While I was observing one of my students practice teaching, she demonstrated a very clear method for practice teaching. Her process was such a great strategy for learning to teach, I wanted to map it out and share it with you. Take a look, and then try using this teaching model in your next practice teaching session.
Five Step Practice Teaching Model:
- Look at the manual and quickly review the exercise.
- Clearly teach the exercise from memory, trying to verbalize the movement in general, as well as the goals, target muscles, and common corrections.
- Ask the student for feedback.
- Verbalize out loud the cues that were forgotten and ways to address student’s feedback.
- Teach the exercise again, including your cues from step #2 and adding the cues from step #4.
Feedback on Every Exercise
What I found so wonderful about this process is steps #4 & 5. Instead of just rushing on to the next exercise, she took the time to reflect on each individual exercise. Often this reflection time is only after the entire workout is complete, which will wind up with you getting a lot of condensed feedback that you’ll need to process all at once without a direct opportunity to address and learn from it. Feedback at the end of the entire workout also tends to be less specific to the individual exercises. Teaching the exercise a second time provides an opportunity to immediately implement the feedback received and get practice incorporating new cues into the exercise.
Say it Out Loud
New research has come out showing the benefits to memory that speaking words and phrases out loud can have. It showed that in subjects trying to remember lists, speaking some of the words out loud or even just mouthing select words helped make them more distinct and therefore more memorable. It doesn’t work if you just go around saying everything out loud, but if you focus on the most important idea or word and say that out loud, it will help you distinguish and retain it later. (Read the study in the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology)
So say it out loud! It will help with enacting the knowledge or information. By repeating the exercise, you have the chance to re-generate the information for yourself and put it into action. Making a habit of utilizing this practice teaching model can seep into the way you teach and contribute to life-long growth as a Pilates or fitness instructor.