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Old 04-08-2005, 02:46 PM   #25
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Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,471
Re: How serious a teacher are you?

Hagen Seibert wrote:
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 Im 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...


David M. Valadez
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