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Teaching with questions - Page 2

post #31 of 59
Hi, I've found that the after effect of a ski lesson is the reason to devote the time at the lesson, um well eh yea.. The amount of mental concentration fluctuates for all of us, and the ability to process some other persons perspective is what we seek to gain. Save the discussions for the lift and less time "on slope" stop and go / continuing analysis that leads to overload for some attention spans. Conversation allows one enough time to finish a thought while determining a response whether it is a question or a tangential thought that clicks things in place for all involved.
How was it that on the old series Kung- Fu the student (grasshopper) learned. or more currently Uma learning her stuff in Kill Bill. >rest time<, for me, later v.varmit
post #32 of 59
It does depend on context, Yuki. In an hour long group lesson where one is unlikely to ever teach the people again, it is likely the instructor will use a Command or Directive style because it is the most efficient way to conduct a one hour group lesson. That doesn't mean that style is the best way to teach people to ski. It's just the most expedient.
post #33 of 59
When faced with a challenge such as using questions in a situation, I went "deer in the headlights". I would need to be in a situation with another instructor who could use that approach with effect.
post #34 of 59
In my e-mail today:

"Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers."— Anthony Robbins
post #35 of 59
Context is everything. On the slope I use command and directed skiing a lot of the time. On the chair I can use the questions etc to help with understanding of the concepts we are using on the slope. Chair time should not be down time in a lesson. Your students are paying you for the learning experience and it is a time based lesson. Use all the time available. Have them think about things on the chair. Chair discussions can get into the nitty gritty and keep people occupied.

Again, its a style thing. Every instructor has an individual style and needs to teach using that style to be effective. My style probably won't work for you. But, every instructor should look at thier own style and see where continuous improvement will make them better.
post #36 of 59
Nolo, isn't the context far greater than just a one hour lesson? When we learn something initially, don't we have a need for more directive style of instruction initially? If so, might this also be true at higher stages when we are faced with introducing new previously never done contexts and movements?

Take your tai chi class as an example Nolo. How effective would this instruction be if it was all conducted through questions and guided discovery versus direct instruction and hands on manipulation? As form and technique are learned and evolve, the opportunities for guided discovery and learning through questioning open up. I guess this is the area that exposes how skill full the instructors really are.

I think what I am trying to say is that until the student is at a point of understanding and doing then guided discovery has less of a role to play. I also think that this is not a black and white line, that we wander back and forth across this line as things evolve, and even in a single lesson we may need to go back and forth across this line as we introduce something new versus exploring things already learned but needing for refinement or lateral exploration. later, RicB.
post #37 of 59
RicB, I think we can communicate facts. It gets more difficult when we try to communicate feelings. For example, when I am asked, "What do you feel when you do this?" on skis, I very rarely have an answer and often feel like an idiot. If someone asks me ahead of time to pay attention to feelings, that sometimes helps (but not always). Part of the reason is that I am usually looking for a "right" answer. That is what we're taught in school, after all, isn't it?

So, we need to be mindful of how students may respond and be sure that they know that there's not right or wrong answer when we're guiding their discovery of new sensations and experiences.

I need to think more about how I teach basics, though. I will often ask questions like (after describing and showing a ski's design), "So what happens when we tip the ski on edge and push on it?" I'm not sure that this is such a good question! I need to think about that some more. Thoughts?
post #38 of 59
You should only ask a question that you would reasonably expect the person to have the knowledge to answer--e.g., that are self-evident or can be self-checked, like "What edges are you engaging in a turn to the left?"

I agree, RicB, that the directive or command style is the most effective style for transmitting basic principles, rules of the road, or attending to safety matters. For instance, I'd definitely use command style in teaching transceiver use and safely procedures for skiing in avalanche terrain.
post #39 of 59
Playing a little devils advocate here. Steve shouldn't we also communicate how something should feel, as in pressure points, muscle tension or sensory inputs at times?

Nolo, not asking questions that a student can't know the answer to really defines a huge area that can't be covered by questions doesn't it? Later, RicB.
post #40 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Amazon Prime is very, very dangerous...

It's on order, Weems!
but a library card is very, very cheap (free). while you were ordering it on Amazon, I tabbed to the Boulder Public Library, and put a hold on the book.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Square View Post
As a teacher I have found that the more I teach something the better I learn it. However, I'm not the one that is supposed to be learning it. My student is...


Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Square View Post
...This is something I learned from my Dad and his years as a college prof. For a teacher it is very satisfying to stand up in front of a class and spout your knowledge. (The majority of my college classes.: ) But, this results in passive learning on the part of the student. It is much harder on the teacher to entice, cajole, and prod students into an active learning mode. (Especially when you consider how the present learning environment conditions students.) Yet this is where the students learn best, by being actively involved in the learning process. I know that I have succeeded at active learning and teaching when I get done with a session and I am totally worn out physically and mentally and my students are fired up and continuing to ask questions...
I find it especially satisfying helping students discover how to ski themselves when they're in the 8 to 12 age range; their enthusiasm is contagious. I will often ask them questions about what we're doing with our skis. I'm having trouble being abstract, here, so I'm going to use a real-life example: When I'm teaching using turn shape and terrain for stopping (as opposed to a huge braking wedge), I will ask them what will happen if we turn up the hill instead of making a wedge to make our stops. Some will think about it, and say we'll stop, some will think about it, and say, nothing different will happen. My response is, let's try it, and see what happens. Then when I ask the question after we've all stopped, the universal response is: "I stopped!" This often leads to questions from the students, more of "let's try it and see what happens," and more learning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Square View Post
When you use questions, you must keep it real. As stated before, you can't use questions to highlight your own knowledge, that's just plain arrogant. You need to have enough knowledge and skill to phrase the questions so that you bring out the hidden knowledge the students possess. In this process sometimes a student will point out a rabbit trail that leads elsewhere. You have to be skilled enough to recognize the rabbit trails and go down them to eek out additional knowledge.
Yes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
At the risk of showing what I do not know, and from the standpoint of a low time instructor, versus some of the talent here; pure professionals, I do sense an undercurrent that is opposed to what you are suggesting.

It is almost as if you have taken it one level too far. A pedagogical approach may be fine for clinics when dealing with other instructors who are vested in the "academics" of ski instruction.

Time is a luxury and in that one hour private do you actually have the time to get almost philosophical with the client? In a class of ten for an hour and a half? Where you have the student booked for a morning private lesson perhaps with time affording that luxury.

I think the client is better served by a "technician" than a professor?
I've been fortunate to teach in environments where the only 1 hour lessons are privates. In short lessons, It's a necessity to make sure of what your student wants. I've taught 1 hour privates where the student wanted ONE thing to improve his skiing; guided discovery can work in that type of learning situation.

A one-hour never ever lesson? Personally, I tell my supervisors not to give them to me, unless they're desperate - I consider them to be essentially useless.
post #41 of 59
RicB, you are a wise guy.

I think Mr. Terry nailed "best questions" with those that: bring out the hidden knowledge the students possess... The stuff of epiphanies.
post #42 of 59
I've learned over the years that "teaching" by telling can be confusing. So, I've sort of become the "facilitator of the learning". I ask a lot of questions, but I would never ask "how does that feel?" because most of the time the client doesn't have the proper frame of reference. Instead, I might say things like:

- you know, when I do this with people they often tell me that they feel like their riding a bike. Does this reasonate with you?

- if you do this at a greater speed it will feel like ... let's check it out and see if you get that sensation.

In a clinic with instructors last year that I was leading I had them do a drill and gave them three choices of what it might remind them of. One would indicate the thinkers, the other the doers, the last feelers. It was roughly split between the three choices.

By asking questions this way, you can sometimes figure out the client's learning style quite simply. For example, the simple question at the start of a lesson "we're going to do a lot of skiing this morning, sometimes I will be leading and sometimes I'll be following. Do you have a preference?" This type of question will give a lot of insight into the client's learning style.

Thanks,

Bob
post #43 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post
Playing a little devils advocate here. Steve shouldn't we also communicate how something should feel, as in pressure points, muscle tension or sensory inputs at times?
Yes, we probably should. That is a difficult step for me, because I don't really feel much yet (perhaps Tai Chi will help here. Skiing very slowly, too). I am suggesting, however, that many of our students may not be able to feel, either...
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post
Nolo, not asking questions that a student can't know the answer to really defines a huge area that can't be covered by questions doesn't it? Later, RicB.
Depends. I think that we can help them work out insights based on what they do know. This helps them build the linkage...
post #44 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
RicB, you are a wise guy.

I think Mr. Terry nailed "best questions" with those that: bring out the hidden knowledge the students possess... The stuff of epiphanies.
You mean wise a** don't you. I guess i just feel when people read threads like this that it is important to weigh the needs on both sides of the equation. Later, RicB.
post #45 of 59
I love it when someone asks me questions because he or she is genuinely interested in the answer, no matter what the answer might be. All of a sudden we're no longer in this safe, civilized, well-rehearsed, standard-interaction groove in which all the questions are predictable and all the answers are almost scripted. In one sense, the person who is asking the question trusts his or her own instincts and abilities enough to temporarily surrender the power in the relationship, whether it's a student-teacher relationship or a peer-to-peer interaction.

To put it another way, it can be very satisfying, in the right situation, when the teacher trusts the process enough to yield their nominal "control" of the process to the student.

Even better is when the person who asks the question gets a completely unexpected answer...and both parties are able to flow with situation. Sorta like like the kid who, when asked by a teacher what causes the wind to blow, answered "the leaves on the trees!" I'm not sure what the teacher said, but I would like to think that the response was "You may be on to something...."
post #46 of 59
I am not an instructor either, but the things that had the most impact were not questions at all. They were statements made by instructors from ESA and friends who ski well that push me along to better skiing.

They stick in my head and make skiing easier. I pull them out when I need or want them for courage or reassurance or just plain fun. Some of them are:

*Go There. Then Go There. (when I'm faced with something a little too steep and 'manky' and I'm afraid, I can section off the pieces into managable chunks)

*Just Ride It! (this reminds me to loosen up and center on my skis and have fun!)

*Let's go sniffing over here. (I use this when I want to leave my comfort zones. I know I can 'toe the water' and then get out of the pool if the water's too cold, so to speak)

These statements are vital to my enjoyment of skiing. I remember the statement and who said it, and with it comes what we did with the lessons.

I wish I could remember what you asked me on the lift once, nolo. It was something like, "What kind of skier do you want to be?" I had to stop and think of what my goal was. I remember saying that I had no interest in hucking cliffs or skiing trees (with my balance, that's a good thing! ). It took the pressure off. That was also very important.....to me.
post #47 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
I think Mr. Terry nailed "best questions" with those that: bring out the hidden knowledge the students possess... The stuff of epiphanies.

Epiphanies indeed! That is exactly the reason I love to teach skiing. Seeing someone experience an "ah ha" moment is something to behold and exactly what makes this job worthwhile!

It is indeed a talent to use the right questions and make the right points that the student feels as if they came to their own personal epiphany.
post #48 of 59
Quote:
from weems
Introduce the segment by gaining trust in the questioning process. "I'm going to ask you some questions about your movements because this kind of challenge is often useful in really anchoring understanding. It can be very powerful because it comes from within, rather than from me. It comes from your own awareness. Okay?"
Very simple direct questions in a group lesson enviorment can be a very powerfull learning expierence for the group. It is quite often the one answer that a person gives that you wouldn't expect that starts the catalist of learning for them.
ie: A class of 4 on a very shiny eastern snow day (ice).
I say that I feel like my skis are slipping a lot. Does anyone else feel like their skis are slipping a lot too and they can't get a good grip?

3 say yes and one shruggs or can't tell that much difference.

The ma i did on the one person's skiing showed me that he was a Z turner and that he most likley didn't feel that much difference b/c of his lack of steering, lack of effective edge angle and pressure control.

My responce to their answers might be, let's do some experminting to see what allows the skis to grip this snow better.

The 3 who feel lack to "sticksion" are experimenting with technique refinement and getting instant feedback from their skis and the one Z turner is now ready to feel something different from his skis. The Z turner is primed for an highten learning experience, although all of the class might experience that (time for some effective teaching).

The next step might be a question like; Does your turn to the left, grip better than the right one? (process starts over).

Quote:
Yuki
I think the client is better served by a "technician" than a professor?
An effective teacher should be both, but not by showing off knowledge, but by creating a learning envoirment.

RW
post #49 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
At the risk of showing what I do not know, and from the standpoint of a low time instructor, versus some of the talent here; pure professionals, I do sense an undercurrent that is opposed to what you are suggesting.

It is almost as if you have taken it one level too far. A pedagogical approach may be fine for clinics when dealing with other instructors who are vested in the "academics" of ski instruction.

Time is a luxury and in that one hour private do you actually have the time to get almost philosophical with the client? In a class of ten for an hour and a half? Where you have the student booked for a morning private lesson perhaps with time affording that luxury.

I think the client is better served by a "technician" than a professor?
In some situations, I'd say you're right, Yuki. And some lines of questions smack of what Ken Blanchard calls "pooling ignorance".

Yet, even in a short teaching segment, the right question at the right time can do more to really elicit understanding--->performance than any technical brilliance that I might have to spout.

This is the skill I seek.
post #50 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
In my e-mail today:

"Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers."— Anthony Robbins
Exactly. The first inkling I had in the pursuit of this path as listening to Tony Robbins discussing a ski lesson. His feeling was that asking himself good questions helped him make new distinctions, and new distinctions were essential to learning.

If true, then one of the primary responsibilities of the pro is to learn the quality questions.

And there are geniuses at this. Squatty Schuler, one of our ESA pros, just baffles me how he uses questions to get people to understand their own skiing, and make good decisions. I am in awe of his style.
post #51 of 59
I believe it was Squatty who caused a friend's epiphany when he said, "If you're hunting Hungarian partridge, do you use 12 gauge shotgun shells or birdshot?" "Why birdshot, of course." "Then why ski with shotgun shells when birdshot will do the job?" I'm pretty sure the other people in the group didn't find that as penetrating an insight as my friend did. He claims that insight alone helped him to change his skiing in four days. His skiing did change quite remarkably. When he returned to Bridger after ESA, he was seeking out difficult terrain and conditions he used to avoid and he was skiing them very well.

I am glad I asked you a good question Bonni. It doesn't matter what the question was, so long as your response stays with you.
post #52 of 59
Nolo, I like the 10 gauge, high brass on full auto with birdshot of course. Why limit it to a single bird when you can bag a whole covey (group lesson) ... ????

Yuki is a thief. I'd have to go out with someone and shadow till my tush froze in order to get a feel for asking questions. I'd never trust myself just to go out and give this a try blindly; I'd have to develop a real feel for the time and place to use this and the students time, especially in a private is too dear for my bumbling experimentation.

I fully admit to developing what little is in "my bag" from shadowing other instructors and even a few good things from our clinics .... but mostly, from the shadows, the clinics just tend to be recitations from "The Good Book".
post #53 of 59

R & D

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
I fully admit to developing what little is in "my bag" from shadowing other instructors and even a few good things from our clinics .... but mostly, from the shadows, the clinics just tend to be recitations from "The Good Book".
Remember, "R & D" stands for "Rip Off and Develop", one of the best skills an instructor can have in his bag of tricks!!
post #54 of 59
This is very, very interesting stuff. I'm reading it all slowly and mulling over it. Nodding a lot!

Weems, your outline in post #6 was interesting. I do teach a lot like that, especially at lower levels, but my "teacher" statements aren't framed as questions so much. There's some information (what we're doing), then a question about their personal situation (right or left leg etc), then we do it, then I ask are they feeling x muscle, or where is it happening etc.

But again, I've always felt it was more me asking them for info, and clarifying things, to facilitate the teaching process, and to lead us through the thing we're learning. Your emphasis is intriguing me because your aim is to have their responses internalising the process of learning.

I'm going to have to think about this some more to get it worked out. Also, when I'm thinking about teaching, it's pretty well always a class I have in my mind, which might be why I tend towards a more Command with Guest Feedback style of teaching. You have to keep 'em moving.
post #55 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
I believe it was Squatty who caused a friend's epiphany when he said, "If you're hunting Hungarian partridge, do you use 12 gauge shotgun shells or birdshot?"
Glaring proof that people should not venture to pluck analogies from subjects they don't understand. Poor Squatty. The Hungarian thing is colorful though.
post #56 of 59
Please--blame me, not Squatty, for not understanding the analogy well enough to remember it properly. He's a genuwine redneck, just like you, Rick.
post #57 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
Please--blame me, not Squatty, for not understanding the analogy well enough to remember it properly. He's a genuwine redneck, just like you, Rick.
Good enough, Nole. I'll blame it on the city girl.
post #58 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarlito View Post
I love it when someone asks me questions because he or she is genuinely interested in the answer, no matter what the answer might be.
Another interesting thing when a guest asks a question: often it is to clarify why something I've said or am doing seems totally at odds with some information they got from a previous lesson, a book, or (most usually), their friends. It's amazing what kernals of (mis) info they carry around in their heads and I often wonder what made those specific bits of info so memorable?

Oddly, they are often "wrong" info, or misunderstood info. Like "lean back in powder", or "lean forward".
post #59 of 59
My two cents ...

I agree with everyone who says that asking questions is an essential skill of a "teacher".

And, before we can decide what questions need to be asked or how to include question asking in our teaching ... I try to consider how people learn.

Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning (http://faculty.washington.edu/krumme/guides/bloom1.html)

Bloom discusses that evolution of a learner. Someone who is not an evolved learned will expect and demonstrate a prefer for being TOLD. Someone who is very evolved in their learning will tell you what they want to know and how they want to know it. We're often not that lucky.

IMHO a great "teacher" is one who is able to understand the learning style and preferences of their learner and then infuses questions in an appropriate manner.

kiersten
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