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Two Ways to Ski? - Page 2

post #31 of 35
CalG, I have skied with numerous children and I do not think they are necessarily mindless of their incompetencies, but those that are scare me. Sure, we expect the small child to say, "I can do" when they really can't, but after failing to do, most kids (and adults) will admit it. Some do not. They enlist the power of fantasy and try to enroll the onlooker in it: example, four year old scribbles on a piece of paper and tells you it is his last will and testament. The amused adult pretends that the scribbles are what the child says they are. Once the kid gets to school, is the teacher expected to go along with the fantasy that scribbling is written communication?

Come on. If a child's or adult's skiing amounts to scribbling on a piece of paper, you do neither a favor by affirming their fantasy that it is good stuff. That would be fundamentally dishonest.

Yet we do go along to get along. The Peter Principle (people tend to be elevated to the level of their incompetency) assures us that unconscious incompetents are running the world.

The dangerous thing about unconscious incompetents is that they think they are competent. Just as consciously competent people know what they know, they also know what they do not know. Unconsciously incompetent people don't know what they don't know.

The conscious competency graph was explained in The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. Obviously, its application is primarily in adult education and professional development.

To add another layer of complexity, there is the Johari Window. The four panes are arranged like quadrants. The left upper pane is transparent, displaying what I want others to know about me (the Public Self). The right upper pane is curtained, concealing what I know about myself that I prefer to keep to myself (the Private Self). The left lower pane is made of one-way glass that reveals to other people things about me that I don't know about myself (the Blind Spot). The right lower pane is shrouded in mystery, hiding my Potential or Future Self from me and everyone else.

The Blind Spot enables us to be blissfully and unconsciously incompetent so long as others who see the truth more clearly do not call our bluff. The Emperor's New Clothes is about the Blind Spot. Gilligan's Island was about the Blind Spot (yes, even MaryAnn's). If you think about it, just about every comedy and tragedy in literature is based on someone's Blind Spot.

I find this stuff very interesting. It's the essence of teaching: Helping the blind to see. Which I hope brings the topic back in view.
post #32 of 35
" If you think about it, just about every comedy and tragedy in literature is based on someone's Blind Spot."

All humor is at SOMEONES expense.

post #33 of 35
Thread Starter 
Tog, I'm with you in most everything you've said except for my interest in proving that people learn better on their own. I do not believe that at all. The main points I have been trying to make here are that 1) Many people can benefit from working on their own, usually when they have received some good guidance, and shouldn't think they always need a coach there for them to make significant improvement; and 2) Coaches, instructors, and students should be aware that breaking down integrated skiing movements into simpler components does not necessarily help someone achieve a high level of competence, and in fact under some (many?) circumstances may be a hinderance to achieving highly competent or expert performance.

For the latter, I like to use the example of a tennis serve. Many coaches may comment to a student about their elbow, wrist, or other joint position at a certain stage in their serve. Most experienced and highly skilled tennis players will tell you that if they start thinking about such things when they are serving they are probably already lost and are going to have difficulties with their serves. I have helped many people with their serve without ever having to break down the kinetic chain like that, I just try to set general goals a player can follow and let them feel the differences that are produced. Certainly, appropriate positional and timing changes are made but they are not the focus of the instruction.

If I have seemed anti-instruction or anti-coaching in anything I've said let me apologize. What I am trying to suggest is that there are different approaches to teaching movements and that there may be some which are superior to others in helping people progress.
post #34 of 35
Training for learning and training for performance are two very different processes. Depending on one's preferences, temperament and learning style, one may be far more enjoyable or comfortable than the other.
In the spirit of gazing through Johari's window I am wondering whether this discussion has become interesting but prolonged and muddled at times because its initiator, you, Si, may have a very distinct process preference (and learning preference) which has not been gratified in previous encounters with instructors. The reasons for that remain to be clarified. :
While I appreciate and validate your preferences, Si, they are that - yours. True for you and some others but not for everyone. They lead you to make generalizations which in all due respect IMO don't hold water.
I wish you would not write in absolutes and generalizations, but then disavow them as merely intent to "stimulate further thought." You set the stage for discussion by "advancing an hypothesis" (which sounds kind of scientific), but then your ensuing discussion becomes highly subjective and persistent. It just feels...really manipulative and squirrelly to me as a reader. I know that as a valued member of this forum that is certainly not your intent. :
Do you as a skier get bored in structured learning situations aimed at auditory learners?, particularly ones which are high-information, parts to whole, and involve analysis vs. synthesis? If so, just leave and by all means do not attend some clinics aimed at professional ski instructors. What is really unfortunate is it appears you've not received coaching which is kinesthetic, feeler/doer, trial and error, guided discovery.... which leads you as well IMHO to generalize erroneously in other threads about the state of upper level ski instruction.
Did you attend any of the Academy clinics with all those great coaches who post on this forum?
Automaticity is part of successful performance, but is not "forgetting". The most inarticulate great artists of all persuasions know exactly what they're doing while the magic of performance happens- they've spent countless hours with scales, color charts, sketch pads, gates, turn transitions, teachers, coaches...
Please take this feedback for what it is - as a professor yourself I'm sure you're accustomed to communicating directly with your peers. This is not meant to be unfriendly. In other words, my opinion and if it doesn't fit for you, please blow it off.
For me great art transcends words but it doesn't mean wordless performance is great art. If a tree falls in the forest and no one sees it is there a symphony (because the tree thinks it has produced one) or merely a large thump?
If the tree's collapse does magically turn out to be a symphony it is likely that tree practiced a lot of scales along the way. If there's no audience all the arguing is for naught anyway. Hopefully the tree is just having fun and not taking itself too seriously.

[ March 22, 2003, 10:43 AM: Message edited by: vera ]
post #35 of 35
Thread Starter 

I think you're right and that I have probably belabored this topic way too much. Let me say that for the most part it doesn't stem from personal dissatisfaction - I have very much enjoyed and learned from most situations with a knowledgable coach or instructor I have partcipated in - especially true in meeting, skiing, and talking with those from the Academy. I just happen to be of the (relatively strong) opinion that there still remains a lot of room for improvement in general approaches to coaching and instruction in skiing and other sports. I don't really mean to pontificate although I am probably guilty as charged. Unfortunately this medium can really do a job on accurate conveyance of thoughts and feelings.

I think that we could have some interesting discussion about the range of learning styles that are out there and the limitations you have suggested about what I have talked about - perhaps some day in person.
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