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DaveO
09-03-2002, 02:10 PM
Ola, Amigos!
(That's the extent of my Spanish.)
I have a general question I'd like to throw out to the group:
Many who post on this forum are Aikido instructors at one level or another, from Senseis to Sempais to kyu levels teaching beginners, etc. My question is, how serious are you about teaching? Do you show up for class and say "OK, gang, what do you want to learn today? OK, let's try that." Do you spend hours a few days before class studying material, writing and revising lesson plans, and rehearse a class until it shines?
When tasked to teach, is teaching secondary to your Dojo experience or primary?
In other words, how do you personally approach teaching Aikido?
Just a personal note, while I myself take teaching very seriously, I don't believe there is any right answer here. There are a great many teachers I've met with extremely loose attitudes towards instruction, and who are far, far better than I am, and am ever likely to be. :)
I look forward to your responses, this should prove an interesting conversation!
Dave

rachmass
09-03-2002, 02:22 PM
Hi Dave,

good question! I have taught for many years as an assistant instructor at my home dojo. We have a pretty defined set of classes that we teach, when teaching a basics class (we work mainly on body movement, and sometimes on breaking down one specific technique). Typically I would come into class with an idea that I want to work on, but sometimes the class makeup is such that doing what I had planned would just not be appropriate. Some flexibility therefore is necessary.

In another couple of weeks I'll officially have my own dojo/club, and I am trying to figure out what kind of teaching plan I want to implement in terms of what to work on first, etc. Of course, this will also have to be flexible, depending on who shows up and what their ability is. Personally I think that teaching has to be fluid and sensitive to all that are involved in the class. Rigidity in teaching would just spell disaster.

All this said, I feel that the class layout is the teachers responsibility, as is the coherency of the flow of techniques.

just my $.02.

All the best,

Rachel

DaveO
09-03-2002, 02:35 PM
Thanks, Rachel - Good luck on the new Dojo!

I've got a return question for you: I think I remember from past posts your new dojo will be fairly near your old one. When you open, will it be a purely solo endeavour - i.e., just you, or will any of your current sempais plan to 'commute' to help you with recruiting and building a student base? See, one day, I plan to have my own Dojo, and this is a nagging question for me - how to build one without the resources of a home Dojo?

:)

Dave

rachmass
09-03-2002, 02:39 PM
Hi Dave,

Yes, my new club/dojo is about twenty minutes away from my home dojo. I have a very good relationship with the new sensei (our teacher moved across country to warmer climes), and he will come and train/teach on occassion. I don't teach weapons classes, and plan to send my students to him for their education in weapons work. I sincerely hope that the relationship is fruitful for both of us, and that it will be just as good for any students who wish to be part of a larger organization. There will also be a friend of mine who will be teaching occassionaly, and her home dojo is around 4 hours away. We will have a close relationship with that dojo as well. I hope that my (soon-to-be) students will have the love of traveling to seminars, and into the great wide world of aikido.

Best,

Rachel

MikeE
09-03-2002, 02:42 PM
I was just discussing this with my assistant instructors the other day.

They usually come in with a good idea what they are going to teach, or look at my classes and expand upon what i am doing.

I myself, it depends. Sometimes, I come in with a clear idea of what I am going to do...only to have it change drastically by questions or the levels of students present.

I teach such a wide range of ranks that most of the time my plans go down the tubes, and I wind up going with the flow.

So I guess my answer is....

it depends.

Don_Modesto
09-03-2002, 03:59 PM
1) ...how serious are you about teaching?

2) Do you show up for class and say "OK, gang, what do you want to learn today? OK, let's try that."

3) Do you spend hours a few days before class studying material, writing and revising lesson plans, and rehearse a class until it shines?

4) When tasked to teach, is teaching secondary to your Dojo experience or primary?

In other words, how do you personally approach teaching Aikido?
1) I am a teacher by profession (MA, School for International Training, Brattleboro, VT.) I bring teaching theory and experiences from the classroom to bear on lesson planning for the mat.

2) Never.

3) Always. And often end up trashing it to follow the students. The planned lesson is sine qua non to good teaching, but as one of the leading lights of my profession put it, "One learns to teach from learning". I take this to mean not only MY learning, but the learning I observe in my students. Consider it the shu-ha-ri of pedagogy.

4) When I began, it was a chance to see improvement in interested students. Predictably enough, I learn as much or more than they; indeed, working with my students regularly adds items to my own training agenda. I also indulge my own intersts a little in class to practice items on that above-mentioned agenda.

MaylandL
09-03-2002, 09:20 PM
...how serious are you about teaching? Do you show up for class and say "OK, gang, what do you want to learn today? OK, let's try that." Do you spend hours a few days before class studying material, writing and revising lesson plans, and rehearse a class until it shines?

When tasked to teach, is teaching secondary to your Dojo experience or primary?

...
Hello Dave

First of all thank you for the info about teaching and lesson plans. Interesting stuff :)

I take my teaching responsibilities very seriously because sensei has entrusted me assisting him. My teaching responsibilities ranks equally with my responsibility to maintain my training and continully improve.

As for formal and documented lesson plans - no but Sensei does want me to work on certain basic techniques like centre/posture, movements and basic techniques. Maybe in the future I might just map out what we should be teaching and have a talk to Sensei about that so that all of the assistant instructors are teaching what sensei wants to focus on.

I have a basic theme to illustrate and allow students train in the above for each class that Sensei has asked me to take on his behalf. For example, last night was a class on taking balance and sensing/feeling where Uke's balance was the weakest and that to get that feeling you had to be relaxed and centred.

As for saying to students what do you want to do - no. My preference is to provide some structure to the training so that students can see the application of aikido principles in the exercises and techniques. HAving said that, I agree that you need some flexibility. You may need to change the lesson plan if students are struggling with something that you've asked them to do. There may be another way or technique that achieves the same end but without the difficulties.

To Ms Rachel Massey:

All the best for your dojo and I look forwad to your new website. I think that fostering close relationships with other dojos is extremely beneficial. There's the support network, the exchange of ideas and variety in training.

We have regular friendship seminars and we invite senseis from other clubs to take classes. Also Sensei encourages visitors to train with us and consequently we dont have mat fees for visitors.

All the best for training all :)

Kevin Leavitt
09-03-2002, 09:35 PM
How serious are you about learning?

That is the question I would ask.

As a student, not as a teacher, I figured out that I alone was responsible for my own growth and destiny.

I have done the "have faith in sensei and he will impart everything you need to know" mentality. Didn't work for me.

I know study full time at one dojo, where I pay dues and look at the head instructor as my sensei for promotions and over all development.

I also, study with two other aikido dojos when time permits, and a third karate dojo. You can call the others sempai if you may.

Plus, I do a early morning trainng workout on my own.

I decided that it was better for me to stop sitting around for two or three classes a week and take responsibility for my own training in a sense.

I listen attentively in class to the instructor, and ask questions when appropriate and seek individual instruction on things I need help on.

So, I think the student has a big responsibility to make sure the teacher is teaching the right stuff as well!

jimvance
09-04-2002, 01:21 PM
The planned lesson is sine qua non to good teaching, but as one of the leading lights of my profession put it, "One learns to teach from learning". I take this to mean not only MY learning, but the learning I observe in my students. Consider it the shu-ha-ri of pedagogy.Could you elaborate on this a bit, and cite the "leading light". I would be interested in any published works you think would be of interesting note. Feel free to email me the info if you don't think it is important to this thread. Thanks.

Jim Vance

Don_Modesto
09-04-2002, 03:21 PM
1) Could you elaborate on this a bit, and

2) cite the "leading light".
Just lost the detailed answer to this I spent 20 minutes on to some system problem. This answer will be shorter. Sorry.

1) Not sure on just what you'd like me to elaborate. In precis if the item on your lesson plan following IKKYO is NIKYO and the students can't do IKKYO right, forget NIKYO and delve more deeply into IKKYO.

2) It's an irascible Sourbonne-educated Egyptian named Caleb Gattegno. His stuff is pretty hard to get into. I'd recommend reading one of his cheerleaders, Earl Stevick. Both are available in my library, maybe yours, too. Failing that, there's interlibrary loan. Gattegno's stuff is "out of print" or "hard to find" at Amazon, though.

DaveO
09-04-2002, 04:45 PM
2) It's an irascible Sourbonne-educated Egyptian named Caleb Gattegno. His stuff is pretty hard to get into. I'd recommend reading one of his cheerleaders, Earl Stevick. Both are available in my library, maybe yours, too. Failing that, there's interlibrary loan. Gattegno's stuff is "out of print" or "hard to find" at Amazon, though.
If there's anyone who doubts that teaching is an art form, A), they haven't taught for very long and B) they haven't heard of masters like Caleb Gattegno. No question; Gattegno's work is truly brilliant. I know very little of him other than by name and a general idea of his 'Silent Way' technique, but clearly, as Picasso was to painting and Mozart to music, so Caleb Gattegno to the art of teaching.

And therein lies a potential problem, I think. Actually, not a problem, more of a consideration: Teaching is an art, and like all arts, it is based around a solid knowledge and understanding of learned technique - the science of the art, so to speak. Like music, painting or dance, a student of the art must first learn the techniques that form the framework on which to hang the creativity and personal styling that we call 'art'.

To use an analogy; if I wanted to be a violin maestro like Itzhak Perlman, I'd first have to spend years - decades - learning the basic skills: scales, music theory, studying classical music and its composers, playing, playing, playing. Somewhere along the way, Art would creep in; at some recital or concert, or in the innumerable hours of practice, I would unconciously begin playing MY way. The music would be Mozart or Vivaldi, but it would by my rendition, my music; not someone else's. Therefore, I'd never achieve my goal of playing like the maestro Itzhak Perlman, instead, I'd ultimately learn to play like the maestro Dave - all that assuming I had the gift; the spark to be a musical master which, to my eternal regret, I don't.

Anyway, back to the concern: ( :) )

The Silent Way, and much of Gattegno's work is brilliant, but if one is to attempt teaching in such a fashion, in my opinion, one would be best served by learning the typical, accepted techniques first - the lesson plan and textbook. Once a teacher has progressed to the point where he realizes he's making art in the classroom (for lack of a better term), and is truly comfortable in that role, then he is free (I would almost say 'obligated') to explore the creative reaches of the art of teaching.

Wow, I'm waxing lyrical, aren't I? :rolleyes:

Anyway, to refresh myself, I looked Gattegno up on the web, and was pleased to discover the following in a short bio:
Gattegno dismissed traditional teaching as being too concerned with filling memories rather than educating students'awareness, which, he declared, is the only thing in us that is educable.
Lol - it's nice to see that something I've always believed and kind of accept as common sense (and had the hardest time pounding into my Methods Of Instruction students, and fellow teachers, for that matter) is backed up by one of the best in the business. I'm not nearly as capable of explaining it as Gattegno (Hell, I'm not even in the same ballpark), but the basis for all my instruction has been conceptual rather than empirical; that is, instead of teaching a skill or fact directly, I teach the concepts governing that skill or fact. Then, once I do actually teach it (or more often, the students realize it for themselves), they have it understood, not merely memorized.

Anyway, thanks for reading this blather and Don: Thanks for referring to Gattegno and Stevick; fascinating study!

Dave

Choku Tsuki
09-04-2002, 10:15 PM
a collection of Zen and Pre-Zen writings: "Studying the truth speculatively is useful as a way of collecting preaching material. But remember that unless you meditate constantly your light will go out."

--Gasan, to a student leaving after a few years of study
#52 of 101 Zen Stories

--Chuck

Don_Modesto
09-05-2002, 03:12 PM
....if one is to attempt teaching in such a fashion, in my opinion, one would be best served by learning the typical, accepted techniques first - the lesson plan and textbook. Once a teacher has progressed to the point where he realizes he's making art in the classroom (for lack of a better term), and is truly comfortable in that role, then he is free (I would almost say 'obligated') to explore the creative reaches of the art of teaching.
Very nicely put. I agree.

Jermaine Alley
09-10-2002, 01:14 PM
DaveO,

Great question....I am a shodan in aikido and have been teaching for about a year. Well, a year, but maybe once or twice a month.

I like to review the history and terminology aspect of our curriculum prior to getting up in front of the class. When i was going through my kyu levels, i was frustrated at the fact that i had such a limited knowledge of aikido history as well as japanese martial history. I might throw out one or two terms so as to get the students into wanting to learn more.

As for an actual lesson plan...I dont really use one. Our Shihan has designed a monthly topic a while ago to focus our instructors and to sort of keep us on line so that kyus are prepared for testing. I think that is a really great idea. I try to stick to that as much as possible.

Now and then it might be a topic that i might not be all that versed, so then i have to borrow some of the knowledge of other sensei's that are present.

I thought that i read somewhere that O'sensei did not use a teaching plan at all. And when it came to him teaching techniques, he would just call up an Uke and leave to the uke to attack any way that he wanted. When i initially found that out, I tried to do is several times. But when i messed up several times, i elected back tothe "select an uke and tell him how to attack method"...Now that i am thinking about it more and more, i think that I am going to go back to having my uke attack the way that he wants. That approach illicits a number of different responses that aremore instinctual than prepared.

I hope that this wasn't too long.

I think that you have helped me think up another good thread question....

thanks again..

jermaine

henry brown
09-11-2002, 03:15 PM
I usually try for a progression of techniques within some constant value when I am teaching. That is, I will decide that on some particular class I am going to work on ikkyo - - and I will start with basic attacks (shomen-uchi or kata tori... etc) and move to more elaborate ones as the class goes on,depending on what level the students are capable of. Alternatively, sometimes the theme is the attack, and I will try to teach multiple defenses all against the same attack. Rarely I might concentrate on something else, like a particular tai-sabaki, or breathing, posture etc for the class, with fairly random techniques selected out.

I guess my general aim is for students to see the connections and flow between techniques, and eventually not think too much about anything specific.

Reg Robinson
04-03-2005, 08:57 PM
Hi Dave,
At the risk of straying off topic which is not my intention here are my thoughts on this. Serious students & teachers have at least one thing in common, they go through life learning & teaching at the same time. Hopefully we learn through our successes, but most often it's thru hard knocks & it is this that can give us opportunities to teach. People notice how you deal with negative situations, or any situation that makes you stand out. When I look back I remember those unofficial teachers that taught me by example, How they treated their spouse, children, the people they worked with. The serious student & teacher for me are the ones whom I continue to learn from when we are off the mat & away from the Dojo.
Thank you, Reg.

eyrie
04-04-2005, 07:42 PM
If you are at all "serious" about teaching, I would highly recommend reading Lawrence Kane's excellent book on "Martial Arts Instruction - Applying Educational Theory and Communication Techniques in the Dojo".

Melissa Fischer
04-08-2005, 01:41 AM
At our dojo we are lucky enough to have teacher's training classes which are run by Bruce Bookman sensei and which meet once a month for 2 hour sessions. These classes are open to 1st kyu and up with an occasional 2nd kyu by invitation. It's like a kenshusei program (what I understand of that, at least) in that it is a committment to teaching and training and not at all a casual, drop in thing.

Each of us teachs a handful of techniques to the other members of the class while sensei watches and comments. Then the group analizes what could have been better in terms of execution of the technique or transmission of the info or anything else. It's a great way to develope a critical eye. It can be brutal and more than one teacher has dropped out. But it's a terrific honor and everyone is really supportive and energetic. We all look forward to the 1st Saturday in the month. Plus, there's usually a special seminar (bokken, jo, randori...) on the same day so we get to feel like uchi deshi for a day before going home to the spouse and kids or whatever.

Also, as part of the program, we sign up to teach a beginners' class where sensei watches while we teach the whole thing. This is good because picking and teaching techniques to an all yudansha class in not the same as teaching an average class in our dojo.

On another note, we have a large kids' program and those teachers start out as assistants and work into having their own classes over time.

Anyway, I am a life long teacher and so I take my teaching very seriously. Except I love it so I'm not always that serious when teaching, especially the kiddos!

Kinda long winded, sorry,

Melissa

www.tenzanaikido.com

ruthmc
04-08-2005, 03:22 AM
In other words, how do you personally approach teaching Aikido?
When I'm teaching I''m teaching, when I'm uke I'm uke, when I'm tori I'm tori. I find it best to concentrate on what I'm doing at the time, thereby giving a good proportion of my attention to it. I hope this approach enables me to be a serious teacher, uke or tori :)

If I wish to progress through the dan ranks, I also have to make a serious commitment to teaching in some way, as this will be considered by my sensei when he's deciding when I'm ready to test.

While I'm teaching, I try to find a way to inspire each student in this art of Aikido, encouraging them to enjoy their training and to progress at the highest level they are capable of. When my students are enjoying themselves and doing well, I have succeeded :)

Ruth

ian
04-08-2005, 05:24 AM
I think effective teaching is all about understanding the needs of your students. I think generally the class is very relaxed, but sometimes it becomes too relaxed and I have to make it a bit more serious. The aim is to produce effective and efficient teaching - too serious and people are tense, too relaxed and people don't train.

darin
04-08-2005, 10:49 AM
Hi Dave,

good question! I have taught for many years as an assistant instructor at my home dojo. We have a pretty defined set of classes that we teach, when teaching a basics class (we work mainly on body movement, and sometimes on breaking down one specific technique). Typically I would come into class with an idea that I want to work on, but sometimes the class makeup is such that doing what I had planned would just not be appropriate. Some flexibility therefore is necessary.

In another couple of weeks I'll officially have my own dojo/club, and I am trying to figure out what kind of teaching plan I want to implement in terms of what to work on first, etc. Of course, this will also have to be flexible, depending on who shows up and what their ability is. Personally I think that teaching has to be fluid and sensitive to all that are involved in the class. Rigidity in teaching would just spell disaster.

All this said, I feel that the class layout is the teachers responsibility, as is the coherency of the flow of techniques.

just my $.02.

All the best,

Rachel

Hi Rachel,

My students follow a set curricullum where they learn a set of techniques required for their next grading. If they don't have a partner of the same level they can train with someone who is a grade or two higher and work of that person's list of required techniques.

My class starts with a bow in then warm ups followed by taisabaki, ukemi and shikko. From there my students form groups and go through their technique lists. After an hour or so we do randori, weapons then bow out.

My students like it. Sometimes I change things around for a bit of variety.

Basically the class runs itself so I don't have to come to the dojo thinking about what to teach.

Good luck!

Darin

senshincenter
04-08-2005, 01:14 PM
I consider teaching to be part of the overall technology of the self that is Aikido/Budo. That is to say, I do not see it as me coming to the study of Aikido (both the mundane and the deeper levels) from the outside or from any sort of detached point of view. Teaching for me is simply the flip-side of one's commitment to the sensei-deshi relationship. For me, that relationship is central to Aikido practice because it is only via people that we transform ourselves (as opposed to the idea of techniques themselves having transformative power, etc.). When one is teacher, one comes to see the state of their being through the requirements of compassion and wisdom. Teaching then, as much as it is about technical proficiency, is about the cultivation of our capacity for sacrifice - which elsewhere I have defined as love. For me then, a lot goes into developing a sound pedagogy - no effort or time can be seen as "extra" or "unneeded." For me, as deshi should seek to fully invest themselves in being a deshi, so too should teachers when it comes to being a teacher.

David Humm
04-08-2005, 01:31 PM
I commenced teaching when in the Armed Forces; I was taught Methods of Instruction within my unit and advanced MOI at the school of Infantry, Warminster.

I apply that methodology to my aikido classes and find it works perfectly,

1) I plan ahead - themes and subject of classes
2) I advertise in advance planned classes
3) I prepare and rehearse phases of a class
4) Always include at least 1 Question and Answer period
5) Always test (in one form or another) students to ensure they've assimilated the core of the class theme.
6) Always include some form of revision period the content of which may be bits from several previous classes
7) The class will include theory and practical application
8) I join in and take plenty of ukemi
9) I produce handouts for particular lessons which might include new terminology or techniques
10) Be enthusiastic, Supportive and Critical when required

I deliver my classes using the following method

a) Explain (what is to be done and why)
b) Demonstrate (How it is done and again why)
c) Imitate (For those who need to, have them imitate my actions until they have the mechanics)
d) Practice (free practice of the techniques)

E.D.I.P

>>Edit.

I'll also add that although part of a Hombu Dojo recognised organisation, I don't teach specifically a "grading orientated" class, everyone regardless of grade or ability does the same set of techniques, we look to expand a student's knowledge in a very broad way. Some of my newer students will be taking 6th and 5th kyu later this year yet, their technical ability will be beyond that grade in some areas - especially ukemi

Regards

Hagen Seibert
04-08-2005, 02:35 PM
I believe, being serious as a teacher means:
to teach what the students need to learn,
and not what you create in your mind.
Thus, I usually do not prepare a complete, elaborated training session,
but go there basically unprepared, just one thing to start with (which should follow a curriculum), and then see what they do, and then see what they need. I found I get the best ideas for the training program this way, the highest motivation, and I feel Iīm the most serious teacher to my students this way.
Because imagination is always short to reality.
Because I serve their needs, and not my visions.

senshincenter
04-08-2005, 03:46 PM
I believe, being serious as a teacher means:
to teach what the students need to learn,
and not what you create in your mind.
Thus, I usually do not prepare a complete, elaborated training session,
but go there basically unprepared, just one thing to start with (which should follow a curriculum), and then see what they do, and then see what they need. I found I get the best ideas for the training program this way, the highest motivation, and I feel Iīm the most serious teacher to my students this way.
Because imagination is always short to reality.
Because I serve their needs, and not my visions.

I think I can get what you are saying: One needs to tailor one's lessons or teaching models to the needs of the students. Standard upaya. However, while such a position may be true, it is not necessarily inevitable that a lesson plan means that the needs of the students are being neglected at the cost of some model being fulfilled. After all, one can plan a lesson that is very much derived from and in accordance with the needs of one's students. In addition, one's teaching model can itself be derived from a set of core basics and/or principles that every student should have (i.e. that every student needs). Moreover, as a teacher, one can and should opt to adapt or modify (even reject) any lesson once commenced, should it prove to be mis-matched to the students and their needs at hand. So, things like a lesson plan and/or a teaching model have a lot of room in them for making sure that the needs of the particular students at hand are being addressed.

To take this thread a little bit more in one direction, since I don't think anyone is actually going to post, "You know, I'm a very lazy teacher, I don't at all take the responsibility seriously," maybe we can raise the issue of what is needed - what are the student's needs that we are supposed to take seriously? As I'm seeing it now, in the unsaid of this thread, most folks seem to be talking about forms (i.e. the need of students to acquire forms). But these needs are really the needs of the institution - which survives via a transmission of constructs it has come to identify itself through. So we can and should ask, are there not other needs? For example, what of the need to gain spontaneity? How seriously do we as teachers take on the addressing of this need in our deshi? Or, the need of spiritual maturity - how seriously do we as teachers take on the addressing of this need in our deshi? Do we have lesson plans for such things? Do we have models and/or sound pedagogy or techniques for transmission concerning these needs? Etc.?

In my own experience, at every dojo that I have ever trained at as a deshi, no teacher there took these two suggested needs (i.e. spontaneity and spiritual maturity) seriously - at least not in the way "serious attention" is being suggested here (i.e. time, effort, direction, calculation, planning, self-reflection, etc.).

Just thinking out loud...

dmv

Hagen Seibert
04-09-2005, 12:28 PM
Yes, David, there has to be a kind of masterplan.
What I was trying to say: I believe it is better - instad of a curriculum - to have a vision of the final state. Then you see whatīs lacking, and that spurs ideas for the training lesson. Thatīs my personal preference, and it fits best to my experience.
As one starts with teaching, you need to work out the lesson in advance, and I did so myself, and I still do so for seminars. Now - some years later - I have the teaching methods/techniques available and like to use them more freely, because I feel it prevents routine and standards to enter, instead keeping motivation and creativity up. If you try to fulfill a model, you are cutting exactly this. Or to speak with aikido terms: You are not blending, but forcing it onto the students. You are acting selfcentered (sorry, this I exagarated, but I hope you may get what Iīd like to say).

I also know teachers, who admitted freely to me, that they would coose certain techniques, e.g. from the latest seminar, because THEY were interested in rehearsing these techniques. Now, thatīs not being serious as a teacher to me.

my 2 ct
Hagen

Rupert Atkinson
04-10-2005, 01:25 AM
How serious are you about learning?

That is the question I would ask.

As a student, not as a teacher, I figured out that I alone was responsible for my own growth and destiny.

I have done the "have faith in sensei and he will impart everything you need to know" mentality. Didn't work for me.


On the right track I think :)

creinig
04-10-2005, 03:56 PM
I also know teachers, who admitted freely to me, that they would coose certain techniques, e.g. from the latest seminar, because THEY were interested in rehearsing these techniques. Now, thatīs not being serious as a teacher to me.
Counterpoint: I found that these times (when Sensei chose techniques he was interested in) were among those where I learned most. I'm not sure why.
Hmm, I quess I have to think a bit about this. Fascinating and intriguing....

Hagen Seibert
04-10-2005, 04:38 PM
Counterpoint: I found that these times (when Sensei chose techniques he was interested in) were among those where I learned most. I'm not sure why.

My guess: You are an advanced student, so you could follow. Sensei was better motivated when picking techniques of his intrest. (The conclusion of this, though, would be that he is less motivated when explaining ordinary techniques. Iīm afraid, that in turn would be my point of routine entering because of model fulfillment lessons.) (PS: Just a thought, I do not know your Sensei, and I donīt mean to be disrespectful)

Jeanne Shepard
04-10-2005, 08:31 PM
We do not have a formal teacher's training program, but i have been encouraged to develop a Girl Scouts group. I started teaching workshops for Girl Scouts, now have a regular group that comes to one of our basics class(taught by a regular teacher). I spend time with the girls before class, talking about concepts they might not have time for after. The whole experience has given me a taste of teaching, and I like it.

Jeanne

Bronson
04-10-2005, 10:16 PM
The whole experience has given me a taste of teaching, and I like it.

Well Jeanne, they've got you now :) Teaching is an incredible experience. It is amazingly rewarding and terribly frustrating at the same time. I think it is difficult to understand all that our teachers give to us until we start passing it along to others.

Bronson

creinig
04-11-2005, 02:23 AM
Counterpoint: I found that these times (when Sensei chose techniques he was interested in) were among those where I learned most. I'm not sure why.

My guess: You are an advanced student, so you could follow.

Well, ~0.8-3 years of experience, depending on which of these "incidences" we want to look at.

Sensei was better motivated when picking techniques of his intrest. (The conclusion of this, though, would be that he is less motivated when explaining ordinary techniques. Iīm afraid, that in turn would be my point of routine entering because of model fulfillment lessons.) (PS: Just a thought, I do not know your Sensei, and I donīt mean to be disrespectful)

I consider him a very good teacher, always motivated, interested and learning himself. It might very well be that picking techniques of special interest might add a little bit of extra motivation on his side. Maybe doing something "special" also gives myself some extra motivation. And then I'm pretty sure that there's a different kind of "learning atmosphere" in these cases, which should make a positive difference as well. Kind of "searching for the answer together with Sensei" instead of "searching for the answer Sensei wants to teach us".

ruthmc
04-11-2005, 03:43 AM
I find that enthusiasm and enjoying what you are doing are contagious :)

Ruth

jester
04-26-2005, 03:50 PM
how serious are you about teaching?
Do you show up for class and say "OK, gang, what do you want to learn today? OK, let's try that."
Do you spend hours a few days before class studying material, writing and revising lesson plans, and rehearse a class until it shines?
Dave

I am not the schools instructor, but am almost always paired up with a lower ranked student. I start by going through the basic techniques, and usually find something that needs work. It could be off balancing, timing etc. If I find the student is solid in the basics, I would ask them what they want to go over. They could pick a technique, and I would give them fine points to work on, and show them variations for different scenarios, or I would show them how certain techniques are linked just in case one would fail to work.

In the Tomiki Aikido that I learn, each of the basic techniques are made up of different parts that can be interchanged, making the basic 17 techniques turn into an endless amount of material to cover.

I never come to class with a lesson plan, I just adapt to the person I'm training.

takusan
05-05-2005, 03:13 AM
Ohh well here I go-----

I think this will get most of you - most annoyed.
I'm sure too, that you will wont to tell me ALL sorts of reason for what I do, as being wrong or worse, dare I say it, unprofessional.

SO, don't even bother.

My teaching style, is of the ' lets look at the scenery on the way there' variety.

I seldom have a plan prior to class. I wait to see what the make up of the class is, and direct the class from there.
What I ALWAYS do though, is work on a single theme. Allowing a single class to develop the feel for the topic.

Learning MAY be a bit slower - naughty me.
But it is diverse and thorough.
My knowledge is broad, occasionally even with some depth. (I hope)
My students, seem some how, to 'get' what I'm trying to teach, but only if they have the stick-ability that is required of a martial artist.
If not, then no matter what /how, I teach, they would not have been around long enough to learn a great deal.

This does not mean I teach haphazardly. Seen too close up, that could be your conclusion.
But seen as a bigger picture of aikido, this style seems a little less - haphazard after all.

Kihon waza , kihon waza, kihon waza. The three corner stones of deeper aiki appreciation.
Get that, and you get aikido ala Dave H. style.

Serious teacher - I'm deadly serious - when its appropriate.


Oh - did I mention kihon waza. ;)

Mark Uttech
05-15-2005, 01:43 PM
Training/teaching is "continuing"... The world of aikido is very wide. Even the woods where I have lived for over twenty three years contains surprises from time to time. "Memories" is a tried and a true path. So, no, I have no lesson plan. We bow in, we train together, and we learn. And, just like in the woods where i live, surprises arise from time to time. Sometimes when that happens, the class as a whole, stops suddenly, and bows to the shomen. It's an interesting phenomena.

Usagi
05-20-2005, 07:02 PM
It all depends on the meaning of "serious".

All i know is that i became a better teacher after i learned (Thanks Messisco sensei!) not to take myself too seriously. :)

I usually have an concept of what i believe my group should work, and shape it according to who shows up.

I emphasize variations of ikkyo, shiho/kote and irimi/kokyu, which i view , together with koshi nage, as Aikido's whole curriculum (personal opinion guys!).

I personally try as much as possible to make sure my friends/students are not "falling" for me, but being actually unbalanced by my center and have no distress in exposing myself as limited.

I do my best to get all questions answered or at least provide the means for my students to make a research of their own.

I do my best to participate in other sensei's classes as student so as not to lose my "beginner's mind".

How serious am i as a teacher? Not enough to waste a good joke :)

Mark Uttech
06-08-2005, 10:03 AM
Every student has different things to work on, different things to practice. Because not everyone shows up at every class, this actually makes it easier

ChrisHein
06-08-2005, 11:56 AM
I usually show up to class with not an Idea of what I'm going to do that day. If I do come in with a plan, I usually scrap it once we start. It's rare that I show up and everything works out how I plan it, so I stopped planning. I find that material is very dependent on who shows up (weather newbies, or weathered old timers, Gungho police and ex military, or house wives, and computer nerds). Also even at the class's where I'm pretty sure I know the turn out, I still wont know the mood of the class till I show up. I've heard that mood is a thing for Cattle and love play, but my job is really to help people learn, so I find I can best do that when appealing to the moods, and thoughts of my class. My class's usually center around what ever I'm working on in my personal training. Weather that be weapons, or controls, or throws, or intention magicy stuff. I just go with the flow. A nice thing about my self that I have seen in the last few years is that my knowledge of Aikido is strong enough that I can go in any direction I want and never feel like a fish out of water. This hasn't always been so, in my early years teacher I would often get to a technique that I wasn't so proficient at and I would skip it, or move on, afraid to teach something wrong, or mislead someone.

-Chris Hein

Charles Hill
06-09-2005, 01:29 AM
I've heard that mood is a thing for Cattle and love play

I wonder what kind of Aikido teacher Gurney Halleck would be.
Charles

rob_liberti
06-15-2005, 02:21 PM
The way Chris described is exactly how I felt a number of years ago, and it is still my favorite way to do it. But, I have started to make a consistent teaching curriculum for at least half of the class time because I was finding that the new people needed that, and the long time students couldn't care less - so it was a win-win.

Rob

maikerus
06-15-2005, 08:12 PM
The way Chris described is exactly how I felt a number of years ago, and it is still my favorite way to do it. But, I have started to make a consistent teaching curriculum for at least half of the class time because I was finding that the new people needed that, and the long time students couldn't care less - so it was a win-win.

Rob

We make an overall plan at the dojo for each class centered around a technique, an attack, a movement or a concept. We have a list of about 25 "things" that we set for any particular class and rotate through them. We also make allowances and time for test training and holidays.

Each class is then up to the discretion of the instructor on how they want to approach the particular "thing" for that class.

The reason we do this is to make sure that we, as instructors, are going through the complete curriculum and not skipping a concept because "it's too hard" for some of the people in the class.

An example...

Today, the class "thing" was nikajo. I had one person who showed up for their second class today, a bunch of people who had just finished there beginners course and a couple of more senior students.

I chose to have a more senior student show kamae and hiriki no yosei ichi to the beginner and then move into using hiriki no yosei to do nikajo. For the others in the class we did yokomenuchi nikajo osae ichi in partners and then a yokomenuchi nikajo nage in kagarigeiko.

Before class I had no idea how I was going to present nikajo...during warm-ups I decided because of who was present.

For me, this seems a good way to cover both worlds...make sure the students get a well-rounded education and let me be creative in how I approach a concept based upon my current thinking.

cheers,

--Michael

Sonja2012
06-16-2005, 02:12 AM
Oh - did I mention kihon waza. ;)

I hope this is not too OT, but I would like to ask what exactly the term kihon waza means. I know it means "basic techniques" (right?), but what exactly does that mean? It may sound silly, but we do not use this term much in our organisation and I am interested in learning itīs proper definition.

I think learning basic techniques is very important, especially for beginners. But also now and then it brings out great learning experiences if people are challanged with really advanced stuff that might actually be well over their heads. At least I feel that way myself.

I have trained under people who plan their lessons carefully and others who go in and let practice flow as it comes. Both can be great. What I find most important, is that the teacher feels comfortable with their teaching style. Every teacher has a different personality and therefore a different approach to teaching. I donīt think that necessarily means that some of them are more and others less serious about teaching.

For me, a "serious" teacher is one who is passionate about the topic (in this case aikido) and about helping others to develop. Interest in the students and their learning processes, knowing where the student is at and what kind of help they need would also make a teacher "serious" to me. Not just in aikido.

Lance
06-22-2005, 09:30 AM
Have You Ever Noticed That The Students Immediately Look To The Sensei / Or Sempei (whoever
Is Teaching That Night) To Know What Frame Of Mind To Try To Get In, Not Just What They Are About To Learn, But How They Are Going To Learn. In My Mind
When I Am Going To Teach The Lesson Not Just Assist
I Have To Have A Plan Of What I Am Going To Teach To
Know Where My Head Needs To Be. I Wouldn't Want To Be All Stiff And Serious If I Wanted To Teach On Wind That Evening. But I Don't Have To Have The Whole Lesson Planned Out, You Always Have To Leave Room For The Spiritual Flow Of Body And Mind
And Where It Is Leading You To Go.

Just My Thoughts
Lance

rob_liberti
06-29-2005, 08:41 AM
tHat wAs aN oDd sTyle oF cApatalization. - rOb

Rocky Izumi
11-18-2005, 09:13 AM
I go to learn my Aikido by studying the principles through teaching those techniques that focus on those principles. I study by watching the learning of the students and practicing with them what I have taught to see if any can resist the technique. I teach to learn since I do not get to see my Shihan that often. My students are my teachers and the best ones are the ones that are the most clumsy or the least natural . . . they teach me the most about Aikido.

I am not very serious about my teaching but I am serious about my learning. The students have to follow the questions I pose myself and learn what they can pick up.

The students are my experimental labs to see if what I see as a principle actually is a principle or whether I am mistaken. If it is a correct principle, then their Aikido and my Aikido should both improve through the understanding, practice, and application of that principle.

Is there a lesson plan? In my mind, it is the question / principle that I have been working on to expand and practice. I have been working on just one for the last 8 months. One of the students last night just realised that with an exclamation "this wha we be workin on for last year!" "Yup, actually just eight months."

There is, of course, always some time for a little side excursion into another related principle every once in a while. Those excursions tend to be about how those other principles interrelate with the one that I am working on.

For those curious, I have presently been working on, for the past two years, the issue of the shifting of weight distribution through movement of the hip and feet in order to generate power and speed of technique and ability to move correctly . . . . . basically, tori fune kogi undo. I guess I may have actually been working on this for about the seven years.

Rock

odudog
11-18-2005, 03:31 PM
Sonja, kihon waza does mean basic technique. kihon = basic waza = technique. All of the techniques that you learn to obtain your shodan are kihon waza. They all teach you the basic principles involved in Aikido and are the easiest way to do a technique. Later on, we are taught the same techniques but in a much harder way to accomplish the technique. Now, I'm not a teacher yet, I'm only 2nd kyu. But, in my mind I have always been learning to teach from day one for I want to teach my kids when they grow up so I am always thinking about Aikido and braking down what my instructors say to find a quicker easier way to convey the same message.

Ed Shockley
11-19-2005, 08:17 AM
"A teacher is always there and always cheerful." John Stevens
So many revelations occur by creating a safe and encouraging environment in which people can practice that John Stevens' advice seems to fill most needs. New Year's eve we do misogi practice with Henry Smith Sensei (6th dan) in Philadelphia. It is always a single technique, suwari waza non stop for one hour in complete silence. Somewhere around throw number one hundred Aikido starts teaching all by itself. The same thing happens when we do five hundred or more bokken cuts. All of the posts have been filled with marvelous advice but O'Sensei's brilliance seems to be embedded in the art that we practice and is communicated to the diligent student because of or in spite of our efforts.

Sonja2012
11-21-2005, 02:19 AM
Sonja, kihon waza does mean basic technique. kihon = basic waza = technique. All of the techniques that you learn to obtain your shodan are kihon waza. They all teach you the basic principles involved in Aikido and are the easiest way to do a technique. Later on, we are taught the same techniques but in a much harder way to accomplish the technique.

But as every organisation includes different techniques on the way to shodan, that would mean that kihon waza are different in every organisation, right?
I have also heard the definition of kihon waza as techniques practiced staticly as opposed to techniques done Flowing/in movement (I forgot the name for that). I think I got that from some Iwama/Takemusu video or so... Is that also correct?

Thanks for the answer!

odudog
11-21-2005, 03:34 PM
But as every organisation includes different techniques on the way to shodan, that would mean that kihon waza are different in every organisation, right?
I have also heard the definition of kihon waza as techniques practiced staticly as opposed to techniques done Flowing/in movement (I forgot the name for that). I think I got that from some Iwama/Takemusu video or so... Is that also correct?

Thanks for the answer!


Yes you are correct, the kihon waza for me might be different than yours. The tests that I do are from Yamada Sensei but my testing Senseis added some weapons to them. Even if we are in the same organization, your way of doing a technique might be different from my way. Currently when I test, there is about 8 dojos that get together {all Aikikai} but under the direction of two different Senseis. It's interesting to see how the same technique is done differently be each dojo {differences due to dojo-chos}. Sometimes it can get scary for if you are paired up with someone from another dojo and you don't know exactly what to expect from the technique. :hypno: You have to have good ukemi and think quick on your feet to fall the proper way. I have some people in my dojo that are 2nd kyu as well but they aren't so quick a foot. They always pray that they are paired up with a fellow dojo mate during tests.

The flowing techniques are called oyo waza. And yes, you are correct in your assumption that kihon waza is always done statically.

Nick Simpson
11-22-2005, 07:08 AM
Im a fairly new instructor, so I tend to make a lesson plan, I dont always stick to it, but it helps me think when Im up there.

What I teach depends on whos attending the class as well, if someone is grading soon then we do things that are on their syllabus are that they find hard and need the extra practise on. If there are a lot of begginers I tend to teach some ukemi exercises.

I always tend to teach some softer ukemi and a lot of sword work, relating some of the principles of Iai to aikido hand technique as well as that of aikiken. My sensei and our regional head are usually in attendance, so there is little point in me teaching what they do, as they can do it better. So I try to teach my perspective on things as well as some stuff that doesnt get taught too regularly and that people wont have seen. It seems to be working pretty well so far :)

Steve Mullen
11-22-2005, 07:11 AM
and you look pretty doing it

Nick Simpson
11-22-2005, 07:27 AM
I might not be serious, but at least I look pretty!

Rocky Izumi
03-21-2006, 05:45 AM
And yes, you are correct in your assumption that kihon waza is always done statically.

Mike, how do you do Shomenuchi Ikkyo statically?

Rock

Perry Bell
04-05-2006, 11:55 PM
Ola, Amigos!
(That's the extent of my Spanish.)
I have a general question I'd like to throw out to the group:
Many who post on this forum are Aikido instructors at one level or another, from Senseis to Sempais to kyu levels teaching beginners, etc. My question is, how serious are you about teaching? Do you show up for class and say "OK, gang, what do you want to learn today? OK, let's try that." Do you spend hours a few days before class studying material, writing and revising lesson plans, and rehearse a class until it shines?
When tasked to teach, is teaching secondary to your Dojo experience or primary?
In other words, how do you personally approach teaching Aikido?
Just a personal note, while I myself take teaching very seriously, I don't believe there is any right answer here. There are a great many teachers I've met with extremely loose attitudes towards instruction, and who are far, far better than I am, and am ever likely to be. :)
I look forward to your responses, this should prove an interesting conversation!
Dave

Hi Dave,

I have been teaching karate and Aikido for more than 20 years and I always prepare the lesson a couple of days before the class date, however this does not always fall to plan, sometimes you get to the class and find the demographic is not capable of doing the prepared class so you have to improvise and teach a class which would suit the people that turn up.

So in answer to your question yes and no I guess the sign of a good teacher is one that can adapt to changing situations, with out throwing out the essence of what he/she want to teach.

One of the things I plan of any of my classes is to have a theme for the evening, so my students not only practice the basics of either Karate or Aikido or my body balance classes, but something that they can get their minds around with regards to their own spirituality and place in the club and the world.

I find that running the classes like this gives the students something else to discuss besides the techniques they are practicing, it give them a chance to understand and communicate on a different level.

I have been running my classes like this for a long number of years and have found the students after a few month realize that training is not just about the physicality but it goes a lot deeper than what you can see.

Good question Dave,

Take care, be happy and smile lots

Perry :)

Lan Powers
04-06-2006, 12:42 AM
New to teaching.
I have found it to be a great benefit to me, personally, in my own growth in the art.
(Slow as that may be)
The funny thing is, I am not really a teacher at all.
The class is there, the students are formed up, the art is there to be presented, but I am really another student who (for tonight) gets to set the choices of where we explore.
Sensei has given me a set-time to do this, and I guess you would call it MY class (everyone else does) but I am just a fill-in for the "real" instructor. (At least in my own mind.)
Not putting myself down, I enjoy feeling out the direction the class could go, *as mentioned many times the best laid plans go out the window when the interaction starts.

I have gotten to learn a lot this way. I can only hope the other students there with me have gained from our time as well....It can be quite humbling.
Here's hoping I don't let them down.


< I think it is difficult to understand all that our teachers give to us until we start passing it along to others.>
This quote from Bronson earlier rang very true to me.
Lan

Perry Bell
04-06-2006, 06:39 PM
New to teaching.
I have found it to be a great benefit to me, personally, in my own growth in the art.
(Slow as that may be)
The funny thing is, I am not really a teacher at all.
The class is there, the students are formed up, the art is there to be presented, but I am really another student who (for tonight) gets to set the choices of where we explore.
Sensei has given me a set-time to do this, and I guess you would call it MY class (everyone else does) but I am just a fill-in for the "real" instructor. (At least in my own mind.)
Not putting myself down, I enjoy feeling out the direction the class could go, *as mentioned many times the best laid plans go out the window when the interaction starts.

I have gotten to learn a lot this way. I can only hope the other students there with me have gained from our time as well....It can be quite humbling.
Here's hoping I don't let them down.


< I think it is difficult to understand all that our teachers give to us until we start passing it along to others.>
This quote from Bronson earlier rang very true to me.
Lan

Hi Lan,

Welcome to a new world, one where frustration and Patience go hand in hand. Prepare your self to learn, a very big lesson about yourself, by stepping out of our comfort zones this is where we truly learn. Welcome to the journey of learning.

Ponder this question

"What is the difference between a teacher and an instructor? "

I have my own opinion on what I feel the difference is, if there is one.
I wont tell you my thoughts on the question, because I don't want to fill your mind with my beliefs, and cloud yours, so I will let you come to your conclusion, then let you know mine.

If anyone else on the forum feels they would like to contribute to this question please feel free I think it is still in the same vain as the original thread.

Take care, always remember to smile and you will be rewarded with one back.

Perry :)

Mark Uttech
05-06-2006, 02:18 PM
An instructor goes over lesson plans by rote, a teacher shares himself. That is my take on it anyway... In gassho

Rocky Izumi
05-07-2006, 11:06 PM
Not very serious. I kid around all the time.

Rock
:)