviousely written for White Water Kayaking, but should apply to any sport. If sking were distilled into say five or six core concepts, what would they be ?




A concept driven instruction regime recognizes the pivotal role concepts play in the experiential learning process. Experiential learning is broad term encompassing many aspects of this emerging teaching philosophy, such as learning styles, motivation and the process of learning. The process of learning begins with discovery and experience, it requires reflection to form concepts to account for what has been experienced.


The process becomes cyclical, as new experiences are examined in the light of previously formed concepts. We constantly try to relate new stimulus to a bank of interrelated concepts and then form new or modified concepts. Knowledge of this process and our observation of improved student response have caused us to try to include more concepts of paddling into our instruction. However, if we look at how we are currently introducing paddling concepts, it can be seen that we are using concepts to reinforce our traditional methods. This does not fully utilize the experiential learning model and build a bank of paddling concepts in the student. In the past when experiential learning has been applied to our sport it has been weakly used within the traditional framework of instruction.


The difference between a concept and a traditional instruction key point is subtle. In the sweep stroke for instance, a traditional key point would be "fully extend arm and paddle to produce a wide arc". The concept would be "wider strokes have more turning effect". The key point produces a rigid adherence when a sweep stroke is required. The concept can be used with modification in all situations and applied to other strokes.


We can think of our traditional division of strokes and maneuvers as building blocks, as our class works through the basic strokes we form a building block for each stroke, one for forward stroke, one for sweep stroke, etc. We think of these blocks as a foundation upon which we build with new blocks as the class progresses through moving and white water maneuvers.

Each stroke is rigidly contained within a block. Each maneuver is a rigid column of blocks. Concepts we throw in to promote understanding also become rigidly contained within the blocks and columns.


If we could build in our students, a matrix of interrelated concepts, adding and modifying concepts as need and experience require, our students would not only perform the basic strokes and maneuvers, but would have an innate understanding of them as well.

Instead of rigidity, the matrix would enable flexibility and the tools to adapt and grow laterally, as well as vertically. Students would be developing mental and physical understanding, rather than just rote repeat performance.


The key to C.D.I. is the ability of the instructor to see all the underlying concepts and introduce them in an order that still allows the basic strokes and maneuvers to be covered. The full traditional stroke should not be taught until enough concepts are in place to allow understanding and relevance. It is often said the greatest value of experiential learning is not directly to the students, but the need for teachers to develop insight and in depth understanding of the fundamental principles of the subject.

As we begin to look at paddling in terms of concepts, instead of strokes and maneuvers, our three levels of progression; flat water, moving water and white water, will become more integrated. We will see that concepts not encountered until white water normally, will be introduced as part of the flat water instruction, and traditional key points, which have overburdened students at the flat water level, left until the white water level and used as refinements. Fundamental concepts should ideally be taught in isolation from strokes. Students would then feel free to apply that concept whenever needed, with no association to a specific stroke.


Using our traditional instruction methods, we allow our students to form their own concepts to account for the exercise they have just completed. This often leads to misconceptions. If the instructor is not aware of, and in control of concept formalization, students may form a concept that allows them to perform the stroke being taught, but that may apply only to one situation, or will limit their ability to adapt and progress. A classic example of this would be the sweep stroke. After being taught this stroke, students rigidly apply the stroke for turning and correction, producing even more problems paddling in a straight line. some students carry this misconception with them a long time, greatly hindering their progress. Rolling is an area where student misconceptions abound. Prior to the C to C roll, rolling was hard to teach. this was because the student struggled to form concepts to account for this confusing (disorienting) experience, often forming misconceptions, which the instructors struggled to correct. The beauty of C to C, is the fundamental concept that students could grasp.

It can be seen , in the sweep stroke and pre C to C roll examples above, that student misconceptions fall into two categories; “instructor induced”(all be it, unintentional ) and “student deduced”.


The basic strokes are still important, (more so for the instructor than the students), as the time perfected way to convey and assess basic task

In Concept Driven Instruction students are guided to discover various concepts, (preferably in isolation of any specific stroke). When enough concepts have been acquired, the need for a specific stroke is explored and existing concepts modified through further discovery, to perform the task. If the requisite concepts are in place, the students will arrive at the perfect stroke, at least as much as limited practice will allow.


Our sport has seen many changes in the last decade, especially in WW kayaking. It is interesting to see that many of those paddlers, who several years ago had "sloppy" paddling technique and no formal instruction, have taken to new school more easily than other paddlers with better traditional technique. Could it be that the lack of formal instruction led the sloppy paddlers to "discovery learning" and the forming of basic concepts, which they were then able to modify easily for rodeo.

Concept driven Instruction should leave students with the same freedom to grow and adapt in an evolving sport, but still impart good traditional technique.
post #120 of 168
"student inability is attributable to teacher inflexibility"

Was this a Horst quote or Joan Heaton?
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