- With beginners, it is important to remember that you will constantly have new students coming into the program that do not know certain elements of etiquette. Things such as Word Power Phrases, proper titles of respect (Sir names), and striping must be explained to these new students. If they feel like they are the only person that doesn’t know what is going on, they will get discouraged, they will lose confidence in themselves, and they will drop out.
- It is extremely important that you STICK WITH THE BASICS for about 90% of your lesson plan when working with beginners. You can teach some “advanced” techniques, such as turning and spinning kicks, but ONLY AS A SPECIAL ‘TREAT” at the end of class. Spending too much time teaching techniques that are too advanced for the students that you are working with will leave them feeling like they haven’t learned anything, they aren’t good enough, they can’t do anything right, etc. Sticking with the basics for the majority of the beginner’s class will give them a sense of accomplishment and success, because they are actually able to perform those techniques correctly.
- WALK THE LINES, WALK THE LINES, WALK THE LINES! I can’t say this enough! You absolutely cannot teach effectively if you are only teaching from the front of the class! Moreover, students crave individual attention; if they aren’t getting it, their perception of the instructor will be that the instructor doesn’t care. Do you want your students to think that you don’t care?
- Avoid spending (wasting) time during a beginner’s class explaining every minute detail of a technique WHEN ADDRESSING THE CLASS AS A GROUP. New beginners won’t understand most of what you say; you are only confusing them with this information. Instead, GIVE THE DETAILS TO THOSE STUDENTS THAT ARE READY DURING YOUR ONE-ON-ONE TIME WHEN WALKING THE LINES! If you see a student that has the basic skills of a move down, give them the extra pointers to make the technique better. Just focus on one thing at a time, based on what needs the most attention.
- EVERYONE NEEDS TO FOCUS ON “RESULTS BASED” TEACHING! You must LOOK at what your class is doing, constantly! Constant evaluation of the students’ performance in technique, facial expressions, posture, etc. allows you to modify what you are teaching to adjust to the students’ ability and enthusiasm. For example, if you look across the classroom and see that half the kids are not properly performing the technique that you just showed them, you should be able to deduce that either:
- this class is not yet ready to learn this technique, so it is time to go back to a more remedial level of technique that breaks down the basic skills of the original technique;
- you didn’t explain the technique well enough, so you need to explain it again in a different manner, focusing on the elements that the class was lacking in their execution of the movement.
Remember that you should teach using the PIE principle:
Plan, as in planning your classes beforehand
Implement, as in teach from your lesson plans
Evaluate, as in watching the students’ performance and assessing how effectively you are teaching and whether or not they are learning the techniques you are teaching. If not, adjust your plan, then re-evaluate your results.
- Having fun is great, but it doesn’t make a bit of difference if the students aren’t learning anything. Think about it. You guys have good technique because I forced you to perform that way (Results Based Instruction). Make them do the techniques properly, and don’t accept poor efforts from your students, especially the intermediate and advanced students.