Thursday, August 18, 2011

Follow up to my request

I think my last post stirred some things up in a way that I did not intend for it to do so.

In addition to this Josh made a very poignant comment on my blog. His comment reads

Josh K. said...

Ah, but did you tell them what you just told us?

There seemed to have been a failure to communicate information from you to them also. I know sometimes the mid-level instructors in a field can be touchy, but it something they need to learn; the ability to switch hats from instructor to student. 90%(made up stat. alert) of all learning failures is do to the instructor just assuming the student just didn't understand their brilliant teaching method.


My response is this:

I feel like me saying "I need to do the technique to understand what you are trying to tell me" is essentially telling them I need to do the technique to learn it and understand what you are saying, similar to what I said in my blog post. I was getting incredibly frustrated and was probably not communicating very well towards the end, and I was also still upset when I wrote this blog, which also means I probably didn't convey this situation in as neutral of a light as I meant to.

I should have mentioned in the post that after I went back to working with my initial partner the assistant instructors broke us up and I worked with the second instructor who was very patient and was able to actually walk me through the technique and help me in a way that I needed. I did try to tell him as he was doing it that THAT was exactly what I needed. I need to do the technique to understand it. I didn't mean any disrespect or accusations by my previous post, I was merely trying to post it as an example of what can and does sometimes happen in any learning environment. I should have concluded the post by saying that there was a resolution to the issue and I was not merely left helpless to struggle through it on my own.

That being said, I do agree with Josh. It is as important for students to communicate to their instructors HOW they learn as it is for instructors to understand how to teach to that learning style. The road goes both ways and in retrospect I could have communicated better as well. 

(Way to Black Belt has an incredibly good chapter on this, and I believe Teaching the Martial Arts addresses this as well)

I would like to stress again that I was not trying to point fingers nor was I trying to imply that the assistant instructor(s) are bad instructors or that the were doing a bad job. We were simply having trouble communicating and I wanted to use the situation as an example in hopes that I might make other instructors or students aware that this can and does happen and that when it does, you need to find a way to communicate with each other about how to work through it.

I hope this clears things up a little bit.


  1. Having all sides of the story I think it clears things up just fine.

  2. :-)

    The reason I said what I did was I know from experience we can be trapped in our own bubles.


  3. But you and I both know that not all instructors are receptive to any student telling them how he/should be taught. I understand what you are trying to say - that communication in both directions is important - but it is not always possible. I took your post not to be accusatory or anything, but as a gentle reminder that one size does not fit all in the dojo or any other learning environment. It certainly nudged me (OK - convicted) me as an instructor, so thanks :-)

  4. Sensei Nick - Good.

    Josh - Thanks again.

    Felicia - I'm glad you didn't take it as being accusatory. I think some of us were really close to the situation and things sort of escalated out of hand as these things sometimes do and feelings were hurt. Again, unintentional of course, but sometimes it does happen. : /