View Full Version : How to be a good teacher

12-27-2004, 06:05 AM
In response to Dr. lams Newsletter, I think a book on how to teach Tia Chi is a brilliant idea.

I would not presume to teach Tai Chi without speaking to my own teacher, but I often get together with friends and we compare notes on our different styles and forms. A book would help us get our message across without teaching formaly.

The web site is brilliant, and I often refer people to it for information, o a book would be an added bonus to use with the site and the videos!

Dale Cupples
12-29-2004, 09:55 AM
I have found that the bases of 'teaching' or the conveying of an idea to another is the ability of the teacher to be open to understand the 'student', or take the place of the 'student'. If I am unable to connect with the group (or person) then communication of the idea or subject will never happen.
For 'Tai -Chi' play, I have found that once the basic principles of bodymind have been conveyed....shut-up and do it. Let the Players follow your actions. The teacher soon becomes a Player, a member of the group and will experiance as a group. The more you allow yourself to 'open up' to the 'energy' of the group the more you will 'learn'.

12-29-2004, 10:15 AM
nicely put;someone told me that the traditional method
in China is learning 1 posture to 1 mo.; many of the traditional teachers simply let the student observe.
there are things to be learned both from practicing solo and from practicing in a group

12-29-2004, 05:01 PM
Shark is so right about observing. ALL my teachers, Chinese and Western let the junior students observe the senior classes and the instructors when being taught by the master. From my own experience as a student, I found that I learnt most by observing friends and strangers during class or private practice.

I like Dale's comments. The best teacher would like to feel to be his own student. In my experience the teacher or coach is always part of the group.

Marc Heyvaert
12-30-2004, 12:44 AM
There is also the image about emptying one's cup before one can (re)fill it.

A lot of students want attention! That is what they seem to be paying for. I sometimes wonder if they want to learn at all or if they are only interested in buying a feel good factor.

Personally, I enjoy teaching but I've learned not to set to high goals for my normal classes. I give the lessons and try to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone (including myself). The truely motivated people will find their way and learn. I think (and I hope) that everybody benefits. Some benefit more than the others and the difference is not the teacher nor is it the talent of the student. The attitude is what counts IMO


caz eyre
12-30-2004, 06:52 AM
Hi everyone

I am a relativly new teacher although have been practicing Tai Chi a long time I went to Paul's workshop in June 04 and started a class after I have tought the class as paul suggested watch me follow me show me the interest is tremendous also the enthusiasm of the group they talk about the differences it is making and one older lady was very emotional when she discovered she could put her own laundry on the line because of the movement she had gained. I love Tai Chi and know it benifits me and I will pass it one as long as I can.

kind regards

12-30-2004, 04:35 PM
I love the part in Doctor Lam's article that states:

"...absorb the incoming anger, survey the situation, try to understand why the person is angry. As you do that, the person's anger will most likely be alleviated from your yielding and willingnes to listen ( being absorbed)"

To me, this is the essence of what Dr. Lam's article teaches me:

a teacher should "absorb" - hear- the pupose of a student's decisicon to study tai chi...and possibly, if the teacher does that, the student will having willingness to learn.

I don't think a teacher and a student should be at odds (a teacher should not make negative judgments about someone's reasons for playing tai chi).

It's sort of like doing push hands: who is absorbing?


12-30-2004, 05:33 PM
Marc mentioned an old wisdom of the Tao about"emptying the cup". It means that it is more difficult to teach an experienced student than a beginner. When the cup is empty(beginner) it is easier to put in all sorts of stuff. A more experienced student or even master needs to temporarily empty the cup first, which doesn't mean to unlearn his previous knowledge, in order to create space for the fresh insights

A good teacher can only be as good as the student. The teacher is the student and vice versa. I think this is cooperation between two.

About students wanting attention rather than learning Tai Chi, well, this is something you will find in every seminar, physio or doctor's practice. Nowadays people don't go to the pastor anymore for confession, they see the GP or Tai Chi teacher....lol....

Many people, over 500, come to GM Chenxiaowang's workshop. Of course the GM can't give individual attention anymore, but it is great to feel the master's qi. MOst students have their own shifu.

The Poages
01-01-2005, 09:42 AM
Being less than a month into my Tai Chi I'm not sure if how qualified I am in commenting how to teach Tai Chi. But another way of looking at it is that teaching is teaching. Aside from currently being an English teacher, I'm currently working on my Masters in Education. Two things that were really prevailent in a class I had this summer are the facts that 98% (I believe) is intrensic and 80% (I think- my numerical/mathematic intelligence sometimes lacks) is emotional. So to learn and teach effectively, one must feel comfortable in the surroundings and have the opportunity to observe/demonstrate proper method.

01-01-2005, 11:18 PM
Les Poages!! comme en ca va? vous savez qu'il faut pratiquer chaque jour;jenny you are my grandmaster!

01-01-2005, 11:44 PM
I learnt more from a non-Taichi person than from a tai chi teacher.

Vitaly, Margulis, a famous piano teacher with whom I attended a few workshops, once said this:" If you are a perfect pianist, don't come to my lesson. Just enter the stage and play......... I love these imperfect pianists, who would like to improve for their whole life.....such as Glen Gould and Vladimir Horrowitz........

I think this also applies to a Tai Chi situation

01-02-2005, 09:43 AM
Horriblewitz was one thing
(and he had great technique),but don't be bashin' Glen Gould;one of Bach's best interpreters of the last century;if you don't believe me i'll send you a box set;
(this thread's topic is beginning to spiral..WARNING...WARNING)

01-02-2005, 10:07 AM
I do Tai Chi for my own benefit. If others wish to join me, I am happy. My aim is to improve yet to be at a level which is comfortable for me. I can't see me doing yoga or aerobics, although many people enjoy them!

Yes sometimes a non tai chi teacher is the best teacher as they approach things from a different perspective. I like to watch ballett ice dance and gymnastics, from where I get different pointers. For art, one my neices had to observe movement and tai chi seemed as good as anything else. She watched the video and me and looked at the book and was able to make quite a few helpfull comments. She also got the best marks for her home work as the teacher said she had done some research too!

I like having a teacher as teachers have a different insight, as do all the different medical professionals here.

Tai Chi is something with a basic form that is able to evolve as we all bring different things to it!

The Poages
01-02-2005, 12:08 PM
Jenny works in the investment bus., I'm the teacher (Lenny- The male Poage :D )

I've never had a French class, but I have the feeling it was a compliment; so thanks. :D

01-02-2005, 08:04 PM
had a feeling i'd screwed that up;pls be kind enough not to take anything i say too personally.Who knows what frame of mind i was in at that point in the thread.Plus i'm a little nuts;(can't you tell?)
btw the french was a salutation,("how're you doing"?) w/another attached bit of homespun wisdom: to"be sure to practice everyday",students learn best by example;if you're living the path your students will respect you better in the morning.notice how smoothly i returned to topic?
take care you two crazy katz and jammer kids and thanks for your invaluable input.oh... AND (in case this hasn't been mentioned enough), HAPPYNEWYEAR!!!~~~~~)::^::>

01-04-2005, 01:46 AM
regards to a book to teach Tai Chi

I am inexperiened in teaching Tai Chi but very experienced in teaching adults. There are good and better ways to teach any subject and just as many bad ways. I am sure a book from Paul based on his 3 point teaching method as he explains in his workshops would be of great benifit to those who wish to pass on the knowledge of Tai Chi but have no knowledge of teaching. We mostly do not have the luxury of hours watching a master to absorb their knowledge and skill so a bit of old fashioned instruction goes a long way.
As always the posts here are interesting and varied. New Years grettings to all.