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Old 04-27-2007, 01:37 PM   #1
chitara
 
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Parents teaching off the mat

Hello!

I was wondering if anybody had any experience on how to deal with parents coaching / teaching their children off the mat. I co-teach a kids class, essentially I am the assistant. This only happens when both Head Instructor and I are working with others. I often turn in time to see him out of his chair leaning over and demonstrating the technique. He is by no means a martial artist of any kind. Sort of "squishy" looking. Jokingly the other members of the club recommend we invite him on the mat. Currently, the instructor and I have a few plans of action for next week, but I would enjoy hearing any other stories and or solutions. (He is the father of two boys, they are new and are still learning the basics.)

thanks!
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Old 04-27-2007, 03:09 PM   #2
Robert Jackson
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Re: Parents teaching off the mat

I like the idea of inviting him onto the mat. Put him on the spot and make him look stupid. embarrassment is a great teacher in my opinion.

I put my right foot in, I put my left foot out, I do the Aikipokey and throw you all about
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Old 04-27-2007, 03:16 PM   #3
SeiserL
 
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Re: Parents teaching off the mat

Post a generic dojo policy sign in the spectator/parent bleechers that politely asks them to respect your time of instruction with the children and leave the teaching to the staff while they relax and enjoy the show.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-27-2007, 03:28 PM   #4
Adman
 
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Re: Parents teaching off the mat

Quote:
Robert Jackson wrote: View Post
I like the idea of inviting him onto the mat. Put him on the spot and make him look stupid. embarrassment is a great teacher in my opinion.
So, embarrass the parent in front of their child, just to make a point? I like the direction of Lynn's advice better. Occasional parent/student orientations could also work, along with posting class/spectator etiquette on all available material (web and print). Or just talk to the parent directly.

No need for confrontational antics. That would not be a good message to send to the children in the class.

thanks,
Adam
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Old 04-27-2007, 04:13 PM   #5
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Parents teaching off the mat

I only assist. I don't lead the classes, so please take these as not very experienced comments.

Most coaching parents that I've seen stop quickly. Sometimes it's very hard to resist when a kid is confused and looking at their parent's for help. I haven't seen a kid whose parent's coach from the sideline continue for more than a year.

I'd rather have the parents too involved, coaching, than absent.

Inviting him onto the mat might be a good idea. He might enjoy aikido.

Good luck,
Mark

Last edited by Mark Gibbons : 04-27-2007 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 04-27-2007, 04:35 PM   #6
senshincenter
 
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Re: Parents teaching off the mat

I think you have to measure everything in light of the kind of dojo and/or kids program you are running. For how you are running things is setting up the environment for the training, and the environment for the training is what is making something seem right and/or wrong for both participant and spectator. In other words, you might be running things in such a way that this parent feels it is perfectly fine to coach. If that is the case, then aside from simply requesting and/or informing the parent in question that he should not coach from the side/talk onto the mat (which is basic Budo etiquette) you might also want to look at how you can run things differently so that that does not seem so possible to the next parent.

In our dojo, we have two kids programs. We call them Aiki 1 and Aiki 2. For reference, you can see those two programs at our website:

In Aiki 1, we get from time to time parents calling onto the mat, "Come on Honey, go where you are supposed to." etc. This usually happens when their kids is not doing the obvious thing they are supposed to be doing. So there is a lot of pride involved - a thing you have to be mindful of in my opinion. In Aiki 1, training to the new parent looks like any other kind of activity their kid might have done or is doing - where pride is an acceptable ingredient for participation, for example. However, in our Aiki 2 program, parents not only never call onto the mat, they are encouraged by the environment to even whisper on the sidelines in their own conversations.

My point, whatever you say or post, if it's something you'd rather not have to do every time someone comes in not getting it, look to what your overall environment is encouraging and/or not encouraging. Address the issue from there as well as talking to the particular party in question. Note: It is not wrong or bad to inform any dojo member or parent of a member of dojo etiquette. If one has a problem doing that, then there are some internal issues that still have to be reconciled - as there always are for all of us.

dmv

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 04-27-2007, 09:57 PM   #7
Derek
 
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Re: Parents teaching off the mat

If the parents are actually correctly correcting, I don't interfer at that time. However, I do then try to head it off at the pass next time, and I'll frequently arrange a partner for that student on the other end of the mat (away from mom or dad).

If the parents are not corretly correcting the student, I'll step in and help the student and generally do it in a stage whisper, so that the parents can hear and understand that they were not correct, without drawing attention to their deficiency, especially in front of Jr.

Derek Duval
Yondan
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Old 04-29-2007, 12:29 PM   #8
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Parents teaching off the mat

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Post a generic dojo policy sign in the spectator/parent bleechers that politely asks them to respect your time of instruction with the children and leave the teaching to the staff while they relax and enjoy the show.
This is consistent with my approach toward this frequent 'problem' within the dojo ( where we operate within a different culture than the parents do). By bringing IN the parent to their students progress we can support the student, the family and the dojo. How, though? By asking them to participate in the same etiquettes as all members of the dojo do while in the dojo. To do that we have to educate the parent. This is a good thing because aikido is a tool for harmony within families and among others. Everybody wins when we approach these situations as compassionate educators.

Now, we're not wusses either. So we need some fearless tactics at times. One parent would yell at their student from the bench at the back of the mat, "no, not like that" or 'pay attention'(hello?). To alleviate the immediacy of this situation ( and given their lack of insight into etiquette) I simply stood in front of him with my back to him. everytime he would shift, I would slowly, 'ignorantly' shift back in front of him. By doing this I physically shielded the mat from his 'ki'(or voice projection) and I blocked his view of his child.This worked miracles and the parent stopped coming to class for a while. We need time to bond with our students,develop trust, and to teach.
The burden is ours to be a different influence and a different person in these childrens lives than their family. We are there to fill out their education and lives with the art of aikido. They wouldn't be there if they weren't interested.

keep up the good work.

jen smith
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Old 04-29-2007, 05:00 PM   #9
Derek
 
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Re: Parents teaching off the mat

To alleviate the immediacy of this situation ( and given their lack of insight into etiquette) I simply stood in front of him with my back to him. everytime he would shift, I would slowly, 'ignorantly' shift back in front of him. By doing this I physically shielded the mat from his 'ki'(or voice projection) and I blocked his view of his child.This worked miracles and the parent stopped coming to class for a while.

That is a miracle. Generally those parents don't understand subtle actions!

Derek Duval
Yondan
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Old 04-30-2007, 12:45 PM   #10
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Parents teaching off the mat

Quote:
Derek Duval wrote: View Post
To alleviate the immediacy of this situation ( and given their lack of insight into etiquette) I simply stood in front of him with my back to him. everytime he would shift, I would slowly, 'ignorantly' shift back in front of him. By doing this I physically shielded the mat from his 'ki'(or voice projection) and I blocked his view of his child.This worked miracles and the parent stopped coming to class for a while.

That is a miracle. Generally those parents don't understand subtle actions!
The persistence of my method made it a whole lot less subtle Strong Irimi. I simply stymied him.I crushed his attack, if you will. I have had a lot of people respond to this degree of subtlety; perhaps a miracle.Perhaps unobstructed Aikido. Perhaps I have my teachers to thank.
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