Saturday, January 28, 2006

Teaching and Learning

Stephanie Learns to Ski
When I arrive at the dojang, Stephanie is there. She's complaining about a sore arm, but is not unhappy. She hurt her arm learning to ski on a class trip.

"Have you skied before?" I ask.

"Once. We had a two-hour lesson before we started. I wouldn't ski without a lesson first."

Lots of people love skiing; however, I think I've passed the age when it's good to start. I am no longer fearless about speed and hills!

The Tae Kwon Do Mom teaches Step Sparring
"Do you know the orange belt step sparring?" Patrick comes up to me with this question as I enter the dojang.

"I think I do. Are you working on them?" I ask.

"Um hmm."

So Patrick and I work on Orange Belt step sparring before class. It's a good exercise for me, and I'm surprised how much I remember.

"It's only because of Brian that I remember all this," I say to Brian A. who walks by. (He claims to only know White and Yellow.) "He makes me do the Orange and Green belt sparring. I just want to work on White and Yellow. I'm not sure why he's so ambitious to learn all of them."

"It's because Kevin knows them all," says Brian A.

Well of course! Guys are much more aware of friendly competition. Must be one of those Y-chromosome things.

Teaching a new Tae Kwon Do mom
Last time I was at class, some new people joined. They're there again this Saturday: Amy, Gabe, and their two young boys. Brian A. helps them with basic moves at the beginning of class. At the end, I work with them on Chun-Jee. "It's the hardest form you'll learn," says Stacey. I remember how hard it was to learn that very first form!

I show Amy and Gabe the first two movements and have them do them over and over. We do "just feet," then work on the low block that goes with it. I like working with people one-on-one.

Talking about Teaching
After class, Justin appears. He'd been taking his SAT. "How'd it go?" we all ask. He shrugs.

We get to talking about the new junior black belt class he's been leading. Apparently he asked the kids about whether children should get black belts, and why (see my post of 26 Jan). Of course they thought children SHOULD be able to earn black belts, but couldn't explain why. Justin said he wrote about the question on his blog. I'm going to check it out.

Brian A., Stacey, Justin, and I all have strong feelings that junior black belts should only be teaching if they are supervised closely by adults. We have to make our views very clear to Master Hughes. As I pointed out, it's not really fair to expect children to know how to run a class. But there are plenty of opportunities to have them learn to teach and lead.

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