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Thread: Didactics: Students correcting students

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    Arrow Didactics: Students correcting students

    I considered a poll, but I prefer if every participant to this thread not only gave their opinion on this subject, but also elucidate concerning their reasons for having this opinion.

    The question is this:

    If an advanced student corrects a less advanced student, how far can/should they go?

    - no correction - only the instructor corrects
    - non-verbal correction only - and only flagrant mistakes.
    - non-verbal correction only - all mistakes, flagrant and subtle.
    - verbal correction allowed - only flagrant mistakes
    - verbal correction allowed - all mistakes, flagrant and subtle
    - other

    I'd like to add that I'm not asking about opinions concerning instructing by advanced pupils, etcetera, but correcting mistakes only.

    What is your opinion to the best course of action and why do you think so?

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    Default Re: Didactics: Students correcting students

    Originally posted by Martyn van Halm
    If an advanced student corrects a less advanced student, how far can/should they go?....

    What is your opinion to the best course of action and why do you think so?
    I tend toward a minimalist approach; the less talk the better, particularly when the teacher is circulating.

    That said, caveats apply, of course.

    With a rank beginner, more correction will be necessary. I try not to talk and, having made a correction--perhaps simply by not falling (I do aikido)--give the student several opportunities to practice it.

    With people I train with regularly, I know who wants to be interupted and corrected and who doesn't proceeding apace(I'm one of the latter--let me work it out. Stop me, but don't talk at me).

    With strangers, seminars and such, I just shut up. There's too much ego and defensiveness flying around. When they want to correct me, I say, "Can we talk about it after class and train now?" When students ask me, I'll often say the same.
    Don J. Modesto
    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    ------------------------
    http://theaikidodojo.com/

  3. #3

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    What Don said.

    At my JJ club, I'm expected to help the lower grades. I would prefer to do it non-verbally (just keep going until it works) - but some people do need correction, it can save a lot of time and frustration.

    Usually I will say "try doing this...", or "see if it works better this way" instead of " no, no, no, that's all wrong you feckin' eedjit!"
    Sometimes it's just really simple stuff like "bend your knees" or "keep your hands up". If I'm screwing up, I would also hope that people point it out to me.

    With strangers and at seminars etc., I too just shut up.

    Cheers,

    Mike

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    In unarmed martial arts [jiu-jitsu/aikido] one doesn't need much verbal correction, since you can make people feel what they do wrong.
    In armed martial arts this is much more difficult, both because of the distance and 'lack of feeling' through weapons.
    Does this difference make up for a difference in correcting mistakes?

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    At a big znkr-iai seminar this summer, we were practising before the grading, and I took a five-minute break to get an impression of the other people. One guy kept bending his upperbody forward at the initiation of a thrust where it should be kept upright. I thought it maybe would be considered rude to correct him, but as it sure would help his grading, I told him his error. He seemed happy to be corrected. One hour later, grading time, he did the same error. I will keep my mouth shut on future seminars.
    Roar Ulvestad

  6. #6
    bruceb Guest

    Default What are you gonna do?

    About the best advice is to keep the chatter to a minimum and keep the students rotating so they all get to train with each other. If students must correct students, keep it to a minimum.

    It is gonna happen, there is no way to take it out of the learning process, yet the lessons of practice should help to clear up any questions within the physical practice or the teacher taking a few moments to instruct.

    Obviously, the correction of mistakes or the safety of the students is the responsibility of the teacher, but then the senior students should be aware of not just their practice but the practice of juniors around them. It is impossible to predict when a mistake will occur because it is the nature of mistakes to happen to anyone at anytime, but keeping in mind that we are students .....

    Funny this should come up?

    I was just at a seminar in Morristown, NJ, ACNJ, with Yousef Mehter from Syracuse, NY, and although I was with two students having a hard time doing the practice, both he and Greg O'Connor were keeping a watchful eye to see if students needed a little advice and a hand, as it were. It took just a slight eye contact and a tilt of the head to get the attention of whoever was looking my way, but immediately either one of them came over to clear up whatever misconceptions each student had.

    How much latitude should a student have? Enough so they can work out a technique, enough so they know to call a teacher when they can't untangle a puzzle, and enough so they know to stop when danger arises.

    On average, it seems to take about three to four years of practice to get to this point with most students being self sufficient in practice, or needing minimal instruction to correct mistakes.

    In our western society, there has to be as much verbal as physical instruction, this is what works the best.

    No matter what the student does to correct another student, either the instructor or his/her assistant should be asked about a point of detail, and if there is a problem, it should be discussed by the instuctor with the class. Always keep the communication lines open between students and students, but let them confirm their suspicions with the instuctor or seniors who familiar with the instuctors wishes, and training style.

    I know I am stating the obvious, but you know what .... sometimes that is what we need to do in class just to keep things safe and moving along, don't we?

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    Smile

    I think senior students are expected to aid the younger/newer students. How far they go depends on the instructor of that class. During kihon a minimum amount of correcting would be needed, as they all should be aware of what they are doing. Usually just a look and a view of it being done correctly will get someone on the right path. During specific technique, that's a bit different.

    I had a student keep telling me what he has done, or would do in a fight, and try to show me,and so forth. I kept telling him all that was well and good, and if it worked, fine. But what we are dealing with in class is a specific set of principles and techniques based on the style we do. I appreciate seeing whjat he has used, but that's not what the class is about. You came here to learn what we teach, not the other way around. He stayed another week or two.

    But that get's past the point of the thread. It really is up to the instructor, and what he/she expects of the senior students. And if those students know the material in question.

    One thing I have discovered since I began teaching...I always pick up something new about why a technique works as I go over it with new people. All of a sudden, something clicks. And I share that with my students as a way of showing them that your learning days never really end. It helps to humble you a bit in their eyes, showing that you never become like one of those other threads mentions..."deified" or the ultimate "master!"
    With respect,

    Mitch Saret

  8. #8
    bruceb Guest

    Default How did you like the picture?

    That was a bad photo of Yamada shihan walking about during our spring seminar.

    If you notice, he is observeing the practice of his senior instructors who are at the forefront of the mat.

    The student becomes the teacher, the teacher becomes the student. Somewhere in the midst of discovery we find the truth of practice and its application.

    I guess my point is .... as wrong as a student is or gets when practicing, once the proper manner is shown to practice that impression is forever embedded in their mind as a blueprint to achieve proficientcy.

    When in doubt, stop and wait for the teacher to help the students having trouble. If a senior student cannot help, then ask the students correcting each other to wait for the teacher to sit in seiza until the teacher can clear up the problems.

    Yeah .... there will always be problems, and some students must struggle through mistakes to learn, but so long as they are not a danger to themselves or others, and work within the parameters of practice .... let 'em learn. In the great scheme of things .... we are all students.

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    I limit it, only brown and above can correct and then only with permission (as practice). Otherwise it tends to become verbal karate, "I talk about it so I'm bad!"

    For myself, I say, "That's good but if you want it to be more effective, or to look more like a black belt, why don't you try ...?"
    "Fear, not compassion, restrains the wicked."

  10. #10
    bruceb Guest

    Default It depends on what is being discussed or learned ...

    Originally posted by Sochin
    I limit it, only brown and above can correct and then only with permission (as practice). Otherwise it tends to become verbal karate, "I talk about it so I'm bad!"

    For myself, I say, "That's good but if you want it to be more effective, or to look more like a black belt, why don't you try ...?"
    Some lessons can not be imparted with words ... sometimes actions must take the place of words and mistakes must teach the student.

    You know it, I know it, so why work in absolutes? Things like only letting certain levels of color belts teach or discuss problems does not always keep problems to a minimum.

    There has to be a certain amount of latitude for students to interact. Set those limits and give your students some freedom.

    How would any of us communicate on line if we didn't talk? Pictures? OOOOOhh ... now there is real trouble.

  11. #11
    couch Guest

    Default Corrections...

    I also like it when the instructor pairs up a beginner with an advanced student. "I'd like to introduce you to *person x*, he/she will keep an eye on you, and help you for the duration ot the class."

    Thanks,
    Kenton Couch

  12. #12
    StrangeFruit Guest

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    Ive always felt that its important for the senior students in a class to get used to the idea of any and all forms of correcting their juniors. They are after all the next generation of teachers and should early on develop a level of comfort with instructing others.

    That having been said I always keep a close eye on what is going on and if I hear someone start talking I always perk up and pay attention to what is being said in order that if something is misstated or if there is any difficulty I can always lend a helping hand.

    Correction is a good thing. We're there to help each other arent we? It often irritates me to see a student struggling with a technique that his training partner knows quite well, but just rolls his eyes or stands there looking like a bump on a log. I mean if you were going to let an out of town friend drive you to the store would you just let him drive around till he found it or would you just give him directions?

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    Originally posted by StrangeFruit
    Correction is a good thing. We're there to help each other arent we? It often irritates me to see a student struggling with a technique that his training partner knows quite well, but just rolls his eyes or stands there looking like a bump on a log.
    But probably more common than what you describe above is overteaching. I have seen this many times in classrooms, too. Students need space to make mistakes and figure things out for themselves. If they want help, they can always ask. But there are all too many dilettantes who know everything after their 6 months training, IMPOSE it on their peers, and so prevent them this opportunity.
    Don J. Modesto
    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    ------------------------
    http://theaikidodojo.com/

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    Well, I just started my training at a Bujinkan dojo run by 13th dan, Ed Martin. All age groups and levels practice together and I got paired up with a 4th dan (still not yet allowed to teach because the requierment is 5th dan) but remember, this was my first day with a MA since elementary school, which hardly counts.

    Anyway, through this other student of Mr. Martin, I learned my stance and how to effectively punch and dodge blows. If it weren't for that other student teaching me the basics, either I would've never been taught them or Mr. Martin would've had to leave the rest of the class in order to help me.

    I think it is not only a good thing, but almost essential for upper level students to teach (at least the basics) the lower level students.

    Just my opinion,
    -Aaron Knepp

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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by StrangeFruit

    Apropos of nothing..."StrangeFruit "--reference to Billy Holiday and the justice of Jim Crow?
    Don J. Modesto
    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    ------------------------
    http://theaikidodojo.com/

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