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Verbal Communication

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Last weekend in Montreal, I attended an advanced Pilates certification. Although most of the instructors were bi-lingual, there was one girl who spoke very little English.
We did an exercise where the designated instructor had to explain a specific Pilates move using only verbal communication. Although my Frencch skills are a bit rusty, out of all the instructors, her explainations were the most comprhensible to me.
I have noticed on this forum, that sometimes something can be exxplained a gazillion times, then one person says it in a way that's understandable. Roto was the first person who made me understand what Centerline was. Kneale often talks in a way that creates clear mental images for me. Lito is easier for me to understand than Harald. Fot that matter, I understand Rick H better than Harold.

Have you ever tried to explain something to a student, only to have another student do a better job of it?

How much of how students choose their instructors is simply based on a common style of verbal communication? I don't think all of it, but its definitely a factor.


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 09, 2001 11:17 AM: Message edited 2 times, by Lisamarie ]</font>
post #2 of 15

I love it!! Wait till SCSA tells Harald.

post #3 of 15
Gee LM, thanks for the mention. Involvement on this site has really helped me with presentation. Though it isn't really verbal, my verbal commuincations have improved as a result of exchanging posts with everyone here

I don't 'know' much about how students pick instructors, but I think it relates to the overall experience. Verbal communication certainly is a big part of that since it is the primary human communication method.

Being a good verbal communicator depends a great deal on attention to the people one is communicating with and figuring out the ideal use of language, sentence structure and construction of ideas.

I pay a great deal of attention to language people use and tend to segue into use of similar language myself. Pronunciation figures into language and I try to lace my words with similar pronunciations.

Sentence structure/syntax is also important. I try to use similar syntax.

Construction of ideas is another thing I attend to. I try to layer presentations by presenting the simplest form possible first. Then I layer more developed information as needed/as can be handled by the person/people.

One problem I used to have was trying to get all of what I know about something across all at once. everyone needs the opportunity to digest ideas in palatable chunks. Giving smaller pieces easy to grasp always ends up more successful in the long run. The higher/deeper understandings of any subject matter are really only arrived at as a result of personal thought. When communicating an idea to someone it is best to key on the fundamentals. As they grasp these, their own understanding will develop along appropriate lines.

Constructing ideas slowly also allows for organizingthe information for the type of learner the person shows to be.

All that said, isn't 'hearing' on the lowest end of the memory retention spectrum? People remember 30 pecent of what they hear, 40 of what they read, etc., etc,. Or do I have that backwards?
post #4 of 15
Lisamarie, you already know that the learning process to be truly successful should be a two way street. All the partipants, to some degree, are both students and instructors. You should already know this from your own teaching/learning experiences.
post #5 of 15
Thanks, Lisamarie. Communication was my field of study in college, although it probably was somewhat stilted in todays terms because that was before you were born. I've gotten to hone my ski process descriptions leading literally thousands of students over the last 30 years.
post #6 of 15
This topic inevitably leads to the classic VAK categorizing of students based upon their preferences into visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. As important as it is to recognize this, ultimately we have to realize that success in learning to ski or to ski better comes from a kinesthetic experience, regardless of the "preference".

It's easy for an instructor to become distracted and preoccupied with verbally communicating with the "auditory" learner. These folks will often INSIST that the verbal explanation be understandable. This can frustrate and intimidate the instructor.

The good instructor is the one who can somehow entice the student into at least attempting the movement, whether he or she intellectually understands it yet or not. The movement, whether "correct" or not, will result in a kinesthetic sensation that forms the basis for understanding.

Remember - we came here to ski, not to talk about it.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ah, but at the moment, we are not skiing, but on a forum where we talk about skiing!

I have never bought into the idea that people are exclusively visual, kinesthetic or auditory learners. I have been intrigued by the differnce effects various verbal styles have on different students.

There is this wonderful girl who takes my class at a gym in the medical community. Given this specific student population, I may tend to use moe anatomical terminology. this girl works as a receptionist, so she does not have the background. But she is so in touch with her body, that she is able to describe the sensations of a given exercise in "heartfelt" terms. Often she will even humourously use "ebonics". But everybody gets it.
Spag has been known to take PSIA terminology and translate it into the "vernacular", making it understandable to many of us. Michelle,{ski and snow} has this uncanny way of taking what people have written volumes about, and explaining it quite clearly in one sentence.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 09, 2001 11:16 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Lisamarie ]</font>
post #8 of 15
So I guess we are in agreement. It's fine to recognize the theoretical categorizing of people according to learning "preferences", but sooner or later the student needs to move across the snow.

Some instructors get so hung up on the VAK concept that they allow language to become an impediment rather than an aid to their teaching. That's when, as I said, it's time to go skiing.

I've had students who speak Portugese or Hindi exclusively, and hearing impaired students. In the absence of language everything had to be visual/kinesthetic. That was obvious. But I've also seen a common language become a language barrier if you let it. I like your idea of the student putting the thoughts into her own words, rather than the instructor attempting to translate.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ultimately, my goal is to make my stuudents more multi modal in their learning style. But that sometimes involves temporarily turning off a singular mode. An example would be the Pilates student who spends the entire clas with their head turned towards the mirror, therefore never achieving centered neck alignment.

Or the student who does not observe the instructor first, before attempting the exercise.
post #10 of 15
ya see therein lies the problem on our city sidewalks. Women fresh from excercising can't stop themselves from looking in store windows to see their reflection. This poses a problem when they don't see the bicycle delivery person coming full speed ahead, or the kid on a scooter, or the rollerblader... These neck craners, besides not achieving a centered neck, create a hazard that endangers us all. We already have legislation for cell phone use while driving, so why not legislation for narcissitic use of shop windows while walking?
Of course maybe your courses should just have little stickers that can be placed on water bottles to warn excercisers of the potential pitfalls of walking with the head turned sideways.
Or maybe your students just need an escort home? Hey, there's an idea....

(thought this thread was in danger of excessive anacronyms/intellectualism)
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Oh Tog! Its so WONDERFUL to have you back!!! :

Actually, even though its my thread, it does have the potential to get to cerebral.

Okay, truth be told, I don't know where I was going with this. I was just in a very, very sad, bad mood. Giving out compliments usually helps me feel better, so I picked out a handful of people whose communication style works for me.
post #12 of 15
Omigod! My mistake. I mistook your original post for a serious inquiry. Shoulda known better. Obviously a defficiency in my verbal communication abilities. Didn't mean to spoil your fun.

Now I've got to go look up "anacronym" in the dictionary. Think it's there?
post #13 of 15
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lisamarie: ....

Have you ever tried to explain something to a student, only to have another student do a better job of it?

How much of how students choose their instructors is simply based on a common style of verbal communication? I don't think all of it, but its definitely a factor.


I completely agree, Lisamarie. I'm generally on the other end (the student, not the teacher), and my lessons have been in tennis rather than skiing, but I can definitely name the instructors that I just "get." You can have four guys telling you how to hit a high backhand, and all of them can be saying the right thing, but only one of them clicks. I had a coach like that once. I didn't really like him personally, but he sure helped my tennis game.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 12, 2001 07:04 PM: Message edited 1 time, by segbrown ]</font>
post #14 of 15
LM: Along the lines of your ebonics lady, one of the things I've found helpful in learning about anything is to come up with my own description or explanation of whatever it is. I frequently ask ski students to formulate their own set of terms for what we're working on and then tell me what they come up with (helps me expand my own set of terminology some times), and that exercise seems to get the idea across better than anything I've said to that point.

This isn't quite the same as having the student describe things to other students in a manner more effective than mine had been, but it's similar.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
That's actually an interesting point, Kneale. It reminds me of the time at Bretton Woods, when a male instructor was teaching an all female class. He asked from a woman's perspective, what it feels like to be foward on the skis. Unfortunately, the reason he asked this was because he had got into trouble for saying "pelvic tilt".

The girl I was talking about is someone I have urged to consider teaching. She thinks I'm nuts, because she is a bit overweight. I tell her that just as it is important for students to hear different verbal communication styles, it is important to see the movements performed correctly by different body types.
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