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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 13594
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:20 pm    Post subject: Dummy It Down!! Reply with quote

Please understand this right off the beginning. The terminology of "Dummy It Down" here isn't meant to be offensive whatsoever, nor is it to infer that anyone KF member is lacking intelligence or good judgment or stupid or dull-witted, nor is this meant to be offensive to any MA student, and/or MA group. That's the furthest thing from my mind!!

Having said that, let us explore what my well meaningful intents are within this topic.

It's save to say that this topic is directed at CI's and the like, as well as anyone who's been tasked with the duties of instructing anyone student and/or any number of students as their [your] reports. Those KF members who are not currently tasked with the duties of instructing the MA, still have a valued voice because this topic affects them directly on the floor daily.

Say what you mean, and mean what you say!! Be understood!! Not in a way that only you can understand, but more importantly, in a way that the student body does completely understand what's being said.

Those of you that are tasked with teaching the MA as a CI have a direct influence over, i.e., your students who are instructors: CI's, Sempai's, Instructors, Assistant Instructors, so on and so forth.

Those whom you've no direct influence over, i.e., those whom are not part of your student body. This could, and it does, include anyone that's outside of your school of the MA.

There are two types of CI's and the like: Instructor 'A' and Instructor 'B'!!

Instructor 'A': Highly intelligent!! Explain the technique jargon in such a way, that you find yourself that deer that's just been caught in the headlights; you just don't understand a word that's just been said. Not that instructors fault; it's just how that instructor type is by default.

Everything that's spewed out of that instructor types mouth is absolutely correct to the Nth degree, however, their words are way over the heads of the student body.

Instructor 'B': Pretender; poser!! Goes way out of their way to portray an intellect that they obviously do not possess; not even the minimum of an idea as to what they're saying themselves, but to that instructor type, it all sounds pretty good. This

This instructor type uses big and fancy words, words that they themselves do not understand. They continue to impress their students with the spoken words, and all. However, this type of instructors explanations of the curriculum is incorrect...dead wrong...not even close.

An old idiom that says...

If you can't baffle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bull dung. This instructor type believes that they're teaching, no, helping their students. But that instructor type is greatly misunderstanding.

Both Instructor 'A' AND 'B' hurt the student body one way or another!! Of the two, if I had to pick one, Instructor 'B' is much more harmful to the student body, even though instructor 'A' doesn't help much. But at least Instructor 'A' is teaching the curriculum correctly, just short the simple fact that his/her words are way over the heads of the student body.

Soke and Dai-Soke, whenever Dai-Soke was the Kaicho of the SKKA, made visits to SKKA affiliated dojo's quite often, teaching and observing. To Instructor 'A', while observing the instructor, both Soke and Dai-Soke would be like..."What?", but would only comment with..."Make talk simple!"

To Instructor type 'B', after observing, Soke or Dai-Soke would tell that instructor..."STOP!! You wrong!!" If instructor 'B' didn't, or worse, wouldn't heed to their advice, even after Soke or Dai-Soke would work with them to get rid of the kinks, Soke himself would pull the SKKA stickers down, and shun that instructor forever.

How would you counsel those instructor types. 'A' AND 'B'??



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The Pred
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 318

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's assume that both a and b aren't the CI but an instructor under them. If that's the case than perhaps the CI should have nipped it in the bud before they became full instructor.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1585

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is the purpose of an instructor to get students to develop skills and help them practise effectively so that they can improve said skills. Communication is essential to teaching and anything in about an instructor’s attitude or methods that makes it difficult to communicate will have an effect on how is learned if anything at all.

Ideally this means that an instructor must find the best way to get each student to understand. With a larger number of students it may not be possible, so the only solution is for a teacher to teach in a way that a majority of students will understand....eventually.

Even the best students will not catch on to everything the very first time it is shown or explained. This is certainly not limited to karate or even physical skills.

The ability to do this is what makes the difference between a mediocre instructor and a great one. Not all karate experts are masters, the same as not everyone with a Doctorate degree is a professor or able to be one. Plenty of
highly skilled people out there couldn’t teach a monkey to climb a tree.
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singularity6
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 790
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, martial arts is recreational for me. Yes... I'm serious about learning it. But if I'm at a school where I feel I can't learn, I will go someplace else. My iaido class was like that... We met for an hour per week, and the method of (attempted) teaching didn't work for me. I quit. I'd rather attempt to learn the art from a DVD.
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1192
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Matsumura Shorin Ryu Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A - pull them aside and explain that they are loosing half of their students and instruct them in how to pass on the knowledge in a clear and concise manner.

B - How did they become an instructor in the first place? This falls on their instructor or the organization itself for advancing them to instructor.


Just because you wear a certain grade (Shodan to Judan) doesn't mean you can teach. It's like anything else. Some can and some can't. It can be taught but I really think the best teachers come by it naturally. They can sense the level of their students and can teach on that level. Others can't. I think A fit's into this category. You can't take anything away from them because they have the knowledge but they don't understand how to pass it on.

B - Again how did they ever get to this position/grade in the first place?
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 13594
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great replies, everyone!! Thank you for them!!

The Pred wrote:
Quote:
Let's assume that both a and b aren't the CI but an instructor under them. If that's the case than perhaps the CI should have nipped it in the bud before they became full instructor.

I agree. The CI, in this regard, should, and must nip it in the bud immediately. Otherwise, the way back to pure understanding for all concerned might be lost forever. This is where the CI goes back, if not to late, to retraining said instructor(s) on proper teaching.

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
Quote:
It is the purpose of an instructor to get students to develop skills and help them practice effectively so that they can improve said skills. Communication is essential to teaching and anything in about an instructor’s attitude or methods that makes it difficult to communicate will have an effect on how is learned if anything at all.

Ideally this means that an instructor must find the best way to get each student to understand. With a larger number of students it may not be possible, so the only solution is for a teacher to teach in a way that a majority of students will understand....eventually.

Even the best students will not catch on to everything the very first time it is shown or explained. This is certainly not limited to karate or even physical skills.

The ability to do this is what makes the difference between a mediocre instructor and a great one. Not all karate experts are masters, the same as not everyone with a Doctorate degree is a professor or able to be one. Plenty of highly skilled people out there couldn’t teach a monkey to climb a tree.

Solid post!!

Not all black belts can teach, nor should they be!! It's a gift to be an effective teacher, and without that gift, there are no students. The ability of the CI, or any instructor, for that fact, weighs heavily on just how simple is simple...K.I.S.S., might be a MA maxim that should be considered across the board!!

singularity6 wrote:
Quote:
You know, martial arts is recreational for me. Yes... I'm serious about learning it. But if I'm at a school where I feel I can't learn, I will go someplace else. My iaido class was like that... We met for an hour per week, and the method of (attempted) teaching didn't work for me. I quit. I'd rather attempt to learn the art from a DVD.

This, from the aspect of a students point of view is important. Why? The CI/Instructor(s) are responsible to their students across the board, this includes, the teaching of the curriculum in such a way that it can be understood. Why? Student retention...for one!! Lose the students because they don't have a clue what in the world the CI and the like are saying. Trying to impress the student isn't why the CI is there in the first place.

MatsuShinshii wrote:
Quote:
A - pull them aside and explain that they are loosing half of their students and instruct them in how to pass on the knowledge in a clear and concise manner.

B - How did they become an instructor in the first place? This falls on their instructor or the organization itself for advancing them to instructor.


Just because you wear a certain grade (Shodan to Judan) doesn't mean you can teach. It's like anything else. Some can and some can't. It can be taught but I really think the best teachers come by it naturally. They can sense the level of their students and can teach on that level. Others can't. I think A fit's into this category. You can't take anything away from them because they have the knowledge but they don't understand how to pass it on.

B - Again how did they ever get to this position/grade in the first place?

That's a fair question...how?? How did that CI/Instructor get in that position/grade in the first place??

Within the SKKA, those CI/Instructors under the constant watchful eyes of Soke and/or Dai-Soke earned both their ranks and their positions honestly. It's when the cat is away, the mice do play. These CI/Instructor opened their dojo's and somehow and sometime and someway, they started wandering away from what they were taught by Soke and/or Dai-Soke in time, and for them, their way served THEM. That new teaching muscle memory became their new teaching method.

But CI/Instructor 'B', just wanted to impress everyone, including Soke and/or Dai-Soke so bad, that they forgot not only their place, but their idea of what teaching was. Impressing others is a vain and wasteful time.

So they strayed away until Soke and/or Dai-Soke corrected their teaching abilities or they were banned from the SKKA across the board.

Soke and Dai-Soke asked themselves that very same question...How in the world did they get like that?? Those CI's duly earned their ranks and positions...from Soke and/or Dai-Soke, nonetheless, but why their changes in their teaching methods?? Fix them or get rid of them!!!!!



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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1585

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even the most honest and dedicated instructor can make the mistake of assuming a certain technique or concept is easy to understand. Especially the most fundamental and basic things that said instructor has been doing with ease because of years of experience. It has become second nature and no longer requires a conscious effort as it does for intermediate or beggining students.

What requires constant effort,on the other hand, is breaking things down, simplifying if necessary and explaining them in a way that students can eventually reproduce. Part of doing this is natural talent, but the most of it is gained by experience and patience. “Dumbing it down” is a skill that can and must be learned by anyone interested in becoming an instructor. The greatest teachers are experts in at least two things: whatever they teach and “dumbing it down”
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Lupin1
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 1569
Location: NH USA
Styles: Isshinryu

PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the phrase "if you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough".

Making things really complicated is not a sign of an intelligent person. An intelligent person should be able to break something down and explain its parts in simple terms.

Too many smart people think they need to "sound smart" by using jargon and making everything technical. I've found the best way to deal with that is present it as a challenge to the intelligent instructor-- explain to them the concept of breaking something down into its simplest form and tell them it's an intellectual challenge. If they can see that they can still be seen as the "smart one" without using a bunch of smartypants language (to use the technical term), they might lighten it up.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 13594
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote...
Quote:
Even the most honest and dedicated instructor can make the mistake of assuming a certain technique or concept is easy to understand. Especially the most fundamental and basic things that said instructor has been doing with ease because of years of experience. It has become second nature and no longer requires a conscious effort as it does for intermediate or beggining students.

What requires constant effort,on the other hand, is breaking things down, simplifying if necessary and explaining them in a way that students can eventually reproduce. Part of doing this is natural talent, but the most of it is gained by experience and patience. “Dumbing it down” is a skill that can and must be learned by anyone interested in becoming an instructor. The greatest teachers are experts in at least two things: whatever they teach and “dumbing it down”

Solid post!!

Not having the ability to explain the curriculum in such a way that THAT student can grasp both the methodology and the ideology. If not, that CI runs the risk of changing even the most minute detail from effective to ineffective.

Lupin 1 wrote...
Quote:
I like the phrase "if you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough".

Making things really complicated is not a sign of an intelligent person. An intelligent person should be able to break something down and explain its parts in simple terms.

Too many smart people think they need to "sound smart" by using jargon and making everything technical. I've found the best way to deal with that is present it as a challenge to the intelligent instructor-- explain to them the concept of breaking something down into its simplest form and tell them it's an intellectual challenge. If they can see that they can still be seen as the "smart one" without using a bunch of smartypants language (to use the technical term), they might lighten it up.

Sold post!!

Your opening phrase speaks well about this topic!!

Taking that intelligent CI to the core of the problem, which is their delivery system of the explanations of the curriculum, and helping them to find their own AHA moment so that they, as you said, might lighten it up.



I do a drill once a year at our Hombu, which addresses this very topic, with any and all current, as well as future, CI's/Instructors. Title of it is..."Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say!!"

I play a 2 year old, to the Nth degree, who wants to make his very first Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. I'm on the stage center, and with me on a table sits the demise of their destruction...4 large loafs of bread...1 restaurant sized Peanut Butter and Jelly jars...1 spoon...1 butter knife...nothing more, nothing less...except a lot of imagination on their part as well as mine.

Their simple task is to instruct me, start to finish, on how to make my very first PB&J sandwich!!!! Simpler said, but much more difficult than one, an experienced adult on the art of making a PB&J sandwich, might assume. These adults in this class are very accomplished individuals in and out of the MA.

In all of the years, 26 years thus far, not one class has been able to properly help me, "Tommy", the 2 year old, make one, JUST ONE, PB&J sandwich!!

The class is ended when I run out of bread...oh yeah...A mess of unbelievable portions is made of me, the stage, and whomever is near the stage.

The funny thing...or the not so funny thing about it all, is I, as "Tommy" don't have to purposefully cause the massive complications the ensue in the difficulties of teaching "Tommy" how to make his very first PB&J sandwich; they, the CI's/Instructors, do it all by themselves.

Each CI/Instructor take turns shouting instructions out to "Tommy", which the mess/disaster begins from the very first instruction...that never fells!! Shortly, multiple shouts of instruction are given to "Tommy", which everyone knows, to many chefs ruin the dish!!

Yes, we have a blast at this class, but the points are driven home is such a memorable way for them to grasp, and they discover that in order to teach anything to anyone, they must always...Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say.

The difficulty wasn't "Tommy", the blame wasn't "Tommy", the fault wasn't "Tommy"...NO...the difficulty, blame, and fault laid with the CI's/Instructors!! "Tommy" didn't have the knowledge and experience on how to make a PB&J sandwich, but the CI's/Instructors...ADULTS...did have the knowledge and experience for the task at hand. The adults couldn't properly pass their knowledge and experience onto "Tommy" in a understandable tone. YES...these CI's/Instructors, with all of their accolades and all, became frustrated and often times angry at "Tommy", like it was "Tommy's" difficulty, blame, and fault that "Tommy" didn't understand the minimum of what they were trying to teach!!!!!

Why make "Tommy" cry?? These adults thought they knew so much, and they do, but they lacked the most basic of teaching skills...SIMPLICITY, aka, K.I.S.S.!!

The MA is only as difficult as the CI/Instructor makes it. Get the CI/Instructor out of the way, the Student Body can learn!! After all, the CI/Instructor are the water that pours into the vessel in measurable measures!!



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