My December. Teaching Children with a higher level of understanding.

Colorado snow has been light this year, but the snow making crew has been providing. We have started receiving a few storm cycles in the Central Rockies, and that is helping quite a bit. I’ve been traveling a little for the powder days. Traveled to Monarch Ski Area last week for a day. They have received more snow this week as well. I am looking forward to planning a few trips this winter. Snowcat Trips to Monarch, Silverton, and Steamboat are in order. 

With regards to teaching, my early season at Copper Mountain is going well. I really like the size of the school. In the past I enjoyed the resources of Breckenridge SS, and the small family feel of the Loveland schools. But I think Copper finds that happy medium: Resources and infrastructure to provide for great learning experience, and small enough with high quality instructors to provide for a high quality lesson. The lunch items for the Children’s ski school are as good as anywhere I have taught (an unfortunately low bar). 

Teaching children well should not be left to chance. I am working diligently to be one of the very best with teaching children in the sport of skiing.

Over the past 22 years I have taught a variety of ages and student types. I have also taught in a number of different formats: Private lessons, group lessons, 1 hour,  3 hour, full day, and multiple day. Yet I have never specialized with Children until this year. It is a interesting change of perspective. I actually prefer a many different ages and ability levels. Last week it was nice to teach an adult and talk to them about markets, geopolitics, or spirituality on our lift rides. These conversations are not something I have not experienced while teaching children. That being the case, I enjoy this immersion into “Kids World”. As I prepare for the Children’s Specialist 2 this season, I am able to put Children development models to the test. I am viewing Kolb, Kohlberg, Piaget models from a well-rounded perspective. Formal Education, Instructor trainer, parent, and ski teacher.

Good news to me is that I have been teaching children very well for the past 20 years. I thought teachers specializing with children were a different breed. In some ways they are. I thought they must do much more than I did. 

Previously when teaching for mid to upper level children: I find out who they are, we would ski, I would introduce a learning segment as a brief explanation. Due to short attention spans (for learning) while doing something fun (skiing), I would rarely take more than 30 seconds to a minute to explain the task/exercise. I would then “teach on the run” and pocket coach. I would also layer information using their learning types and specific “Intelligences” to get the greatest effect.

I would then get lots and lots of mileage (skiing!!!). I thought, “This is how I ‘like’ to learn.” (This does not necessarily mean, “how I learn best”) As an adult learner (student) I could ask questions for clarification. Kids may or may not ask these questions. When they don’t ask, it requires me to “ask the question” for them and inject a change of tact in teaching to help them change their movements in skiing.

I have also been adjusting my teaching lines/exercises/examples to accommodate different attention spans and Cognitive levels (ref:Piaget’s theory). I have usually been adept with Affective needs, although this skill gets tested when I teach autistic children. And I do my best to account for Psycho-motor (Physical) development as well.

In short, I am testing my skills as a Ski professional and revisiting teaching movements from a different perspective. I am creating a deeper level of understanding, although this sometimes ties me in mental knots. Yet I enjoy it!

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