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June 10, 2009

Improvement of teaching ability

A Short Instruction:

The purpose of this article is to practice and validate the Ki principle (Mind moves body) which is the foundation of Ki-Aikido in our daily life. Therefore, it has no meaning if you just read it without practicing it.

The fundamental method of mastering anything is practice. However, not just practice, but it is also important to validate how one has changed as a result of the practice.

It is easy to lose what you have learned without practice. On the other hand, you will never lose what you have learned through practice and validation. Therefore, please read, practice, and validate the contents of my article for at least one month.


Improvement of teaching ability

This time the weblog is for the advanced learners.

I teach approximately 2,000 people in a year. The number “2,000” means the number of people that I teach regularly, like every week, every month, every year, but does not include the number of people that I teach only a few times, like a person who I teach only once in a seminar.

By observing how my students change as a result of my teaching, I can gain the feedback of 2,000 people. I am very grateful that I can gain important information from this feedback.

For example, there were some cases that, although I was satisfied with my teachings from my point of view, in fact what I taught was not understood well by my students. On the other hand, there were some other cases that, although I was not satisfied with and had to think over my teachings, in fact what I taught was well understood by my students. Of-course this outcome depends on the students’ learning aptitude, but also we should carefully examine our way of teaching. Our feeling about how well our students understand is important, however, checking whether our teaching is actually well understood by students or not, is indispensable.

Without this process, the instructor’s teachings develop into “a self-satisfied teaching”

“Shinichi Tohei Sensei, have you learned a particular teaching method?”

Although I am often asked such a question, I have never learned “a teaching method” till now. And I have never undergone a special training aimed specifically at a teaching method. However, I always check carefully the following three points:

1. Whether students were able to understand well about what I taught.

2. Whether students were able to put it into practice after understanding.

3. Whether students were able to become better after practicing.

As for the first point, you can realize this by sending Ki to the students.

People feel uncomfortable not being able to understand, and as a result their feelings appear as a physical expression somehow (a puzzled facial expression, dropping of their eyes, turning down of their voice, etc.).  Mind moves body.

If you notice that they do not understand, please try various ways of teaching. By continuing a trial-and-error process until they understand, your way of explanation and means of expression will be improved.

Special care is required for the second point. Many people can understand but are not able put it into practice.

In order to improve the students’ practice, you need to teach a specific way, emphasizing points of practice, and you need to regularly follow up with the students. And even if they have not put what you taught into practice, you must not be upset with them. It might be because of the inefficiency of your teaching.

You need to try various ways of teaching and you must not give up until they actually are able to practice what you have taught them. Tremendous patience is needed, and your way of teaching will be improved through these processes.

As for the third point, you need to check whether students actually improve after they practice what they have been taught.

If not, then you have not fulfilled the first two points, so please go back to these two points and teach again. You must not give up until the students become capable.

There is no magic bullet for the improvement of one’s teaching ability. By continuing through these three points of teaching, simply and honestly, your teaching ability will be improved. Reading books and gaining special knowledge is also important, however that can affect your improvement only based on the above basic process.

Teaching is not merely one-way work, but actually two-way communication. Therefore, to carefully watch students’ Ki is the basis of all teaching.

The following is the practice and validation for this month.

[Point of practice]

  Practice points number1 through number 3 above, and record the results in a notebook.

[Point of validation]

Observe the difference between cases producing a good effect and cases having no effect, then record in and review the notebook regularly.

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