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Measuring Student's Progress

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Many instructors would probably say that success can be measured by the size of a students smile, but sometimes I think that teachers have their own set of benchmarks as to how well their students are progressing.

But sometimes, the teacher's goals for the student may not be the same as the student's goals for themselves. Maybe the student does not really want to ski a double black diamond bump run. When in any sort of class, we sometimes become like children, doing things not because we want to, but because it may please the "parent" figure.

Example; When an instructor meets me for the first time, they may think they are working with a very fit 35 year old. For that reason, they seem a bit perplexed as to why I'm not a bit more assertative with my skiing.

Then I tell them how old I really am, and when I started skiing. They are suddenly somewhat more "impressed".

I mentioned in the thread about powder, that that for the most part, I feel that I've had excellent instruction. The reasons:

I continue to be enthusiastic about a sport that I have no natural talent for.

I have never been injured while skiing! And as I said before, this is a BIG issue for me. I have a bunch of threads in the fitness forum about ACL injuries. Check out the new thread with an interview with Carl Ettinger.
But everything the Vermont Ski Safety study describes as prevention for ACL injuries, simply describes skiing with relatively decent technique.

Some of my best lessons have been with people I've only takenone class with, but they have been able to hone in on one crucial thing that no one else has picked up on.

So as teachers, aside from the smiles, how do you measure your students progress?
post #2 of 13
vermont ski saftey's web site has all these tips that Etlinger was talking about...

however, Im not sure that injury-free records are benchmarks for sucess. maybe because I know how easily it is to loose balance and end up with one, and it does not speak to technique at all.

wether its a rut or a strong wind or an errant snowboarder tht knocks you off balance...you could have the best tecnique in the world and find yourself lying in the snow without a knee...

and since many, many of the olympians we just watched have had ACL sprains, I would say they are MOST successful, had have some pretty damned good technique!!!! (LOVE eberharter...soooooo powerful...)

IMHO, i like the size of the smile benchmark. and since success is relative, I guess it would be difficult for an instructor to judge, thta is why FEEDBACK and BIG TIPS are so important?!

if you get what you want from a lesson, no matter what it is, that can be deemed as a sucessful lesson....
post #3 of 13
One of the big mistakes that beginner and intermediate students make is to assume that if they have the same injuries as world class athletes, they must be skiing with expert level technique. It just ain't so, but that idea is going to make me alot of money when I graduate PT school. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #4 of 13
I see success as a matter of meeting the student's expectations. I tend to think I'm pretty good at determining and helping set expectations. It surprises me, how many instructors don't ask the student what they want out of the lesson. If you don't ask what they want, how can you possibly provide what they want?

If you ask what they want, and come to an agreement on what they can expect to gain from the time they have with you, then you can provide that outcome, and the lesson will be a success, to both you and the student.

Even if I get a 12 year old that says "I'm here because my parent's made me take a lesson", I can ask them "if you could do anything you wanted in the next X hours, what would it be? And can I possibly help you have more fun or teach you something new in that time?". At this point, the conversation opens up, and by the end of the lesson, the student is much happier than they thought they would have been. This makes me happier and the parents happier. I consider that a success.
post #5 of 13
[quote]Originally posted by JohnH:
[QB]I see success as a matter of meeting the student's expexpectations................ It surprises me, how many instructors don't ask the student what they want out of the lesson. If you don't ask what they want, how can you possibly provide what they want?

JohnH: It suprises me how many students don't have an answer when asked!

Floyd
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
That in itself is an interesting point, Floyd. I think many skiers are in conflict as to what they really want out of a lesson, and what they think they SHOULD want. Somebody may be very happy just skiing on the cruisers, and really want to learn how to make their skiing as smooth as possible, but family or friends may be pushing them to learn to ski more challenging trails, or to ski faster.

So when an instructor asks what they want out of the lesson, they are probably not sure. I've mentioned this before, but our perspective at epicski is different from the rest of the skiing population. I consider myself to be an extremely slow learner in skiing, but most of the women in my level 5/6 class at okemo had been skiing for 8-12 years, and were completely happy with their progress.

In my own industry, I notice some interesting things about fast and slow learners. Some people can pick up the general idea of a skill very quickly, but then somewhere down the line, it turns out they've missed many of the subtleties.

Then you have the slow learners, who you think will never get it, but when they finally do, they learn it well. Slow learners are sometimes a bit over focused on details, though.

Of course, these are generalizations, and exceptions do apply.
post #7 of 13
I try to measure success in several ways. First is to find out what the student wants, and as Floyd said they frequently don't know. With a little prodding usually something can be agreed upon. If all else fails gaining efficiency and conserving energy for the night life works with adults. With kids I have found classes centered on something other than skiing such as jumping or "grinding" (I just learned that this is the term they use for riding rails or downed trees) can meet their needs while developing skiing (sliding) related skills. For example while they learn to grind we are also working on all the skiing skills while doing side slips and pivot slips.

The size of the smile is important as well as is how interactive they remain during the lesson. If I suddenly find myself doing all the talking then I have screwed up, it is time to revisit the students desires. Maybe They have changed or maybe I didn't understand what they told me. It is up to me to find out.

It is also necessary to determine if their movement pattern has changed. If there is no change it can usually be nailed down to one of three things:

1. They can't do it because of an aligment issue.
2. They didn't understand my method of communication.
3. They don't want to do it that way.

Once these questions are answered the lesson plan can be adjusted accordingly.

As LindaA aid the size of the tip is also a big indication of customer satisfaction. Occasionally when I feel like I am really struggling to get a point across or feel like things just aren't working the tip says that it really was a good lesson.

From a personal stand point I feel that the lesson is a success if the student is happy and I see them free skiing later with the "new" movement pattern
post #8 of 13
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LindaA:
...and since many, many of the olympians we just watched have had ACL sprains...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Speaking of which, I have recently been introduced to the most painful ACL of all.
Access Control Lists.

Thank god for notepad...
post #9 of 13
Oh, nakona...

know your DACLS and SACLs (discretionary vs. security access controll lists and the differences between the two!!!!)(BIGGGY on the MS Tests....)

they arent that painful, really!!!

I had a lesson once, where the instructor asked me what I wanted to get out of the lesson...I responded by saying I just want a general critique of tecnique, making sure i picked up no bad habits, and refining the skills before I attempted any more difficult terrain/conditions.

I was so frustrated with myself because he had pointed out some rather basic problems I had...needless to say I was NOT smiling, no fault of the instructor. He was very concerned at the end of the lesson and noted thta I didn't look happy, and was there something I had wanted and didnt get from the lesson, and what could he do to make sure i was happy....

size of the smile does matter...

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 06, 2002 05:26 AM: Message edited 1 time, by LindaA ]</font>
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
"They don't want to do it that way". Believe it or not, that does not mean they are not enjoying the lesson. I've had times whne an instructor tells me to do something that I may understand, but its not processing immediately. Then, when I go out the next morning, Voila!

Unless your student is totally neurotic, they are not telling you any of the emotional responses they are having. Sometimes, there is something about a trail that bugs them, or it could be that they are uncomfortable with the amount of people on the trail, the boarders, or the way a particular skier is skiing that they just don't trust. At that point, their style of skiing may become defensive, and in my case, sometimes I need to just work through it in my own way.

Usually people take lessons to improve on technique, but there is sometimes another element involved. Think of a young child who wakes up in the middle of the night and needs to go to the bathroom. They are afraid of the dark, so they bring their bear. Obviously, there is nothing the bear can do to protect them. But it gives them cconfidence.

Often, just having an instructors precense will let people ski in areas that they normally would not on their own. But since the confidence is not yet intrinsic, the style may be a bit tentative.

So once in awhile, not always, you guys just have to be content to be the bear! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #11 of 13
I didn't mean to imply that "not wanting to so it that way" was a negative response. It is just my way of checking for understanding and making sure that the students goals are met.

It almost always comes up with kids who don't want to turn or as LM points out adults with a hesitation about something, be it terrain or the drowd level.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Capisco! You know,sometimesit just works to change the environment. Example: For totally irrational reasons, I get freaked on a cat tracks. Once at Whistler, an instructor picked up on the fact that I was feeling clausdraphobic, so she took me down my first blue run. It was a win/win scenario.
post #13 of 13
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> But sometimes, the teacher's goals for the student may not be the same as the student's goals for themselves. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If the instructor doesn't have the same goals then he/she is not a very good instructor. And, if he/she intimidates the student into something, they are not very good listeners.

This is one of the basics they teach you when you become an instructor and pounded into you in all the PSIA exams.

Even when the student gives a wishy-washy answer like "I just want to be a better skier", or "I want to have more form" we need to ask more questions or offer multiple suggestions to get to the answer.

Once you start to hone in on something I believe in the What/Why/How method. "This is What we're going to do. This is Why we're going to do it. And, over the course of the next few hours this is How we're going to accomplish it." "So, would this help you accomplish some of the goals you have for your skiing??

Bob
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