Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day Three

Another full day of Teacher Training. Part 3 definitely has a different rhythm than Part One and Two in the sense that we stuck very closely to a time schedule in Part one and Two and try as we might this time, there are so many great questions, considerations and relevant discussions that we are moving rough this training in a bit less structured way than we have the other weeks. Darren and i were talking about how that seem appropriate for Level 3 in that so much foundation has been laid that the refinements and gray areas do need to be given voice.

We sent the morning finishing up our talk about conflict, transference and boundaries of the teacher student relationship and then I taught a to model how I would introduce shin loop to a group. One of the students in the group had a goal for the training of learning to teach the loops and so I taught a class about shin loop. Tomorrow the group will put the basic principles behind how I taught into play with the other loops and do som practice teaching.

We sent the afternoon talking about THE VIDEO finally. We made it a. Point in the first two trainings to not talk about the video and so now, having put it off for two full weeks, we finally launched into a discussion about the video standard. Well, actually we had a discussion more on the process of certification, the legalities, the codes of conduct, the role of the mentor and many other things that took so much time we only scratched the surface of the actual video standard! Ah well, be that is it may, i do think the information we covered was relevant and engaging for the most part.

My big plea is for candidates to do a lot of their own work before giving their video to a mentoring teacher whether they are applying for inspired status or certified status. If you can find anything wrong with your video that you think you could improve, then improve it before you give it to your mentor. You want the mentor to help you find the things that you can not see, not the things you already know! I know that this seems obvious but it does bear stating clearly- watch your own video have your fellow teacher trainees watch your video and when you can't find anything you wok improve, then ask for your senior teacher to watch it. It is the most empowering way for you to engage the process and the most respectful way for your teacher to be engaged in the process as well.

Also, bear in mind that this is not a perfectionistic witch hunt either. On one side of the formula are the candidates who are way too casual- who do not even watch their own videos before they submit them. On the other side of the coin are those candidates who can not see their goodness, the goodness of their teaching and cannot recognize when good enough is well, good enough! No class is ever perfect, no class is without room for improvement and we are hopefully never done growing, changing and evolving our teaching.

Look for obvious things that are constantly emphasized in Teacher Trainings and are carefully outlined on the assessment forms. Check for passive voice ("leg lifts up" instead of "lift your leg up"), check for active commands, make sure your use of active and passive commands is skillful, make sure you say "your legs" not "the legs".

If you do a demo, make sure the action you are showing is observable, that your points are succinct, and that your students are positioned so they can see what you want them to see.

If you give an instruction to the group, make sure they do it, I mean, really do it. If it is important enough for you to say, it has to become important enough in your mind that you make sure they do it. For instance , say, "take your leg down to a 90 degree angle," and then do not say anything else until you look around the room and make sure they are actually doing it. And if they are not, make sure you consider why not.

Seriously, If they cannot do the full form, ask yourself why not? Not knowledgeable enough? Not open enough? Not strong enough? Not motivated enough? And address your next instructions to teaching your students relative to why they are not executing the form you are asking for. Honestly, a lot of what I see on videos is that teachers are teaching poses too hard for their students and instead of preparing them for the poses, teachers are allowing a lot of "not quite" alignment rather than making the poses more basic/accessible or teaching component parts of the poses. Keep in mind if 50% of your group cannot do the form you are teaching, its probably not the right pose for that class.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but these are common places where most of us can improve. Also, check in to see if you have given time for silence and if you are actually linking your heart theme to a UPA for that lesson. Check that the UPA is actually a lesson and not just a commentary in the background.

Obviously there is more to say on the topic, but these are some key points on which to evaluate yourself. And start taping your classes now. Do not wait. Even if you are terrified to see yourself. The process of self assessment is how you will grow the most as a teacher. Video taping yourself affords you the opportunity to evaluate your efforts relative to the Anusara standard but more importantly, according to who you want to be as a teacher. And watching ourselves teach on film is a different perspective. Believe me it can be very illuminating to see ourselves teach and to get a perspective on our work that is not so internally referenced, the way it can be when we are on the inside of the teaching.

Anyway, that's some free advice! Also potent from the day was the recognition for myself that as I have grown and developed as a person through this method, abiding by our standards has become less and less difficult. Modeling good teaching that aligns with our standards, while not always easy, is really a gesture of thanks for all Anusara Yoga has given me. It is one way I can say thank you to my teachers who have so generously guided me all these years.

Sent from my iPad


Marcia Tullous said...

Hello, hello,

Thanks for the 'free advice' as it is very helpful. Now, to have a look and do the work.


Leslie Salmon said...

Two things have made the video process more productive for me: one, reading the self evaluation form -- lots of good stuff in there and - who knew - 'touch on' all 5 UPA's in 50% of the poses!?!?!?! (Another ball to juggle.) And second, truly watching the videos I record -- it does get easier and, as I watch, I am becoming more able to 'see' the foibles and the good stuff. Thank you for the added reminders, as well. Leslie

wellnessfromwithin said...

thanks so much for the clear and succinct advice. Well said. Really enjoy your insights, especially the part about perhaps teaching poses that are too challenging for most of the students.