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How to Teach (NOT How to Ski) Teaching Models and Methodology

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
This thread is intended to be a place for us to put ideas that will help all of us in our teaching. Not ski technique ideas, but teaching ideas. Please keep the skiing drills and techniques out of this thread so it can apply to any style or level of skiing.

Many of us lump teaching with the curriculum being taught. From my years of teaching music at the college level I became quite aware that they are very different things.

A lot of these ideas have been posted in various other threads (often in threads where a new instructor is looking for help.) Please repost those concepts here and perhaps this thread will become a useful reference, possibly even become a Sticky.

I'll start.
post #2 of 23
Thread Starter 
A teaching model that one of the trainers at my home mountain presented to me, I've changed some of the wording.

Describe
Demonstrate
Direct
Debrief

Describe - present an idea and drill to the students verbally, perhaps with some visual cues standing with them. (Particularly important for verbal and technical learners.)

Demonstrate - perform the drill. (Particularly important for visual learners.)

Direct - have the student(s) do the drill with our without your verbal cues.

Debrief - give feedback to each student, preferably starting with pointing out what they did right before moving on to things that might need improvement or further practice.
post #3 of 23
Physical intervention.

You can sometimes .... describe, demo & direct and some still won't get it.

It is often easier especially with beginners to just take your skis off, get on your knees and grab their boot and manipulate it to get them to apply pressure/edging. I used this with foreign (non English speaking) and then started using it more and more. There are examples of this from holding the shoulders (regarding the fall line) .... to (intermediate) standing below them and extending your pole to tug them into the fall line (getting them to commit to skiing "into the future").
post #4 of 23
As a student and customer of the teaching industry I feel I have the following to add from a learners perspective:

-Avoid techno-speak at first. Also, clearly explain concepts. Example: One lesson last year an instructor would start out by saying - 'Project - Follow your skis down the hill'. What? Does this mean stay behind the skis? Do we have to cath up to something, etc? Be very specific, even if demonstrating or even if you think it is a simple concept that should be self-explanatory.

- Do not put down the students or other skiers on the hill. One instructor I had liked to point out every skier on the hill from the lift and make bad comments like 'See that - that's terrible form', 'Terrible, that guy is all over his tails'. It makes students feel uncomfortable like they are being judged too.

- Be patient. Remember what it is like to be new and nervous about trying new things. Some things can be very intimidating. In a lesson last year the instructor took us to a very steep section at HV and had us trying side slipping. As we started to side slip we would then roll our outside ski to the litle toe edge and start moving our hips and shoulders down the hill to get the ski to come around. After the first student lost control and started sliding real fast, grabbed an edge, and cartwheeled about 20 yards, we all got spooked. After that, you could tell the instructor was getting a little impatient as we were all hesitant - kind of like 'What's the problem - Just do it'. Dude, projecting yourself down the hill can be prety intimidating, especially after seing the first guy eat it and do a gumby impression in the snow.

- Go slow when demonstrating and show a skill precisely. Sometimes an instructor seems so refined that when they demonstrate things it's hard to see what they are doing that you are not. It can look very easy when instructors do it, and if they do it too quickly you can't pick up on their movements. In these cases it just looks like they are doing something mysterious that you cannot figure out. Usually these are subtle things like fore-aft balance ect. For us folks its obviously hard to pick that up in another skier, so going slow and delibrate helps our untrained eyes pick out the movements.

- Switch students who shouldn't be in the group lesson. Sometimes in a level 5 or 6 class there will be someone who is having a lot of trouble(can't ski paralell etc) on the blue hills and the instructor will spend most of the time on that person to get them up to speed. It's best IMO to send them to another group that is in session.

- Like Yuki Said, physical intervention. Some instructors will physically show you things by interaction like having you take off your skis, rotate your upper body while they push or pull to get you into the right position ect...this is VERY helpfull I found..in fact often more helpfull than drills or on-hill stuff. I have learned a lot of stance stuff this way. That's how I learned what counter was.

That's My 2 Cents
post #5 of 23
When teaching I like the 3/3 Rule:

When teaching describe:

Part of the Body
Part of the Turn
What it feels like

When describing use 3 points of communication:
Verbal
Visual
Feeling (ie get them to try a static demo)

2 Teaching Philosphies which I think are excellant:

"The trick is not so much about knowing what to say, it is knowing what not to say."


"Tell me, and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me, and I will learn."
post #6 of 23
Start sessions, be it a part of the run, a whole run, or the full day with clearly defined and understood Desired Outcomes.
Desired Outcomes evolve from communication with the student.
The desired outcome could range from: I don't want to fall, I want to make sure I am keeping my hands and shoulders level in my short turns, I want to ski moguls in control. Once this is established you can apply your teaching techniques and tools and be able to provide valuable feedback.
This applies to instructing and coaching. I think we, as instructors and coaches, put our own ideas of the desired outcome first too often. Just a thought.
Greg
post #7 of 23
When teaching a movement I try to use each of these steps:

-Movement with skis off
-Movement with skis on and no sliding
-Movement with very easy sliding
-Movement with increasingly challenging sliding
-Movement in guests skiing

To present the lesson I use a recipe that includes equal parts of SkiMangJazz and Skidude72 ideas and sprinkle in some of Yuki's to taste.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRN View Post
When teaching a movement I try to use each of these steps:

-Movement with skis off
-Movement with skis on and no sliding
-Movement with very easy sliding
-Movement with increasingly challenging sliding
-Movement in guests skiing

To present the lesson I use a recipe that includes equal parts of SkiMangJazz and Skidude72 ideas and sprinkle in some of Yuki's to taste.
What I have found is that those first 2 steps have very little learning value. Ski movements are pretty simple, none of then require even a quarter of the full range of motion of any joint (at least not until you get to the competitive level), and almost everyone can easily do them. No matter how much you practice the static movements, most unskilled skiers revert to their poor balance habits as soon as they start sliding.
I don't talk much about movements or body parts. The key is to give them a simple task that they can do successfully, than ramp up the difficulty until they can't do it, then let them figure out why they can't do it. The task might be as simple as a traverse, then a step uphill from the traverse, then a step uphill at the transition of a turn, then steps all the way around the turn, than steeper terrain. Somewhere in that progression everyone fails (or they graduate to a better instructor than me), and they need to figure out what it is that causes the failure. Of course, the cause of the failure is always poor balance, but the student needs to discover on his/her own how to move to maintain balance. I could describe how to move, but I wouldn't be perfectly accurate, they wouldn't hear me completely accurately, and even if they did, they couldn't move exactly the way they think they should, even if they thought they knew the correct way to move, which they don't.

BK
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulR View Post
- Do not put down the students or other skiers on the hill. One instructor I had liked to point out every skier on the hill from the lift and make bad comments like 'See that - that's terrible form', 'Terrible, that guy is all over his tails'. It makes students feel uncomfortable like they are being judged too.
This is a very good point, but I'd like to take it one step farther. You can still benefit by seeing what people are doing wrong, just approach it differently. "Hey, look at that guy, he'd be doing twice as good if he just kept his hands in front of him. He wouldn't be on the tails of his skis at the end of every turn." You've just pointed out a common problem and given a simple solution without putting anyone down.

Saying "that's terrible form" gives the student no usable information and makes the instructor seem like a jerk.
post #10 of 23
Be positive, encouraging, easygoing, movement-oriented, fun and be sure to demonstrate.
A lot.
keep them moving, change the order (ir bobby first, jenny second) of the class frequently. This will help you to keep your demos fresh in the mental picture of each student, as opposed to being erased over by their observations of the students ahead of them trying the exercise.
Laugh.
A lot.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post
When teaching I like the 3/3 Rule:

When teaching describe:

Part of the Body
Part of the Turn
What it feels like

When describing use 3 points of communication:
Verbal
Visual
Feeling (ie get them to try a static demo)

2 Teaching Philosophies which I think are excellent:

"The trick is not so much about knowing what to say, it is knowing what not to say."


"Tell me, and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me, and I will learn."
I love this post. Simple and to the point. Just how a lesson should be run.Get them moving with direction and reflection.
post #12 of 23
used a lot in Rocky Mtn div (I believe it might have origniated with Milt Beane [hope I got his last name right!])

Static
Simple
Complex
Dynamic
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Describe
Demonstrate
Direct
Debrief
First ask what the student wants to achieve.
Next, evaluate their skiing.
Third, pick the ONE most important movement for them to work on first to begin achieving their goal.
Fourth, follow your four points.
Work toward your personal goal to be able to give an individual lesson simultaneously to each person in the group...and you're an expert at six, and very good at four. More than that in a group isn't very practical to try.

As said above, it's harder to know what not to say than what to say. It's easy to give six or eight tips that'll be forgotten and never mastered in this lesson. It's much harder to select the one improvement item the skier needs most before progressing to the next one that skier needs.
post #14 of 23
I am a proponent of Total Quality techniques. I'm always evaluating what I do when teaching. If it works I try to figure out why. If it doesn't I try to figure out why and either modify what I did or throw it out. (I will revisit those things in the future to see if I can use them in other situations.)

It stems from the Deming cycle of Plan, Do, Check, Act, then you repeat the cycle.

Plan the lesson. (This can be in advance or on the spot.)
Do the lesson.
Check to see if you have gotten the ideas across to the student.
Act - Modify the lesson plan if it didn't get across or move on to the next point.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Don't sit on your laurels if it worked. Always look at what you did to see if you can improve it. There are always ways to make things better.

-----------------------

That is my way of teaching. I have three "rules" that I try always to follow in any lesson.

1. Don't take something away without first giving something to use in its place. (I don't even say what I am trying to take away. I just give them a replacement and the thing I want to see go away will normally go away on its own as the student figures it out.)

2. Don't overload. Most people can only absorb 1 or 2 new ideas in a lesson. So, pick one thing and work on it until the student has fully grasped it.

3. Stress the positive reinforcement. Minimize the negative reinforcement. (Catch them doing something right!)
post #15 of 23
Bode Klammer,
You may not find the first two items on my list valuable but I do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRN View Post
-Movement with skis off
-Movement with skis on and no sliding
-Movement with very easy sliding
-Movement with increasingly challenging sliding
-Movement in guests skiing
During these two steps, students often gain understanding of the task and confidence in their ability to perform the task. At the same time I can check their understanding, support their growing confidence and learn more about the students.

Beyond these reasons I like this structure because it keeps the group close together when the lesson starts. Everyone can hear and see the entire group at the same time. Everyone can practice at the same time. Everyone can hear questions and answers at the same time. This saves time, gets the group sliding sooner and more effectively, and hopefully keeps me form putting my group in a situation like PaulR found himself in.

As the lesson progresses, the group spreads out and my feed back becomes increasingly specific to each individual. Practice time is maximized by not stopping the entire group to hear feedback that they may not need or want. This also helps limit embarrassment by not calling someone out in front of the group. And we still have group time around the lift rides.

BK, I'm not trying to change your mind, just letting you know how it works for me.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRN View Post
Bode Klammer,
You may not find the first two items on my list valuable but I do.

During these two steps, students often gain understanding of the task and confidence in their ability to perform the task. At the same time I can check their understanding, support their growing confidence and learn more about the students.

Beyond these reasons I like this structure because it keeps the group close together when the lesson starts. Everyone can hear and see the entire group at the same time. Everyone can practice at the same time. Everyone can hear questions and answers at the same time. This saves time, gets the group sliding sooner and more effectively, and hopefully keeps me form putting my group in a situation like PaulR found himself in.

As the lesson progresses, the group spreads out and my feed back becomes increasingly specific to each individual. Practice time is maximized by not stopping the entire group to hear feedback that they may not need or want. This also helps limit embarrassment by not calling someone out in front of the group. And we still have group time around the lift rides.

BK, I'm not trying to change your mind, just letting you know how it works for me.
The reason I don't follow your method is that all you can do that way is to practice movement patterns. That may work for never-evers, but getting to advanced skill levels requires emphasis on fundamental skills. If I have a group of students do sideslips, the ones who do that competently invariably can do pretty good carved turns, but the ones who can't sideslip don't carve at all. The reverse is true as well. If I watch a group ski, the good skiers can always side slip, and the weak skiers struggle with it. What's the connection between sideslipping and carving? It's not the movement patterns, it's that both require good balance skills. If learning a new movement pattern won't help a skier with poor balance skills, why should he work on that? MY whole coaching approach is based on simple tasks that challenge balance skills, and that allow students to evaluate their own performance. If I work it right I never need to give negative feedback. The students clearly see who can perform the task and who cannot.
Of course, that kind of approach is hard to sell. Few students understand the connection between fundamental skills and advanced skiing. Most of them seem to think that I can show them some magic movement that will instantly transform them into "expert" skiers. The only thing I can tell them is that if you want to ski like me, you need to do the things I did to learn those skills. And you need to do it 50 or 60 days a year for 15 or 20 years.

BK
post #17 of 23
Bode
Nice post I'm in agreement...the dabbler always looks for the magic pill the true expert knows the road to learning never ends.
What is skiing.... "Balance on a stick"
post #18 of 23
Here's one model:

Here's what I see.
Here's what I want to see.
Here's how we're going to do that.
post #19 of 23
Here's another model:

Safety
Fun
Learning
post #20 of 23
So here's a plug for using the GCT grid and the sports diamond as a couple examples of a framework for planning a lesson. What I like is that we are free to use the seven teaching styles, five learning styles and just about any other system within those frames.
post #21 of 23
Thrusty

Skill based learning is how we teach it at our area.

I like to smplify as What, Why, How. Same as your idea.

Withing the framework of whatever skiing we do we look for the skill that once improved will give the biggest impact to that skier.

What is the main concern that if improved will give th biggest bang? (What is the problem?)

Why is this happening? (What skill needs work)

How can we improve this? (identifies skill or skills to work with).

From there we all have a large collection of drills applicable to each skill that can be used while skiing.

The other part I like to use is Whole-Part-Whole
This means we never start with an exercise. We start with skiing.
We watch the skiers and then identify the skill that we can work on for that person or that group. Often we select a drill that will work for multiple people in different ways and then we work with this.
Finally we put that feeling back into our skiing.

All the parts about having goals and having fun are absolutely true. We try to run our lesson for the best benefit of the students within a fun goal oriented lesson.

The first thing I taught my kids about skiing was that when we went down the hill they had to say "Wheeeeeeee" as they went. Much much better than a child skiing down with a father while crying all the way ...

I guess the current mantra in our system is "Student Centered" approach. Formerly was skill based approach. Always fun

Mike
post #22 of 23
That's a good model to use Mike.
post #23 of 23
watch them ski, diagnose common traits and come up with a few exercises that will address underlying problems.

During the drills try to get the student to "feel" the change, not "understand" it.
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