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akiy
05-17-2002, 03:36 PM
So, how do people at your dojo learn how to teach aikido?

Is it mainly "trial by fire" where the person just starts covering classes? Or, does your dojo/organization have "instructors courses" and such? And if you do have "instructors courses," what kind of things do they cover?

Curious,

-- Jun

Jim ashby
05-17-2002, 04:28 PM
Hi Jun, the BAB has a very well structured instructor training programme. You could find out about it on their website. Seems to work over here.
Have fun.

lt-rentaroo
05-17-2002, 04:35 PM
Hello,

The Aikido Association of America (AAA) founded by Fumio Toyoda Shihan holds yearly "instructors seminars" that are designed to help Aikido instructors become better teachers. In fact, attendance at an instructors seminar is required prior to promotion to Shodan.

I've attended one, and really enjoyed it. Learning theory, and methods of breaking technique down into smaller more easily digested bits are taught. Motivational language was also explained. For example, instead of saying a student is doing something all wrong; find one thing they are doing right, and then say, "that's good, but to make it even better, try this/that."

Sensei Toyoda's philosophy was that good Aikido comes from good Aikido teachers and one of the AAA's main goals is to enhance the Aikido learning environment through instructor courses.

Chuck Clark
05-17-2002, 07:33 PM
The Jiyushinkai also has a Kenshusei program along with an instructors course and certification program.

If you're interested, there is more info on the Jiyushinkai web site.

Regards,

erikmenzel
05-18-2002, 04:43 AM
Our club has a so-called Renshi-course. (You can not sign up for this, you are asked by sensei to follow this course!!)

Furthermore Sempai are often and firmly instructed how to start lessons in case sensei is late or how to replace him when he is away.

If you are not a renshi you are also requested to write a report of the lessons you did.

ChrisDuSCAMB
05-19-2002, 06:37 AM
Originally posted by akiy
So, how do people at your dojo learn how to teach aikido?

Is it mainly "trial by fire" where the person just starts covering classes? Or, does your dojo/organization have "instructors courses" and such? And if you do have "instructors courses," what kind of things do they cover?

Curious,

-- Jun

Hi Jun,

We have also in our organization an instructor training program.
There are dedicated intructor seminars.
In addition, when a seminar occured with a high ranking instructor, the last part concerns the instructors where they can ask questions on technics, how to learn something, etc....

In France, for teaching, you must obtain a Federal brevet or an estate brevet validated by the sport minister. For this, each league in the organization, organize several time in the year, learning session composed with a theorical part (discussion on Aikido related subject as the security on the mat, the preparation, the aikido history and so on ) and with a course simulation where others trainer play the student role.

But I think that our personnal experiences are also very important for teaching our knowledges to the students ....


Bye

:D

Richard Harnack
05-24-2002, 05:35 PM
Originally posted by akiy
So, how do people at your dojo learn how to teach aikido?

Is it mainly "trial by fire" where the person just starts covering classes? Or, does your dojo/organization have "instructors courses" and such? And if you do have "instructors courses," what kind of things do they cover?

Curious,

-- Jun

Jun-
In Seidokan we have an instuctors training program. Initially it was taught only at our headquarters in Los Angeles, but as we began to grow, we would invite the Kancho or one of the Shihan in once a year to provide upgrade training.

Presently, here in St Louis, I have an every other week instructor training program. It is very practically oriented to the issues of teaching Aikido and handling conflicts in the dojo. All who want to teach have to attend. I only allow them so many "misses" before they find themselves without a teaching assignment. This is not an "advanced" class. We cover communication skills, topics in training, problems in explanations, etc.

The old trial by fire method was acceptable when there was no other alternative, however, that is no longer the case. I was fortunate in that I had other training in how to instruct and communicate ideas. I simply transferred these modalities to teaching Aikido.

Some topics which have come up in recent instructors classes:
- sex ( as in how to handle attraction between instructors and students);
- what to do about students who stop their attack the moment Nage begins to move;
- acceptable ways of explaining Aikido and the Aiki Taiso;
- how to handle the situation when the instructor finds themself angry with a student;
- proper hand placement on the bokken;
etc.

While sometimes I have to "lay down the law", most of the time this is a time for each instructor to hear how others are handling things and to try out different explanations in order to imporve their teaching skills.

MaylandL
06-16-2002, 11:28 PM
:confused: :freaky:

I am having some doubts as to whether I should continue to teach at the dojo that I am currently at.

Having read this thread, there seems to be some concensus that some accreditation for instructors may be desirable. Currently, there is no formal accreditation for the instructors at the dojo other than Sensei allowing his senior students to teach (typically students of shodan and higher are the only ones with Sensei's permission to teach if he is not present. We have a roster so that we share the teaching load so that we are also able to get some training time). Because he's wanting to expand the number of classes, he's wanting his senior students (I'm inlcuded in this) to take more responsibility to teach. For senior students, he sees that teaching is an important aspect of improving technique.

Just by way of background, I've been training in aikido for about 9 nine years and ju jitsu for about 3 years doing about 4 to 6 hours a week. I was awarded the rank of nidan about 12 months ago. I also train at another dojo with a different sensei and regularly attend a gym for basic body conditioning.

For the past 3 years, I've been teaching beginners and more experienced students including shodan students.

I guess I am having a "small crisis of faith" for want of a better phrase in terms of my own abilities as an aikidoka and consequently as an assistant to Sensei. Though my sensei is happy with my teaching and technical ability I feel I have so very much more (having visited other dojos to train and training regularly at another dojo) to learn and I'm not sure that I am doing the best for sensei's students. I have spoken to sensei about this but I still have some doubts. I enjoy teaching and sharing what I know, but I know so very little and am absolutely gobsmacked about how much there is to learn. Given this am I really doing a service to sensei and his students?

I am looking for advice from other members of the forum in terms of when they started teachning (in terms of how many years they trained before they taught students), what they taught (what techniques and from what attack), whether accreditation is a necessary prerequisite.

Also, if you are the sensei, what you look for in senior students (their personal and technical attributes/characteristics) that would make you feel comfortable to allow them to teach students on your behalf.

And, if you are a student, what do you look for in an assistant instructor that would make you feel you would want to continue training or want to join even though the sensei would not be able to take all the classes.

I have the utmost respect and trust in my sensei and my intent for posting this request is to ensure that I am doing the best for my sensei, his students as well as progressing with my training.

Thanks for reading :)

jk
06-17-2002, 01:42 AM
Mayland, if you, with your years aikido of experience under your belt, are having a small crisis of faith, then rest assured that others, myself included, should be going through some major nervous breakdowns.

I don't think your sensei would have allowed you to teach without being confident of your ability to do so. Hell, I should definitely not be teaching because I'm just some shodan, but there are some situations where one has to teach because, well, having you teach is better than nothing. You just have to have faith that you're doing as much as you can for the people receiving your instruction.

Regards,

Jorx
06-17-2002, 04:34 AM
Guys:)
Everyone has to start somewhere and somewhen. Estonia's head instructor is sandan. There are 2 or 3 nidans in the whole country, most of the teachers are shodan but you can also find kyu people running their own dojos. What should we be doing? Collapse under the nervous pressure that we get watered-down budo taught by beginners:)?

Jorgen
Estonian Aikikai
Riveta Sportsclub

P.S. Darn... I sometimes substitute the sensei and I'm 3rd kyu. But I don't consider myself a teacher but rather a fellow student:)

PeterR
06-17-2002, 04:59 AM
We learn to teach from the very beginning. Every session sempai are paired with kohei for the part of the lesson devoted to the next exam. It is not uncommon for 7th kyu to be working with absolute beginners as, you guessed it, the ikkyus are with the higher dan grades.

The whole set-up is an instructors course.

It is not difficult to run a class as long as you listen to the oldest piece of advice in the book - teach only what you know.

Jorgen has the right idea [i]I don't consider myself a teacher but rather a fellow student[\i]. Start that way and although you may eveolve into a teacher you don't blow yourself away with the added weight of responsibility your first time out.

Richard Harnack
06-18-2002, 11:35 AM
Originally posted by MaylandL
:confused: :freaky:

I am having some doubts as to whether I should continue to teach at the dojo that I am currently at.

Having read this thread, there seems to be some concensus that some accreditation for instructors may be desirable.
...
Just by way of background, I've been training in aikido for about 9 nine years and ju jitsu for about 3 years doing about 4 to 6 hours a week. I was awarded the rank of nidan about 12 months ago. ...

For the past 3 years, I've been teaching beginners and more experienced students including shodan students.

I guess I am having a "small crisis of faith" for want of a better phrase in terms of my own abilities as an aikidoka and consequently as an assistant to Sensei.
...
I have spoken to sensei about this but I still have some doubts. I enjoy teaching and sharing what I know, but I know so very little and am absolutely gobsmacked about how much there is to learn. Given this am I really doing a service to sensei and his students?
...
Also, if you are the sensei, what you look for in senior students (their personal and technical attributes/characteristics) that would make you feel comfortable to allow them to teach students on your behalf.
:)

Mayland -
The first 10 years are the hardest, both in training and in teaching. So hang in there with both and strive to become even better.

I recommend for all teachers to look at others who teach (in all fields, not just Aikido or M/A). Which of these do you feel were really excellent teachers and what did they do that you think you would be able to do. Good teaching methods do not change with subject taught. Try different ones on for size and use those that "fit".

Accrediting instructors. This is neither a good idea nor a bad idea. Some type of organizational accreditation is an useful guideline for people who are "shopping" for a dojo. In such a case, it informs people that the particular instructor and dojo has a national or international body behind them. However, this type of accreditation says nothing about ability to instruct beyond some agreed upon minimum.

It is also a bad idea, because in some cases "guidelines" and "standards" become "rules" and "laws" which can be wielded by orgnaizational hacks and politicians who may have stopped doing anything except to "run" the organization. In some cases this leads to political infighting and rectal kissing with the formation of "in" and "out" groups. Promotions then become more of a political choice than a merit choice. Hence it is a bad idea.

What I look for in senior students is their technical ability of course, but for those who want to help teach I also look at how they communicate with beginners and other advanced students. "Experts" and "Know-it-alls" who spend much of their teaching time talking instead of training are apprised that this is not the standard here. Showing how well you do the technique is not the same as helping someone else discover how well they can do the technique. This is why I hold instructor's classes.

I have much more I can say, but this gives the general train of thought. Good luck, hang in there.

MaylandL
06-25-2002, 08:08 PM
Thanks for the response. There's much to think about. Currently there is new roster being drafted for other yundanshas to teach. I'll be considering all of your suggestions.

Happy training all :)

Steven
06-27-2002, 12:27 AM
Hi Jun,

The Yoshinkan has an extensive instructors course at its headquarters in Tokyo known as the Senshusei. In addition, many of the IYAF dojos have their own instructors course as well.

At my dojo and my home dojo, teaching is part of learning. Students start teaching the basics, such as protocol, etiquette, footwork, ukemi, etc, usually after they've been through a couple of exams. This is done under the supervision of the chief instructor and designated senpai's.

This has always worked for us.

Cheers,

Steven Miranda

PeterR
06-27-2002, 01:26 AM
Originally posted by Steven
At my dojo and my home dojo, teaching is part of learning. Students start teaching the basics, such as protocol, etiquette, footwork, ukemi, etc, usually after they've been through a couple of exams. This is done under the supervision of the chief instructor and designated senpai's.

Same set-up as Shodokan Honbu. You are in effect learning to teach from the very beginning.

MaylandL
07-02-2002, 09:31 PM
I found this particularly interesting to read.

http://www.aikidoonline.com/feat_0502_yamada.html

davoravo
07-02-2002, 11:11 PM
Mayland,
You will never learn,in any endeavour, as much as you do by teaching.

mike lee
07-04-2002, 06:55 AM
I have to attend an instructors' course once a year. It comprises two entire weekends back-to-back. I hate it. A lot of sitting. A complete waste of time for me since my teachers lead the course and I always know exactly what they are going to do and say. Nevertheless, it gives me a chance to meet up with some old friends.

But I can see one major benefit. It helps to put all of the teachers in our association on the same page. It's amazing to see some of the strange and totally incorrect notions that some teachers get, which just ends up confusing students who don't even know left from right.

Conclusion: Instructors courses help to get everyone pulling in the same direction, regardless of how boring such courses may be.:square:

P.S. If you don't think that you're qualified to be teaching aikido, you probably shouldn't be. I've seen brown belts, usually women, who were excellent teachers, and I've seen sandan who would be better off at home watching a ball game.

rachmass
07-15-2002, 06:27 AM
This is an interesting topic.
I have trained at two dojos, the first one did not have any formal accreditation program and the teachers were not particularly consistant with what they were teaching although they were good. The dojo to which I currently belong comes from a lineage with great emphasis on teaching certificates and consistancy of technique or common body language. I find the latter dojo much easier to learn at, and the quality of instruction to be extremely good. The first dojo gave me a foundation from which to work, and the latter is refining me.

Allen_Schaffer
07-21-2002, 01:43 AM
Before I became a state certificated public school teacher, I had been teaching martial arts for about 10 years. I had developed my teaching style informally by trial-and-error, excellent coaching of other instructors, and by observing how 'good' instructors taught.

All of that worked very well, but my teaching was enhanced by going through a more formal curriculum. Going through the more formal system helped me learn current methodologies and helped me understand how people learn. There has been a lot of recent research showing what works and what doesn't. I've been able to take some of what I learned and modify it for the martial arts classroom with varying degrees of success.

Teaching is a learned skill. From reading the posts, I'd say most of our organizations begin training potential teachers from day one. The ones who eventually go on to become great instructors are the ones who consider themselves professionals. And professionals are just students in disguise.

Allen

mike lee
07-21-2002, 03:55 AM
The fact of the matter is that however many teachers there are in aikido, there end up being as many different ways of teaching aikido. Although some are just plain wrong, many are right.

I can teach basic katate-tori ikkyo at least eight different ways, and all would be correct. But if I tried to teach this to students in their first two years of aikido, they wouldn't be able to do any of the variations very well.

In addition, if they visited any of the other dojos in our association or attended an association seminar, they would become confused if the ikkyo I taught them was not the basic standard ikkyo taught by the association.

Uniformity and simplicity helps new students develop skill and confidence in their techniques.

Nevertheless, I do not keep them in the dark about the wide variety of variations that they will eventually be able to learn. This helps to quell arguements and confusion about "which way is right" and "which teacher is right" when they see another variation on the same theme. :do:

DaveO
07-21-2002, 05:22 AM
I guess I am having a "small crisis of faith" for want of a better phrase in terms of my own abilities as an aikidoka and consequently as an assistant to Sensei. Though my sensei is happy with my teaching and technical ability I feel I have so very much more (having visited other dojos to train and training regularly at another dojo) to learn and I'm not sure that I am doing the best for sensei's students. I have spoken to sensei about this but I still have some doubts. I enjoy teaching and sharing what I know, but I know so very little and am absolutely gobsmacked about how much there is to learn. Given this am I really doing a service to sensei and his students?

I am looking for advice from other members of the forum in terms of when they started teachning (in terms of how many years they trained before they taught students), what they taught (what techniques and from what attack), whether accreditation is a necessary prerequisite.

Happy training all :)
Hi, Mayland!

I read your post; do I ever know where you're coming from! :D

Shortly after I joined our dojo, our Sensei decided that one of our 3rd Kyus should begin active teaching, starting with hitori-waza. Joel (the student in question) is the son of our senior student; I talked to her and offered to tutor Joel in some of the concepts of instruction. She accepted; A heck of a compliment, since she's been teaching (nursing) for a long time. I prepared a document that discusses some of the initial concepts and techniques - and errors - of instruction. It went over very well; ego aside, I know my trade. ;)

If you want, I can send you the file - it's no great in-depth text, but helpful. From what I've read, you're a far better teacher than you gave yourself credit for (that's natural), but you might like it - there's a few tricks in there that you may find useful. :)

Let me know if you want it, I'll get it off to you immediately. :)

Yours,

Dave

MaylandL
07-21-2002, 08:13 PM
Hi, Mayland!

...I prepared a document that discusses some of the initial concepts and techniques - and errors - of instruction. It went over very well; ego aside, I know my trade. ;)

If you want, I can send you the file - it's no great in-depth text, but helpful. ...
Yes please. Thank you very much for your kind offer Dave. It's very much appreciated. My email address is:

dragon11@iinet.net.au

All the best for training :)

Johan
08-14-2002, 01:13 AM
Dear Dave,

I've also a beginner when it comes to teaching and finding all the advice regarding this area useful I would love a copy of your suggestions if possible.

My email is thoughtspiral@hotmail.com

Thanks

Johan

DaveO
08-20-2002, 07:58 AM
Mayland; Johan:

Sorry its taking so long, I'll get that file out soon. Been busy getting our dojo's recruiting programme set up...not to mention getting ready for my upcoming 5th kyu test. ;)
(Also not to mention work and night school. What's a couch? I'd love to try being a potato just once. hee hee!)

Dave

opherdonchin
08-20-2002, 11:33 AM
am having some doubts as to whether I should continue to teach at the dojo that I am currently at.
I think everyone else has said it, but I had an amusing story that just happened, so I thought I'd post it in. I'm a shodan and I got my shodan in a different style than the dojo where I train. I teach at the dojo once a week on Friday nights (a pretty dead night), but I often question whether that is appropriate. I actually love teaching, so I don't question it too loudly. Anyway, our sensai (6th dan) showed up for one of my classes the other day. It's not unusual for him to show up and be a student in other's classes, but it hasn't happened much with me. Afterwards, when he thanked me for the class, I thanked him and told him that it was fun, "it made me a little nervous, but it was fun." He said (and this is the point of this story): "Oh yeah, those little butterflies in your stomach. It's important to keep having those."

Dave, could you sene me that file, or else, perhaps, put a link to it for anyone who is interested?

opher@bme.jhu.edu

Bruce Baker
08-20-2002, 12:24 PM
I am very glad to see that Mayland found the article from Sensei Y. Yamada of NYC. These ideals he talks about are found in some of his students who teach in the NJ area, and it is great to see it being practiced in seminars as I travel out of state to see different teachers.

It makes me proud to say I am one of his friends who train in the USAF.

If this is not the case where you are Mayland, take heart, this type of thinking is spreading slowly around the world as Sensei Yamada visits around the world to do seminars. It took him a long time to come to this conclusion, but now that he has, I see a chance for it to spread more quickly.

I think you will enjoy being a human being who imparts knowledge as you learn yourself from teaching. Step back ... take a breath ... just let it happen. Don't force it, and you will take all that pressure off of yourself.

Enjoy!

DaveO
08-20-2002, 05:42 PM
could you...put a link to it for anyone who is interested?

opher@bme.jhu.edu
Lol - wish I could. I'm sure it's an easy thing to do, putting the file up on a page for download, I just haven't got the 1st kyu...er..clue...how to do it. (lol - lame aikido joke there.)

Yes, I'm totally web-page incompetent. ;)

Dave

MaylandL
08-20-2002, 07:42 PM
Hello Dave

Thanks for the update. That's no prob, there's no hurry with it, please take your time :) As some aussies are want to say (well maybe just me ;) ) "no wucking furries". Btw, best of luck with your grading, not that you'll need it. I'm sure you'll ace it. Let us know how you go with it and what you learnt from it.

Hello Bruce, thank you for the words of encouragement. I thought the article by Yamada Sensei was particularly relevant and well written. I am suitably envious of you being able to train with some of the Shihans and his students ;) One of these days I'll see if I can head stateside to train for a little while.

I liked your story Opher. It must have been very encouraging for you and I am glad that he made some positive comments. May I say that my Sensei is happy with my teaching but I still feel there is much more that I need to learn. Interesting thing, two weeks ago at the other dojo that I train at, the Shidoin echo my sentiments about teaching and he's been doing aikido for over 15 years! So I guess this is pretty normal thinking.

Anyway better end this post before its gets bigger than Ben Hur. All the best for your training :)

DaveO
08-21-2002, 10:31 AM
Hi again! OK, I think I got it working...

I tried using Yahoo's pagewizard to build a page that anyone who wants to to download the document. Here it is; I think it'll work. :)

http://www.geocities.com/drachenca/Download.html

akiy
08-21-2002, 10:54 AM
Hi Dave,

I just skimmed through your document -- interesting stuff!

One thing I noticed what your insistence on having a lesson plan for the class.

Have you ever found that a lesson plan needed to be "scrapped" while doing a class?

How many of you aikido teachers out there use a lesson plan for your aikido classes? Why or why not?

-- Jun

DaveO
08-21-2002, 12:01 PM
Hi Jun!

1st, a lesson plan doesn't necessarily have to be a physical thing; i.e. a piece of paper - although in a classroom, it always is. In freestanding situations such as the dojo, a lesson plan can be carried in the head. In other words, it is a mental map of your class for the day that keeps you on track, just as I described in the text. To elaborate, the primary importance of a lesson plan is to organize an instructor's thoughts and materiel into an efficient sequence for your students to learn from. So long as the instructor knows how to set up a good LP, the actual physical piece of paper is not required. Although it must be said; it can help enormously if you sit down and write one up before class, no matter how good a teacher you are. I do whenever possible, even if its a class I've taught dozens of times before.

As for 'scrapping' a lesson plan; sure, I have from time to time, when circumstances warrant. The thing to remember is; if you decide to skip a LP and go with a different topic, make sure you - the instructor - are doing it for your reasons; not those of the students. What I mean by that is this: Let's say you're planning to teach Taigi #1. During the warmup, you realize that one or two students (or more) are so hurtin' at Tenkan, it would be better to concentrate on the basics of tenkan itself, rather than the taigi. That's good; you're abandoning your prepared work in favour of something more important. If, on the other hand, you announce 'We're going to work on Taigi #1 today..." and you get a chorus of groans and expressions of boredom ("Awww, Sensei; we took that Friday!"); then it may be best for you to persevere; you ARE the instructor after all. ("We did? Good, then you should know all about it. OK, first two...")

The whole point of an LP is not to bind you into one subject for the day of course; it's there as a teaching aid; a mental organizer. As such, while I said - and still say - 'You can't teach without a lesson plan', I should elaborate it by saying 'You can't teach to your maximum effectiveness without a lesson plan.'

Thanx for the question, Jun; hope this helps!

Dave

(BTW - Remember, everything I put into that document are my own opinions based on my teaching experience. Teaching is an art, so there may be many, many different interpretations on what's "right". This one's mine. ;) )

MaylandL
08-21-2002, 07:29 PM
Hi again! OK, I think I got it working...

I tried using Yahoo's pagewizard to build a page that anyone who wants to to download the document. Here it is; I think it'll work. :)

...
Thanks Dave. I've got it and will be having a look at it.

Happy training :)

Jermaine Alley
09-18-2002, 04:32 PM
In our dojo, we have had teaching courses in the past. Once a week, we have a Senior Class in which brown belts and above take our techniques to the next level...we practice a bit harder with not as much talk time..if you know what i mean.

Every so often Shihan will allow each of the participants present inthe senior class to teach a technique. He will critique us, or all of us will critique that specific instructor on the basic, voice infliction, eye contact etc.

We each have a go at it and wallah. We are instructors. I still remember the first class that I tried to teach as a new sensei. You talk about forgetting taiso, being tongue tied..i had it all. I have taught in other settings before, but have never had the degree of beginning difficulty that i had when attempting to teach aikido.

jermaine

Tadhg Bird
09-23-2002, 03:32 PM
The dojo where I train has recently started a program for people wanting to teach in the junior's program called "Teacher Cadets". We concentrate on teaching kids, and the issues that brings up, but many of the skills we acquire are applicable to teaching in any enviroment in my opinion.

Those in the program have the option of getting a t-shirt that reads: SENSEI: Well, it could happen... :D

We use the book Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen, Ed.D. as our discipline model.