Teaching Tips

  We are adding this new page to our website so that we have a resource for sharing our best teaching practices.

If YOU have discovered a way to teach a movement or practice it with your class and you'd like to share it with other instructors, please email Anne to have it added to this page.

At our recent Basic Movements & Teaching Methods Certification workshop (Oct. 24 & 25th) we agreed that teaching is a creative act--one is constantly learning, discovering, being challenged to come up with solutions to new situations.  Here are a few things we discovered that we found worked really well:

1. Do you ever have people in your class who--during the second hip warm-up or during "waving hands in the clouds" hold one arm up so that the upper arm is high and the elbow is pointing out to the side? This strains the shoulder and throws the balance off. We discovered that asking people to have the elbow POINT TOWARDS THE FLOOR helped a LOT!

2. At one point we all (22 of us) stood very close together and did the basic movements of Fall Prevention Tai Chi that way. Then the whole group wheeled 90 degrees, putting a different set of folks in the front row, and we did the form again. Then we did that two more times. It was fun! It forced us to keep our steps small and our arm gestures small too. And everyone enjoyed sharing their energy this way.

3. During the "show me" part of the stepwise progressive teaching method, remember that you can change up the language to make this less threatening. It's a VERY important part of the teaching method, so you want to do it from the very beginning. Here are some phrases we use--
   Give that a whirl
   Try that on your own
   Your turn now
   Give that a try
   I'd like to see that
   OK--you're turn to practice
   May I see that?
   I'd like to watch this time
               HAVE YOU COME UP WITH ANOTHER HANDY PHRASE??

4.  Breaking a class up into small groups (2, 3, 4) and letting them practice on their own as you circulate around and assist can work really well.

5.  When a new movement is taught, once the entire movement is understood, have the class practice it four times, facing a different direction each time.