Originally Posted by bud heishman
We are all students at something, if only just life in general. What are some of the most important attributes to being a good student of sports? Weems has written a book about the Sports Diamond which highlights an interesting concept and we, as instructors, talk about the students being "ready to learn" and a cooperative learning environment. What do you find are important pieces to efficient learning and creating good learning environments? What or how do you personally optimize your ski learning experiences?
My take on this is weird, but my background isn't instruction.
A student should first want to listen, observe and experience what is being taught. It a student is thinking, "I can't do this!" , they are not ready to learn. Ideally, a teacher will not relay his/her information optimally until the student is ready to listen, observe and experience.
Some people, like those who spent time in the military, will do what they are told without a lot of self-doubt. For example, they initially don't need to know everything about putting a ski on edge, a cross-over or whatever. Just tell them to put their body here or there and they will emulate you in carving a turn (or whatever) until they figure it out. Those on the other end of the spectrum simply have to internalize everything before they will try something different than what they internally believe ("If I move my body to where my instructor says to put it, I will fall down when standing still, so doing so will be really scary while I am moving. My instructor is nuts."). These people need motivation and/or, in the terms of my wife, a "supportive" teacher.
This is probably why great orators and motivational speakers spend so much time using metaphors and anecdotes to attach their thoughts to the belief systems of the audience. Once the audience believes they are understood (and are at the edge of their seats) they will have the motivation to learn and only then will the great public speakers will lay out their thesis and teach. BTW, many great orator and teachers eat, drink and breathe metaphors and anecdotes.
What is a creative and efficient environment? Any environment that makes the student learn best provided the student wants to learn and not just have a great time. Some people learn best under stress, others learn best when they are having fun, some learn best by observing, hearing, etc. The perfect environment should be different for different people. If I were to take a lesson from Bud or Weems, and maybe someday I will, I'd keep my mouth shut and listen because I can't learn a whole lot by talking. Being able to ask question to, and then listen to and observe someone who should know more than me is my idea of a perfect learning environment. Most people, though, are different. Most people like to talk about themselves and show off what they can do. Those people want to know how smart they are are not how smart their instructor is. They will learn, but not optimally. And it shouldn't matter to the instructor provided the student's internal needs are met and they have a good time. Besides, people who feel good about themselves will likely tip more.
A case in point is the people on this forum who thinks Bode Miller has lousy form. I doubt they would get as much out of a lesson from Bode as someone who thinks, "This guy probably could forget half of what he knows about finding speed, and he would still know more than almost anyone else out there."