EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › you ever "correct" another instructor?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

you ever "correct" another instructor?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Reading other threads got me to thinking. We have been discussing, and sometimes critiquing, the teachings of other instructors.

What do you do/say when you see another instructor doing something that you know won't work, will create bad habits, is unsafe, etc??

kiersten
post #2 of 25
I wear a lot of hats at our little resort. Some days I teach, some days train, some days supervise.

I assure you....when I see something wrong feedback is instantaneous.
post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by Rusty Guy:
I assure you....when I see something wrong feedback is instantaneous.
...and blunt... :

No, really, Rusty, I'm looking forward to it!!!

ssh
post #4 of 25
Rusty,

Interesting, if unsafe, I understand immediate action but if it's just a matter of what you consider wrong, do you actually confront another instructor in front of his/her students?

I have had disagreements (down right know it's wrong or won't work) and have addressed it with other instructors, but unless it's a safety issue, I try to never do it in "public view". Of course I'm probably still low man on the totem pole so it's even more important that I am discrete. I usually pose disagreements as questions to get them to "think it out" and make their case to me. Helps us both understand what is happening and how to maybe better do something. Then we both "own and understand" the teaching pattern.
post #5 of 25
Instructor & I end to just look at each other - sometimes I'll ask a question re the "lesson" we are seeing - occasionally he'll comment at my facial contortions...
post #6 of 25
Kiersten,

If it's a safety issue that needs immediate action, I'll try to use the "let's" word (e.g. Let's move the group over here [i.e. out from underneath the lift]). Like disski, I most often use a look/nod or a hand signal (though most of my hand signals are thumbs up). Sometimes when a first time group is on a too steep pitch, I'll mention to the pro (who missed the head nod) where a good piece of real estate is. Otherwise, I'll wait till the next line up.

I have learned a lot from watching stuff that I know won't work, actually work. I usually give folks the benefit of the doubt until I see it not working.

We're working on getting our supervisors and training staff to spend more time among the masses. It's really hard to do, but it does improve the product.
post #7 of 25
Sorry Rusty - I'm the student ....
but I have a nasty habit of : when I see the poor stem class looking nervous skiing the groomed or flatter section - but heading to the nearest black ungroomed run when the conditions are NASTY.... my instructor usually just makes faces back - sometimes he will make a quick comment....

If I see an "unusual" looking drill or exercise I will ask him what the students are supposed to learn from it.... his answers are sometimes less than flattering....
post #8 of 25
dchan,

In actuality, I rarely say anything to the instructor about lesson content. The feedback is more in my training role.

We have folks who are teaching material circa 1973. I've about given up.

We had Bob doing a clinic at Eldora last year and he tried to get through to one of our....ummmm senior instructors. The guy basically told Bob he was nuts and skied off into the sunset.
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by ssh:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Rusty Guy:
I assure you....when I see something wrong feedback is instantaneous.
...and blunt... :

No, really, Rusty, I'm looking forward to it!!!

ssh
</font>[/quote]You haven't seen anything yet.
post #10 of 25
This is interesting because you have a variety of "social" conditions that involve the "pecking order" and how quickly you react or retreat from a developing "bad situation".

Back in the early 80's, a JAL (Japan Airlines) cargo 747 was departing from Alaska with a load of cattle, after a refueling stop. The captain, an older individual, was witnessed staggering up the aisle to the cockpit (his blood alcohol was later confirmed). His junior officers allowed him to (confirmed by cockpit tapes), have control of the takeoff and as soon as the plane was airborne, did a roll, went inverted and crashed.

NTSB actually indicated that the "pecking order" and rigid social norms of Japanese culture contributed to the crash. for a younger first officer to defer to an obviously smashed captain (the blood alchohol was VERY high), allowing his own death is remarkable.

I kind of use that as a benchmark. Once last year another instructor and I were free skiing when we noticed (go figure?), one of our seniors about to lead a small group down a black run that had deteriorating conditions. At BEST, these folks should have been on an easy blue since we had watched the class form up during the line up. We "shadowed" the group and were there to pick up the pieces and do a "split" as we got skis off the victims and walked them down to more appropriate terrain. Our paid hero .... ended up with one student, we got three and kissed their behinds all the way down with "mountain courtesy". One had had it and headed for the lodge, two continued the "lesson" with us. Turns out, the situation was triggered by the comment ... "In our younger days we did a black now and then" .... These aging and out of shape (easy to spot), hackers on their straight 20 year old skis stood out like sore thumbs.

I'll never get into it with another instructor during a lesson or a clinic over a technical point, sometimes you just have to "grin and bear it". One place used to send "Old Bob" out to lead our Sunday Clinic ..... the greatest fear was that it would really be a TWO HOUR event, but we knew that after two runs doing "railroad tracks" on an easy blue, that he would grumble "OK, you got it .... scram".
post #11 of 25
I never get in another instructors face and definitely not in front of their paying customer. Only with a serious safety issue I will ask the instructor and class if I can have a moment with the instructor to ask a question.

After the lesson is over I will invite the instructor to go skiing/clinicing with me. I will attempt to recreate the teaching situation that I witnessed and coax them in the right direction to solve the problems in the teaching situation.

In almost all cases, the instructor does not understand nor do they ski like they are trying to get their student to ski. Correct the instructors skiing and understanding then smiles and wonders happen.

Its just like the old saying, "teach a man to fish and he will feed himself, give him a fish and he will eat one time". What we as trainers need to remember is that 97% of all ski instructors in the USA/Canada are not out there for the money. Instruction should be fun regardless of whether you are trying to correct a teaching problem or help a paying customer ski. I always remain pleasant and approachable.
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Pierre:

After the lesson is over I will invite the instructor to go skiing/clinicing with me. I will attempt to recreate the teaching situation that I witnessed and coax them in the right direction to solve the problems in the teaching situation.
Pierre - excellent course of action
1. you improve their skiing
2. you let them correct themselves (safe learning environment)
3. you give "positive reinforcement"
4. you are modelling GREAT behavior

Bravo!

Moving along in this topic...

We have lessons from "never ever" to expert categories. The model I have observed at most hills is that the more junior, less certified, less capable skiers tend to teach the beinner to low intermediate lessons and then the more senior, more certified, more capable skiers tend to teach the high intermediate to expert lessons.

What is your opinion about this process?

kiersten
post #13 of 25
I spend the most time in thought and the most effort in my mind on the never ever lesson. The never ever lesson is the one place where I can get in touch with the very roots of skiing. At least 50% of my teaching is never ever lessons and that is also where if find my greatest satisfactions and biggest disappointment. The never ever lesson is also where I see real effectiveness or disaster both in movement patterns and teaching methods.

I visit the never ever lesson often when I am trying to help other instructors to ski at a high level.

Sorry but the never ever lesson is where I feel most alive and gain my greatest understanding of our sport. You will never convince me that its a waste of my talents. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

[ November 22, 2003, 06:48 AM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #14 of 25
Kieli: Your question was for Pierre but, it all seems part of a natural progression, that the less skilled teach what they can. additionally , the "pyramid" is in place here too, how many L-3's are there at any given hill, L-2's and a whole pack of L-1 and non-cert types? This also corresponds to the number of students who are taking beginner and lower level lessons. To reverse the order would result in disaster.

When it's all said and done, there is no other way, with the exception of request lessons.
post #15 of 25
Kiersten, I have a story from about 1980 which addresses your and Yuki's posts about pecking order and senior instructors.

Who teaches whom changes with every new ski school director, but you are right, the ski desk wants to save the best and very high level instructors for last, just in case a hotshot shows up demanding mogul lessons on the icy steep. So Pierre can get 'saved' for so long that he may not get a lesson.

In about 1980, having been full certified for 18 years and having helped numerous problem students I was given a private lady who had skied once and hated it but came back to give it another shot. She didn't like th cold, was afraid of losing balance, unwilling to learn BUT very pleasant about it albeit very vocal.

Ten minutes into the so called lesson and not a hundred yards from the lodge I asked her to take off her skis as I took mine off and I carried both her's and mine back to the lodge, we went up to the bar and had drinks for the rest of the lesson time.Since by then lesson time was over for the area we lingered at the bar. We had to walk right past the ski school desk and got a surprised look from the director who just ten minutes before gave me the lesson.

When we got down, the SSD was gone for the night and I sincerely was prepared to defend my position, which was that this woman was never going to be happy on the snow, she was an indoor type who painted and did flower arrangements and bundled up to get the mail from the mailbox. Besides, though she admired the slinky skiers, she knew her limits, both physically and emotionally.

When I showed up the next day at 4 p.m. the director motioned me into his office and after telling me nicely that I set a bad prescident and it was all the buzz among instructors, he said the lady came by earlier and he handed me an evelope with a crisp $100 bill and a note from her thanking me for the best lesson and for not having put her through the torture of skiing.

That story refuses to die and old timers still introduce me to new instructors as the guy "who taught a private lesson to a lady in the bar". [img]smile.gif[/img]

To this day I still think I was before my time in teaching student oriented lessons.

Had I not been at the top or near it in pecking order I probably would have been fired, and many of you might say I should have been.

....Ott
post #16 of 25
Quote:
We have lessons from "never ever" to expert categories. The model I have observed at most hills is that the more junior, less certified, less capable skiers tend to teach the beinner to low intermediate lessons and then the more senior, more certified, more capable skiers tend to teach the high intermediate to expert lessons.
Kieli, The converse reveals the absurdity. "Mountain schools should send the junior, less certified folks with the advanced and expert lessons and reserve the expert instructors for beginners and intermediates." Does that make sense?

It makes sense if you don't have any advanced and expert lessons, or if you don't want to have any advanced or expert lessons.

P.S. Why not discuss the real problem--the employee retention problem--instead of this old red herring?

[ November 22, 2003, 07:32 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #17 of 25
To directly answer the original question- I don't believe there is ever an acceptable time to confront an instr in front of their guest. In fact, it is every instr's responsibility to make every guest (yours or not) feel they have the best instr on the mtn!

I will simply catalog the issue and deal with at a later time, by either myself, another trainer or a supervisor. And even this is done in private.

If it happens to be an issue which is safety related, and needs to be dealt with in a more immediate fashion, I will go up to the instr/group, introduce myself. I then ask if I may just take a moment of the instr's time, with a "pressing matter". I take the instr aside, whisper a quick comment, thank the group for allowing me to interupt, wish them a great day of skiing, and leave. To dwell on the issue at that time would be taking away from the guests time with the instr. And by doing it in this way, the guest has no idea what I'm discussing with the instr.

If the issue is adequately resolved by either of these means, it's over. But if a similar event occurs with the same instr, or if a pattern of similar situations arises across several instrs, then we deal with it as a training issue.

:
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by vail snopro / ric reiter:
To directly answer the original question- I don't believe there is ever an acceptable time to confront an instr in front of their guest. In fact, it is every instr's responsibility to make every guest (yours or not) feel they have the best instructor on the mtn!
I agree that an instructor, any instructor (I am a teacher in a public school) should never be criticized or told they are doing it the wrong way in front of their students. Talk about setting that instructor and the students up for failure.

One thing I have seen, and actually done, when put in a supervisory role, is say to the instructor, "Hey,I went to a workshop(clinic) the other day and saw this great new excercise for _______ (the skill). Would you like to see it?", but usually NEVER in front of the students unless there is a safety concern.

This method is generally much more well received than just telling the other instructor that they are wrong. Chances are that they will use what you show them also. I feel it is better to give them an alternative to what they were doing rather than just telling them they were wrong and not suggesting another way to do it.

Even as a supervisor, if you are always telling people they are "doing it wrong" they are going to quickly lose respect for you. If you suggest another way to do something they are more likely to respond.
post #19 of 25
If I see a safety issue, I will step in quickly and as quietly as possible. Other issues will be taken care of after class with a pvt discussion---what do you think?---How do you feel? --what about? letting the flow come from the pro with my comments. Usually works if the decision is theirs. Otherwise the problem is taken care of in clinics as a generalized problem.
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
(as posted in a previous thread - I am a PULLER - so I love to ask questions that generate discussion... I think it's in the discussing that we will find the really GOOD stuff)

Nolo - you're right... the absurdity is clear. At the same time I see that we are "stuck in the box". I like to refer to this situation as "the man in the hole". (Ask me about that if you're interested)...

Frequently, from the intermediate lesson up - we spend our time undoing bad habits and bad teaching. Our model (of who teaches whom) contributes to this problem. (I ask everyone...) What can we do about that?

Ric - once again I appreciate your techniques and demonstrating the attitude of supporting one-another rather than berating. I am especially fond of your comment that if you see something happen repeatedly - it's a training issue.

"as you treat one, all expect to be treated" this applies to EVERYONE you come in contact with... and we know how word travels!!!

Nolo - as to your statement about employee retention. WOW! That's a gigantic topic. I do retention consulting. If you want to start the thread, I am more than happy to participate!

thanks once again to everyone for their feedback/comments.

oh, and Yuki - the question was for everyone - thanks for helping me see that I wasn't clear enough!!

kiersten
post #21 of 25
Nobody mentioned one of the key problems in this profession, that we all suffer with at varying times, the testosterone factor, ladies included. Coming from 15 years of football, I was surprised to find 10+ years ago when I started teaching, that I was more competitive about some skiing issues than I was when playing football. It's just the nature of athletics in general.

Add to that the technical knowledge part of the job and you may at times have a lethal combination. Ever see a couple of pinhead academia types look like they are about to rip each others pocket protectors apart over a Stellar Mechanics dispute? (I actually have)

The easiest way we can improve the way we may need to correct other instructors is to be teachable ourselves. I agree with Ott that a lot of the "atmosphere" of a ski school starts from the top down. For those of us charged with the training or supervision of instructors, much of how those instructors behave and react will be driven by the "atmosphere" we set. Do our clinics promote an open "give and take" without the aura of the impending "know your place" comment from some "veteran" instructor.

Ask yourself this. If you had to correct or offer advice to one of your buddies, would you worry all about the phrasing and tone? Or would you simply say what's on your mind. That's because the ground work had been laid.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by Ott Gangl:
That story refuses to die and old timers still introduce me to new instructors as the guy "who taught a private lesson to a lady in the bar". [img]smile.gif[/img]

Yeah Ott - I like instructors like you....

My australian born instructor would often call a "hot chocolate" break for me .... I know ski school used to laugh at always finding us in coffee shops (remember I had 50 private lessons with this guy one season)... but quite simply some days I was simply not mentally up to it.... so at some point the stress of trying to make myself ski would start to get to me - & he would notice & call a break....

When we discussed it we both agreed that 10-15 mins less ski time was better than another hour or 2 with me not REALLY focused on what I was doing (or in tears)...

Of course my tendency to have hypos if I have to do much long turn training has enforced the break during 1/2 day lessons so that it is now entrenched... Race dept at least no longer laugh at the breaks - I ski well enough & they remember my old skiing - so they cut us the slack...

Has taken me years to teach the canadian instructor that a 10min break can be good for instructor AND student.... introducing him to kafi lutz helped [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #23 of 25
In the words of the bible "those who live in glass houses, throw no stones". Someone who is trying their best needs subtle coaching not your quick to judge point. If the client has a good time and returns, you really look cool, but only in your own eyes!!!
post #24 of 25
Today I saw an instructor teaching a group of four or five young kids(ages 5 and 6).

He was skiing with both poles clutched in one hand, half way down the shaft, swinging them wildly while skating around to pick up kids.

He missed spearing a kid by inches.

The feedback was instantaneous. If he hadn't ditched the poles in the kids corral I was going to take them away.
post #25 of 25
While it doesn't happen very often, if an instructor is doing something obviously unsafe, I'll apologize for interrupting their class, approach them discreetly (eg, as if I'm asking a private "where's the bathrooms" type question), and make my comment. Depending on how they react and/or how serious the problem is I may contact a supervisor.

Here's a thread from a couple of years ago with an example of an incident that happened on a crowded holiday weekend:

http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultim...=002989#000000

In this case, I was so repelled by this particular snowboard instructor putting his class of kids at risk that I eventually did exchange emails with the SSD and head of the patrol at Bristol. I doubt if they ever went to the trouble of figuring out who the instructor was, but hopefully, safety was stressed for the next few lineups, and the instructor realized who they were talking about.

Tom / PM
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › you ever "correct" another instructor?