Congratulations to us! Harald Harb got tweaked enough to send a message to us. His stated reasons are: "clarification of erroneous comments" and to "put facts and legitimacy to the discussion". I note that his letter contains neither general skiing facts nor information about PMTS. I also note that there is no sales pitch either. So lets all thank Harald for sharing his impressive personal credentials with us. I learned stuff today and I'm truly grateful. In the meantime, if we try to understand why HH does what he does, we might be able to coax more out of him.
I've observed that HH has a track record of not putting a lot of details about PMTS or technical skiing or ski teaching comments in the public domain. Since he is selling books and videos to the public and he is selling his teaching system to instructors, it makes sense not to give away info for free.
HH has invited "emotional" responses through his past PSIA bashing and the "dogma" associated with PMTS. Many of the postings about HH in public forums quickly grow to include an "emotional" component (in response to HH's past). His current message to EpicSki does contain more of the extraneous to the discussion emotional content. There's no need to respond. Engaging in an emotional debate legitimizes the accusations. "Si"'s post in defense of not posting was well said. So it also makes sense for Harald to basically avoid general participation in public forums. This is a shame. We'd all do well to not perpetuate this. So far in this thread there seems to be more weight on the "civil" side. Hoo Rah!
Moving on to the topic of furthering the state of ski instruction, here are a few thoughts to consider…
One of the "public" aspects of the PMTS approach is the "narrow stance". Relative to PSIA, a narrow stance should be in the repertoire, but is not a desirable end result. However, one of my "Harb hunting" expeditions revealed the comment that the narrow stance was more for teaching weight transfer (i.e. getting over the inside ski) than imparting an end result. Although this introduces wonderful potential topics of discussion about means versus ends, I wish to make two different points:
a) HH's public silence on these issues slows down the adoption process.
b) Epicski is the perfect place to investigate these areas without the Harb/Lito/PSIA emotional baggage and help accelerate industry wide acceptance.
It would be a lot easier to accept and support PMTS if HH were to publish some details about the system and some statistics about instructors and lessons. The "if you want to know, buy my book" appears to put "support Harald" ahead of supporting "ski instruction". My argument is that if the approach is truly unique and effective, being more forthright would sell more books. Note: I'm not saying that PMTS is not unique and effective. I'm just saying I can't tell if it is.
When all I knew about the narrow stance approach was the end result aspect, it made me less willing to support PMTS because it conflicted with some pretty basic stuff that I have direct experience with without any meat explaining how it could work. When I look at narrow stance as a means to get to a carved turn, I can do dry land experiments to support that part of the theory. Now, despite having personal reservations about the efficacy of having to unlearn a narrow stance later on, I'm at least open to proceeding further. If I could only get some more meat like that, I'd gladly sign up for PMTS.
I know one instructor who has been PMTS certified who has received several private lesson requests because of the certification. This instructor is happy with PMTS and
also remains an active member of PSIA. Conclusion: there is room for PMTS in the marketplace.
Moving on to issues raised in the thread....
That PSIA is willing to recognize an "outsiders" previous accomplishments vs forcing a new member to "go through the program" is commendable. That said, PSIA has experienced failures as well as success when doing this. Currently the Eastern division has a process that provides for accelerated certification that seems to be a fair balance between "going through the program no matter how good you are" and "anyone who can ski and teach is welcome". If someone does not "know what the Teaching and Skiing Models" are, then (according to today's PSIA standards) they should not be able to pass a PSIA certification exam. PSIA is much more focused on how to teach than what to teach than they were years ago. Although it appears that PMTS does not offer accelerated certification, it looks like there is no restriction preventing passing green, blue and black in one season.
Hey Bob Peters!
"Does anyone look into the crystal ball and see masses of new participants joining this sport?" Take a look at NSAA's model for growth. http://www.nsaa.org/nsaa2002/_growth_model.asp
It's a healthy look into the cystal ball that acknowledges the challenges the entire snow sports industry faces and lays out a path to address those challenges. Yes, we've got a lot of hard work in front of us.
"Why can't PSIA stick up for the Pros?"
PSIA does not engage in the public forums for many of the same reasons that HH does not. But it may surprise some how much support PSIA does provide at the organization level, dealing with sponsors and other industry organizations like NSAA and NSP. These efforts do provide concrete benefits to pros. PSIA is sensitive to not alienating resort management, partly because they recognize that not every ski teacher can be a member and partly because they believe they get more done at the end of the day when we work as a team versus just self promoting. It's not right or wrong, it's just a path that has been chosen ... and a path that has been supported by the voting of the PSIA membership. The folks that think differently have not been (successful at?) running for office.
To the EpicSki community -
Please let's start stripping away the mystique about PMTS. Let's dig up the facts about how many PMTS lessons are taught and how many "active" instructors are certified for PMTS (note to Rusty Guy - we ought to be able figure that out from pmts.org).
Let's develop a good high level summary of what PMTS is about. And then let us give a good pro and con review about the elements of PMTS.
Oops - I see another thread "what's the difference" has started up. Yippeee!
I'm an instructor who carries level 2 certification from PSIA and AASI, but I'm not "wonked" to these organizations
.[ October 28, 2003, 04:40 PM: Message edited by: therusty ]