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Old 11-13-2013, 11:30 AM   #43
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,062
Re: I Don't Care That Much

Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
'We forget there is no "teaching 101" for instructors.'

Isn't there, though? There's usually a kind of informal apprenticeship, from what I've seen, where students watch how their teachers teach and are gradually given more and more teaching responsibility themseves for kohais. I certainly feel like I've gotten a lot more support to develop my teaching skills through aikido than in situations where it was my actual job (e.g., as a teaching assistant in a university).

Although of course such a system can pass on harmful teaching methods as easily as it can pass on helpful ones.
Yes, I think the sensei/sempai/kohai relationship was intended to be an apprenticeship process. I think that relationship structure is being changed in Western aikido dojos and that is damaging the basic foundation for learning responsibility and instructing others. Sure, there are groups of good instructors developing good instructors, but on any given day you can simply read the threads column here and find a thread about a poor instructor, or sempai, or whatever. I am not sure if that is a criticism or simply an observation about our most prominent method of "teaching" instructors how to share what they know.

In ASU, we are invited annually to the Shrine in Florida for a seminar for instructors. The idea is to share ideas about what to teach, when, and how. Plus, Sensei usually yells at us about something. But, its a forum for instructors to ask how to better instruct. I support that idea which I why I go. I also am blessed to have relationships with seniors whose teaching ability and aikido I respect. I work very hard to develop a methodology of instruction, a curriculum and a process of evaluation to positively push the training in the right direction. That is a difficult endeavor for me and I do appreciate it when someone gives me advice or new direction that helps me be better.

I think beyond apprenticeship is also the art of effectively sharing knowledge with interpersonal communication. Kinda the 'ol "the best players don't always make the best coaches" observation. I think there are bad instructors. I think there are great instructors. Plain and simple. Most aikido instructors fall somewhere in the middle.

When I read this thread, the perspective that jumped out at me was, "Is there anything I can do to make my students care more?" In high school I had an English teacher who made me care more about English than I would have thought possible. He didn't get paid more for it. I didn't learn it from the other students. He did it. Sharing inspiration and encouragement is tough - any teacher knows that. I try to thank everyone I meet that shares their inspiration and encouragement.

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