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Generalization of Drills and Progressions

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
A lot of the reasoning and rationalization for the methods and approaches to skiing that are described here and elsewhere implicitly rely on the assumption of generalization and/or the impression of the instructor employing said approaches. There are certainly studies of motor learning and skill development that show that skill component development does not always generalize very well to the integrated activity it is intended towards. When you add in the subjective outcome measurement of the instructor who believes in an approach the waters become further muddied. This seems like a big part of the reasons there is the level of debate about ski instruction that we see here.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had more objective measures of the efficacy of various approaches? When I hear Wig's describe the success of Aspen's DTP programs I see great opportunity there for such information. Here's a school that somewhat dramatically changed their approach and are reporting outcomes which would seem relatively easy to quantify and make more objective.

I know that different things work for different people but this can either serve to stratify the way approaches are analyzed or ignored in order to get an overall impression. I'm not looking for government funded studies here, but I think the industry could be well served by taking things just a bit further when big changes in approach are taken (such as those reported by Wigs at Aspen).

It seems to me that a Ski Magazine might be interested in reporting on this kind of "outcome study" (I know for certain that the previous editorship of Skiing Mag was) but if not there would always be the International Congress on Skiing that happens every couple of years. A few of us here at Epic were involved in trying to organize a whole event along this line of outcomes but commercial support was just not adequate.
post #2 of 19
Thanks Si,
It seems to me whenever I post about our DTP program there's no response. Like I said in one of my posts, "It seems to go in one ear an then out the other for a majoity of the pros here". Like this whole DTP thing is a new approach. Oh well. I'm going to quit beating my head against the wall on this and wait a season or two when the whole ski school industry is teaching a DTP progression, and then sit back and chuckle bit. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] -----Wigs

BTW, I got your note. GREAT IDEA!!!!
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by Wigs:
Thanks Si,
It seems to me whenever I post about our DTP program there's no response. Like I said in one of my posts, "It seems to go in one ear an then out the other for a majoity of the pros here". Like this whole DTP thing is a new approach. Oh well. I'm going to quit beating my head against the wall on this and wait a season or two when the whole ski school industry is teaching a DTP progression, and then sit back and chuckle bit. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] -----Wigs

BTW, I got your note. GREAT IDEA!!!!
Wigs,

I'm only one person and I'm new here on EpicSki, but the new PSIA Alpine Manual sure made it clear to me that the DTP approach that you are doing in Aspen is the preferred PSIA approach to teaching to parallel. I read what you write, learn a lot, but usually don't feel qualified to add anything (and typically I don't reply when my thought is, "Wow! That makes a lot of sense."

But, FWIW, "Wow! That makes a lot of sense!"

Best,
ssh
post #4 of 19
Can somebody summarize the PSIA DTP progression in a post? I don't doubt that it makes sense, I just doubt that it works for everyone.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by TomB:
Can somebody summarize the PSIA DTP progression in a post? I don't doubt that it makes sense, I just doubt that it works for everyone.
I don't think that PSIA has a specific DTP progression. They did develop the "Stepping Stones to Parallel," which is not exactly a progression. It includes various tasks, which includes some wedge turns, but it also implies that some students may skip many of the tasks if they have the skills ot do it. You can find the "Stepping Stones" at www.psia-e.org.

Regards, John
post #6 of 19
Stepping stones is as the name would indicate. Like stones laying out in a creek, it allows numerous ways to get to the desired location, which is typically the other side. It presents advantages and problems. It allows versatility but also can lack the cohesiveness of more "progression" style approaches. Every good instructor I know has their standard progression for various student levels. They can pluck something out or put something in as needed.

The most important person to have an understanding of the progression being taught is the student. If you are being led across that same creek, would you rather be blindfolded and simply moved across, or would you rather have the path pointed out and have a vision of where you are being led. If the student doesn't know where they are being led and why, it doesn't matter what you throw at them, the success will be limited.

That's really the point, no program can be designed to overcome the lack of skills of a competent instructor.

We will be starting our "Pathways to Parallel" program this year at our tiny WI ski area. We will be not only incorporating it into privates and groups, but station teaching as well. The most important part of the success of the program is not merely the written material, but the training and committment of those who will be teaching it. If they simply teach what is written without the understanding of the "whys" behind it, they will be trapped in a system that will fall apart if they don't constantly get the same results. And that can be said of any "system" or "progression".

Going back to the SI's original posting. Quantifiable measurement of any program is always going to extremely difficult. The reason is that the biggest "variable" is the instructor. That's why most debates will almost always become a debate of knowledge into application rather than simply application. Most candidate instructors can apply something after a couple of weeks. But do they know why they are applying it and what they are looking for? Having a problem with a "progression" or "system"? Make sure you fix as many of the "variables" as you can before you throw the baby out with the bath water.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by ssh:
I'm only one person and I'm new here on EpicSki, but the new PSIA Alpine Manual sure made it clear to me that the DTP approach that you are doing in Aspen is the preferred PSIA approach to teaching to parallel.
I just spoke on the phone to a member of the PSIA-RM ed staff. He had never heard reference to the acronym DTP. I'm relatively up to date and have never heard it mentioned.

Does it by chance mean direct to parallel?

If so......holy cow. I sure as Chatauqua hope not.

Aspen's ski school is the best in the business so I know Wigs and Weems are doing it right.

I wanted to "ski parallel" when I was 12.

We don't teach people with the goal being "parallel"

It is not "preferred"

Where does it appear in the Alpine Teaching Manual?

I have the sneaking suspicion a "Pathways to Parallel" program has it's genesis in some sort of PMTS program.

[ November 20, 2003, 04:06 PM: Message edited by: Rusty Guy ]
post #8 of 19
We don't teach people with the goal being "parallel"
It is not "preferred"
Where does it appear in the Alpine Teaching Manual?

It appears on page 37 of the Alpine Teaching Manual. Top right corner directly beneath the word "Goal"

Hey, you asked. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

Who's "we"?
post #9 of 19
QUOTE ?I have the sneaking suspicion a "Pathways to Parallel" program has it's genesis in some sort of PMTS program.?

If there appear to be any universal concepts coincidental to the two, consider that it may be because that the concepts are less coincidental and more universal.

Pathways to Parallel?s genesis was in the recognition of a gap in current offering?s abilities to meet the diverse and evolving needs of many students. Needs that were not being addressed by any introduction to skiing process currently in universal or genuine widespread practice. P2P was designed to take advantage of opportunities presented by evolving equipment technology and to further promote evolving awareness that the most efficient movements to ski with are also the easiest to learn and continue to learning to ski with (as well as the easiest to teach). The recognition and application of this timeless premise upon which P2P is based, and also pre-dates PMTS?s existence, is not decidedly in conflict of the principles also recognized and promoted by that system.

Note that Pathway?S? is deliberately plural, promoting adaptability to a variety of student needs, terrain, snow conditions, equipment, class size or time constraints. Although P2P?s existence and, to date, ad-hoc circulation also pre-dates Stepping-Stones, it is fully compatible with the application of that concept. As pointed out above, anything being taught may only be as effective as the delivery system is competent. However I?d contend that it is far easier for instructors to learn (that desire to) to teach efficient skiing, than it is to learn to cope with the aftermath of teaching inefficient skiing.

[img]smile.gif[/img]
post #10 of 19
Arc,

Are you doing peyote along with single malt this evening?

The apostrophe key is just above the question mark key and just to the left of your scotch bottle.

Remember....lift,tip,lighten then refill

[ November 20, 2003, 08:03 PM: Message edited by: Rusty Guy ]
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by MC Extreme:

That's really the point, no program can be designed to overcome the lack of skills of a competent instructor...

Going back to the SI's original posting. Quantifiable measurement of any program is always going to extremely difficult. The reason is that the biggest "variable" is the instructor. That's why most debates will almost always become a debate of knowledge into application rather than simply application. Most candidate instructors can apply something after a couple of weeks. But do they know why they are applying it and what they are looking for? Having a problem with a "progression" or "system"? Make sure you fix as many of the "variables" as you can before you throw the baby out with the bath water.
MC Ex I think this is a common response with a great deal of truth to it. However, I would try to make the point that the difficulties you refer to can be overcome. There are straightforward ways to "balance" the instructor factor to get at the relative efficacy of a teaching system. This is not to deny the importance of an instructor's skills and teaching abilities, only to say that it is possible to account for such if we really want to compare teaching systems.

In terms of your first quoted statement, again I agree. However, I would also point out that if there is a difference between two teaching systems then an instructor struggling to teach within the system that 1) is less effective and 2) whose underlying model is less viable may yet flourish under the system that is more effective (perhaps as you state cohesiveness is an important component here) and whose underlying model more closely matches the learning environment.

BTW I am enjoying your posts and think you are providing valuable contributions to the discussions here.

Edit: I just read Arc's post and realize that I have just reiterated his more succinctly stated sentence: "However I'd contend that it is far easier for instructors to learn (that desire to) to teach efficient skiing, than it is to learn to cope with the aftermath of teaching inefficient skiing."

[ November 20, 2003, 08:32 PM: Message edited by: Si ]
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by Rusty Guy:
Arc,

Are you doing peyote along with single malt this evening?

The apostrophe key is just above the question mark key and just to the left of your scotch bottle.
It's Vodka, in fruit flavored little jello cubes, Ha, Ha,

I try to compose in MS-Word (to evoid your distain for my inability to spell), then cut/paste here and " turns into a ? in the posting process. Sometimes I 4get to re-edit them back.

But then I accept that many of my quotes are cause for wonder anyway.....
[img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by Arcmeister:
...I try to compose in MS-Word (to evoid your distain for my inability to spell)...
"E-void", huh ... the word sure does conjure up some interesting possible meanings, but maybe I just have a feeeelthy mind.

[/disdain_OFF] [/hijack_OFF]

And most importantly,

[/spellChecker_ON] [/chopBusting_ON].

Tom / PM

[ November 20, 2003, 10:09 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #14 of 19
There has been so much talk lately in several different threads about the "best" teaching method, style, form, or system. I am NOT going to get sucked into a meaningless debate about which system is "better". Instead, I challenge every pro to read this with an open mind!

Many years ago, I happened to be in the office of a friend who used to run the ski school at Heavenly Valley. He had a small saying mounted on his wall, which I hope I'll never forget-

"Do not confuse officially recognized teaching systems with the way people really learn".

After reading (sleeping) through most of the recent threads, I keep asking myself, "why all the split hairs?" There is no ONE system which will ever be everything to everybody! Just as there is no one perfect ski for every person and condition. If there was such a system or ski, all others would be made obsolete immediately. And everybody else would be out of business!

I let my students be my guide when it comes to what and how I teach. I watch, listen, and ask alot of questions of each and every student I work with. Even if I have worked with them before, I always begin any session with several questions, which hopefully establish the goals, and the ground rules for achieving those goals.

This friend at Heavenly (though at the time, I was a sceptic) was far ahead of his time. Working closely with a major ski company, a system called the "Natural Easy Carve" (NEC) was developed. It had the concept of shape skis (1980-ish, long before the first radically shaped skis were available), combined with an understanding of students needs/desires/outcomes long before PSIA began seriously thinking in that direction. It allowed each student to pretty much dictate what style of progression worked best for them.

The "RED" progression was a typically wedge based system. Geared toward the more timid, defensive personalities of students. Nothing unfamiliar to anybody who has taught for any period during the past 30 + years.

The "GREEN" progression was a more aggressive, edge/pressure oriented system. This system was geared toward the more aggressive student, with some measure of athletic confidence. It was an early attempt to utilize the technology of these particular skis (larger sidecuts then were generally produced).

Both of these progressions were taught side by side. Those of us who did not understand this development had our nicknames for this system... "Not Exactly Correct", or "Not Exactly Conventional"... and a few others which are not fit to print. It was our own lack of understanding which convinced us this system was wrong. In retrospect, my own teaching would be a decade further ahead right now if I had taken the time to understand that concept, rather than put it down out of ignorance and arrogance.

So- who cares what system is used- ATS, PMTS, DTP, PTP, GLM, whatever name it carries is irrelevant! What IS important is the "PRO" who learns all of the available systems, and creates the very best learning environment for the student out of the various parts of each.

By the way, the ski company which produced the skis was Head (LR90, SR90, LR70, SR70, etc) and the gentleman (friend) to whom I refer to is none other than upcoming ETU coach and Ski Magazine Instruction Editor, and new EpicSki member- STU CAMPBELL.

So before you jump out and trash a system you know little about, open your mind, and see if there is something beneficial about it, rather than looking for the differences to your own beliefs. Are your belief systems so fragile that the existence of another system scares you?

:

BY THE WAY, I HAVE ALSO USED THIS POST TO OPEN A NEW THREAD CALLED "WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU ARE RIGHT?"

[ November 21, 2003, 07:21 AM: Message edited by: vail snopro / ric reiter ]
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by vail snopro / ric reiter:
So before you jump out and trash a system you know little about, open your mind, and see if there is something beneficial about it, rather than looking for the differences to your own beliefs. Are your belief systems so fragile that the existence of another system scares you? :
No argument here Ric. I'm just asking, why not try and take it beyond the subjective impression of the individual instructor and try to more objectively assess the advantages and disadvanteges of one approach over the other (including how much training it might take an instructor to use an approach). When Wigs states that the changes they have made in Aspen have almost universally worked for their clients to advance beyond the beginner stage dramatically faster, that seems to me to be something to take note of. Is there anyone here who doesn't think that one approach may have some advantages over another that hold up pretty generally?

When I read the comments from many of the instructors here I sure get the impression that they have very strong beliefs about the approaches (including the variety of such) they use (not necessarily a bad thing). This suggests to me that perhaps they may not be the best at providing an objective evaluation of outcomes.

If one ski school can objectively demonstrate that they have an approach that can develop beginners faster than another ski school that is pretty significant. While I think you and others are saying it's the quality of the pros that would be responsible for such differences I tend to believe ("believe" not state as proven fact) that approach can also have a signifcant role to play in improving ski instruction.
post #16 of 19
Si- I agree with your general premise, but in teaching skiing, one size does NOT fit all.

To be a one trick pony (an instructor with limited knowledge of other methodologies) creates an instr generated limitation to the student. If an instr were to teach exactly the same thing, the same way, to each and every student, a great many students who DON'T learn that particular way, would be missed.

Why does a department store carry the same item in mutiple sizes and colors? They understand that people tastes and features are unique.
In the ski instruction biz, various learning styles (and for the instr, various teaching styles) have been identified. Thats great as far as communicating with the student. But that still leaves the problem of WHAT is being taught. Then add the WHERE (terrain) and the WHEN. Some students, as I mentioned in the earlier post, have more confidence, and can accelerate their learning, while those more tentative personalities might take a little longer. Both are striving toward the same goal, but as instr's, we should have a multitude of paths that we can direct them along toward that goal. Not just one...

Let's say you drive the exact same freeway to work every day-. Usually, it is the fastest, and most effortless way to get there. But one day, there is a crash (happens daily here in C/S...). You have no other idea how to get to work, so like thousands of other sheep, you just sit there, being completely unproductive.
Meanwhile, your co-worker who has more knowledge of the local streets, listens to the radio, hears about the crash and ensuing gridlock, chooses another route, gets to work on time, and closes the big deal!

Since these "crashes" happen regularly in skiing, it is the more knowledgable instr who is not going to let it faze him, and is going to close the deal with the student. The one trick pony had better learn a few more tricks!

:
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ric, I agree that it's not about a single narrowly defined approach. However, it seems to me that there are some general classifications of approaches that can be compared. For the sake of understanding we certainly can compare approach 1 with approach 2 (both general approaches with some flexibility but also significant differences between them) in two separate groups. What you're saying is that for some, approach 1 might be best, and for others approach approach 2 would be the ticket. This, however, should be part of the outcome for a well designed study (that might even involve some crossover between groups based on poor initial outcome). All I'm saying is that it isn't that hard to study fundamental approaches for ski instruction (especially at the beginner level) and that this is better than a bunch of widely varying subjective impressions about efficacy.

If the approach truly doesn't make a significant difference such a study will just show no differences and that in itself would be valuable information.

[ November 21, 2003, 08:32 AM: Message edited by: Si ]
post #18 of 19
From reading this stuff you instructors post for the last 4 years, I have come to the conclusion that terrain (including snow conditions) and equipment make more of a difference for a beginner than anything else.
post #19 of 19
Milesb-
You may not be that far off the mark...

A great ski instr once said "if it weren't for the terminology, there would be no need for professionals at all"

Given the right environment and equipment, an average person could probably figure out how to ski on their own. The role of the pro is merely to shortcut that process.

:
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