Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Good Teachers Learns from their Students - A Fresh Perspective

A good teacher learns from his/her students.

When I received my teaching certificate in 1988, I was a font of knowledge but, I was undeveloped as a disseminator of knowledge. Over time and several generations of students, I have evolved into a pretty good teacher. I’ve developed the ability to teach not just martial arts, but more importantly, people. The martial art is just the vehicle, but an instructor’s first goal must be to help people learn how to learn – not just the gifted athlete but the average person – in other words, everyone.

Every student provides the teacher with the opportunity to reinforce his/her mastery of the curriculum. Even more valuable, each individual provides a unique opportunity for the teacher to hone his true art – the art of teaching people – the art of reaching the individual. For the teacher, the goal is making his curriculum not just accessible, but personally important to each individual student. In return, each student provides a valuable opportunity to discover a new and unique approach to teaching.

Recently, this truth was renewed for me, refreshingly, by an insightful thirteen year old. I was working with a few young students to improve their stance. We talked about the length and width of each of their stances. We adjusted foot angles, weight distribution and body angle. When we got around to squaring the Centerline, one young lady said, “When I do that, it feels like my knees want to collapse into the center.”  I said “That’s it, exactly! That’s what sinks your center of gravity and it closes down the lower perimeter!” (!Light bulb moment!) I had never approached teaching this aspect of the stance from that standpoint. She (and I) now understood centerline and lowered center of gravity on a more personal level.

Adult class followed directly and I immediately began to integrate this additional approach into my presentation. As I presented it several times in the next few days, I came to additional realizations guaranteed to produce more effective students. What a gift!

Thank you. (You know who you are.) 

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