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What type of teacher/coach is most effective for you?


Kirby

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I was having a discussion with some friends today about what sort of teacher/coach worked best for them. Did they learn the most from (i) a person who is gentle and nurturing - always encouraging and not critical, (ii) a person who is strict and demanding, but always keeps their tone civil even when they're correcting you or (iii) a person who is strict and demanding, but not afraid to yell on occasion?

The question isn't which type do you like working with, but from which type do you actually learn the most and improve your skills the most? 

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1 hour ago, Kirby said:

I was having a discussion with some friends today about what sort of teacher/coach worked best for them. Did they learn the most from (i) a person who is gentle and nurturing - always encouraging and not critical, (ii) a person who is strict and demanding, but always keeps their tone civil even when they're correcting you or (iii) a person who is strict and demanding, but not afraid to yell on occasion?

The question isn't which type do you like working with, but from which type do you actually learn the most and improve your skills the most? 

Most inspiring teachers for me, are those who are warm, try to engage adult  students by asking for ideas/opinions/experiences and give tips.  One of the hallmarks of teaching adult leaners, is drawing upon their life experiences as it relates to the course content/what they are learning.

It does depend on what the subject is being taught and teaching method/tools.  I was very surprised at a yoga class, there was an instructor, where next day, some students said to one another, they didn't like being touched.  Teacher merely moved their leg for correct position.  So maybe that's a lesson for instructor to ask.

For several last yrs., prior to retirement, I was a course group instructor for employees  on 3 different courses.  Some courses were on software, system-wide that they had to use as part of their jobs. I was evaluated as an instructor, and those evaluations were given to my manager. I was teaching at least 1-2 courses/month @1-1.5 hrs. / course.

It's tougher if it's a virtual training course...ie. seeing learners by Zoom /MS Teams only. That would be even harder to be nurturing. It's even worse, if student doesn't turn on their camera. 

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I’m thinking back to my mentors and they were first my NCO’s.  Those I admired and learned the most from were lead by example types who gave positive reinforcement but also corrected me in a positive manner.  Drill Sergeant Heron, & Ratliff, SFC Snyder & 1st Sergeant Wasano come to mind.   Next is my professional mentor, a retired Marine Colonel who also led by example but gave positive reinforcement and direction.  If you messed up he had a way of teaching but in a positive manner.  

 

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5 hours ago, Wilbur said:

The one that offered civil tone advice, after letting me dig a big enough hole that I could still find my own way out, but not so deep I couldn't. 

This.  The martinets just pissed me off and the ones that were too gentle didn't let me make enough mistakes to learn from.

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@Kirby  chat you had with others before this thread,  was it fitness related classes or ?

For instance, teaching certain types of exercise/fitness classes, does require a type of follow the leader with instructions, yelling out ...to keep up. Here I am, trying stay in synch with the class. :flirtyeyess:

In my evening/weekend art courses over the decades, have had good instructors. Some were age of my oldest niece.  Encouraging and informative.  I learn the most, regardless of instructor style, when I watch, listen / make notes and then, do it myself.

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Tough but civil. I like on that knows the answer, but makes you find it by asking you questions. So you want to get x. How do you propose to get there? Oh really? How will that affect y?  Shouldn’t you resolve z first? They drop bread crumbs, but you have to do the work. I find that’s how I retain new learning better. 

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1 hour ago, groupw said:

by asking you questions

“Cognitive Coaching.” I was trained to mentor new hires this way. 
 

But it’s not my preferred style as a learner. I learn best when the instructor has a clear objective and directions for getting there. And if there’s room for improvisation I’m ok with that, but if there’s only one way to complete the task, give me the way, the rules, the expectation, the model of a “good one” as directly as possible. I’m good with following steps in the process. 

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4 hours ago, shootingstar said:

@Kirby  chat you had with others before this thread,  was it fitness related classes or ?

For instance, teaching certain types of exercise/fitness classes, does require a type of follow the leader with instructions, yelling out ...to keep up. Here I am, trying stay in synch with the class. :flirtyeyess:

 

It actually came up in the discussion of some recent stories of athlete abuse and raised the question of why would an athlete stay with a coach who was yelling or abusive. Some people indicated that while they wouldn't accept abuse, that they did learn more from someone who seemed more strict and "hard".  There was discussion whether perfectionists are too hard on themselves and focus on their failings rather than their accomplishments - to them, could a coach who is complimentary and nice be seen as not having standards that are high enough.

Personally,  i can imagine being fear motivated by a class or teacher and spending more time studying working on a class where I knew the teacher might yell at me or embarass me in class.  But I'd also never take another class from that teacher because it would be too stressful for me.  At work, I know I'd always want to please the people I admired and would work extra hard for them. If somebody were a "yeller" I'd go out of my way to avoid them and while I might learn some things, I wouldn't be likely to ask them questions that might help me learn other things.

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I only had one yeller, and he was in Oregon. Nothing really involved with the job, as we got along well,, but moving furniture down a stairwell. Piece did not fit, so we modified it with a saw, and he was not happy. No real problem, as he came up to the 2nd floor and started yelling, and I simply stepped back into the elevator and left. As one who has raised their voice at times, I must admit, it is generally counter productive.

I always liked certain kinds of teachers that provided good information and pointed you in a direction to learn more. I also liked those that tested continually going back to the beginning of the class for each exam. Those are the environments in which I learned the most, as I found cramming for each exam and then going back for the final to be disturbing and not the best environment for learning. I always took the approach that I was there to learn not just make a good grade, particularly after I flunked out my sophomore year.

I did not play enough sports to form an opinion, but I can guarantee you if I was not having fun in an extracurricular activity I would not continue to play. Life is too short to put up with much bs.

Probably did not answer your question, but that is my story. 

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For coaching, I've done best with a strict coach who pushes me but speaks softly.

In general, I want one who is going to actively demonstrate how I have to perform and have me repeat it over and over as he corrects my mistakes in form.  That's one of the five forms of learning, kinesthetic or "hands on," and that definitely works best for me in sports.

For example me, a distance runner in high school, coached high school track and went to a Throwing Events Coaches Clinic in Hershey, PA run by Tony Naclerio, then the U.S. Olympic Committee's Development Coordinator for Throwing Events.

Javelin isn't allowed in Maryland High School Sports, so I wanted to learn all I could about the modern techniques in Shot Put and Discus.

The first day was Shot Put and I volunteered to be one of the learners out on the floor for the Glide Shot Put.  What I learned helped me guide teenagers to county championships and I can still teach the steps: Up, In, Down, Squeeze, Top of the Ring, Check the Knees, T, Bring it Back, Snap-A, Punch.

The second day was Discus and I had a terrible headache so I didn't volunteer.  I took great notes but was never a great discus coach and don't remember all the steps now.

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For teaching academic stuff, I like those that effectively combine visual, hands on, and reading instruction and demands some standards.

My late piano teacher, the late virtuoso Frances Cheng-Koors, was called "The Dragon Lady" by us because she born and raised in Shanghai as a child prodigy who had studied the top-rated "Russian Method" from a top Russian and was demanding.  She required her students to purchase "Masterwork" editions of the composer's actual sheet music we were studying: no easy versions allowed of Bach (Baroque Era), Mozart (Classical Era), Chopin (Romantic Era), etc. were allowed and we were also required to stick to the differences in playing technique for each Era.  If you borrowed time from one note and applied it to the next to make the music sound better as Chopin did but were playing a Bach piece, Frances would raise hell.

She also required that we take Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins U. adult program courses in Music History, Theory, Composition, and Performance.  We were expected to be able to read the sheet music while we played, not just play from memory alone.  On occasion, a famous pianist played at Peabody and when a faculty member picked someone to be the guest's sheet music page turner, one of us Frances' students was always picked because it was known we'd have no trouble doing it.

Sometimes Frances pushed too hard,, but it resulted in much better skill development and self-confidence and I'll take that every time!

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