Observation as a 'fallback' for Continued Learning
I’ve been feeling a bit frustrated lately. The truth is having a baby Is really awesome but it’s also really bloody hard to get to all the classes you want to as an Instructor who is keen to keep growing. When I have the energy to go I can’t or when I actually have someone to look after her then I’m way to exhausted at the end of the day.
I’ve had to really rethink my approach to continued learning.
I never observed a lot once I had finished my teacher training and often found it a bit boring but this is now something I would recommend to all Pilates instructors no matter how experienced!
Observation has become my fall back when I can’t actually do the class. Here are 3 ways I’ve really started to notice how this has impacted my growth as a Pilates Instructor.
- I notice the ‘soft’ skills of teaching
Observation allows me to really hone in to the subtleties of teaching. Like what type of language the instructor is using, how there tone changes depending on the difficulty of the exercise. What type of body language are they using, is it casual, is it assertive, is it stiff or fluid. When I’m not doing the class I notice the ‘soft’ skills of teaching so much more and really see the impact this has on the students in class. Observation has made me really think about what makes a great class, is there a magic formula!? It’s fascinating!
- Cues that actually work
It's really interesting to observe the clients form in the class with no pressure of teaching . More than often 1 or 2 people stick out that need a bit of extra ‘cuing love’ in a particular exercise. I really enjoy observing them from afar and asking myself ‘what cue would I use to get them to do x, y or z’ and then observing what the instructor does. Their cues are often different to what mine would have been and this gives me a great learning opportunity to see if that really helped the client or not.
Better relationships with other Instructors: First I’ve developed much better relationships with my fellow instructors. We get to have a little ‘chinwag’ before or after class to nerdy Pilates stuff or particular exercises we are struggling with. As busy Instructors we don’t get many colleagues observing, so we have to be our own mentors and critics when it comes to growing as an instructor.
’ve found that instructors really appreciate having another set of eyes there and then discussing the details of the class afterwards. I always make a note to let them know what I learnt most from the class. And this means that things are mutually beneficial as it can also be a bit nerve-racking when someone else is watching you teach.
Instructor/Client Connection: Secondly I really look at the type of ways the Instructor makes a connection with their clients. Do they do this through manual cuing, do they really connect with each person at the start of class, do they know something about their clients lives or do they take more of a formal approach which is still compassionate but more like ‘we are here to work not chat’.