Archive for Learning

Teaching Kids & Big Kids (Adults)

Posted in Day's Lesson, Miscellaneous, Philosophy, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by hybridfightingmethod


You learned in kindergarten.

That is the common maxim touted since I first found myself IN kindergarten.  Being in Ireland right now writing this, I am inspired to reflect upon my past world travels.  In 2000-2002 I spent time teaching kindergarten in southeast China.  My mentor back then, Alex Abdulnour, told me something about teaching kids that I hold very close to my heart to this day.  I believe that this same thing is applicable to teaching adults, as adults are just kindergarteners in bigger clothes.

Apply these concepts and you will become a much better instructor.

He said the following –

They want to know how much you care before they care how much you know.

This I find to be absolutely true.  You need to care about your students.  They can sense when you don’t, or when you are being disingenuous.  Relationships are like bank accounts.  You have to make a deposit before you make a withdrawal.  Before you can expect anything from your students and from people in general, you need to invest and show them you genuinely care.

Have a plan prepared for them or they will have a plan prepared for you…and you won’t like their plan.

Make sure you have a guideline going into class or you will be sorry you didn’t.  Dogs can smell fear.  Students can smell unpreparedness.  You don’t have to stick to the plan exactly – but have at least a skeletal structure in place to navigate your class.

Make them laugh.

Elicit positive emotions and make them feel good.  If you do this, they will connect the concepts you offer with positive emotions.  If you make your students feel good while learning, they are more apt to remember what you taught.

Think to yourself what teachers you remember fondly?  Did they care about you?  Were they prepared?  Did they make you laugh and feel good?

Also, as with everything, be a critical consumer of information (another tidbit given to me by Alex).  Take what I say, and weigh it like you should all incoming information.  Include the concepts in this article into your teaching, and you will have far more success in empowering your students with the information you are communicating.



You Can’t Teach Experience

Posted in Day's Lesson, Philosophy, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , , on June 3, 2011 by chencenter

I just finished reading a terrific blog by a therapist friend of mine (Geoffrey of Stay-Tuned Therapeutics in Flagstaff, Az) and it motivated me to write a similar post of my own.

What an important topic! And unfortunately it is just this, the lack of “experience” that continues to be the bane of our ‘proper’ professionals.  It truly IS what separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls.

The fact of the matter, as a ‘Coach’ (which is what I prefer my students call me) I see ‘experience’ as being that which puts most people off… that which leads them to a place of discouragement.  Within one lesson (whether it’s taijiquan, fencing, etc) I’ll inevitably see “The Look” cross over their face… a face that once held a consistent gleam of excitement.

One of the reasons I call myself ‘Coach’ is because I’ve always found it most suitable to what I do.  “Master” always had a distasteful ring to it.  I  remember my first encounter with one of my favorite teachers of all-time, Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming (YMAA), and as a sign of respect I called him “Master Yang.” He just smiled and said, “Call me Dr. Yang, or Teacher,… but call me master and I call you slave.”  Still funny to this day.  Anyway, I digress…

We, as teachers, ‘coach’ our students in a particular thought, a way of doing something, we re-align their bodies to be more bio-mechanically sound and we (hopefully) motivate them and inspire them to practice and refine their skills… but it’s always been helpful to remember that –

Experience is what you get when the teacher walks away.

And for all those students out there that wish to be Jet Li in just a few lessons, or if you’re the intellectual that watches YouTube instructional videos, but never calls up a friend to actually work the techniques… experience is never gained, the brain is only momentarily stimulated and given a false sense of capabilities.  Lesson for today/weekend:

Let’s get some experience.

Michael Joyce


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