View Full Version : Teaching Dilemma

10-01-2004, 08:04 PM
Need any help with a teaching dilemma I have. I've recently finished teaching a TCA course for beginners movements only. Now I've begun the advanced movements for four of those students, and now had four new students join us in the same class.

My dilemma is trying to teach the advanced students while teaching the beginners at the same time. The advanced students offered to assist me, but that would take away from their training. What am I to do? Any help would be much appreciated!

I know you instructors in here have much knowledge and wisdom and I'm sure you'll come up with some good suggestions. Thanks to all.


Dr. Paul Lam
10-01-2004, 09:48 PM

this is a delicate problem. even if your advanced students are helping you, because they are not trained to teach and might not reach a high even standard to teach, you will still need to keep an eye on them. as well as that if someone is helping you you need to be very carefu working with them such as correcting the mistakes - the helper can take that badly.

so the situation can be different with different groups of students... the best approach must be adjusted according to the situation, that said...

many of us have "composite" class. if you can share the tai chi phylosophy of indefinite depth and the benefits of repeated practice, you could divide your time evenly let one class practice on your new teaching and then attended to the other... and switch back and forth, until you have trained good assistants. I will try to write a more comprehensive article on this topic.

10-01-2004, 11:11 PM

Paul already gave you recommendable advice here.

The best thing to do is to develop a certain "eye" for you class, you will develop this in due time

I can just holeheartedly agree with Paul and never ask the senior students to help, even if they are qualified to teach. You still need to keep an eye on their mistakes, unless they are already proficient, in this case they would not come to your class. Apart from everything, this will create jealousy among the students. Take another assistant, i take Melanie who has been studying since childhood and qualified as a physical therapist

What I do with a composite class? NO matter how good you are at the form, there is always something you need to correct or better said to refine. In Chinese there are different corrections and refinements. If you do your movement right you can correct or refine to make it better. My Grandmaster still refines his form.

Beginners and advanced do the same movements but the corrections are different, deeper for the advanced. I do it this way: e.g. Do the form and repetitions, beginners just copy, advanced do this and that.........A workshop is more difficult to conduct because you don't have the time as a 3-months-class

Theory such as relaxation, breathing, unlocking joints can be taught in a plenum, this is useful for all levels

10-01-2004, 11:42 PM
Paul may not agree with this, we had a few disputes in the past. I think there is no "ratio" in teaching as it is presented in hospital statistics. One teacher and 30 students is better than 25 and 6 teachers, even if they are good in a team. The students are part of the team too.

Very often students will correct their mistakes by themselves, when they repeat often enoug and create the flow. I therefore am very careful with corrections not because i'm ignorant but to create the flow and relaxation. I do correct in groups but i also do individual corrections. As i said before, the form is the same but the corrections are different for every level. You can let part of the class practise as Paul said before and then give your attention to another group. It works well with 30 people, you need something like peripheral eyesight.I would prefer taking an assistant from outside or a former student who quit studying and just continue to teach

Of course small groups or one- on- one teaching is better. I only studied in minigroups or private and now have to teach larger classes, also a big gap which i need to bridge. I practise for martial arts and prestige, the students for health and fitness

10-02-2004, 07:07 AM
This is indeed a delicate dilema. In our class the more advanced students help the beginners because it helps to improve our form too. But we are split into two and have two classes, one begins where the other ends. It depends how many students you have to make it viable or not.