View Full Version : Abstract concepts...

George Hyde
17th May 2002, 16:22
Hi All,

I'm doing some research into the cognitive aspects of training and I thought I'd trouble you all for a bit of in-put. What I'm looking for is examples of the use of abstract concepts in teaching/learning.

By this I mean the things that you and/or your teachers may use from time to time to convey understanding in aspects of training that tend to defy verbal description - the kind of things that convey a 'feeling' rather than the mechanics of the technique. A typical example would be the famous Bruce Lee line, "be like water".

I realise that this can be a sensitive issue since opinions are generally split on whether such advice is an aid to learning or a convenient way for a teacher to sound wise whilst hiding the gaps in their knowledge. However, if it's at all possible, I'd like to avoid that kind of discussion.

What I'd like to get is a few examples of abstracts suggested to and/or used by you, whether you found them a help or a hindrance and perhaps why in either case.

Since it's in the nature of abstracts to concentrate on the feeling of the technique rather than it's mechanics, in-depth explanations of techniques is not necessary, but please feel free to give a much detail as you feel necessary.

Lastly, I realise that some of you may feel rightly protective of your teaching methods and uncomfortable with disseminating them in a public forum - if so, please feel free to contact me by PM.

Thanks all in advance.


Joseph Svinth
17th May 2002, 23:49
For some insight into how you personally learn, try the questionnaire at http://www.vark-learn.com/questionnaire.htm . There are lots of such tests available online, but this one is nice because it includes a test called "Athletes." Take both the standard and the athletic tests, too, as it is possible that you learn physical activities differently from the way you learn non-physical activities. For example, I came out being a kinesthetic learner of physical activities, whereas for learning anything else, I greatly prefer reading and writing.

To put this explanation into every-day terms, and quoting from the summaries provided at the VARK website, when learning a physical activity, "You [e.g., I] want to experience the exam so that you can understand it. The ideas on this page are only valuable if they sound practical, real, and relevant to you. You need to do things to understand." On the other hand, when dealing with non-tactile information, "You [e.g., I] like this page because the emphasis is on words and lists. You believe the meanings are within the words, so any talk is OK but this handout is better. You are heading for the library."

Note that your mileage may vary.

20th May 2002, 10:54

That's a really interesting question and I hope there are more replie.

Personally I seem to spend a lot of my time explaining to my students how things are supposed to 'feel' because that way they know what's right and what's wrong...

In the last few sessions.. i've had an entire class of under-graduate students pretending to be helicopters. (I was trying to get them to loosen up when turning their hips during hip throws!).. I've also told a blue belt to act like a (kevin the) stroppy teenager when 'shrugging' off an attack.

Recently I did ask them to move like the bionic man ( I meant really slowly !) and they all looked at me blankly.. ah the perils of the generation gap..