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Why isn't there a defined teaching progression from the PSIA? - Page 2

post #31 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

 

Rusty, would you elaborate?  I'm very curious.  

 

I originally thought "Wow - all I need to do is memorize every page and I'll have a lesson plan for every situation". Then I thought, "Well, maybe I could carry this in my pocket and sneak a peak either before the lesson began or on the chairlift". Then I realized that most of the "Lesson plans" elicited a "well, Duh!" response (i.e. I did not need the book to know that and I did not need the book to know what do for my lesson and most of the lessons don't quite match up with the book anyway). I scan these things every now and then looking for ideas to add to my bag of tricks. 

 

I think it is valuable to go through the phase where one thinks that the book is helpful (like a security blanket).

post #32 of 46
Quote:
I have not seen the Vail manuals.  Where would I go if I wanted to see them?

 

I think Rusty is talking about the "PSIA Children's Alpine Teaching Handbook" and "PSIA Adult Alpine Teaching Handbook", produced with the Vail/Beaver Creek ski school, available here: http://www.thesnowpros.org/PublicationsVideosResources/Resources/AlpineEducationalResources.aspx .  Those are very 'nuts and bolts' handbooks with tons of ideas about drills and progressions (among many, many other topics).  If he means something else he'll have to clarify.

 

Quote:
One other minor quibble (directed to Matthias99):  I don't think liability concerns would necessarily preclude ski areas from grading skiiers, and thereby preventing novice skiiers from entering intermediate or expert terrain and causing injury to themselves or others.     In fact, I think a case can be made that by failing to evaluate skier ability prior to issuing lift tickets, areas are in fact incurring liability.  

 

(Note: IANAL.)

 

My understanding is that if a ski area (or other business in a situation like this) takes a hands-off approach and makes it clear that is what they are doing, they are unlikely to be found liable for injuries resulting from interactions between customers.  Everyone who visits is choosing to ski and share the slopes at their own risk -- the ski area just provides access, maintains the lifts, and does avi control and patrolling.  This seems to be a common model in other sports.

 

If a resort starts rating/grading skiers and riders, they are (at least implicitly) promising that all the skiers/riders on the 'advanced' slopes are competent.  If someone gets through that is not competent and hurts you, in theory you could go after the resort on the basis that they should have stopped that person.

 

Would such a lawsuit succeed?  I have no idea.  In my (non-lawery) opinion making a best effort attempt to improve safety should not make you liable if doing nothing would not have made you liable.  But maybe it doesn't actually work that way in practice, or they don't want to risk it.

 

Someone else mentioned resorts that require extra training before you can use the terrain park; this is somewhat different.  The bigger risk in a terrain park is normally falling and breaking yourself, not having a collision with another person.  (Although that does happen too.)  I'm guessing they do this because whoever provides their liability insurance feels it makes them less likely to be sued by someone who gets hurt in a terrain park, so they pay a lower rate for the insurance.

 

Disagreeing with PSIA is fine.  If you think things aren't working well, you should try to make them better.  But implying that PSIA wants their lessons to suck so that ski schools will make more money (somehow?) is nonsensical and not constructive.  I've only been doing this for a few years myself, but I can see that a lot of people have put a lot of work into their curriculum, and as mentioned above there is a method to the madness.

post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by rudbek View Post

Well .... I want to thank all the commenters, both pro and con.   I agree that as a 2nd year instructor, there's a lot I can learn (and am learning!)     Even so,  I think some of the more seasoned hands agree with me that there is something missing in the PSIA approach.    For me, skiing is all about technique.   In all the PSIA material I've read, I didn't see much about technique - about simple "how to do it" and "how to teach it" stuff.    See, for example, the "Core Concepts" manual.     In one of the manuals, I think I saw some material on Maslow's hierarchy   If I ski another 50 years, I'll never believe that Maslow's hierarchy is relevant to teaching 6 year olds - or 60 year olds - or anybody!   One other minor quibble (directed to Matthias99):  I don't think liability concerns would necessarily preclude ski areas from grading skiiers, and thereby preventing novice skiiers from entering intermediate or expert terrain and causing injury to themselves or others.     In fact, I think a case can be made that by failing to evaluate skier ability prior to issuing lift tickets, areas are in fact incurring liability.    

 

In any event - a heartfelt "thank you"  to all.  I will re-read all the comments with careful consideration.  

No my friend skiing is about so much more than technique. That's at most a third of what we deal with. As a two year coach you are stuck in that mental mode where plug and play mechanical options signify success. They do not. It's like taking an aspirin for pain but not investigating why you are feeling that pain. You wouldn't expect that sort of superficial diagnosis from your kid's pediatrician, you would expect them to delve deeper into why. They still may end up prescribing that aspirin but they might also suggest setting the broken arm that is causing the pain. Error correction while skiing is no different, finding the why requires you to dig deeper before offering a prescription.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

 

Hi rudbek, 

 

As someone who's been working towards a masters degree in education, I may be able to offer some insight into why PSIA teaches some of the things they do (and I'm CSIA, not PSIA, so I don't really care about PSIA politics): 

 

Maslow's hierarchy: If a skier is cold, he won't be able to learn. If a skier is starving, she won't be able to focus. The 12 year-old girl crying in fear looking down a bump run isn't in a position to learn. So every time you assess your learners for their mental/emotional/physical state, you're using the principle of Maslow's hierarchy of needs--you just haven't used any psychology jargon! We don't explicitly teach Maslow's Hierarchy in CSIA, but "guest service" encompasses these principles. 

 

Lesson plans: All learners come with unique goals, skills, knowledge, life experience, etc. An instructor who plans a "carving" progression would be negligent to implement it if the group wants to work on bumps. Similarly, when you have an ex-racer, a park rat, a ballerina and a 6 day/year Floridian in your lesson group, you can't expect learners to all achieve the same goals or progress at any predetermined pace--it isn't fair to the learners. Even in traditional teaching environments, lesson plans are evolving. Check out the concept of a "flipped classroom" (google Khan Academy), where students go home and do the rote learning, and then in school the students work with teachers through their assignments and the truly challenging content. 

 

Assessing kids based on parental statements of ability: This is a logistical issue. In a good ski school, I'd expect the instructors to be able to divide up kids after a ski-off. That said, I assume the PSIA, like the CSIA, expects instructors to be able to customize a lesson for multiple skiers with varying issues and at different levels of skill development. It takes instructors time to develop these skills. That's part of the process of gaining experience. 

 

 

 

My personal beef is when instructor training programs trot out Kolb's learning styles (feeler/thinker/visual/experiential). Learning styles are pseudoscience and they need to go away. Instead, training programs should teach principles of good learning: Everyone learns through experiencing success. Everyone gains exposure to a concept through a demonstration and tactile cues. Not everyone's analytical, but we know people remember things longer when they understand why something works, rather than just memorizing facts. So please, let's drop the learning styles, and just refer to principles of good learning. 

How folks process information is a key to making a message easier for them to understand on a cognative level. When you clue into that, students are more likely to grasp what you are expressing through your verbal and non verbal actions. Lecture someone who would rather see and do something and they will walk away from the lesson (and you) and never return.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

 

 


I am with Molesaver.  When I started skiing as an adult, I longed for some consistency from instructor to instructor.  It just wasn't there.  None of the instructors I took lessons from explained why we were doing the drills we were doing, nor what our objectives were.  I thought a progression created by some umbrella organization (PSIA being the obvious choice) would solve the problem.  I bought all the technical books I could find, read voraciously, took ridiculously detailed notes, and went out on snow to teach myself.   Eventually I became an instructor.  Still things were murky, but at least I could watch and train with people who could ski well.  Having now been teaching part time for 5 years, I know a progression imposed from above wouldn't work, just for the reasons all listed in this thread by people in the know.  I've come around to understanding where PSIA is coming from.  And now I know the reason the instruction I got was inept was because the instructors delivering the lessons were inept.  It's just the way it is.  

 

An excellent instructor can teach a group lesson with an ex-racer, a park rat, a ballerina and a 6 day/year Floridian in the group, based on experience gained from teaching, learned on the hill from trainers and at PSIA clinics, and from PSIA manuals.   And then there are the rest, who couldn't do squat with that group even if they were working with a trademarked progression.

I couldn't agree more with that last statement. Puking dogma is still puking on your customers. I avoid coaches / trainers, and mentors who do that.

post #34 of 46
Quote:

Originally Posted by rudbek View Post

 

   For me, skiing is all about technique.  

 

 

And let me pile on...

 

In the end, technique is but a means to an end. The end is travel, discovery, adventure, passing on knowledge, and just feeling the miles accumulate under my feet while on skis. You're making it all sound very mechanical. I saw a lot of this at the lower levels of training in the Japanese systems where people get so focused on technique that they'll ignore skiing 3 feet of fresh powder off piste for the opportunity to try to do railroad track turns in a foot of snow that fell after the slope was rolled. There's the forest, then there's the trees.. that sort of thing. smile.gif

post #35 of 46

The forest! 34 posts before it emerged. The pathway through the forest does not represent all that exists there. Nor can we assume we see much of the forest that lies further from the paths we take. For that additional information we rely on others who may have taken a different path through the forest. Sadly, when they offer us their perceptions and the inevitable conclusions they reached about the nature of the forest contradict what we experience on our pathway, we dismiss their experience and opinions. Or we demand they explain it in a way we can understand and that must be based on our pathway.

As a coach / teacher we strive to share the body of knowledge we own and the best of us are those curious ones that stopped along the way and looked under rocks and behind trees. That is why I am not upset when I get called a heritic by one of our members. I know that the best advice I ever received came from guys and gals who regularly play in the forest and turn over rocks, peek behind trees. What they discovered does not alway fit in my model, or perhaps it is just my perception of things but it makes me think about the limitations I impose on my learning. The idea of progressions and the implied need for multiple standardized ones implies a very limited and superficial mental model of how ski teaching and learning occurs.

To bring this all back to the ski slope and my students. I challenge my students to explore the forest and approach that exploration with a stronger focus on leaving the comfortable trails. They are still there and when you return to them you can honestly say you know more than you did when you left that path. It also makes it easier to leave the path the next time because like Metaphor suggests success breeds success. Although in my personal experience failures teach me just as much, if not more.  

post #36 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

And let me pile on...

 

In the end, technique is but a means to an end. The end is travel, discovery, adventure, passing on knowledge, and just feeling the miles accumulate under my feet while on skis. You're making it all sound very mechanical. I saw a lot of this at the lower levels of training in the Japanese systems where people get so focused on technique that they'll ignore skiing 3 feet of fresh powder off piste for the opportunity to try to do railroad track turns in a foot of snow that fell after the slope was rolled. There's the forest, then there's the trees.. that sort of thing. smile.gif

 

This should be encouraged more in the US.            (sadly the young'ns don't listen.. nor do the heathen oldn's)

 

No one should ski powder. It's dangerous and just bad for your skiing.  Stick to the packed trails and do drills. It's better. And safer.

 

Repeat like Bart:

"Stick to the packed trails and do drills.  Stick to the packed trails and do drills. Stick to the packed trails and do drills. Stick to the packed trails and do drills. Stick to the packed trails and do drills. Stick to the packed trails and do drills. Stick to the packed trails and do drills. Stick to the packed trails and do drills. Stick to the packed trails and do drills..."

 

I take it they don't buy many 110mm wide skis in Japan?

ht_simpson_karl_rove_nt_121112_wblog.jpg

The Simpsons Nov. 11, 2012

post #37 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

How folks process information is a key to making a message easier for them to understand on a cognative level. When you clue into that, students are more likely to grasp what you are expressing through your verbal and non verbal actions. Lecture someone who would rather see and do something and they will walk away from the lesson (and you) and never return.

 

jasp, your statements are true, but have nothing to do with "learning styles" or such voodoo. There's no such thing as an "experiential learner"--we all learn through doing and receiving feedback. And nobody can learn to ski competently just by reading a book, even if they consider themselves a "thinker". Nor is there such thing as a "visual learner"--we all have eyes and can observe. In the learning psychology community, learning styles hold no water. But principles of effective learning do. Some principles that are substantiated through peer-reviewed research include: 

 

  • Create motivation/arousal by revealing purpose, or a puzzle/novel situation to be resolved through the lesson (e.g. "watch me ski down this bump run. compare my first five to my last five turns. throughout the session, we'll find out what the difference is, and how to fix it--and consequently develop our bump skiing." That might sound like a boring puzzle; you can probably come up with better ones)
  • Sequence learning from simple to complex, and in a sequential order (e.g. to teach advanced parallel, first teach wedge->intermediate parallel->advanced parallel)
  • Provide mental models or scaffolding that connects prior knowledge to new knowledge (e.g. using analogies, or for knowledgeable skiers relating new info back to the 4 or 5 skills)
  • Establish context using advance organizers (e.g. in a lesson on dynamic parallel, before jumping into a drill, or even starting off down a run for assessment purposes: "When I ski dynamic parallel turns, I think about balancing, progressively rolling on edge as pressure builds underfoot, and allowing my skis to travel laterally. Thinking about that, let's go for a ski.")
  • Provide opportunity for practice, immediate feedback, and repetition.
  • Provide positive reinforcement for desired performances 

    avoid feedback on unrelated performances (eg if doing bracquage and you ask the skier to pivot in the hip, congratulate them if they accomplish the goal, even if they have a giant up-movement. Then work on the up-movement.)

    avoid using punishment except for life-threatening or emergency situations
  • Create learning opportunities in the contexts where the new skill/knowledge will be used (e.g. teach skiing on snow, rather than in forums ;) )

 

You'll probably notice that a lot of the ideas around how to work with each "learning style" are actually just regurgitations of effective learning principles. My point is that while learning styles are as imaginary as dragons or unicorns, learning principles are real (and are practised by many people who believe in learning styles). 


Edited by Metaphor_ - 2/1/13 at 1:23am
post #38 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

 

 

I take it they don't buy many 110mm wide skis in Japan?

 

Oh no, they do... Like most things there, skiing is/was broken up into pretty discreet communities: bumpers, racers, park skiers, tech skiers (these are the guys/gals that miss the powder), big mountain riders, telemarkers, etc... even down to the clothing.

post #39 of 46

Sounds like skiing in Japan is amazing. Then there's the food!

One could really get lost...

 

Kiroro Snow World on Hokkaido

http://www.snowjapan.com/e/snow-japan-photo-galleries/MikePow/MikePow_2084.jpg

photo by MikePow                             http://www.snowjapan.com/e/insider/photo_section.php?userid=MikePow
 

post #40 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Sounds like skiing in Japan is amazing. Then there's the food!

 

hijack.gif

 

Or you could just come to Whitewater, BC...much cheaper.

 

Sorry. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

post #41 of 46

Metaphor, I would disagree with the statement that learning biases, or as I call them individual learning preferences are voodoo. All they represent is habitual informational processing preferences. Something we all have and in the case of training ski instructors it is important for us to help those new coaches understand that they may have a particular presentation / information processing bias that is different from that of their students. Creating the habit of packaging information so it is easiest for the student to assimilate is the intent of this part of our teaching model. That does not mean we package information and activities from only one of these learning preferences. We may start in one, say visual for someone who want to see the move and is turned off by theoretical descriptions of the movements. That may be followed by them doing the move with a focus on tactile sensations and how different the move feels when compared to what they have been doing in the past. (If it doesn't feel weird at first, you probably aren't changing how you ski). Finally, discussing and comparing past moves with the new moves may move them towards the theoretical as we discuss the efficacy of each movement option. The difference is they are now consciously aware of those differences and able to have a meaningful discussion with me / you. In that way I totally agree with your opinion that comprehensive lesson planning includes segments in all four learning preferences. What we call them (styles / preferences / principles) is less important than developing coaches who leave their individual presentation biases in the locker room and instead focus on presenting things in a way that their students can grasp and apply easily. One of the best ways I have ever seen this expressed is found in the 96 PSIA Alpine Manual.

 

"You do not have to address each learning style every time you introduce an activity - that would make the lesson tedious. Plan to introduce these different approaches as the lesson progresses, and let the students influence decisions about presenting and sharing information. This will help you create a balanced presentation that addresses all the student's needs. This is where teaching artistry comes into play - presenting activities that reflect your sensitivity to each student's needs while keeping the rest of the group engaged in a fun, dynamic learning experience. There is no absolute "right" way when it comes to presenting and sharing information."

 

Sadly, manuals are books and tend to be written from a technical and theoretical bias. Katy Fry and Meagan Harvey realized this and split the next generation of manuals into the Core Concepts and Alpine Technical manuals. Weems offers us further insight into the psychology of ski performance and teaching with his book, Brilliant Skiing Everyday. Jim Taylor's Prime Ski Racing takes the psychology of ski performance even further. BTW he regularly writes for Ski Racing Magazine, so you can find his work easily. I visit their site just to read his articles.

 

How all of this relates to teaching progressions and standardized lesson content should be obvious but let me state clearly that rote regurgitation of dogma is something the authors of our manuals strongly suggest we avoid. So even though we all go through that rote memorization phase, that phase needs to be seen as only the beginning of our development as teachers and learners. If we settle for puking dogma, we are no better teachers than the newbies who are stuck in that rote "puking" phase. I would like to think I'm better than that and I hope through my writing I can inspire folks to grow past that stage where offering a pre-recorded message would represent their best teaching efforts.

post #42 of 46

jasp, peer-reviewed research finds that learning styles do not reflect how people learn. I think a lot of exceptionally talented ski instructors rely on organizations like the PSIA and CSIA for all their info on learning theory, supplemented with the occasional pop psychology ski coaching book. And because the content provided by these organizations generally works, instructors take the content away as truth. That's why we get good coaches who champion pseudoscience.

 

The good news is instructors can still be effective even though they believe in the academic equivalent of pixie dust. However, when people with contemporary advanced degrees in learning theory see this kind of content in our organizations' manuals, or when we have to listen to our senior instructors telling us about make-believe concepts, it makes us groan. 

 

I'm not suggesting to cut out learning styles and leave a big gaping hole in the ski instructor body of knowledge. I'm suggesting the organizations modernize their pedagogy by replacing learning styles with principles distilled from learning psychology. (You may be surprised at how much of what you're championing actually fits within those principles.) I also know such an undertaking will require massive work because so many high level instructors have invested a lot of mental effort into believing in learning styles, and due to confirmation bias will be stuck in that space for a long time. 

post #43 of 46
Good stuff Metaphor.
I've always thought it a bit ridiculous.
So where do we get the info that you're talking about.?
post #44 of 46

Tog, good question. I've gone the route of taking graduate studies in education. None of our coursework has been light reading. Ski instructors shouldn't have to go through graduate studies just to teach skiing. The ski instructor associations should be doing the heavy lifting here. And they generally do - it's just that sometimes they miss the mark or get hung up on dated theory.

 

Given all the above, the best intro learning theory book is Psychology of Learning for Instruction by Marcy P. Driscoll. It's used in several graduate programs. The text is not sports-specific, but rather covers the three primary learning theories and their application: behaviourism, cognitivism, and constructivism. Again, not something most people would just pick up on the toilet or waiting in a checkout line. 

 

On the cutting edge are learning theory and education journals. But they're so broad in content that I'd never recommend a ski instructor follow them. That said, I would expect the national bodies to not only follow but to actively contribute to research in sports education. 

post #45 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Tog, good question. I've gone the route of taking graduate studies in education. None of our coursework has been light reading. Ski instructors shouldn't have to go through graduate studies just to teach skiing. The ski instructor associations should be doing the heavy lifting here. And they generally do - it's just that sometimes they miss the mark or get hung up on dated theory.

 

Given all the above, the best intro learning theory book is Psychology of Learning for Instruction by Marcy P. Driscoll. It's used in several graduate programs. The text is not sports-specific, but rather covers the three primary learning theories and their application: behaviourism, cognitivism, and constructivism. Again, not something most people would just pick up on the toilet or waiting in a checkout line. 

 

On the cutting edge are learning theory and education journals. But they're so broad in content that I'd never recommend a ski instructor follow them. That said, I would expect the national bodies to not only follow but to actively contribute to research in sports education. 

You'd think they would. The reality is a little different as it relys on volunteers too much. A lot of money goes to the demo team. Who kind of do it but really not. I mean writing and research takes time obviously. There's one argument to just get rid of the demo team and put the money towards producing materials instructors can use and are relevant.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post

Or you could just come to Whitewater, BC...much cheaper.

 

Sorry. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Well using my new theories. In Whitewater, their behavior - they drink a lot of beer; cognitively: think about beer and skiing; constuctivism; they build huge booters so they get hurt and can drink more beer to get better.

Wait, Whitewater, BC.....isn't that in ...in...Canada?? are there even any girls there??

post #46 of 46

How we prefer to process information and how that may vary from person to person is the key here. Tailoring our presentations so the information is clear to our students is just part of becoming a more effective communicator. PSIA used Kolb's model to introduce that idea. It may make you groan but it helped them express the need to avoid becoming a one trick pony.

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