Monday, February 08, 2010

Learning about Learning
Yesterday, I had a unique opportunity to be part of a team teaching a rolling class. It was unique in as much as I was a sort of third wheel there to learn how this class is usually run. The course has usually been taught by Dan
and Jeff
both excellent teachers and accomplished paddlers.

Yesterday, having little responsibility, I got to watch and listen a lot. Having my own way of teaching rolling and, thus, not starting from scratch, I was free to listen to the words, to watch how much was show and tell and how much was doing, and to see how the time was used for each stage of the learning process.

I love teaching, and I hate being an educator. I am, for instance, likely to quit teaching my college courses as I cannot stand setting up a syllabus or meeting other paper work requirements. I just want to teach. That experience, however, has led me to listen and observe differently, and I am slowly getting the Gestalt of some class methods.

Most rolling classes do not produce students with a roll. After 4 hours, it is not uncommon for no one to have a roll...and this is after a rolling class.
Most accept the fact that learining to roll is a process and that is just how it is. But, like the song says, it ain't necessarily so. I have had any number of students roll after a single half-hour lesson. In fact, the majority do. My method, like all good methods, consists of bits brazingly stolen from other innovative teachers.

So, I learned a lot by watching. I learned a lot about what works and what doesn't. I hope it makes me a better teacher.

Paddle safe...


gnarlydog said...

So true Silbs: there is not one way of teaching rolling.
It took me a few sessions with instructors to get it and only practice made me eventually perform reliable rolls.
I have tried to pass on my knowledge to others.
While it took me relatively longtime to learn to roll, often the people I try to pass on my limited knowledge are much faster learners.
I had my brother roll a kayak in 15 minutes and he does not even paddle! (damn it, why is he always better than me :-)
I just tried to avoid teaching him the things that were taught to me and did not work.
I believe that by observing others it teaches you the mistakes to avoid.

Silbs said...

Well, said. Good points.