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Old 07-23-2003, 12:04 PM   #1
akiy
 
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Beginner Teacher "Survey"

Hi everyone,

So I asked on Aikido-L a few days ago, "What do you think are important characteristcs for a teacher of beginning aikido students?"

Some of the characteristcs people have brought up have included:

* patience
* understanding of students' problems
* connecting to each student as individuals
* self-confident
* sense of humor
* humility
* desire to learn
* ego in "control"
* still a student him/herself
* honesty
* sincerity
* encouraging
* contagious enthusiasm/passion for the art
* displays genuine desire to teach
* good understanding of basics
* many years of aikido/teaching experience
* real talent for aikido
* good ukemi ability
* keeps things "conservative" - nothing flashy
* demonstrate ukemi as well as technique
* good pacing of class
* understanding of incremental progress
* connect teachings/techniques/principles through class
* clarity in physical demonstrations
* clarity in verbal communication
* ability to interpret reactions
* ability to teach one thing at a time
* willingness to take ukemi for beginners
* open to answer questions about technique and philosophy
* uses various modes (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) of teaching

So. Here's a bit of a "survey" for people with too much time on their hands.

If you had to give numerical "values" to some or all of the above characteristcs (as well as any other characteristics you may think of) so that all of the values added up to 100, what values would you assign to each characteristic?

For example, someone who thinks that a beginners teacher only needs good technique, is patient, and has a good sense of humor, taht person might return something like:

60 = good technique
30 = patient
10 = good sense of humor
--------------------------
100 = total

Anyone want to try giving it a go?

-- Jun

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Old 07-23-2003, 01:14 PM   #2
SeiserL
 
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I am glad I will never have to live up to live up to that list.

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 07-29-2003, 09:32 AM   #3
souji
 
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I am currently trying to live up to that list. But A good teacher I think should be...

* patience 10%

* sense of humor 5%

* still a student him/herself 5%

* honesty 5%

* sincerity 15%

* encouraging 5%

* desire to learn 10%

* ability to teach one thing at a time 5%

* willingness to take ukemi for beginners 5%

* open to answer questions about technique and philosophy 5%

* displays genuine desire to teach 30%

hahaha. That is how I think a teacher should be. I'm trying to live up to the numerics I've given above. But beginner teacher is supposed to learn. But there is a difference between teachers and instructors. Most of these so called teachers at my dojos are actually instructors because they only teach on what they know and only the techniques. Teachers are not supposed to only teach techniques. They are also supposed to teach what Morihei wanted them to give to the Aikidoka. The insight and spirit of Aiki.
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Old 08-04-2003, 09:08 AM   #4
akiy
 
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Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

-- Jun

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Old 08-04-2003, 09:51 AM   #5
rachmass
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Hi Jun,

It is a very good question you pose, but one that is really difficult to answer without a significant degree of thought. I'll answer what immediately comes to mind, but reserve the right to alter my opinion :-)

humility; ability; empathy; patience; dedication; humor; consistency; kindness
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Old 08-04-2003, 10:01 AM   #6
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
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Jun,

I thought about this when you first posted, and tried again just now, but couldn't do it either time. My problem is that there are too many ways of being a good teacher, even for beginners. My father tells a story about the two teachers he remembers best from college. One taught him most of the statistics he still uses, but was dry and boring as a doornail. The other was exciting and inspiring and taught him to really appreciate the beauty of his field, but was at least 20 years out of date and often simply wrong. Is a teacher who imparts excellent basics better than one who inspires students to commit to really learning Aikido? Is one who is patient but overly flashy better or worse than one who can stay focused on a beginner curriculum but is a little impatient and angry with the students? A lot of that will depend on the student, won't it? Some students like to be challenged and confused, especially if they have a good, patient guide teaching the class. Others like structure and feel challenged to perfect their technique by the teacher's impatience.

As a sempai, I prefer beginners coming up through the ranks who have learned to be gentle, to practice safely, to appreciate and express an accepting attitude towards their own Aikido and that of others, to be more interested in their own learning process than in judging or teaching others. I think that makes the dojo a fun place to practice, and I think that those things are harder to learn later on. If I was running a dojo with lots of yudansha who all wanted to teach the beginners class, those would be the qualities I'd look for.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 08-04-2003, 01:41 PM   #7
Hanna B
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I'll second Opher on this one - most of the things oh your list is optional, few are required for a good teacher. They come in many flavours...

I'd like to try and split Yun's list on characteristics more needed to teach beginners, versus needed to teach advanced people.

Beginners:

* patience
* understanding of students' problems
* sense of humor
* encouraging
* clarity in physical demonstrations
* ability to teach one thing at a time

Advanced:

* desire to learn
* still a student him/herself
* sincerity
* many years of aikido/teaching experience
* real talent for aikido

Clarity in demonstration and or/verbal explanation is always a good thing, of course, but one of my favourite teachers had non of these talents. I do not think his best job would be to teach beginners. I like it when teachers take ukemi for everyone including beginners, but do not think this is necessary.

Then we could make another list of what is needed to teach children, which I think would look very different.
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Old 04-28-2004, 10:14 PM   #8
robbsims
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Re: Beginner Teacher "Survey"

Just my opinion but...

A good teacher at any level must be able to demonstrate the waza. I think that a verbal explanation is not required, but good verbal ques are a must.

"If one is directly taught by his master, it is said he will not become better than his master. It is better to just watch!" A quote by Naotaro Nagao, a Ukiyoe Artisan, regarded as the best woodblock master in Japan.

My Sensei tells me I am good at teaching Aikido. As I live in Japan, I tend to rely on demonstrating rather than explaining.

Just my opinion...

Robert Sims
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Old 05-19-2004, 06:00 PM   #9
Dario Rosati
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Re: Beginner Teacher "Survey"

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
Hi everyone,
So I asked on Aikido-L a few days ago, "What do you think are important characteristcs for a teacher of beginning aikido students?"
Is the question only for teachers?
If not, I'll give you my humble answer as beginner... if yes, sorry

Here i go with what i think has tied me to my sensei in my first months of training, and really made me interested in training and improving my aikido.
I've even added/modified entries which i really like as beginner.

5% honesty and equilibrium, in and outside dojo
5% open to answer questions about whatever
10% contagious enthusiasm/passion for the art
10% connect teachings/techniques/principles through class
10% clarity in verbal communication
15% ability to interpret reactions (and adapt, even improvise, if necessary for didactical reasons)
15% use of atemi and reversals to show the "why and why not" in every aspect of a tecnique from the start
15% clarity in physical demonstrations
15% real talent for aikido

I *really* like the "why and why not" explanation/decomposition part, both from tori and uke perspective, often involving the use of weapons (he's a KSR Shihan and this surely reflects in his teachings), or less conventional but surely more "realistic" attacks/behaviors, apparently unrelated to traditional aikido material.
Some tecniques looked very odd to me before this kind of explanations, expecially the uke part.
Ude kime nage -sp? sorry, still confused with some names - comes in mind.
They clearly shows that Aikido is a general training method which applies in many situation... you may not catch the logic at the first LOOK, but then your BODY will recognize the infinite variations as long as the competence increases... I'm starting to see this even now, after only 10 months, first test yet to come.
I think it's very important to give this clues to beginners.

Bye!

Last edited by Dario Rosati : 05-19-2004 at 06:07 PM.

--
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Old 05-24-2004, 06:09 PM   #10
Jordan Steele
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Re: Beginner Teacher "Survey"

110% committment to create good students and good people. All the other charcteristics fit in there.
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Old 05-25-2004, 08:37 PM   #11
Sue Trinidad
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Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
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Re: Beginner Teacher "Survey"

Speaking as a beginner, I have found openness, good communication skills, patience, gentleness, and sense of humor to be the things I appreciate most in my teacher. And by "gentleness," I don't mean wimpiness -- what makes aikido so cool is that there is power outside/besides muscle.

I'm learning an awful lot from the senior students, too. In sempai, in addition to the above qualities, I really appreciate those who are able to "do" the technique in a way that allows me to feel (as uke) how it's supposed to work (ie, with some flow/speed), but don't force me into some fall I haven't learned yet. I definitely feel like I learn more with the sempai who push me a little, as compared with the nice ones who fall when I haven't really done the technique properly.

It also helps to have someone explain and/or demonstrate why you do or don't do certain things. . . for example, "if you don't keep your arm in front of you, she can control you (like this)." I'm not studying for self-defense, really--so it helps to have these reminders of what uke could or would do if we weren't friends. It's helping me to think more defensively, which is good!
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Old 05-25-2004, 09:28 PM   #12
stuartjvnorton
 
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Re: Beginner Teacher "Survey"

Quote:
Robert Sims wrote:
Just my opinion but...

A good teacher at any level must be able to demonstrate the waza. I think that a verbal explanation is not required, but good verbal ques are a must.

"If one is directly taught by his master, it is said he will not become better than his master. It is better to just watch!" A quote by Naotaro Nagao, a Ukiyoe Artisan, regarded as the best woodblock master in Japan.

My Sensei tells me I am good at teaching Aikido. As I live in Japan, I tend to rely on demonstrating rather than explaining.

Just my opinion...
I couldn't agree more.
My first sensei doesn't speak English so well, so he doesn't use a lot of words. "Maybe feeling weight underside". :-D
He doesn't see it as a problem though: he trained under Shioda sensei and said that Shioda sensei spoke even less, even though language was no barrier.
None of us ever saw it as a problem either. He always demonstrated waza very clearly and broke things down very well.
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