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Stages of instructor development (nolo!)

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
It seems hyperchangecafe, with it's wealth of industry articles is gone, unless the site has moved.

I read a great article by Carol Levine about stages of instructor awareness on hcc last season, and am now trying to reference some things from it for an indoor lecture series about teaching. Nolo. Is there some other place I can procure articles formerly on your site? Is it true that hcc is gone or is it some other temporary issue?

Anyway, I thought it might prove to be an interesting topic, to identify/exchange ideas on perceived "stages" of instructor/teacher awareness or development.

oh, BTW hello again everyone. Howz the place lately?
[img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #2 of 23
Roto,

I took HCC off the WWW last weekend. I didn't think it was getting enough use. There were only five of us chatting regularly and that was pretty sporadic. Since I passed it along to a webmaster-friend, I wasn't privy to stats other than on the message boards, so I didn't realize people were reading the articles. Anyway, I found it demoralizing to log in and see my name on all the posts and besides I really like chatting with the people here. It's a rich pool. Plus, why compete with AC? I'm 100% with AC and what he's doing here. I want to support it in any way I can.

I have given a few articles to AC. I can give him the rest of them and he can post those if he'd like.

Send me a PM with your email address and I'll send you the article.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
demoralizing? Hmm... I hope I did not contribute to that by connecting your SN with hcc. I have always assumed people would use their real names if they wanted it that way. But then again, it is the way of the world (even the wide web) for people to violate others' boundaries either un or intentionally. No matter where we go plotitics (Typo intentional) will be a part of the game.

Hopefully you can see the habits people have of dropping your name as a positive thing, as it proves you are one of esteem in others' eyes. Even insults people may cast your way, if examined, can ultimately prove to be (unintended)compliments.

I am reminded of a quote from a recently published booklet...

"The power of our mentors is not necessarily in the models of good teaching they gave us, models that may turn out to have little to do with who we are as teachers. Their power is in their capacity to awaken a truth within us, a truth we can reclaim years later by recalling their impact on our lives. If we discovered a teacher's heart in ourselves by meeting a great teacher, recalling that meeting may help us take heart in teaching once more."

My limited experiences interacting with you and the information/ ideas these inteactions have caused me to seek out have reflected the ideas behind this quote

Go back an read the quote one more time, then read the next one.

"The truth hurts."

and maybe you can see why some people get so insulting sometimes. And in connecting those two quotes find comfort in their ire.

That which causes you the greatest pain is also the source of your happiness, and that which gives you the greatest pleasure is also the source if you pain...(or something like that..supposed to be a Kahlil Gibran quote, but don't have the time to round it up)

bye.

[ October 14, 2002, 06:44 PM: Message edited by: Roto ]
post #4 of 23
I think you misunderstood what I meant. I felt like I was talking to myself and it seemed kind of pathetic. (My name was on all the posts meant I was posting and replying to myself a lot of the time...)

I appreciate what you wrote (The truth hurts), but what's an SN? I don't care about people knowing who I am. I yam who I yam.

Sorry about HCC. It was tough to call it quits. Had I known what you told me, I might have done otherwise...

Do you want the article?
post #5 of 23
Training

Real improvements in the "state of ski teaching" will only come about when management commits to training its ski school employees.**

All businesses have a vested interest in training their employees to be effective on the job. Snowsports schools, being in business to train the public, must regard professional development as the only quality control they have. Since a lesson is only as good as an individual's skill in delivering it, a school's business success depends on how effectively they prepare their own personnel to be successful with the guests. Given the consequences, it's rather astonishing that any manager would want to abdicate the responsibility for training to AASI/PSIA.**

AASI/PSIA training programs simply do not have the time-on-task with participants that a snowsports school (or any business, for that matter) has with its employees. The major challenge to instructor training is time. On the one hand, most experts agree that it probably takes ten years to develop to the level of a master instructor. On the other hand, schools have only a few weeks to indoctrinate their new hires before the Christmas rush, when every able-bodied instructor must be with a class, ready or not.

The distressing fact is that few new instructors are ready for their first class. Even high-tech, strong-talent ski schools like Vail/Beaver Creek, whose training program is a world-class model of excellence, are frustrated with their results with rookies.

Johanna Hall, who manages the ski and snowboard school at Steamboat, Colorado, recalls how it was a few years ago when she was at Vail:

Quote:
After just moving into a position as a supervisor at Vail, I realized that my level of understanding about mechanics was very unrealistic for our first-year instructors. And I had observations of our instructors that were disturbing. These young instructors had such a small working knowledge of skiing in the big picture. Their idea of outcome was: 1) braking wedge; 2) stop, and 3) Oh boy, off to the chairlift! Even with the incredible amount of training they receive at Vail, this was the first level of understanding they achieved. Sorry to say, whether kids' or adults' ski school, we have mostly first and second year instructors out with the beginners, and with their limited understanding of mechanics, they were getting our customers functional but very often blocked (by which I mean that some of their learned behaviors must be unlearned before further progress can be achieved).

After the Christmas rush, there is a second stab at training--with more mechanics, more games, more exercises, more skiing from one level to another, and more discussion to show how skiing fits together. "They get plenty of help with their own skiing and we make great attempts at tying their skills back to the skills of their students. Yet, sure enough, the TRANSFER of this additional training into action and everyday practice is another story. I'd see them doing the same things they did initially.
What is true of Vail is even more true of smaller, lower budget schools. Their failure to adequately train their own people speaks volumes about the lack of quality control of their product. For the customer, getting a good lesson seems to be a matter of pure luck. The odds seem to favor getting a less experienced instructor and a poor quality lesson. Such odds make for a lousy sales prospectus.

"Most of our work force is teaching while they learn to teach, learn to ski, learn the progression, learn mechanics, learn company policy, and learn about our customers and their needs," says Johanna. Can't we somehow accelerate the learning process so novice instructors can deliver good lessons sooner?

For the ski instructional community, this is big concern. Obviously, the traditional show and tell approach to training falls well short of success. Something must be added to traditional training methods to make it more effective and more efficient.

Carol Levine, coordinator of training at Vail, replied to Johanna's letter with the germ of a solution. She tells about recent research on "teacher concerns theory," which examines how well colleges of education are preparing their students to meet the challenges of teaching. The theory is based on Maslow's theory of needs motivation and Erikson's theory of personality. Teacher concerns can be classified as: 1) concerns about self, 2) concerns about teaching tasks, and 3) concerns about the impact of teaching on pupils. These three concerns represent progressive phases in a teacher's professional development.

Carol explains:

Quote:
The first phase relates to the instructors which Johanna describes. Self concerns are a normal part of everyone's development. The research suggests that "the inexperienced teacher has little, if any, insight into the kinds of tasks and problems involved in teaching. Prospective teachers are not always aware of realistic teacher concerns. It is difficult for the pre-service teacher to relate knowledge of educational theory to expected on-the-job behavior.
In other words, at this stage teachers are more concerned about themselves than their students.

The second phase evolves as "concerns about functioning in general change to concerns about the self as a teacher and about adequacy in teaching. The teacher in this phase is also concerned about the feelings of his pupils toward him." This phase occurs after there is actual classroom experience, yet "concerns about self are still strong."

The third phase comes with teaching experience and is directly related to increased proficiency and effectiveness. It is "characterized by concerns about pupil learning, about improvement of teaching abilities, and seeking changes in themselves and their teaching which will facilitate pupil growth."

If we are to create an accelerated learning program for novice instructors, a major objective would be to "mature" a new teacher's concerns. Carol suggests that we "put teacher trainees into a field experience program early in the education process. In terms of ski and snowboard teaching, perhaps many programs don't give new instructors enough time and experience dealing with immediate on-the-hill problems and concerns, so that they have the confidence to understand and use more new information from training clinics."

The training program must address what motivates the instructor. Maslow's theory of needs motivation states that one must first satisfy the lower level biological and security needs before higher level esteem and achievement needs come into play. Like everyone else, ski instructors are motivated to satisfy the next level of need, and training should target that.

Carol says, "Perhaps some of our training programs are not assessing new instructors' needs very well. Are we giving them too much or too little in certain areas? For instance, at a time when they are still concerned about their own security and esteem needs, is management expecting them to operate at a level higher than their worries allow? I find myself sharing information about mechanics or teaching methods where I'm presuming that the new teachers (in this case, my students) are concerned, like me, with being a good teacher, when in fact they may be chiefly concerned with surviving as a teacher."

The research on teacher concerns theory provides a blueprint for the training program of the future. At the entry level, teacher concerns are basic. New teachers are more concerned with survival than teaching. They're concerned with here-and-now problems of coping rather than any abstract "self-actualization." They have trouble maintaining control of the group and meeting the individual needs of their students. They rate student teaching as of far greater value than education classes, though they find special methods courses very helpful.

New teachers need an example to follow when they're on their own. At a minimum, before a new instructor goes out with a class, he or she should have some opportunities to shadow an experienced instructor at work--to see how it's done, to ask questions, to practice teaching, and to get some feedback. The training emphasis at this stage of development should be on learning how to relate to students and how to keep the class under control and moving along. Until the group management issues have been resolved, according to Maslow's theory, the higher need for knowledge and understanding will lay dormant.

Once an instructor has figured out how to manage the people in her class, she begins to feel the need to have a good background in ski teaching. This is when most ski instructors join AASI/PSIA and begin the certification process. The PSIA training curriculum is graded from Level I to Level III to allow people to progressively accumulate a good background in ski teaching over several years. It takes an average of 3.8 years to attain Level II and 4.8 years for Level III.*
*
Some never move past the "techno-wienie" phase that is characteristic of instructors in the certification process, and perhaps this is the why we suffer from the stereotype of the egocentric windbag. Yet teacher concerns theory indicates that the techno-wienie phase is necessary to the development of a good ski instructor. A solid background in learning theory, biomechanics, physics, movement analysis, progressions, skills and skill blending is fundamental to the work of improving a skier's ability. This background is necessary for the instructor to have adequate diagnostic skills to prescribe an appropriate course of improvement.

Knowledge brings with it the desire to share it with others. The third phase of teacher concerns development--concerns about student learning--is the end to which all training must ultimately be directed. Once reaching this stage is not a guarantee that you will stay there. All teachers will move in and out of this level of concern. Depending upon the situation, a high level teacher may revert to lower level concerns, and conversely, a less experienced teacher can use a limited knowledge base to perfectly meet a student's goals. Concerns about self are bound to be a part of a new job, a move to a new area, or increased responsibility at work. Carol notes that these concerns "may be of a shorter duration, but are as likely to occur to a seasoned teacher in a new job situation as to a student teacher starting out in the profession."

All along, a competing concern has had a profound influence on the teacher's development. "The desire for esteem from others was identified as an important objective for beginning teachers," Carol notes. "Acceptance from peers, as well as supervisors, was a major concern." The need for esteem from others can distract a teacher from her concerns about student learning. Most of us will recognize the teacher whose primary motivation is to impress the boss. He offers his students little more than a pantomime of a ski or snowboard lesson.*

But esteem needs can affect teaching in even more pernicious ways. A college professor, no less, writes in Harper's Magazine: "I had been putting on a performance whose true goal was not to help the students learn but to act in such a way that they would have a good opinion of me." It's a rare teacher whose motivation goes beyond leaving students with a superficial positive impression.

The teacher whose predominant concern is maintaining authority with the class and receiving recognition from his or her peers has little attention left to give to student learning. There is the task of training--to satisfy the lower level needs of instructors so they can get on to the important business of acquiring a foundation of knowledge and transferring that knowledge to the actual job of teaching. **
*
by Joan Rostad

[ October 14, 2002, 01:14 PM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Oh, I get it now (doh). demoralized by seeing your name on all the posts on hcc! I did misunderstand, thought you meant on the posts here about the demise of hcc (I found that thread). SN=screen name. thanks for the article. It has had a profound effect on my views on training/development. I hope I can use some quotes from it during indoor presentations, or at least paraphrase the ideas.
post #7 of 23
Nolo,

Great article, but where have I seen it, TPS?
post #8 of 23
You're welcome to use it however you'd like, Roto. As you can see, I used some great quotes myself.

Tom, It was never in TPS. I think it ran in some divisional newsletters. I wrote it a long time ago. When did Johnanna Hall go to Snoqualmie Pass? That must have been when (I just updated her resume in this post).
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Geez, that was awhile ago. Where did she go after Snoqualmie? The NW seems to have been tough on the "players" of the ski teaching industry, It's always exciting to see them come up, like it's a sign that ski education may be turning into a viable career option for more of us, but, dammit it happened yet. And folks like Johanna, or Bob etc. move on out again.

Hopefully the latest such foray is a succeesful one. I always appreciate the opportunity to work with/for people who have so much experience etc. under their belts.

future edit to appear here:
post #10 of 23
Johanna's running the Steamboat school.

The NW did well to place two guys on the D-Team and keep 'em. NRM lost our superstar to Aspen within weeks. (Love you, Jim! No hard feelings. You would have been an idiot to stay at Big Sky when Aspen beckoned.)

So what do you say about the notions in this article? Has Level I or any other intro program helped solve the problem of putting our newbie instructors onto the information superhighway too soon in the learning process? (The case where experts create the learning disability.) Are we giving them enough time to get their feet wet in a fail-safe manner? Can instructor development transcend the techno-wienie phase?
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:


The NW did well to place two guys on the D-Team and keep 'em.
Yeah, but they were from here. I was referring to folks with careers in the land where skiing is (can be) a career.

As for whether level 1 or any other program has helped. No. That can only happen in the ski schools where the people are working if you ask me. A lot of schools intend to offer sufficient shadowing/tutelage/mentoring opportunities to create experience, but due to communication or other lack of backup issues many of the newbies are thrust into teaching before they really are ready. Often in the NW it happens when the rush is on and the supervisors/directors/whoever "need bodies" and, well people just get sent out to teach. Once that happens it is tough to get noobs back into the training loop. All it takes is a cohesive management/training staff that are all on the same page, back each other up and follow through with the vision, but places that have that are, in my experience, rare finds.

I worked for one school in which the director had the vision and strength to communicate and see the vision through without fail, without exception. It was an amazing place to be, an amazing place to learn in a natural hierarchy that gave constant feedback to everyone as to their level(s) of develoment. Everyone knew where they were and could see where there was to go. We were all on the boat, and if we acted in such a way that communicated we weren't, we were reminded that we had voluntarily agreed to be on the boat, promised to be on it, and if we were having second thoughts that was fine but we needed to make the decision one way or the other.

I have sought again such a place. Sought to help create such a place myself, but there must be a leader with a vision and with the gumption to tow the line even if it looks like it isn't going to work right away, until a group of people that also believe convene to tow that line even if it is hard. A tough place to create in the midst of a culture already in place.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:
[QB]

The NW did well to place two guys on the D-Team and keep 'em. NRM lost our superstar to Aspen within weeks. (Love you, Jim! No hard feelings. You would have been an idiot to stay at Big Sky when Aspen beckoned.)
QB]
Well, now he's running around asking for the Audi that he says we promised him as part of the recruiting package. Where do these guys get this stuff???!!!! [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:

So what do you say about the notions in this article? Has Level I or any other intro program helped solve the problem of putting our newbie instructors onto the information superhighway too soon in the learning process?
With the unfortunate exception of the first Christmas, we do give them more time, as the seasoned pros demand the beginner's classes. The reason they demand it is that these classes offer the best opportunity for a full work week. Also, they're really fun, because with Beginner's Magic, the progress (good skiing and terrain acquisition) is pretty stunning.

In the first Christmas, our new ones are monitored and coached pretty carefully, and have lots of support in terms of roving pros to work with the special ones. But it's still a bit of trial by fire. We have to do that because we have to release the seasoned ones for the privates that request them.

I love the article and have reprinted it for our training department, and especially for the guy who runs the new hire training. Thanks, Nolo!
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by weems:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by nolo:

So what do you say about the notions in this article? Has Level I or any other intro program helped solve the problem of putting our newbie instructors onto the information superhighway too soon in the learning process?
With the unfortunate exception of the first Christmas, we do give them more time, as the seasoned pros demand the beginner's classes. The reason they demand it is that these classes offer the best opportunity for a full work week. Also, they're really fun, because with Beginner's Magic, the progress (good skiing and terrain acquisition) is pretty stunning.

In the first Christmas, our new ones are monitored and coached pretty carefully, and have lots of support in terms of roving pros to work with the special ones. But it's still a bit of trial by fire. We have to do that because we have to release the seasoned ones for the privates that request them.

I love the article and have reprinted it for our training department, and especially for the guy who runs the new hire training. Thanks, Nolo!
</font>[/quote]
post #15 of 23
Outstanding article, Nolo. So true! I'm going to copy it for our training staff at Copper Mountain too. Excellent!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #16 of 23
Thank you for the kind words. Thanks to Carol and Johanna for speaking freely.

Roto,

I don't want to lose what you said:

Quote:
I worked for one school in which the director had the vision and strength to communicate and see the vision through without fail, without exception. It was an amazing place to be, an amazing place to learn in a natural hierarchy that gave constant feedback to everyone as to their level(s) of develoment. Everyone knew where they were and could see where there was to go. We were all on the boat, and if we acted in such a way that communicated we weren't, we were reminded that we had voluntarily agreed to be on the boat, promised to be on it, and if we were having second thoughts that was fine but we needed to make the decision one way or the other.

I have sought again such a place. Sought to help create such a place myself, but there must be a leader with a vision and with the gumption to tow the line even if it looks like it isn't going to work right away, until a group of people that also believe convene to tow that line even if it is hard. A tough place to create in the midst of a culture already in place.
The ski school culture is the Golden Key that unlocks all the doors. The place you describe is an achievable Shangri-La, but it won't be easy and it won't be quick. For a while it will be extremely fragile and require the presence of the leader to sustain itself, but if the leader begins divesting leadership to others in the school, each cell, pod, or study group will carry some of the leader's DNA, which they transmit to others who become leaders, and on and on.

You carry a bit of that DNA, Roto. If we did a bit of genetic testing, I'll bet we'd find that there is a race of instructors who carry the DNA of Sondre Norheim by way of Alf Engen and Stein Eriksen, Hannes Schneider and Franz Hoppichler, Pepi Steigler, Curt Chase, and Junior Bounous. I got my DNA from Rick Hodas who got his from Junior who got his from Alf.

[Read A Journey to the East by Hermann Hesse, paying special attention to Leo. That parable should be required reading for all ski school directors...and wouldn't hurt the TDs either.]
post #17 of 23
Having known a lot of ski instructors over the past 30 years or so, I'd be willing to bet you that a
bunch of that DNA you are talking about was passed on
the traditional physical way?
post #18 of 23
an excellent article.
Yeah, I see the lessons described taught a lot. Hell, in terms of the article, I'm a newbie instructor too (and yeah, I guess I am) cept I'm a bit older than your general 'rookie'.
post #19 of 23
Puerile thinking has spoilt many a metaphor...why should this be any different?

In my case, the conception was immaculate! (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hmm... Thanks, by the way, for posting the article. Apologies for remembering it as someone else's.

Alas, I shall not (this season) get the chance to work on that shangri la. I am doomed to a winter of working in the city. I simply cannot afford to go back as TD and work 50 hours a week and still not make the bills. Sadly, I have not managed my life well enough to be able to do what I love full-time right now. Even though there is opportunity in them thar hills, right now, today.
I will be on the snow part time, and still have quite a traveling schedule after the new-year.

I have found myself frustrated over the past seasons. A TD is a leadership position, but the real leadership happens 'above' that, and I was unable to establish even a toehold of the culture that would be so beneficial to so many people. Our management group was not a team. Did not act or function as a team. We were divided. And we were conquered. How is that for demoralizing. I may scale my involvement back to just teaching, as that is by far the most pleasurable part of it all.

I would like to have more exchanges around the ideas in the article, and hopefully come up with (together, people!) some good ideas for improving training.

Rick Hodas?? He didn't end up here in Washington for a time did he? As a marketing director? Not that Rick is it?
post #21 of 23
"Puerile"..........(I had to use the ol' webster on that
one)! Congratulations on your (emaculate) conception.
No "spoilt" intended.

Now, everytime I see a good lesson; I'm going to wonder
where the DNA really came from?
post #22 of 23
Yes, that Rick Hodas. He was at Mission Ridge and now is back teaching at The Canyons. He was my first SSD and he did a great job inculcating me with the values, the traditions, the soggy old standbys--the stuff I'm calling instructional DNA. He also had a tradition of uncorking a number of bottles of champagne as a surprise reward after busy weekends. You never knew when, and we always felt appreciated.

Sitz, nothing gives me more pleasure than causing you to look up a word.

[ October 16, 2002, 04:42 PM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #23 of 23
Nolo, great article. Carol response brings better focus to a problem we have all been struggling with.

Originally posted by nolo:

So what do you say about the notions in this article? Has Level I or any other intro program helped solve the problem of putting our newbie instructors onto the information superhighway too soon in the learning process?

The past 5 season At Brian Head (UT.) the new hire instructors have received a $2hr raise when they pass level I. It is assumed by the trainers that they work with during new hire training that all instructors will move through level I. The resort also pays dues and exam fees and allows instructors to pay back though payroll deductions spread out during the season.

The level I program was a huge success for us because it motivated our rookies to move beyond new hire training quickly. However there definitely exists a huge gap between theory and practical knowledge and the leap to level II is huge because it takes time for knowledge to become understanding.]

Been away from the board for awhile (wrapping up loose ends here 14 days till I'm back home in Colorado for the winter! ), quite a few thought provoking posts good job.
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