Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Students learning to teach . . .

Last night at class, I saw young black belts teaching at their best.

It wasn't leading the class--Master Hughes did that.

It was one-on-one teaching. And the teens and younger kids did that very well.

Teaching the TKDMom
While we were working on kicks, I got some useful hints from both Chelsea and big James. I have been working on my hooking kick, my next breaking kick. I love to use it in sparring (fast tap to the head!), but I cannot believe I'll be able to break a board with it.

Chelsea pointed out that I need to bring my foot back around much faster. "I had a hard time learning that one, too," she admitted.

Big James also noticed something. "You're not bringing your foot back straight. You're bringing it around in an arc."

He's right! My foot is doing ballet, a rond de jamb en l'air! How funny! I'll have to tell Suki--and thanks to those two kids, I can be more mindful of what I'm doing.

Taking and Giving Instruction
We did our forms in groups today, and I noticed two things. One was that the young black belts take instruction well, listening carefully and politely to Master Hughes. He gave some useful advice to Cavio, up there in the front row. Later, she also gave quiet advice to others after their forms.

Working with Younger Kids
After the brown belts did their forms, Master Hughes asked Stephanie to work with Matthew B. on his form. He told her which part. "Just go over that part about six times." She went off with him readily and worked with him.

I know Stephanie is good at working one-on-one with others as I've often asked her to help me! She's patient and knowlegeable, and notices things. Plus, the younger kids like her--I remember Eli liked working with her long ago when he took classes. At that time, she just went on her own to help him out.

Mentoring and Learning to Teach
Justin told me that there was a new Junior Black Belt class starting up and that he was going to teach it. "I'm going to let them take turns teaching the class," he said.

Now this makes sense to me.

Most people, when learning to teach, do it one of two ways (sometimes both)
1. student teaching--you teach, but you're guided by a supervising teacher, who's in the room at first to help with discipline and direction.
2. being part of a "how to teach" class where they discuss teaching and learning issues

Seems like this will work.

How do you do it?
I'm curious about how young black belts elsewhere are initiated into teaching. Those of you who are martial artists elsewhere--how does your school do it?

Obviously, we have a lot of budding talent at our school. We've learned a lot from watching Master Hughes, a master teacher. But to underestimate the difficulty of teaching a big class is unfair to the young people. I hope we find a way to nurture their obvious abilities.

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