Wow, what a post…..I think it would be close to a new record for length! Anyway as for its content, generally speaking I agree with everything you wrote….of course my 3 points is a generalization, but a valid one. It is important to note, that while I expressed the ideas simply an entire book could be written on each point. Now while I wont bore you with a book I will put these ideas forward:
1: Something I noticed over the years is great skiers love skiing. What came first? The love or the great skills? Well the fact that I met numerous less then great skiers who love skiing, but have yet to meet a great skier that hates it, I have concluded the love came first.
Hence this is the idea behind “fun” first. Teach skiers to love skiing as opposed to teach skiers to ski. This is a sutble but crucial difference in mindset for an instructor…it will result in a very different outcome in how the lesson goes. Eg: Do you do that 5th run of pivot slips, or stand on the side of the hill for 20minutes discussing the merits of dorsi flexion? Hey pivot slips are a great exercise, and your student may need to do them, and dorsi flexion may be a key concept which is important to understand….but really? Would ya? I think not. This is not to say that you let those concepts/skills go, it just means you need to think of another way to get them across. To simply say we are here to learn first, and you need to do pivot slips is to me anyway and excuse for bad or lazy teaching.
2: I also noticed getting good at skiing takes a lot of time and hard work. A LOT. One lesson here, or there doesn’t cut it. I want skiers to excel, and I set the bar for them VERY high. It is not fair of me, or professional or realistic to do that with the proviso that they are only there for one lesson. A great instructor (as opposed to just a good one) inspires, motivates and encourages development….THEN provides that latter for them to get there. The latter is not short, the trip up it is not easy.
This is the idea behind “made a new friend”. Taking on the journery of becoming a great skier, to me is a worth while pursuit. But it requires support, encouragement, coddling, lying (yes white lyes are common) and when needed a well timed, but sincere kick in the ass. You cannot do those things with someone you have known, or will know for only an hour or 2 or perhaps a day even. It takes a RELATIONSHIP, and I treat every client, even if they are destination clients, and make the effort with every client to get to know them so that I can offer the support they need to climb that latter that I laid out. This is not to say that it takes months or years to develop the relationship, I work with what I have, but I treat all clients like they matter.
3: With the above in mind, I will talk about “Correct Technical Information”. Let me put you in this scenario…you have been assigned a 3 hours beginner lesson with 6 adults. You go through the normal progression, and things are moving well, but one student is really struggling to make that first turn….can’t pivot the legs to save themselves…you try all the tricks that you know, and just doesn’t seem to work. What do you do? Do you keep insisting on “proper pivoting of the legs” to get the skis to turn, and watch the student become frustrated, or do you get radical, try somting totally new, like making a turn through upper body rotation? I know what I would do in this instance. I would teach upper body rotation, give the student a sense of accomplishment, let them go home feeling that they had a POSITIVE experience on the hill, and when they come back, and other skills or perhaps something as simple as better boots and skis we try to fix things. (Now before everyone jumps up and down and says I need to learn more tricks, or I should have dealt with equipment issues at the start….trust me, I have hefty bag of tricks, and I do check equipment at the start, but those with real world experience know that you cant always have things as perfect as you may like)
Having a student leave with a positive sense of the experience to me is a 100 times more important then them leaving with a correct sense of technique. Again, it is not math, they don’t HAVE to do it….if they have a bad experience, they wont be back…if the student does not come back, you lost.
4: Student Centered Teaching was first introduced to the ski teaching world by the CSIA at Interski about 12 or so years ago and much of the above was derived from it. While most of the above would be endorsed by the official CSIA mantra…the concepts as expressed here are really my own and should not be seen to be more then that. I am glad to see the PSIA is addopting this approach, the Student Centered push in European schools came from the CSIA Interski Presentation....I forget the year....but like a said, it was about 12 years ago.
In conclusion I believe my points leads to more student centered "Wholistic" lesson expeirance. I believe it is my job to do more then just regurgitate or prescribe drills and technique....I am there to make skiers...that involves alot more then just "bend zee knees!".
I am like a drug dealer....my drug is endorphins and addrelline (the ratio mix is up to you). I adminster it through skiing, specifically making your day on skis more exhilerating, more fullfilling, more dam right awesome that you ever thought possible. If I see a student living in an old VW van in the ski area parking lot, begging for change to pay for just one more lift ticket becuase I got him so addicated that he got fired from his job, his "none skiing family and friends" left him, and the only thing he lives for is that next "hit".
I consider that I did my job.