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Guest Centered Instruction;Who Has Used It?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
This thread was inspired by a comment by Ott Gangl. As both PMTS and PSIA are promoting the use of CSI, who has had formal training in its use? Anyone who has PMTS accreditation has, as it is part of the accreditation process. What I am curious about, have any of the PSIA Divisions undertaken formal training in GCI, as outlined in Maggie Loring's fine publication. Core Concepts?
post #2 of 7
PSIA-RM is using it. I did the level II clinics and did the exam last year. I can only assume that one must present varying degrees of understanding at all the exams concerning the GCI matrix.
post #3 of 7
I fear for this discussion! Let's not confuse a trademarked acronym with the concept it stands for, which in this case has been around for a very long time, under all sorts of names. The cornerstone of PSIA's American Teaching System, since it was introduced in 1972 as the American Teaching Method, was its "humanistic" (student-centered) approach. "Humanism" became the chief attribute distinguishing ATM from the "mechanistic" (technique-centered) approaches of traditional, mostly European, systems, and the first real contribution to ski instruction from the upstart United States. Even there, ATS was based on the practices of the most successful instructors of the time, who were obviously "student-centered" prior to the "official" adoption of the concept by PSIA.

In any case, anyone trained by PSIA since 1972 has received "formal training" in student-centered ski instruction. While the late Professor Franz Hoppichler, former director of skiing for Austria, in 1988 hailed the ATS's humanistic approach to teaching as a breakthrough and something the rest of the world's instructors should learn from (I was there), I'm sure the FACT of student-centered instruction existed already in the best instructors of Austria at the time.

Rick, I believe that what you are referring to here are recently trademarked "spins" on this age-old formula for success. While I strongly support the "GCT"(TM) program that PSIA-Rocky Mountain has developed (with the help of Winter Park Ski School and Kim Peterson), and which is very similar (by no coincidence) to PMTS's program, also developed with Kim Peterson's input, let's not kid ourselves into thinking that these are "new" concepts! As Kim will tell you, even his particular "needs grid" is a straight adaptation of the old "CAP" model of education, which identifies learning objectives in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains.

The classic 7-element ATS Teaching Model clearly outlines the student-centered approach. The second element specifically emphasizes "assessing the student," and bullets outline the need to identify student goals, needs, expectations, desires, capabilities, learning styles, and limits. It entails verbal questions, nonverbal cues, and movement analysis.

The third point of the Teaching Model relates to determining goals and setting objectives for the lesson, in partnership with the student. Only THEN, under these terms, does the lesson proceed, completely focused on and tailored to the individual student. And these 7 elements are not linear or sequential--they cycle throughout the lesson, as needs and conditions evolve.

The "new" "Guest-Centered Teaching" (GCT TM) model does not add even a single thing to this "old" ATS Teaching Model. But it DOES provide a new perspective for incorporating its elements. It MAY, for some people, suggest more emphasis on the non-movement needs of the student. But Kim Peterson himself is fond of placing the 7 elements of the ATS model into his grid, and vice-versa--showing how his model fits into the ATS model. If anything, I find the GCT model to be an excellent DESCRIPTIVE tool--something that can be used to analyze a lesson to help identify why it succeeded or failed. The ATS model, in its bulleted checklist form, is arguably more useful as a guideline for actually delivering a lesson. But the two work nicely hand-in-hand. IF you effectively incorporate all of the 7 elements of the ATS Model, your lesson will succeed--and the GCT model will show you why!

Restated, the GCT model excels at identifying WHAT to do, while the ATS Teaching Model addresses HOW to do it! The GCT model identifies what all successful lessons do--address the needs of the students. It divides those needs into the categories of motivational (affective) needs, understanding (cognitive) needs, and movement (psychomotor) needs, and entails the obvious point that, before we can ADDRESS a need, we must IDENTIFY it first. That's the GCT model in s nutshell--hardly earth-shaking, but elegant in its simplicity.

The ATS model outlines more specifically HOW to identify, and how to address, those needs. Question-asking skills, teaching styles, progression-building, principles of effective practice and feedback, checking for understanding, and summarizing--bullets in the ATS Teaching Model address all these important tools.

Both are very much student-centered, no matter what you want to call them!

Why is this important? Because students should not feel that they have to attend any proprietary, trademarked program in order to get state-of-the-art instruction! (Nor should you assume that, just because a ski school HAS a trademark affiliation, you are going to get a great lesson!) The best lessons are ALWAYS--and have always been--focused on the students. Some instructors are much better at this than others, and training certainly helps. But that training should focus on TEACHING STUDENTS--not on "guest-centered teaching" or any other program! If an instructor says he/she teaches GCT, CSI, CFI, ATS, PMTS, PSIA, or the like, RUN AWAY! Ask him why he doesn't just teach YOU--to SKI! Teaching GCT is not student-focused, after all--it's Guest-Centered-Teaching-Centered-Teaching!

Should a professor at Harvard teach Harvard--or should she teach students?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #4 of 7
Bob has articulated my feelings exactly. I'd go back a bit farther to Maslow and Rogers, fathers of the Human Potential Movement, to arrive at the birthplace of concepts that have been repackaged for today's consumer but have deep roots in the past.

The other distinction I would point out is that lessons are delivered by individuals, not by teaching systems. A school may endorse a system but when you get down to it, it's a matter of interpretation.

Also, the point about being trained, as though we were dogs. I have always taken control of my education and have looked at the experts as cohorts, not final authorities. I've never trusted manuals or digests. I've learned far more from reading the sources in the bibliographies. That's how I know Maslow and Rogers were deep influences, as were Gagne, Singer, and Bloom. These are the Masters for all educators, not just ski instructors.

[ September 23, 2002, 05:53 PM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #5 of 7
I really hate it when Bob gets to a thread before me, I'm left with the feeling that all I can do is type "me too" and go on to the next thread. Still, I guess I can answer the specific and implied questions Rick asked.

I have never started a lesson with the thought in my head that I was going to use Guest Centered or Student Centered instruction. I have on the other hand been teaching my lessons in a partnership with the students from my first year as an instructor. I haven't been aware of any clinics offered in the intermountain division that focused on the SCI model although I have heard it talked about. When I work with developing instructors myself I emphasize that for the lesson to be successfull the student and instructor must form some kind of relaionship to base the lesson on and that the structure of the lesson should grow out of that relationship. I'm not really concerned that the student use a particular 'system' but that they become effective instructors.

post #6 of 7
Wow! Always great to evesdrop on you guys!

When I go to the supermarket and buy "purified" or "distilled" water, there are a number of different brands. They're all water. Period.

As the son of two music educators, I learned a long time ago that, regardless of "method", the benefit to the student depends upon the teacher - and the student.

This business of "branding" is going to happen. That's ok in itself. The only harm comes when the student is taught "Harvard" rather than "philosophy". I will tell you that I will sing the praises of an INSTRUCTOR who has helped me step up another level - and to HELL with what "brand" was employed!

[ September 23, 2002, 04:59 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #7 of 7
As Ydnar so eloquently put it, "Me too!" now I'm moving on to the next thread.

Spag :
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