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Two approaches to ski teaching - Page 2

post #31 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
My view is that the French method, as described above, is more how children view movement. Generally they don't break it down into all it's little parts. They seem to have an amazing ability (of course there are always exceptions) to take in the overall activity and copy it.

Adults on the other hand (and yes there are always exception) generally try to analyze the individual movements that comprise the overall activity and then try to put the parts together into a whole. So, the American technical view seems most appropriate.
And too many of the instructors are too obsorbed in the detailed techniques to realize THAT!

I've been on clinics too many times when ONE student would ask a question and then ask for further clarification repeatedly. All the while the rest of the group were just getting cold!

The least I expect a competant instructor is to say at that point "Let's try it and tell me how you feel" instead of trying to come up with the 5th alternative version of explanation. Sadly, only about half of the instructors were capable of dealing with that situation.

I'm not saying that's why people don't take lessons any more. But who wants to stand around and get chilled instead of skiing?
post #32 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
A skilled leader can lay down tracks that will encourage the desired movements. This won't happen if the student is not "close" to the desired end result. "Follow me" controls both direction and speed and provides immediate non-verbal feedback (i.e. can't stay in the track) when the desired movements are not being made. One of the more common comments I've received from "follow me" students is "you made it so much easier".
"you made it much easier" is just the result of distracting students from their dysfunctional habits, and replacing that with a focus on looking down the hill. Unfortunately, my observation has been that students don't develop that focus on moving down the hill, and revert to their old bad habits almost immediately once the ski alone. It's not that following doesn't have some value, but you originally referred to it as one of "the two most successful ways of learning...", when in fact it's pretty limited.

And I agree, it works better with kids because they model behavior better.

BK
post #33 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
My view is that the French method, as described above, is more how children view movement. Generally they don't break it down into all it's little parts. They seem to have an amazing ability ... to take in the overall activity and copy it.

Adults ... generally try to analyze the individual movements that comprise the overall activity and then try to put the parts together into a whole. So, the American technical view seems most appropriate.
What is the difference between adults and children? Is it that adults become so stuck in a reductive analytical approach to everything that they can't see the whole performance? Maybe it's adults who need to learn to learn by the "French" approach.

PSIA teaches a learning model based on 4 learning styles: Thinker, Feeler, Doer, Watcher. The better model is that people gather information by Doing or Watching, and make sense of that information by Thinking or Feeling. That still leaves 4 types of learners: Watcher/Thinker, Watcher/Feeler, Doer/Thinker and Doer/Feeler. If you are a Doer/Feeler, you will learn to ski pretty easily, but if you are a Watcher/Thinker you might be better at chess. (If you are a Watcher/Feeler, you probably like pornography.) If you can't stop thinking about what you are doing and learn to feel what is happening under your feet, you will never really learn to ski well.

Of course, all these models are only simplifications, and it is too limiting to think of yourself as able to learn in only one way. Maybe the bigger point of skiing (and recreation generally) is to learn a new way to learn things and relate to the world.

BK
post #34 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
"you made it much easier" is just the result of distracting students from their dysfunctional habits, and replacing that with a focus on looking down the hill. Unfortunately, my observation has been that students don't develop that focus on moving down the hill, and revert to their old bad habits almost immediately once the ski alone. It's not that following doesn't have some value, but you originally referred to it as one of "the two most successful ways of learning...", when in fact it's pretty limited.
Whoa dar big fella. VS said the 2 ways. I've found that "follow me" can be an effective way to teach but I don't use it all the time. I was just responding to your post that I read as saying "it does not work". Now that we've agreed that it does work, we can focus on why.

The success I've had with "follow me" is not solely due to getting the students to look down the hill. I know this from the feedback I've received and from the results being better the closer the student is to me (i.e. where they can't see past me down the hill). The big question is "Can they repeat the improved performance without the instructor in front?" If the answer is yes, then the technique works. Although it does not matter to the student why it worked, it does matter to the instructor. If the pro thinks it works only because it changes the student's focus to down the hill, then they won't be doing the other tasks that are critical to the success of this teaching technique. I believe that "follow me" teaching is an art form because of the large number of things that the instructor has to do in order to make the technique to work most effectively.
post #35 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
Whoa dar big fella. VS said the 2 ways. I've found that "follow me" can be an effective way to teach but I don't use it all the time. I was just responding to your post that I read as saying "it does not work". Now that we've agreed that it does work, we can focus on why.

The success I've had with "follow me" is not solely due to getting the students to look down the hill. I know this from the feedback I've received and from the results being better the closer the student is to me (i.e. where they can't see past me down the hill). The big question is "Can they repeat the improved performance without the instructor in front?" If the answer is yes, then the technique works. Although it does not matter to the student why it worked, it does matter to the instructor. If the pro thinks it works only because it changes the student's focus to down the hill, then they won't be doing the other tasks that are critical to the success of this teaching technique. I believe that "follow me" teaching is an art form because of the large number of things that the instructor has to do in order to make the technique to work most effectively.
VS said following was one of "the two most succcesful (sic) ways of learning to ski." It may be part of a well thought out approach, but, on its own, without "the large number of things that the instructor has to do", it is not very effective, as you seem to understand.

BK
post #36 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post
I've been on clinics too many times when ONE student would ask a question and then ask for further clarification repeatedly.
"Why don't you take the next chair ride with me and we'll talk about that...."
post #37 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
Quote:
Aside from things of technical, methodological and attitudinal nature, I learned one important difference between the place of emphasis in teaching skiing in France and in America. In America the emphasis is on explanation-demonstration and having the student practice a certain maneuver until he is proficient at it. The act of skiing is secondary to technique in American ski instruction. In France, however, the overriding attitude is that the student learns faster and better by emphasis on skiing itself, guided by a minimum of explaining and demonstrating. The French student is encouraged, forced or cajoled into educating his physiology as much as his brain.
How does this passage strike you? Blasphemous? Inspirational? Irrelevant? What? (Obviously, I think it's brilliant, or I wouldn't have singled it out and typed it up for y'all.)
It strikes me as potentially valuable, with some caveats.

I've certainly been guilty of talking too much. Most of us probably have been.

I've spent time teaching at a major Colorado resort, though, and I've had a number of students from Great Britain (sorry, I don't speak French, which can be a problem around here!) who had also taken lessons in France. They universally offered the opinion that American lessons (not just mine) were more useful, more oriented to the needs of the student, and more valuable to them - even though I doubt that I can keep up with most French instructors in many situations.

I believe a major component of teaching, like skiing, is balance. We need skiing itself, and we need technique. We need to break it down, and we need to put it back together.

Yes, we explain and demonstrate. Skiers at all levels, and novice skiers in particular, need guidance regarding what they're looking at and what they're looking for when they watch someone ski. They also need functional feedback regarding what they're actually doing when they ski, as opposed to what they think they're doing - and any good instructor will take the time to find out what they think they're doing.

We've all ridden up the chair with someone who, while watching someone come down the hill in an, um, "athletic" fashion, comments on what a great skier that person is. If it's not our guest making the comment, we bite our tongue to avoid an unwanted debate.

So, yes, we explain, sometimes too long. And, yes, we demonstrate, often too mechanically. And, yes, top level clinicians can, and do, make the same mistakes on occasion.

But we also encourage and cajole. We know (or should know) what our guests are there for. It's a recreational activity, after all. They wanna go play! They want to reach a point where they can have a little more fun than they had yesterday.

This is, perhaps, where we stumble. Can we help our guests take whatever it was that we were explaining and demonstrating (briefly and clearly, we hope) and put it back into the mix of their skiing so that they will be encouraged and motivated to keep doing, improving on it, and playing with it? Can we help them ski, rather than helping them do programmed movements more accurately?

I will also suggest that American instructors rarely force their guests to do anything, despite the example provided by certain US government activities!
post #38 of 79
In my brief (but enjoyable!) experience teaching Brits for a week in France, they enjoyed the mix, and felt that they got a lot out of the more free-flowing instruction that I offered compared to what they had experienced from their typical teachers on trips to France.

I will say that no one has ever accused me of standing around on the slopes, though, so perhaps I'm not a good example. My typical salutation is "Let's go!" and I'm known to break into a discourse offered by another guide and say, "Are we talkin' or are we skiin'?" (usually as I slide by).

People are there to become skiers. Talking is great on lifts, but I limit it as much as possible when we're on-snow. Slidin's more fun.
post #39 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpedges View Post
. Or Egyptian pharoahs who married their sisters to keep the bloodlines pure, only to enfeeble their bloodline. Royalty seems a terribly offensive way to view these individuals.
I thought they did that in West Virginia!

And no. You can't marry my sister.
post #40 of 79

Instruction

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post
It strikes me as potentially valuable, with some caveats.

I've certainly been guilty of talking too much. Most of us probably have been.

I've spent time teaching at a major Colorado resort, though, and I've had a number of students from Great Britain (sorry, I don't speak French, which can be a problem around here!) who had also taken lessons in France. They universally offered the opinion that American lessons (not just mine) were more useful, more oriented to the needs of the student, and more valuable to them - even though I doubt that I can keep up with most French instructors in many situations.

I believe a major component of teaching, like skiing, is balance. We need skiing itself, and we need technique. We need to break it down, and we need to put it back together.

Yes, we explain and demonstrate. Skiers at all levels, and novice skiers in particular, need guidance regarding what they're looking at and what they're looking for when they watch someone ski. They also need functional feedback regarding what they're actually doing when they ski, as opposed to what they think they're doing - and any good instructor will take the time to find out what they think they're doing.

We've all ridden up the chair with someone who, while watching someone come down the hill in an, um, "athletic" fashion, comments on what a great skier that person is. If it's not our guest making the comment, we bite our tongue to avoid an unwanted debate.

So, yes, we explain, sometimes too long. And, yes, we demonstrate, often too mechanically. And, yes, top level clinicians can, and do, make the same mistakes on occasion.

But we also encourage and cajole. We know (or should know) what our guests are there for. It's a recreational activity, after all. They wanna go play! They want to reach a point where they can have a little more fun than they had yesterday.

This is, perhaps, where we stumble. Can we help our guests take whatever it was that we were explaining and demonstrating (briefly and clearly, we hope) and put it back into the mix of their skiing so that they will be encouraged and motivated to keep doing, improving on it, and playing with it? Can we help them ski, rather than helping them do programmed movements more accurately?

I will also suggest that American instructors rarely force their guests to do anything, despite the example provided by certain US government activities!
Good thoughts and practices. Nice combo.
post #41 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpedges View Post
Which does the average instructor on a big mountain see as the actual model of PSIA: meritocracy or aristocracy?
It's neither. It's more akin to Tammany Hall.
post #42 of 79
Skiing well knows no limits.
post #43 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by volklskier1 View Post
It's neither. It's more akin to Tammany Hall.
That bad, eh? My condolences to any rank and file members who've experienced the "Tammany Hall" side of the machine,,,and thanks for sticking in there and teaching anyways
post #44 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems View Post
I thought they did that in West Virginia!

And no. You can't marry my sister.
Is that your thinking on this? Don't worry I won't take this as a insult or an attack, it is just a small minded stupid remark that I am sure you did not mean.

JR
Davis WV
post #45 of 79
Nothing is more curious than the almost savage hostility that humor excites in those who lack it. ~George Saintsbury
post #46 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems View Post
I thought they did that in West Virginia!

And no. You can't marry my sister.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolter View Post
Is that your thinking on this? Don't worry I won't take this as a insult or an attack, it is just a small minded stupid remark that I am sure you did not mean.

JR
Davis WV
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Nothing is more curious than the almost savage hostility that humor excites in those who lack it. ~George Saintsbury
Hey!!! I resemble that remark! I are engineer. I have sense of humor and personality of cinder block! : So there so too!

Also, you can't marry my sister because she's the only one who would have me so I married her first.

What? I don't have a sister you say? But I thought...
Her personality is as good as mine. Gooder, even. And I take good care of her. I inflate her every evening.

Now what was the question???
post #47 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolter View Post
Is that your thinking on this? Don't worry I won't take this as a insult or an attack, it is just a small minded stupid remark that I am sure you did not mean.

JR
Davis WV
It was a joke--like a non-sequitor comment. It's a take off on the royalty stuff. I basically think good ski pros and trainers gotta go earn it--every day. And that both the skiing and the understanding are pretty useful, and that you can't be successful without both.

Jeeshhh. Gotta go rework my material.

Sharpedges and I are all cool on this.
post #48 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Nothing is more curious than the almost savage hostility that humor excites in those who lack it. ~George Saintsbury
There's nothing humorous about the perpetuation of negative stereotypes.
post #49 of 79
I know, I'm so ashamed. I'm going to burn all my Jeff Foxworthy records.
post #50 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by volklskier1 View Post
There's nothing humorous about the perpetuation of negative stereotypes.
Sure there is. There is humor in everything, if you are willing to see it. As Bill Cosby has said, "You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything - even poverty - you can survive it."

Laugh. Life is far too short to take seriously.
post #51 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Sure there is. There is humor in everything, if you are willing to see it. As Bill Cosby has said, "You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything - even poverty - you can survive it."

Laugh. Life is far too short to take seriously.
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/38673
post #52 of 79
Thread Starter 
I'll bet Dick Dorworth likes a good joke as much as anyone, French or American. I laughed uproariously at his description of a truckdriver's gonads after losing his brakes on a treacherous stretch of highway between L.A. and Lake Tahoe called the Grapevine:
Quote:
There are a thousand stories of horrible wrecks on the Grapevine, trucks losing their brakes at the top and, if they made it, coming to the bottom at 300 mph, their drivers turned into ancient, white-haired old men with skeleton hands fused to the steering wheel. Their eyes as big as saucers, deep as wells, with pupils the size of pinheads, gonads shrunk to the size of peas and retreated up behind the scrotum so far that only Julie Christie, Brigitte Bardot, the Virgin Mary, Tina Turner, Germaine Greer and the Mona Lisa--all combined into one, perfect, illuminated woman, in love with this whisper of the remains of the truck driver, who aged 2,000 years in three minutes of surviving the Grapevine--could ever bring life, warmth, movement and the flowing river of love back into those dessicated progenitors of the future of the human race. Ahh, yes, the Grapevine's one of the many possible bitches in life, if you let it be that.
Ahh, yes, you gotta pick up this book.
post #53 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Sure there is. There is humor in everything, if you are willing to see it. As Bill Cosby has said, "You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything - even poverty - you can survive it."

Laugh. Life is far too short to take seriously.
Isn't there enough to laugh at on these boards by looking at the skiing of the self-anointed expert coaches here and better yet their writing and analysis? And if there is humor in everything and it's really only the humorless that don't get it and all of you mods are really cool folks with a good sense of humor why the constant moderation here; is there a new policy that means that I can now make fun of and mock the truly mediocre skiing of folks such as you and Hombre Rapido? I mean you wouldn't have a problem with it would you? I'll make the posts very funny and instead of being a slur against the disadvantaged it will be comedy directly related to skiing. Give me the word because there is a lot of material here.

FYI, I dont think most comedians today view jokes based on stereotypes as acceptable anymore. They're a very cheap and unimaginative laugh In fact on Last comic standing the other night Richard Belzer scolded a contestant for that very thing.
post #54 of 79
VS, there's a lot of self-appointed experts on here. Some just seem to be expert complainers, some expert stirrers, and some are experts at attempting to prevent dialogue and discussion.
I've even heard a rumour that there's a forum set up where 97% of the posts are about belittling EpicSki or posters on here. Perhaps that's where these "experts" are coming from, or perhaps that's where they should go.
post #55 of 79
Oooooh. Jeeeshhhh. Now I gotta burn my Volkls too!

Nolo! No more trucker jokes. They offend me.

VS, where does all that mean juice come from?

Anyway, back to the original subject: Dorworth has a natural tendency to reject analysis, having been subject to the ad nauseum type of analysis that was present at the time. I don't think it's like that as much any more. But those who are doing it should quit it--today. On the other hand, I sat in on a clinic with Steve Mahre in which 80% of the time was spent listening to him talk and answer questions. It was wonderful, and it changed many things in my skiing for a long time. I've also been in clinics where the whole deal was "get in behind" and stay there. I learned so much about lines and rhythms and improvising and timings....I was thrilled.

So what's the issue?

And my apologies to the entire state of West Virginia. Can we still tell jokes about the French?

Quote:
Originally Posted by volklskier1 View Post
Isn't there enough to laugh at on these boards by looking at the skiing of the self-anointed expert coaches here and better yet their writing and analysis? And if there is humor in everything and it's really only the humorless that don't get it and all of you mods are really cool folks with a good sense of humor why the constant moderation here; is there a new policy that means that I can now make fun of and mock the truly mediocre skiing of folks such as you and Hombre Rapido? I mean you wouldn't have a problem with it would you? I'll make the posts very funny and instead of being a slur against the disadvantaged it will be comedy directly related to skiing. Give me the word because there is a lot of material here.

FYI, I dont think most comedians today view jokes based on stereotypes as acceptable anymore. They're a very cheap and unimaginative laugh In fact on Last comic standing the other night Richard Belzer scolded a contestant for that very thing.
post #56 of 79
Thread Starter 
I wasn't teaching skiing during the time Dorworth refers to in the initial passage, but I recall an entire day's clinic in the early '80s that digressed into a debate between two examiners on whether in the stem christie demo we should plant the pole on the up-move or the down-move. It just killed the stem christie for me.
post #57 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by volklskier1 View Post
Give me the word because there is a lot of material here.
Word sent.
post #58 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems View Post

Anyway, back to the original subject: Dorworth has a natural tendency to reject analysis, having been subject to the ad nauseum type of analysis that was present at the time. I don't think it's like that as much any more. But those who are doing it should quit it--today. On the other hand, I sat in on a clinic with Steve Mahre in which 80% of the time was spent listening to him talk and answer questions. It was wonderful, and it changed many things in my skiing for a long time. I've also been in clinics where the whole deal was "get in behind" and stay there. I learned so much about lines and rhythms and improvising and timings....I was thrilled.

So what's the issue?


Exactly, Weems.

Do whatever needs to be done to best encourage the learning you're trying to promote. Talk when you need to talk,,, drill when you need to drill,,, ski when you need to ski. Blend it to match the need of the particular student and the lesson. Remain flexible. Remain aware. Remain ready to step outside the confines of the strict methodological box when needed. Don't go black and white, picking and sticking steadfast to one camp or the other. It will only limit your potential to be effective.
post #59 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Exactly, Weems.

Do whatever needs to be done to best encourage the learning you're trying to promote. Talk when you need to talk,,, drill when you need to drill,,, ski when you need to ski. Blend it to match the need of the particular student and the lesson. Remain flexible. Remain aware. Remain ready to step outside the confines of the strict methodological box when needed. Don't go black and white, picking and sticking steadfast to one camp or the other. It will only limit your potential to be effective.
I'm with ya, Rick.

In general, when I am instructing, I also think that if I'm not concerned that we're skiing too much, we're probably not skiing enough.
post #60 of 79
Finding the right mix of activities is so hard to teach to new instructors. Especially when they are required to attend so many fall new hire clinics. If only they realized that during these clinics there are a lot of rules and proceedures that need to be covered (insurance requires they are covered every year), so the agenda is pretty much defined by the SAM and director of training. Most assume that is how their trainer would conduct a regular lesson because they haven't been exposed to the idea of how to develop an appropriate lesson plan.
Then we introduce GCT when they get closer to actually teaching on their own. The confusion that follows is almost inevitable because the first way most choose to teach is to use a progression or two that they learned in a clinic. They usually fail to consider that the talent level in the class is totally different than that of the clinic group they attended. When things bog down, or don't go the same way they did in the clinic, they erroneously assume it's because their presentation and the content needs to change. In a lot of cases the only thing they needed to change was to have a little more patience. Which is why I feel there isn't a single magic pace, or mix of activities. It all depends on how fast the student learns and applies the new moves we've shown them.
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