Monday, 24 August 2009

Advice for martial arts teachers

I read recently in a book on the subject of teaching the following passage:

"it is very tempting to propose something like 'Do you understand?' or 'Is this clear?' The problem with these questions is that despite feeling unsure about what they have just been taught, most students when confronted with a question like this are unwilling to admit they don’t understand. They will most likely answer 'yes'. As teachers it is our job to check if students have understood rather than simply ask them."

OK, so that's the first self defence technique- understood? Good, off you go and practice in pairs, I'll be back in 10 minutes.

Seem familiar?

It seems glaringly obvious but as teachers we should concept check often: get the students to show that they have understood before pairing off to practice and even then come back and concept check often.

As a student I find it hard sometimes when a teacher comes back to check then introduces a further level of complexity before I've even grasped the initial concept.

The solution: KISS them.

Not literally or there may be ramifications. But Keep It Simple Stupid. The Stupid was probably put on the end by the marketing guru who thought this up to give it some pazazz.... ho hum.
(Wikipedia states: that KISS is possibly based on ideas "such as Occam's razor, and Albert Einstein's maxim that "everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler"".)

Keeping it Simple need not mean not showing examples or context but I find the simpler the better.

Concept check and KISS.

1 comment:

Neal Martin said...

I have to say I'm often guilty of this when teaching. It's just a habit that most teachers seem to have. I always supervise afterwords though so that if students do have problems you can talk them through when they are actually working on the techniques. Good point.