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Old 01-07-2010, 12:46 AM   #9
Linda Eskin
 
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Dojo: Aikido of San Diego, San Diego, California
Location: San Diego County, California
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 326
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Re: The path to becoming a sensei

I haven't done much teaching, but have worked in technical communication for years. One of the hardest things to do is to write instructions for people who are new to something that you are very experienced in doing. It's much easier when you are just a little ahead of them in learning, because you are answering the questions you yourself had to ask recently.

When I have to write instruction-type documentation I test it on someone who represents a "naive" reader/user. For instance, I had a temporary receptionist install a Linux tape backup system, ages ago, just using my quick-start guide. I watched for where she got into trouble or had a question, and revised the guide accordingly.

If you can get a confident beginner - perhaps someone with teaching experience in another field, or experience learning other things, like dance - to be your practice-student, maybe they could give you feedback on what they find confusing, or suggestions for how you could explain it so it would be clearer for them.

I would think that with just plain more teaching experience and some specific practice and feedback you will learn what confuses students, and then you can give that a little more focus in your teaching. I wouldn't be discouraged that this happened, and I'm sure it will happen (again, and again, and again...). Teaching is another new thing to learn. Mindful practice over time will improve your technique.

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"Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - Morihei Ueshiba
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