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Old 09-28-2003, 12:21 PM   #1
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 113
Question Why do teachers stop learning?

A number of questions on this forum (cross training, drop out rates, not seeing progress, and many others) are identifying the same issues -- teachers that for whatever reason are not responding to the needs of the students.

Students are telling them that they need something different when they drop out, or when they switch to another teacher, or when the constantly seek seminars, or directly in comments such as "The classes are always the same, I don't feel I am progressing".

All teachers (not just martial art sensei) easily fall prey to a comfortable pattern. They create the curriculum (which takes a fair bit of work) and then they simply play and replay it through out the years. When students quit teachers attribute it to "other" issues, and while students can get bored for many reasons most are within the teacher's control.

If you are a teacher and you don't listen to what your students are saying (or notice it from their actions), then you are not progressing as a teacher.

We have all heard the comment, "teachers teach because they can't do". Teachers get angry when they hear this because they know that few people attract students if they didn't know what they were talking about -- but why do so many teachers stop "doing" once they become teachers? If their excuse is that they can't concentrate on training and teaching at the same time -- then at least they should be concentrating on becoming a better teacher -- no?

Why is it that students see more interesting Aikido when their sensei demonstrates at a seminar than in their own dojo that they pay to be in all year round!?!
Why do you think people are so interested in seminars in the first place, cause they get to see a level of Aikido that rarely gets shown to them on a daily basis -- why is that?
Teachers say that they concentrate on a subtle, different aspect each time they teach Ikkyo -- but only the advanced students will notice that, the rest will just think "is there any other technique besides Ikkyo in Aikido?"

If students say they don't feel they are progressing, then a teacher has to reevaluate his methods of testing and rank progression. Most students need clear outlines of progress, milestones and goals to work towards, and they need to see that they are progressing down that road to feel confident in themselves. Why do teachers say, "well that's the way we do it around these parts" when they hear the same student questions time and time again?

Why don't teachers try new things once and a while to shake things ups a bit?
What's the danger, if something doesn't work -- then you don't do it anymore (you learn from the experience and move on). Why are teachers so fearful of changing their curriculum? Do they live by the old "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" wisdom? That's called maintenance mode, and nobody progresses in maintenance mode.

Almost every student on the planet asks their sensei how to defend against kicks, and leg-takedowns, or judo throws, etc. and get the standard answer, "The same principles apply regardless of the attack". Why then do they never practice it in their dojo? In the old days (in Japan) they did it all the time. In every other martial art except Aikido sensei demonstrate practical application against common attacks. Why in Aikido do we feel compelled to do 50 versions of wrist grabs, and none against kicks?

By moving out of a comfort zone, and exploring new ways to teach Aikido we respond to our students needs and learn how to be better teachers.

Just some thoughts, and I welcome others to participate.


Bruce Kimpel
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