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Teaching Styles

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I am doing some research on teaching styles. How do some of you folks teach? I am not looking for skiing techniques, but for teaching techniques. I don't care if you teach ATS or PMTS or XYZ. I just want to understand how you work with your students.


post #2 of 25
Depends on the format of the lesson, group,reocurring program or private. Kids, adults and group size.
A good group should utilize a combination of teaching styles, sometimes juggling recip, with command. My favorite, guided discovery, but I find alot of smug instructors without the depth of interpersonal interaction or creative in their progressive methodology to pull it off. They leave too many unanswered riddles and don't effectively tie it all together into a comprhensive package, leaving guest confused. But GD does involve the guest in creating their ownership of the sport.
Goood,,,,no,,,,great question, we need more of these threads, and less carving minucae!!
post #3 of 25
Beginners: Command and Task at first.
Command is pretty obvious. Task is giving people a...well..task and letting them work with it without trying to correct them at every step. It gives people practice time and frees the instructor up to learn about the guests and interact with more than one person if necessary.

I have worked in a strange mode I call CONCEPTUAL for people who don't fuction well in exercise mode. Some people have trouble working with a task or drill then transferring what it offers into actual skiing. These folks I always keep in full ski mode and give them different focuses or concepts to work with.

Example: I set a series of turns with a visible track. The skier waits for me to get about three turns out and then starts down, using my track for a reference. Each time the skier reaches the fall line their focus is on that next belly.

Before doing it we talk about moving into turns. The concept is to move everything, knees, poles, hands, face, eyes, feet, hips toward the outermost point(belly) of the coming arc. Generally I give a specific body part at first and work up to others as it progresses. It is important the skier NOT follow me or watch my movements and NOT try to stay exactly on the track. As it becomes successful, the skier will begin to imagine the arcs they will leave and use them for reference instead of mine.

This could be called task, but is too open ended, it could be called guided discovery, but is too specific. Maybe a real pro could tell me what it really is. The thing is that this kind of mode works on everything at the same time even though there is a defined focus.

This is a promising thread.
post #4 of 25
They bend zie knees - or I *wack* them!

post #5 of 25
(note to self, no lessons with todd...)

reminds me of parochial school... baaad memories..
post #6 of 25
No he does not!

But of course, if you ask him nicely.....<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited August 05, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 25
he will whack you in a location of your chioce...
post #8 of 25
(note to self, take lesson with todd...)

post #9 of 25
The two areas I work on the most with new students are balance and reducing the fear factor.
post #10 of 25
Todd calls LM Goddess and a Siren. If I had a dude say that to me I'd ski well too. Seriously, do you guys change your teaching style depending on the student? When I hear different people talk about the way my dad teaches, sometimes it doesent sound like the same person.
post #11 of 25
For the record, even in group first time lesson format, I tend to integrate a variety of teaching styles within the overall guided discovery philosophy.
A fun lesson is when I am like that guy on the Ed Sullivan show spinning plates on bamboo poles, running from one to another to keep them all going!
GD does work with people with neg. transfer from intuitive movements or preconceptions, allowing them to "discover" effective patterns.
Typically, fore aft stance extreme excercises do this.
We all do that steriotypical scooter in a circle. What a gas to see their self induced inlightenment when they find it easier with the ski on the outside of the circle!
Alot of students cannot identify or verbalise their learning style, it is fun to push the buttons to see what clicks.
post #12 of 25
One of the funniest, and best, privates I ever had, was a woman who told me:

"If you blow if you blow sunshine up my butt, you're fired"! Ohhh, she'll recognize that if she is "lurking".

She was a very motivated student who was more into an agressive "coaching" style, than the "entertainer". Worked well, taught her for years, and she is now a ski instructor

I have used guided discovery, but it CAN cause confusion. I don't like to use it with beginners too much, use it for more advanced skiers. But Robin's "spinning plates" analogy is perfect. I try to give each student "mini-privates" all the time through a lesson... and try to take turns riding the chair with everyone, as much as possible. Of course, that's easier with 6 person chairlifts!

My style, in general, is VERY humor based. With proper content of course! Beginners especially, are SO nervous. Laughter busts that down, and everyone has a blast... usually. Once in a long while, I get somebody that I struggle with... serious types... I get the chance to fix that on the chairlift ride, hopefully.

Visit me here &gt;&gt;&gt;SnoKarver
post #13 of 25
Interesting comment about the idea of what is intuitive is not always the "right" move. But I guess that's why it is called GUIDED discovery.

Coming from a dance background, what feels good on an intuitve level is to move in a very lyrical mannner. But if I go with that too much, I will start to do way too much counter rotation with my upper body, sort of an Isadora Duncan on skis kind of thing.

This wreaks havoc on my ability to do a short radius turn.

But here is the irony: if I am at the point where I am moving in a relaxed enough manner to be "dancing with the mountain" it is usually because I have been instructed in a manner that makes me feel pretty comfortable.

The instructor than has the challenge of taking me out of my intuitive zone and refining my movements to make them more suitable for skiing.

So far, I have found this to be a rare talent in ski instructors. Of the many instructors I've taken class with, only 3 {Todd is one of them} have had the ability to show me how to combine lyrical grace with functional athleticism.

BTW, Snowcarver, you sound like you'd be a hoot to take a lesson from!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence

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[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited August 06, 2001).]</FONT>
post #14 of 25
Robin - your analogy with the plate juggler says it all. He knows exactly how long he can spend with plate number 4 before he has to jump over and get number 1 spinning again.

You see out of the corner of your eye that one of your group is about to get into minor trouble, but you leave her alone knowing you can devote ten more seconds to the guy your working directly with. This is an instinct you've developed over many years. Ever try to teach that to a rookine instructor?

My favorite beginner classes are the ones that, to an observer, appear to be chaotic, except that everyone is smiling and moving. And they all can get up and down the beginner lift by the end. And I'm exhausted.

Bob Barnes - My experience with a ballet dancer was a little different. She was a low intermediate level skier who just could not link one turn to the next smoothly. When I found out on our third chairlift ride that she was a ballerina, I asked her to forget everything that I had tried to show her for one run and to teach ME how to be graceful on skis. Remember the saying that goes something like "we teach best that which we need to learn most ourselves"?
post #15 of 25
Interestingly enough, guided discovery often gets a bad rep in certification and tryout situations (I have been involved with). I'm quite sure that the evaluators need a timely segment, and it does take a skilled instructor to pull it off. Unfortunately some instructors come away from the experience believing GD to be the black sheep of teaching styles and don't work on getting good at it.
post #16 of 25
Hmmm! Although I never danced on a professional level, what you just told me could possibly explain why I am almost terrified to ski without an instructor.

You are absolutely correct in what you said about some of the unnatural movements of dancers. I have been doing a bit of research on some of the problems involved in forced turn out and exaggerated plantar flexion {if you recall how confused I got in the Carving Brainteaser thread, too much juxstaposition of facts!}. YIKES!

But often teachers ask me if a certain way that I am skiing feels uncomfortable, and I just sort of look at them blankly.

John H, Gill and I were talking about that at lunch last Thursday. Being very strong can often mask some technical problems.

But taking this off me and back to the original thread, probably the challenge of Guided Discovery is allowing the student to find their personal style, but being aware of their tendencies to affect a skiing persona that can in fact be somewhat contrived, without them even realizing it.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #17 of 25
David, you and I were writing at the same time. Nice that you are quoting Richard Bach's "Illusions" and yes I have read that book.

I am probably more like the low intermediate skier/dancer that you worked with. And thinking back, I probably learn quite well in situations where I am both teaching and learning simultaneously. Reminds me of some of the converstaions we had on hyperchange.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #18 of 25
In a command format..... explain and demonstrate followed by the performance of the task.
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
Good comments, all.

The reason that I started this thread is that I want to develop a better way to teach first-timers. As this is the base of our school, I would like to change the way that I have been teaching with the command style. So, I looked up some information in Joan Rostad's site: http://www.hyperchangecafe.com/white..._of_style.htm. From this paper, and others, I pretty well defined what I am looking for. Teaching styles, as defined by Mosston and Ashworth (1986), defines eleven teaching styles.

The command and practice styles are needed for much of the lesson. Then I envision using the reciprocal style to break into groups and OBSERVE each partner's performance and give feedback to the partner. I hope this will give "ownership" to the class as they are involved with the actual facilitation of the lesson.

In higher level classes, I would like to experiment with divergent discovery, where I would give the class a project. As an example, I am a firm believer in cues, both internal and external. I would suggest to the class to develop some cues for releasing the old edges to start an new turn. Each student would suggest a cue and the class would try it. The results would produce some options that everyone in the class can use.

Comments anyone?

RH<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Rick H (edited August 07, 2001).]</FONT>
post #20 of 25

I think reciprocal is one of the best methods you can use for intermediate and advanced groups. The reason is that it forces the student to understand what they are seeing and feeling, so that they can give feedback to their partner. It also gives the performing partner another opinion of what they are doing. On top of this, it's very efficient for advanced groups in short duration lessons (eg. a 1.5 hr level 6 group). The group doesn't need to sit there and listen to you give feedback to every student. They just stop half way down (as an example), give feedback, switch positions for the second half of the run, then give more feedback to the other person while they are on the lift. After the lift ride, you can add anything you feel you need to, or change tasks.

I've never heard of divergent discovery, but it sounds suspiciously like guided discovery. The differences may be so minor as to not matter.
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi Bob,

I started to flex to release, an external cue. It flattens both skis. This also take the pressure of my ancient knees. I skied my last day at Mammoth without anti-inflamatories. At this point, it seems to work for me.

post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
Jim O'D,

Thanks for your input.

First, I am not a beginning instructor. I was looking into the teaching styles as presented by Mosston and Ashcroft (1993). Some of the are the command style, practice style, reciprocal style, guided discovery style, divergant discovery style, to name a few. Each of these style involve the student to a lesser amount, the command style, to the convergant style to a greater amount.

It is my goal to develop a beginners lesson plan that will involve the students to a greater degree in the lesson than the traditional "command style" that most of us have used over the years. The ultimate goal is to involve the student in the lesson the there is "ownership". If there is ownership, the likeliness of a return lesson is enhanced. Morever, we who are teaching PMTS, are trained to utilize Student Directed Teaching Instruction, which addresses student motivation, understanding and movement.

By utilizing SDSI along with various teaching styles, we will be able to satisfy the students motivations through movement and understanding. By rechecking the students motivations throughout the lesson, I will be able to custom the lesson to their needs, whether they are doers, thinkers, feelers, listeners or a combination of any of them. At times, I am all of the four!

Once again, Jim, thanks for you input.

RH<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Rick H (edited August 13, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Rick H (edited August 13, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Rick H (edited August 13, 2001).]</FONT>
post #23 of 25
Robin and Bob,

I agree with guided discovery and your thoughts are right on. My favorite lesson plan has everything "clear as mud" half way through and big smiles at the end as they "discover" where we were going and their personell reason for the trip.
post #24 of 25
Neuro-linguistic programming is an interesting approach to teaching, however, it runs the risk of being an oversimplification.

Some people fall into more than one category, i.e. kinesthetic/visual, etc.
post #25 of 25
Catorizations of

teaching styles...
student needs...
outcome oriented...
empathy oriented...
student directed...
heirachy off needs...
there are more...

Quite a juggling act. It's challenging, but good for us. Wonder if there is a way to clarify these various issues, to help teach.

Well stated by Rick H (hiya ), PMTS is trying very hard to nail this down with a focus on "student motivation, understanding and movement". Interesting focus. It helps me find the "best thing now, at this moment, for this student". Struggled with that concept because I was simply not aware of that viewpoint. DOH!

And like a lot of experienced instructors, I used command style far too often. No matter how fun, or gentle; command style IS command style. Now I know that does not work on a puppy, kitten, or kids. Particularily the willful and intelligent ones...

Why did I keep doing it for so long with my students, especially adults? Wondering if it's because it's the way I was taught to ski AND teach. Hmmm. It's certainly not that I am in love with command style, it's simply a habit, reinforced by repetition and cultural acceptance.

Grinning about why certain "yodas" are my favorite trainers. Less command style, less teacher's ego issues, more learning. More FUN too. Interesting.

Visit me here >>>SnoKarver

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[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited August 16, 2001).]</FONT>
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