or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Which takes precedence in certification--skiing or teaching?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Which takes precedence in certification--skiing or teaching?

post #1 of 135
Thread Starter 
 
Quote:
 PSIA W requires you pass the 3 day skiing module before you are allowed to move on to the teaching module.
Does it matter what precedence a division gives teaching and skiing in the exam? Why?
post #2 of 135

Is PSIA a teaching organization or a skiing organization?  Is the goal of PSIA to develop strong teachers or strong skiers?  I think we would both agree that the goal of PSIA and its divisions is to develop both skill sets in their members. In my division (PNW), you can pass either the teaching or skiing segments first.

In my opinion, great ski instructors are often "better" teachers than skiers (regardless of how good the underlying skiing skills are).  They have a unique ability to make difficult things easy to understand, have great communication skills, and a critical eye.  More importantly, they help the student define and achieve their goals while having fun.

Mike

post #3 of 135
 I think if they can't do it, you already know they won't understand it well enough to teach it.
post #4 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

 I think if they can't do it, you already know they won't understand it well enough to teach it.
I disagree, and I think there are numerous precedents across a spectrum of sports to support my position.
post #5 of 135
Good skiers are a dime a dozen.  Not so true with good teachers.  With that said, a certified ski teacher needs to demonstrate good fundamental skills & movements at & beyond the level of their students.  A good ski teacher brings the whole package ie. skiing, teaching & technical understanding.  I believe the candidate should be assessed on his ability to blend & connect all three of these criteria together.
JF
post #6 of 135
Good topic Nolo!
I'd say the member schools have a large voice in what PSIA teaches on a divisional basis. I know many great skiers who quite honestly aren't very good teachers and don't sell a lot of lessons, or have a high percentage of repeat customers. I also know some great teachers who can't pass their level 3 cert test but they've created a very loyal customer base of recreational skiers who have no interest in becoming expert skiers. Since 85 % of our business comes from the beginner through lower intermediate customers, it's often more important for our coaches to be great people people and relatively good technicians. In a perfect world all of us would own expert skiing, teaching, and people skills. That's not always the case though.

My past SSD was a French National Team racer and in his day a top tier skiing talent. Although he was know around here for the phrase "You ski like sheet" more than for his skiing prowess.  I think on some level he respected those few that didn't take his insults personally but not many of us can do that easily nowdays. I alway knew that he was always spot on about how poorly you were performing but sadly most people never heard his advice about what to change. I know from experience that second part was always there. 
I also want to add that as he aged his skiing skills eroded a bit but his eye was alway pretty sharp and very accurate. So in his case he represented a very valuable resource even though he was no longer A WC level skier. Which should explain my opinion about which skills set is most important.

None of them and all of them. Without the skills to perform, our advice is hollow. Without the skills to communicate it, our skiing skills are hard to imitate. We need them all equally, so IMO the order a division chooses to develop them shouldn't imply one is more important than the others. Learn them all, use them all, teach them all.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 4/23/10 at 11:46am
post #7 of 135
Which comes first during Demo Team Tryouts?
post #8 of 135
How about looking at this topic from the perspective of a candidate...

Most of the candidates today seem to gravitate toward their own skiing development. They view it as something tangible and verifiable. To some degree, they are correct. At the same time, developing the knowledge base of teaching and movement analysis takes longer, and is less verifiable. Therefore, they take the easy route. In addition to this, most instructor's egos are based on their skiing skills, so again the emphasis is on the skiing.

Trainers fall into this same category- skiers first, teachers second. They find it easy to train candidates to ski, with less effort toward developing those elusive teaching skills. Some are very good at focussing on developing teaching skills, but whether those lessons sink in on the candidate is questionable (as per above).

Examiners are not much different- they are generally selected on their skiing- less so on their teaching. And as these individuals are also in charge of determining how exams are executed, well, you can figure out the result.

But just as the evaluation of a candidates skiing is subjective in the exam, their teaching /MA skills are even more so. Most examiners have difficulty ascertaining what level of knowledge and competence a candidate brings to an evaluation. Ultimately they must make a decision, but the standards by which those decisions are made are very suspect. So this again makes skiing the dominant skill set evaluated.

When I took my Full Cert in FWSIA (PSIA-W), there was a weighting schedule for each of the 4 boards we had to sit. Skiing was only weighted at 1.0, Technical Understanding at 1.2, Error Detection/Correction (Movement Analysis) at 1.4, and the Teaching Presentation was weighted highest at 1.6 . There were 3 examiners per board, each scoring on a 0-10 point scale. In various versions of this format, a candidate also had to pass the skiing prior to taking the balance of the boards, and were offered a 'remedial' skiing day with examiners if they were not successful. But this was also prior to the current standard of 'partial passes'.

I believe that both skiing and teaching need to be addressed equally. As Epic questioned in his early post, "if you can't do it, do you understand it well enough to teach it? [sic]" This has some validity, but is not absolute. Others have posted that great skiers do not always make great instructors. Also true! Somewhere a balance must be established. But until a truly objective evaluation of a candidates teaching skills is found, skiing will consistently take dominance.
post #9 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by shortturns View Post

Which comes first during Demo Team Tryouts?
 

Trying out to become a member of the D-Team is a job interview, not a certification.
But yes- skiing does happen first....
post #10 of 135
"Trying out to become a member of the D-Team is a job interview, not a certification.
But yes- skiing does happen first...."

However, a lot of highly skilled skiers never make it past the tryouts because they lack the  clinician skills. 

In Central Division, you couldn't take the rest of the exam without first passing the written test.
post #11 of 135
 Lets face it the skiing standards for Level 3 high and tough as they may well be. Arent the hardest thing in the world. 

I see the L3 skiing standards as the bare min to be a "expert skier".

although I think that you should have to be able to ski it to pass as that taking the skiing first makes sense. I believe teaching skills are the real deal when it comes to coaching students. At the same time teaching skills are by far the toughest to judge for examiners IMO.
post #12 of 135
So skiers that ski "extreme terrain" in videos, aren't experts if they dont have all of the L3 skiing standards?  Aren't some of the l3 skiing standards "exercises" that a expert would not be able to do if they had never tried it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

 Lets face it the skiing standards for Level 3 high and tough as they may well be. Arent the hardest thing in the world. 

I see the L3 skiing standards as the bare min to be a "expert skier".

although I think that you should have to be able to ski it to pass as that taking the skiing first makes sense. I believe teaching skills are the real deal when it comes to coaching students. At the same time teaching skills are by far the toughest to judge for examiners IMO.
post #13 of 135
Thread Starter 
I've heard it said that any ski school worth the name can make a good teacher into a good skier, but no ski school on earth can make a good skier into a good teacher. That comes from the heart. Therefore, select good teachers first and work on their skiing second. It seems fairly obvious to me. I suspect that if PSIA divisions changed what comes first in their priorities, it would affect the quality of lessons. 
post #14 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

I've heard it said that any ski school worth the name can make a good teacher into a good skier, but no ski school on earth can make a good skier into a good teacher. That comes from the heart. Therefore, select good teachers first and work on their skiing second. It seems fairly obvious to me. I suspect that if PSIA divisions changed what comes first in their priorities, it would affect the quality of lessons. 
 



I couldn't disagree more.  The CSIA was founded on the principle of teaching people how to teach!  That is the whole premise behind the skills concept...the ability to provide a clear and simple structure for people to learn and understand skiing, then inturn pass that knowledge onto their students...and so it goes.

As a by product of that process, we become better skiers.

Your view nolo really thou does not surpise me.  The total lack of understanding of even the most basic of skiing concepts by the numerous PSIA instructors on this board prove that the PSIA has failed, and if I understand your post, does not even really try to teach people to teach. 

Sad.
post #15 of 135
Philosophically and emotionally, I'm with the group that says that a great teacher is rare treasure while a good skier is just a good skier. This is based on the simple and age-old idea that giving to others creates more joy in the world than working on yourself all the time. However, from a pragmatic "how do I really behave" point of view, as a fair skier myself, with a very critical eye, I'm simply incapable of taking a potential teacher seriously if it's not immediately clear that she's a better skier than I am. Sorry, but there it is. Maybe my problem, but if I have it, I bet a lot of others do too. Of course on occasion I do get useful tips from skiers who are less skilled than I, but it doesn't happen a lot. On the other hand, better skiers frequently say things that help me out. Just saying.
post #16 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

Your view nolo really thou does not surpise me.  The total lack of understanding of even the most basic of skiing concepts by the numerous PSIA instructors on this board prove that the PSIA has failed, and if I understand your post, does not even really try to teach people to teach. 
 

I'm pretty sure what Nolo was saying was simply that some people have a naturally teaching-oriented mindset, with basic skills around communication, empathy, and ability to explain things in multiple ways to accommodate pupils' diverse learning styles. These are the people that will make the best ski teachers once their skiing AND teaching skills are developed. I very much doubt she was saying that enhancing the inchoate teaching skills of likely candidates was not a primary goal of the PSIA or any such organization.
post #17 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post




I'm pretty sure what Nolo was saying was simply that some people have a naturally teaching-oriented mindset, with basic skills around communication, empathy, and ability to explain things in multiple ways to accommodate pupils' diverse learning styles. These are the people that will make the best ski teachers once their skiing AND teaching skills are developed. I very much doubt she was saying that enhancing the inchoate teaching skills of likely candidates was not a primary goal of the PSIA or any such organization.

 

I hope you are right.
post #18 of 135
My active day was long ago but as a clinic instructor and examiner a candidate had to pass ALL of the sections.  Hope that has not changed.  I was associated with ASIA, RMSIA, NRMSIA; and the standards and requirements were all similar.

It was not an either/or situation for pass fail between skiing and teaching.  You had to pass all sections; skiing, teaching, error recognition, demos, written, and oral to obtain your certification.  That seems fair to me!
post #19 of 135
 That hasn't changed Stranger.  In the East for example after you pass Part I - Skiing, you are not certified at that level, you are still a candidate and then eligible to take Part 2, which you need to do within 2 years.  You then have to pass a written exam and then Part 2 - Teaching.  If you fail that, you can take it again.

I'm not sure what the time limit is, but at some point you have to go back and retake and pass Part 1 if you don't pass Part 2 soon enough.
post #20 of 135
Thread Starter 
qcanoe gets my meaning. I'm just sayin', skiing isn't difficult. Teaching is. It takes a special person to put teaching first, really work on becoming better at it, etc. On the other hand, almost all ski instructors have no difficulty practicing their skiing, knowing what they need to work on, etc., whereas they probably haven't a clue of how poorly they teach.  
post #21 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

I've heard it said that any ski school worth the name can make a good teacher into a good skier, but no ski school on earth can make a good skier into a good teacher. That comes from the heart. Therefore, select good teachers first and work on their skiing second. It seems fairly obvious to me. I suspect that if PSIA divisions changed what comes first in their priorities, it would affect the quality of lessons. 

Since when were exams about working on anything? They are a test to see if the candidate meets the standard of certification. The skiing exam goes a lot faster than the teaching exam, so it only makes sense for that to be the first filter. Why waste everybody's time with reversing it?
post #22 of 135
Thread Starter 
I'm assuming most instructors do some preparation for the exam and the exam criteria would dictate what a candidate works on. You tell me, what proportion of your exam prep was spent on skiing and how much was on teaching?
post #23 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

I've heard it said that any ski school worth the name can make a good teacher into a good skier, but no ski school on earth can make a good skier into a good teacher. 

Nolo, as a teacher have you improved over time?  If good teaching is something that can't be taught/learned, the answer would have to be no.  
post #24 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

I'm assuming most instructors do some preparation for the exam and the exam criteria would dictate what a candidate works on. You tell me, what proportion of your exam prep was spent on skiing and how much was on teaching?

Why would the order that the exam is taken in determine what content the candidate works on?

I really have no idea what the proportions of teaching to skiing time was. For sure more towards skiing. That said, whenever I am at a ski clinic I am watching the clinician so that I can plagarize the good stuff. Also, preparing for the exam module totally changed how I teach skiing. 2-day clinic with Peter Howard for my L2 Teaching Prep was the best clinic I ever had.

Anyway, I work on my teaching every time I teach. The best lessons are the ones where we both learn something.
post #25 of 135
First, let's get the semantics straight. Precedence can simply mean the order or it can also imply that the order indicates importance. Which did you mean Nolo?

In the East exams used to be skiing and teaching all in one exam. But they were split up because of feedback that preparing for the exam was too difficult. As I remember it, Eastern division used to have teaching first, but changed the order to skiing first because that's where most candidates were failing. My memory of this is not clear. So, whether that's true or not it does bring up the point of that the order of the pieces of the exam does not necessarily indicate the relative importance of the pieces. One could argue that not allowing the candidates to choose the order of the tests proves the order indicates importance. But the requirement to complete the second section within 2 seasons after passing the first plays a part. In the East, the reason for the order is simply logistics. It was judged that having skiing first resulted in the greatest number of people passing without having to retake an already passed piece. To compensate for this, the Master Teacher program was invented. This program's primary purpose was to provide a growth path for instructors who were never going to achieve a level 3 skiing skill level (e.g. because of limited amount of time on snow, age), but it also provides a teaching first path to L3 cert because Master Teachers only need to pass the skiing portion of the L3 exam.
post #26 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by PimpinPanda View Post

So skiers that ski "extreme terrain" in videos, aren't experts if they dont have all of the L3 skiing standards?  Aren't some of the l3 skiing standards "exercises" that a expert would not be able to do if they had never tried it?
 

Bush said L3's are just barely experts, not experts are not L3s.

The L3 exercises are designed to isolate specific movements and skills. Normal skiing requires a blend of movements and skills. It would not be fair to ask an expert to perform one of these exercises without practice. Even if you have the skills, these are things that generally require practice. There's a difference between having the skills and needing practice and not having the skills and needing development.
post #27 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post



I couldn't disagree more.  The CSIA was founded on the principle of teaching people how to teach!  That is the whole premise behind the skills concept...the ability to provide a clear and simple structure for people to learn and understand skiing, then inturn pass that knowledge onto their students...and so it goes.

As a by product of that process, we become better skiers.

Your view nolo really thou does not surpise me.  The total lack of understanding of even the most basic of skiing concepts by the numerous PSIA instructors on this board prove that the PSIA has failed, and if I understand your post, does not even really try to teach people to teach. 

Sad.


Dude,

Did you really have to go there?

No, you did not understand Nolo's post. PSIA puts a lot of effort into teaching people how to teach. If you need proof, go to any US ski school and extract a sample of instructors with the same amount of teaching experience and rank order them by teaching skill (yes, generally not an easy task, but just ask the group - they know who the best and the worst are) and see where the PSIA members fall within that ranking. It's not definitive proof, but it will be highly circumstantial evidence. If you want definitive proof, you'll need to examine the PSIA publications and attend PSIA clinics. Or. you can just look at the exam format.

At the risk of appearing that I "don't get it", let me restate Nolo's observation. No ski school can create a good teacher out of every good skier, but they can create a good skier out of every good teacher. We can teach anyone to to ski. We can't teach everybody to teach skiing. But it is not that we can't do it, it's that it would take so much effort that it's not worth it. Therefore it's more accurate to state that we can not cost effectively create good ski teachers out of every good skier.

If you start with the assumption that people have something meaningful to say and take the time to put things in perspective, you might be surprised at how often you agree with what they are trying to say versus what you initially heard them say. Great teachers make an effort to understand their students perspectives. It's the road from sadness to happiness.

post #28 of 135
 All she said was that you can't make a teacher out of someone who doesn't have the basic skill sets and personality to be a teacher.  She never said that you can't make a teacher a BETTER teacher.  You're really out of line SkiDude.

Sad.
post #29 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

However, from a pragmatic "how do I really behave" point of view, as a fair skier myself, with a very critical eye, I'm simply incapable of taking a potential teacher seriously if it's not immediately clear that she's a better skier than I am. Sorry, but there it is. Maybe my problem, but if I have it, I bet a lot of others do too. Of course on occasion I do get useful tips from skiers who are less skilled than I, but it doesn't happen a lot. On the other hand, better skiers frequently say things that help me out. Just saying.
 

One of the hardest parts of the level 3 certification is the expectation that the candidate can positively change the skiing of higher skilled skiers. This concept should not be hard to understand. It's called coaching. We see it on TV all the time. At many ability levels, the gap between where one is at and the top levels is so great that it is only natural to expect instruction to come from higher level people and expect crap from lesser skilled people (if they knew better, they could do it). At the top levels of performance, the motivational skills, observational skills and knowledge of the coach becomes much more important than the ability of the coach to demonstrate performance.

You don't have a problem at all, but in a good sense I wish you did.
post #30 of 135

Skidude, It's not often we agree but in this case I couldn't agree more. Teaching skills are no different than skiing skills. Developing either takes work. Do some personality types find those skills easier to develop than others? Absolutely, but that certainly doesn't mean they are intrinsically good teachers any more than a skier could hop on skis for the first time and immediately ski at an expert level. Doesn't make sense to expect that much expertise out of newbies.


Edited by justanotherskipro - 4/24/10 at 7:58am
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 › Which takes precedence in certification--skiing or teaching?