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Old 03-12-2007, 08:53 AM   #1
CatSienna
 
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Teachingsyllabus

This is the discussion thread for the AikiWiki article "Teachingsyllabus".

Please add comments below regarding the article.
 
Old 03-12-2007, 09:20 AM   #2
Amir Krause
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Re: AikiWiki Article: Teachingsyllabus

Please take this as a constructive criticism:

Quote:
CLASS TOPICS, by WEEK

2/1 Introduction. Warm-ups. Etiquette.
2/3 Basic Principles. History of O Sensei.
2/8-2/10 Falling: back rolls
2/15-2/17 Falling: back rolls/forward rolls.
2/22-2/24 Falling: side falls/intro to high-falls
3/1-3/3 Attacks and Terminology
3/8-3/10 Entering and Turning
3/15-3/17 Balance and "center point"
3/22-3/24 SPRING BREAK; NO CLASS
3/29 Zanshin: Martial Awareness
3/31 CESAR CHAVEZ DAY: NO CLASS
4/5 Zanshin; Ma-ai
4/7 "Ma-ai," or distance
4/12-4/14 Ego. "Fighting mind" versus "accepting mind"
4/19-4/21 "Extension"
4/26-4/28 Breath, and Breath Technique (kokyo ho)
5/3-5/5 "Musubi," or "connectedness"
5/10 Knee-walking ("suwariwaza")
5/12 Pins and Immobilizations
5/17 Possible Guest Instructor
5/19 Final Evaluation
How long is each lesson?

From what I remember of my teacher giving a similar class at Tel Aviv University (that's where I started):
It was best to give as much theory as possible on the first week, most people lacked proper clothing.

Break falls back and then sideways are the easiest way to study Ukemi, Rolls are more difficult to perform tehcnicly thus should come later, same hold for front-wise break falls.
Tai-Sabaki (entering and turns) should also start early on, it will later assist giving an easy basis for developing the techniques.

One should teach some basic technique at the second lesson, otherwise the students normally get frustrated. We found Shiho Nage to be oe simple option, another is Kote Giri (hope we use the same terminology though I doubt it).

I do not see why advanced subjects such as mae, Breath and "extension" should be directly taught to the studnets in a short beginners course. It normally gets them to have a wrong understanding of things they never had the chance of learning to sufficient depth. I would suggest concentrating more on several simple techniques and situations and letting those explain the principles (you may have to verbatrose but do it in the contest of a simple technique and let them extrapolate).

Hope this helps, obviously it is difficult to guess actual content from headlines.
Amir
 
Old 03-12-2007, 09:58 AM   #3
aikidoc
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

I agree with teaching some technique as the class goes on. I integrate basic techniques and tai sabaki (movement patterns). I show them tenkan, etc and then do something like tsuki kotegaeshi.

Also, suwariwaza generally refers to knee techniques or knee practice. Shikko refers to knee walking in general.
 
Old 03-12-2007, 09:59 AM   #4
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

Sharon:

I'd be happy to share my class syllabus with you if you are interested. Send me your e-mail address. My classes are 1 hour and 20 minutes long two days a week at the local college.
 
Old 03-12-2007, 10:21 AM   #5
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

Hi folks,

Don't forget that you, yourself, can edit the original article and add to it as you wish. In this instance, if you have teaching syllabi that you would like to share with the rest of the AikiWeb community, I would encourage that information to be placed within the Teachingsyllabus article.

Thanks,
-- Jun

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Old 03-12-2007, 06:56 PM   #6
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

I dunno Sharon.... whilst I understand that your objectives are to modulate a University level course in basic kinesthetic movement within the paradigm of martial arts vis a vis Aikido, there seems to be an inordinate amount of time dedicated to learning to fall.

IMO, the bulk of your curriculum can be dealt with in a 1hr lesson, with the remaining time over the next 4 or so months, spent on bringing all of the foundational principles together in a handful of techniques, to some level of basic competency - perhaps to 5th kyu?

FWIW, my introductory lesson for all first-timers will cover the basics of ashi-sabaki, tai-sabaki and ma-ai, and the rationale for those in relation to attacks (striking and grabbing). Already within the first 2, we would have covered irimi/tenkan as part of the rationale of footwork and body movement as well as the basics of grabbing and striking.

These basic concepts culminate in 2 variations of katate kokyu nage tachiwaza which require the participant to perform a basic mae and ushiro ukemi. At the same time, they also learn the one basic rule of breaking someone's balance - and how their own balance plays a role in effecting a technique.

I tend to focus a lot more on the "warm up" exercises in the first lesson as the foundational basis for the techniques and movement that follow.

So, by the end of the first 1hr lesson, participants would have a basic knowledge of stepping, pivoting, moving off the line of attack, front and back ukemi, and 2 throws. In the remaining months that follow, if they stay that long, the time is spent on exercises focusing on developing body connection. I find that the better "connected" the student is, the less need there is to specifically teach ukemi of the falling down variety. Which in turn allows for a greater emphasis on the finer points of technique and technical variations.

FWIW.

Ignatius
 
Old 03-12-2007, 06:59 PM   #7
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

Hi Ignatio,

I just wanted to clarify that the person who started the thread is not necessarily the one who wrote or co-wrote the original article. In this specific instance, the original article was written by Neil Mick.

Hope that helps,

-- Jun

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Old 03-12-2007, 07:04 PM   #8
eyrie
 
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

Oops... my apologies... thanks for pointing that out...

Ignatius
 
Old 03-13-2007, 02:48 PM   #9
Neil Mick
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Re: AikiWiki Article: Teachingsyllabus

Hi Amir,

To answer your questions (since, the syllabus discussed is mine, used to teach an intro college aikido class),

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
Please take this as a constructive criticism:

How long is each lesson?
Each class is one-hour. I wish it were longer, but I have no control over that.

Quote:
From what I remember of my teacher giving a similar class at Tel Aviv University (that's where I started):
It was best to give as much theory as possible on the first week, most people lacked proper clothing.
Yes, that is what I do. First classes are concerned with etiquette and a quick lesson on the history of aikido, and O Sensei.

Quote:
Break falls back and then sideways are the easiest way to study Ukemi, Rolls are more difficult to perform tehcnicly thus should come later, same hold for front-wise break falls.
Tai-Sabaki (entering and turns) should also start early on, it will later assist giving an easy basis for developing the techniques.
I've found that there is no "right" way to teach aikido basics...and there are many strategies. I teach Tai-sabaki a bit later on because I want to teach all the elements of ukemi before I get to nage's role.

Quote:
One should teach some basic technique at the second lesson, otherwise the students normally get frustrated.
That's one approach, and not the only one.

I do teach technique earlier, when it's not part of a college curriculum, tho (as with my Middle School students).

Quote:
We found Shiho Nage to be oe simple option, another is Kote Giri (hope we use the same terminology though I doubt it).
Interesting.

Quote:
I do not see why advanced subjects such as mae, Breath and "extension" should be directly taught to the studnets in a short beginners course. It normally gets them to have a wrong understanding of things they never had the chance of learning to sufficient depth. I would suggest concentrating more on several simple techniques and situations and letting those explain the principles (you may have to verbatrose but do it in the contest of a simple technique and let them extrapolate).
Thanks for the suggestion, but I find that extension, breath, and ma-ai are critically important for beginners. Extension helps to understand iriminage; ma-ai helps with understanding dynamic vs static technique; and kokyunage is impossible to comprehend, without a discussion on breath.

But again: there is no "right" or "wrong" way to teach the basics, IMO.

Quote:
Hope this helps, obviously it is difficult to guess actual content from headlines.
Amir
Yes. I'm sure that if we were disc discussing this on the mat: we'd likely be more in agreement, than not. Thanks for the feedback!
 
Old 03-14-2007, 11:48 AM   #10
Neil Mick
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
whilst I understand that your objectives are to modulate a University level course in basic kinesthetic movement within the paradigm of martial arts vis a vis Aikido, there seems to be an inordinate amount of time dedicated to learning to fall.
Well, IMO: falling is one of the most important things for a beginner to learn. Also, from a beginner's perspective, it's the most practical skill that one can take away from the mat.

Quote:
IMO, the bulk of your curriculum can be dealt with in a 1hr lesson, with the remaining time over the next 4 or so months, spent on bringing all of the foundational principles together in a handful of techniques, to some level of basic competency - perhaps to 5th kyu?
Yes, that's my criteria for evaluation as well...5th kyu requirements. Some of the other MA university Sensei's (for other MA's besides aikido) award their students belts as part of the class, but I don't. I imagine that this has to do more with whether or not they run a dojo of their own, outside the university (I don't).

Quote:
FWIW, my introductory lesson for all first-timers will cover the basics of ashi-sabaki, tai-sabaki and ma-ai, and the rationale for those in relation to attacks (striking and grabbing). Already within the first 2, we would have covered irimi/tenkan as part of the rationale of footwork and body movement as well as the basics of grabbing and striking.
Within the first two weeks, I'd have covered all aspects of falling, and just beginning nomenclature of attacks. By week 4, I expect my students to understand tai-sabaki (basic irimi and tenkan); all the basic attacks; and have practiced a few techniques, a few times.

By the end, I expect that we each have covered comparable topics, if we are both using a 5th kyu test as the criteria for evaluation (OTOH, there's a lot of diversity in 5th kyu, dep. upon dojo, and affiliation).

Quote:
These basic concepts culminate in 2 variations of katate kokyu nage tachiwaza which require the participant to perform a basic mae and ushiro ukemi. At the same time, they also learn the one basic rule of breaking someone's balance - and how their own balance plays a role in effecting a technique.
Hmm...a little different than mine. Here are the required techniques they need to demonstrate, by the class's end (not counting the take-home exam, of course):

*shomen-uchi ikkyo
*tsuki kotegaeshi
*shomen-uchi irimi-nage
*katate-dori shiho-nage (4-corner throw)
* ryote-dori Tenchi-nage (heaven-earth throw)

*Understanding of basic attack forms, when they are called out (see attack terms, above)
*Ukemi (forward and backward rolls)
*Irimi and tenkan
*kokyoho (seated breath throw)

Quote:
I tend to focus a lot more on the "warm up" exercises in the first lesson as the foundational basis for the techniques and movement that follow.
Yes, me too. Warm-ups are almost as important as the criteria, IMO.

Quote:
So, by the end of the first 1hr lesson, participants would have a basic knowledge of stepping, pivoting, moving off the line of attack, front and back ukemi, and 2 throws. In the remaining months that follow, if they stay that long, the time is spent on exercises focusing on developing body connection. I find that the better "connected" the student is, the less need there is to specifically teach ukemi of the falling down variety. Which in turn allows for a greater emphasis on the finer points of technique and technical variations.

FWIW.
Thanks for sharing your perspectives. Part of the difference in our perspectives, I think: is in expectations beyond the class. As with a lot of "regular" dojo settings, a part of the aim of your beginning class is to act as a "feeder" to increase your membership.

I do not have a dojo to "feed" students: I train in another city (where I live); and there are no dojo's close (walking distance) to the college (also, it's a commuter-college, with not much of a campus-life). So, while I always get a few returning students every semester: the aims are different. I would like my students to have a solid foundation of ukemi, so that they can find a new dojo on their own and "fit in" with any style of aikido.

But thanks for the feedback, Ignatius. I'm always curious to hear about beginner's courses, and this exchange provides food for thought.

Last edited by Neil Mick : 03-14-2007 at 11:50 AM.
 
Old 03-14-2007, 11:55 AM   #11
Neil Mick
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

Quote:
John Riggs wrote: View Post
Sharon:

I'd be happy to share my class syllabus with you if you are interested. Send me your e-mail address. My classes are 1 hour and 20 minutes long two days a week at the local college.
Hi John,

I'd like to see your syllabus. Could you post it on the aikiwiki?
 
Old 03-14-2007, 06:23 PM   #12
eyrie
 
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

Hi Neil,

Let me preface this by saying that I am by no means criticizing the structure of your syllabus or the way in which it might be taught. I understand the issues, limitations and restrictions required of university course level modulation. And I agree, there is no right or wrong way to teach - only better ways to accomplish the intended learning objectives.

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote: View Post
Well, IMO: falling is one of the most important things for a beginner to learn. Also, from a beginner's perspective, it's the most practical skill that one can take away from the mat.
This is where I differ. I'm not particularly interested in teaching someone how to fall - either nicely or learning to take a fancy dive. Falling safely... yes... but only if their balance is taken.

My primary focus is on conveying the principles of the literal meaning of ukemi... i.e. to receive force with the body, rather than ukemi as an exercise in falling down safely for the sake of falling down. So for me, these basic "falling down" and tumbling skills are incorporated as part of the "warm up" drills, rather than part of the technique learning proper.

The 2 main ways of escaping from a technique safely, when all else fails, at a beginner level, is front and back roll. In that regard, the hardest falls for a beginner, IME - for someone who is uncomfortable/fearful of falling from a height, lest they be hurt, are from shihonage, and taiotoshi.

Thus, I draw attention to the parallels with the specific "warm up" exercises that precisely conveys the use of these skills. BTW, whilst I do focus largely on "warm ups", and in particular, the rationale and finer points of performance, students are largely expected to do these exercises outside of class. This allows me to quite accurately gauge those who have or have not practiced outside of class and who require more assistance in what areas.

And since the fall from shihonage is practically the same as from kotegaeshi, I see no compelling reason to spend excessive amounts of time focusing on falling as a way to receive the technique, and instead focus on the finer points of technical application.

But then, I may be operating from a totally different set of learning objectives.

Quote:
Yes, that's my criteria for evaluation as well...5th kyu requirements. Some of the other MA university Sensei's (for other MA's besides aikido) award their students belts as part of the class, but I don't. I imagine that this has to do more with whether or not they run a dojo of their own, outside the university (I don't).
I think that is usually the case, but as I am not affiliated with any organization, and I don't grade/rank my students, I have the luxury of setting the learning objectives and syllabus as I see fit. Usually that means working on what the individual student's needs are at the time. Which allows me to tailor a more personal teaching/learning approach with the student .

Quote:
Within the first two weeks, I'd have covered all aspects of falling, and just beginning nomenclature of attacks. By week 4, I expect my students to understand tai-sabaki (basic irimi and tenkan); all the basic attacks; and have practiced a few techniques, a few times.
Again, I have a different approach. I see foot work, bodywork, and striking as foundational skills and more appropriately integrated as part of the warm ups and exercise drills. Students are expected to attain a modicum of skill in these basic skills by end of the 2nd lesson... in hours rather than weeks.

Quote:
By the end, I expect that we each have covered comparable topics, if we are both using a 5th kyu test as the criteria for evaluation (OTOH, there's a lot of diversity in 5th kyu, dep. upon dojo, and affiliation).
Again, since I don't grade people, the learning objectives are more or less paced with the student's abilities. This allows me the luxury of developing the student on a far more personal level. Again, I seem to operating from a totally different set of objectives.

Quote:
Hmm...a little different than mine. Here are the required techniques they need to demonstrate, by the class's end (not counting the take-home exam, of course):

*shomen-uchi ikkyo
*tsuki kotegaeshi
*shomen-uchi irimi-nage
*katate-dori shiho-nage (4-corner throw)
* ryote-dori Tenchi-nage (heaven-earth throw)
I wouldn't say a little different... it's very different. My students aren't graded, and are therefore free from such, IMV, "restrictive" technique requirements.

[quote]...
*Understanding of basic attack forms, when they are called out (see attack terms, above)
*Ukemi (forward and backward rolls)
*Irimi and tenkan
*kokyoho (seated breath throw)
[quote] I take a more "building block" approach. For me, these exercises form the core building blocks of my approach and are incorporated as part of the "warm ups". By using some of the warm up elements, students are shown how to put these together in the form of an appropriate exercise drill, or series of exercise drills. These exercise drills are then put together to form the basis of one or two technique application examples.

I believe this approach provides the student with a better appreciation of how the various elements of warm up and exercise drills are brought together in an applied setting.

But again, I may be operating from a very different set of teaching/learning objectives.

Quote:
I would like my students to have a solid foundation of ukemi, so that they can find a new dojo on their own and "fit in" with any style of aikido.
Again, a very different objective. I prefer students to have a solid foundation in basic body skills so that they can fit in to any martial art they choose to do.

Quote:
Thanks for sharing your perspectives.....But thanks for the feedback, Ignatius. I'm always curious to hear about beginner's courses, and this exchange provides food for thought.
A pleasure... and likewise.

Last edited by eyrie : 03-14-2007 at 06:38 PM.

Ignatius
 
Old 03-15-2007, 11:55 AM   #13
Neil Mick
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
The 2 main ways of escaping from a technique safely, when all else fails, at a beginner level, is front and back roll. In that regard, the hardest falls for a beginner, IME - for someone who is uncomfortable/fearful of falling from a height, lest they be hurt, are from shihonage, and taiotoshi.
Yes, I agree. In my 2 weeks of ukemi class (and note that that is really only a little more than 2 hours of practical class-time, after you take out the warmups, etc), I focus almost completely on forward and back rolls, starting from seiza and working up to standing rolls.

Quote:
Thus, I draw attention to the parallels with the specific "warm up" exercises that precisely conveys the use of these skills. BTW, whilst I do focus largely on "warm ups", and in particular, the rationale and finer points of performance, students are largely expected to do these exercises outside of class. This allows me to quite accurately gauge those who have or have not practiced outside of class and who require more assistance in what areas.

And since the fall from shihonage is practically the same as from kotegaeshi, I see no compelling reason to spend excessive amounts of time focusing on falling as a way to receive the technique, and instead focus on the finer points of technical application.
I dunno...for some reason, I've found that some ppl find it harder to fall from kotegaeshi, than they do with shihonage.

Quote:
I seem to operating from a totally different set of objectives.
Yes, I am keeping this point in mind.

Quote:
My students aren't graded, and are therefore free from such, IMV, "restrictive" technique requirements.
Not to debate this point (no need), but the techniques are a little less "restrictive," than you might think. The techniques cover all the basics of entering, presenting different challenges for ukemi (forward falling vs back, etc), as well as challenging nage to demonstrate different skills inherent in the techniques, etc.

But if I had the restrictions of grading taken away: I probably wouldn't use technique as a criteria for evaluation.

Quote:
I take a more "building block" approach. For me, these exercises form the core building blocks of my approach and are incorporated as part of the "warm ups". By using some of the warm up elements, students are shown how to put these together in the form of an appropriate exercise drill, or series of exercise drills. These exercise drills are then put together to form the basis of one or two technique application examples.

I believe this approach provides the student with a better appreciation of how the various elements of warm up and exercise drills are brought together in an applied setting.
Hmm,,,interesting. Can you elaborate? I'd be very interested to read specific lesson plans (or outline) on your strategy of putting together warmups with the particular applications.

Last edited by Neil Mick : 03-15-2007 at 11:57 AM.
 
Old 03-15-2007, 07:28 PM   #14
eyrie
 
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote: View Post
But if I had the restrictions of grading taken away: I probably wouldn't use technique as a criteria for evaluation.
Precisely my point.

Quote:
Hmm,,,interesting. Can you elaborate? I'd be very interested to read specific lesson plans (or outline) on your strategy of putting together warmups with the particular applications.
Very quickly, coz I have to do some work....

I should mention that I don't have specific lesson plans (i.e. written down), but I do have a general outline (in my head) what people need to be working on at their level. So I tend to be a little loose, in terms of what technical applications are done, but basically it revolves around basic and common foundational skills of footwork and bodywork. i.e. techniques are merely to demonstrate application of the principles of these "basics". i.e. the focus is less on kihon waza and more on the basic building blocks which make up technique.

Bear in mind this has been "dumbed down" for beginners with absolutely no martial art experience whatsoever. So quite often I have to "start from scratch" and show stuff at a really really basic level. Even those with some rudimentary MA experience (3-6 months TKD/karate mostly) usually have to be retrained to move in specific ways.

As a very basic example, let's say, warm ups include funekogi undo, ashi sabaki (which includes irimi/tenkan), basic striking, kokyudosa, and static rolling (forward/backward).

As a drill, one person strikes, and the other gets to practice moving off the line of attack, and either walks thru or pivots to change the angle of re-entry. So, not only do participants practice ashi sabaki and tai sabaki, they also start to get comfortable with elements such as timing, ma-ai, and reading the attack. Sometimes this may involve a short stick or a knife, to illustrate the importance of moving generally, or moving inside the attack, and the difference between moving to the live side and dead side.

Or even simpler yet, we might start out from a single or double wrist grab, and get them to work on simply release the grab using their body in various ways, which we might them build up to include entering and pivoting at the same time as releasing the grab. This allows them to perceive how the body can act as a coherent unit, as well as how each part of the body can act freely and independently of the body. Or, we might add to it the feeling of kokyudosa and/or funekogi and explore that particular dimension.

Another drill might involve one person standing and trying to keep their balance, with the other person pushing (gently) using a funekogi motion, on the other person, from different angles. This allows them to understand the points of balance and how kuzushi is obtained, and the precursor to learning how to use the body to effect a throw.

So, putting these elements together, I can work up to 3-4 technical variations, using the very same principles covered in the warm ups, and which have been reinforced in the preceeding exercise drills.

Depending on how comfortable people are with the idea of actually being thrown, I tend to be fairly loose on how uke responds. Usually, I might say something like lower your partner to the ground, or in certain cases, I might say, ok you roll if you're comfortable, otherwise simply walk out of it as an escape. IOW, nage isn't dependent on uke performing their role in order to experience it properly. As long as nage is moving more or less within the scope of the established movement principles, it doesn't matter. That simply means that that particular uke will require additional solo exercises to establish some level of body connection and conditioning.

Again, my objectives aren't necessarily to teach rolling out as an escape - a properly executed throw is hard to escape from, usually that means hitting the mat first. As soon as people are comfortable with rolling out and have reached a moderate level of skill, they are taught to receive and redirect forces using their body in various ways, whilst remaining standing. Obviously there are other examples and drills which build on, feed off, and feed into this... but that's all part of my secret teaching strategy.

Again, these are rudimentary building blocks that demonstrate particular principles of movement. For the more mid-level and slightly more advanced students, I will use the same building blocks and show all sorts of variations and possibilities, e.g. opportunities for atemi, different ways of affecting kuzushi thru various parts of the structural anatomy, even kyusho points.

These potential possibilities are only limited by your own imagination and creativity - within the boundaries of your own personal Aikido philosophy of course. But for beginners, I tend to dumb it down a lot, slow it down, break the technique apart and show the individual elements within a particular section of the technique and the relation to the warm ups and drills.

HTH.

PS: Sorry this was a lot longer than I anticipated. I could have just said, warmups -> drills -> techniques, but starting from techniques, break it down into bite sized chunks, find the similarities of those chunks in the warm ups, then from there formulate some drills that illustrate the principles. So work your way backward and forward and create some exercises for people to work on, rather than on falling down and complete techniques. But that wasn't quite as elucidative.... I thought

Last edited by eyrie : 03-15-2007 at 07:30 PM.

Ignatius
 
Old 12-04-2007, 02:02 AM   #15
CatSienna
 
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

Can I just say I didn't start this thread and I have no idea how it was started in my name...am a bit concerned about this. Obviously I need to go change my password in case someone has cracked it. Either that or I'm more of an akiaddict than I thought and was doing so in my sleep.

But at least whomever was masquarading as me has generated a reasonable discussion.
 
Old 12-04-2007, 08:30 AM   #16
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Re: Teachingsyllabus

Hi Sharon,

By clicking on the "discussion" tab of the Teaching Syllabus wiki page, you started the thread. Hope that helps.

-- Jun

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