Learn to Lead, Learn to Learn

As students achieve higher rank, we start giving them experience teaching. It never strikes me until I see them teach, that perhaps actually training them to teach other than trial by fire would be a good idea. Learning to teach is an ongoing process. Learning to teach teachers is new to me also. Here are a few things I have seen from our student teachers that I probably should have discussed beforehand.

Make sure each student in your charge gets a fair share of time.

I have placed an upper rank at a bag to give direction to beginner students on basic kicks. It makes me happy that they want to work with students, but many times they help one student to the exclusion of other students.

It is difficult to send a kid to the back of the line before mastering what you are teaching, but remember, the next person in line, and the ones behind those, all deserve a chance at the bag.

If the student has not mastered front kick, and the line is changing to round kick, continue your front kick lesson when the student rotates to the bag again. And again, until mastery.

And if you want to work with that student more, there is time before and after class, and on break.

Praise frequently, but not ultimately.

Praise even for small achievements. The first time they get a kick above the belt. Making a proper fist. Tying their own belt. Tell them how well they did. They are “awesome”. They did a “good job”. Say you see they “are working hard” or “improving their technique”.

But never tell them things are “perfect” because then what could there be left to strive for? No one is perfect. Practice makes better, not perfect. Tell them that.

Learning styles.

People learn differently. Some see, some hear, some need to touch. Teaching uses all three. Show them. Tell them. If necessary, move them.

Touch the leg that is supposed to move. Point the direction it is supposed to move while at the same time telling them what objects their leg will pass.

There is a lot more to this issue. I sug-gest reading more about learning styles & multiple intelligences online.

Watch the clock

I know. It is hard to make things fun if you have to keep your eye on the clock. But classes are an hour, Little Dragon classes a half hour. And there is a lot to teach.

Don’t let the warm up, including stretch kicks, last more than 10-15 minutes. It’s okay to cut the warm up short, but not okay to cut the martial arts lesson part of the class short.

Be sure you start wrapping things up five minutes before the end of class. Leave at least two minutes to line up and bow out.

When sparring, get someone else to keep track of time and break the fights after 30-60 seconds.

So much more…

I may have to continue this during other months. This barely scratches the surface.