Teachers In Training

How to Use Your Manual During Practice Teaching

December 9, 2013

When practice teaching, it’s tempting to just read directly from your manual. But it’s not possible to have your head in a book while learning to watch and respond to your client.

Check out the video above demonstrating a few basic ways to practice cueing. Eryn shows two ways to put down your manual.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect, especially while you’re learning something new. The point is to begin to get the words out, to see your client in order to train your eye to see form, and to memorize the exercises. Over time you will learn to edit your verbal cues, but in the beginning, the more you cue the better.

Call on Your Physical Memory of the Exercise

Glance at the exercise briefly in your manual, then put the manual down. State the name of the exercise you’re going to teach next. Think about how the exercise felt in your body; how gravity challenged or helped you; how the equipment felt; how the machine moved; etc. Close your eyes if necessary. Try to provide a similar experience for your client.

Put It In Your Own Words

Talking through the exercises in your own words will greatly boost your teaching. Cue your practice client through 1-2 repetitions just reading the cues in your manual. Then put your manual down and cue the client several more times in your own words. Tell your practice client to keep moving while you cue.  Say anything you can get out. Just keep cuing exercise essence, goals, target muscles, and principles.

Cue the Photos In Your Manual

Do a quick review of all the photos for the exercise. The goal is to cue your client from picture to picture, describing verbally what happens between each click of the camera. First look at the start position and describe it. Look at your practice client and see that they are in the start position. Then look at the next picture and cue the client into it. Stop and look at your client to ensure your practice client is applying the necessary principles. And so forth. Continue until you’re back to the start position.

 Holly Furgason Fit for Real & Blue Sparrow Pilates

  • Reply
    Kim Savage
    March 6, 2014 at 5:51 am

    This is what I always worry about. If I have the book in front of my face I can’t watch what they are doing. If I read it out word for word, it sounds so stiff. But when I put it down I get so concerned about forgetting something, all the information goes right out of my head. Translating things into my own terms is the best way to go! Book knowledge is great but it is your own personality and energy that gets people coming to you instead of just googling it 🙂

  • Reply
    Aiano Nakagawa
    February 28, 2014 at 5:43 am

    I thought this was such a really helpful and useful article! It’s easy to get confused or unsure of yourself as you being to practice teach and the book serves as a safety blanket at times and putting the book down can be scary at times. Learning the tip about cuing from the photos really helped because while you’re in the middle of teaching it’s difficult to read the small print and details about the exercise. Also, I love the advice about putting it into your own words. This really helped me because I was able to think about the movement and breath in a way that I truly understood and could communicate. Robo teachers are no fun!

    This website is awesome and is a truly rich resource for us! Thanks!

    • Holly Furgason
      Holly Furgason
      February 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      I still get nervous from time to time with new clients or new situations. Cultivating your own voice as a teacher makes your teaching more a communication about who you are. And there’s some vulnerability in that. To teach, you have to be brave. Putting down the safety blanket will cultivate your “teaching bravery”!

      Thanks for reading. I’m so happy you like the site!

  • Reply
    April Melendez
    February 24, 2014 at 5:14 am

    This article is very useful for new teachers in training, in learning how to instruct a client through an exercise. The video helps put all the key ideas into action! Looking at the pictures as a step by step process is a great way to use the manual less while teaching. By only having to glance at the photos you are able to spend more time examining your client and making sure they are in proper alignment and motion. I also found it interesting to “say anything you can get out.” Listing as many facts about an exercise helps you in becoming a better teacher, while also making sure the client is fully aware of their body movements and keeping proper alignment. I look forward to being able to use this new knowledge!

    • Holly Furgason
      Holly Furgason
      February 24, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      Many teachers in training know much of the content but struggle to just get the words out of their mouths. Saying anything you can get out really provides an opportunity to not be perfect and to say things that maybe don’t make sense. Once the words start flowing out, the teacher can begin to refine refine refine!

      Keep moving forward on your journey towards being a fantastic teacher!

  • Reply
    Jiaxin Guo
    February 23, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    As a foreign learner, I found reading manual to cue my partner is really difficult because the anatomy terms are too complicated to pronounce and memorize. Sometimes, when someone cues me by reading book, they usual forget to cue me back to neutral. So I think transfer to your own language and look at your clients’ practice is really important. I usually find some key words in manual and use some simple works to cue my partner so that I can see what they follow or unfollow. Cue the photos in the manual will be another approach I can practice in the furture. This article is really helpful for beginner!!!!

    • Holly Furgason
      Holly Furgason
      February 24, 2014 at 12:31 am

      Yes, your manual is very anatomical and specific. Part of your practice teaching will be to discover ways to cue the exercises in your own words, finding your own voice. This will take time so be patient. It will come with practice and time!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    OMG!!!! This is great advice…I’m going to use this and practice. Thanks for making it simple for teachers who are learning this complex curriculum!!!!

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