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TEACHING TECHNIQUES

Probably the most effective systematic method of teaching is based on "learning by doing.” An instructor must decide if the movement pattern should be taught as a whole or if it should be broken into parts. Less complex skills are practiced as a whole to establish a general idea and feel of the movement. The audience (your class) understands the presenter (instructor) as a whole person; all "ingredients” are important: the words, the voice, the appearance, and the behaviour. If they are not in harmony, the impact is poor.

To lead your participants through the workout and to be understood you can use several methods of instruction. When choosing between the verbal and visual instruction (or nonverbal instruction) you have to pay attention not to exaggerate any type of instruction: exaggerating could make participants feel uncomfortable and confused at the very least.

Nonverbal cueing will spare your voice. You can use all parts of your body for visual cueing. More than half of our communication is through body language:

Head - nodding, cocked to side, thrown back, motioning a direction;
Facial expression - frowning, grimacing, animated, distracted
Eyes - wide open, closed, winking, blinking, rolling, squinting
Mouth - smiling, pursed lips, lip licking, lip biting, open, closed

All four express direction and emotion.

Skin - blushing, paleness, perspiration
Body posture - relaxed, rigid, stooped shoulders, leaning forward, leaning backward, chest puffed out, belly pulled in…
Can express deep breathing, whole body awareness and energy

Hands, arms - fidgeting, tapping, fisted, opened palms, pointing, touching… Can express direction, energy, extension and feeling and preview movement changes
Feet, legs - foot tapping, legs crossed, legs opened, knee knocking

When using verbal cueing you have two options: the use of technical words and the use of non-technical words. You should minimize the use of technical words. They sound unfriendly but are sometimes necessary to explain proper technique.

On the other hand the use of non-technical words helps the participants to activate the left-brain. They become more relaxed and the workout also becomes more enjoyable. Non-technical words usually express the feeling of the movement.

You can create your own source of non-technical words. This is a very useful tool for an instructor. Through this kind of dialogue the participants understand perfectly what you want them to do. The phrases should be short and direct. You can use words or simple sounds such as: squeeze, spiral, soft … We strongly suggest the use of images and visualization techniques: melt into the floor, bend like a willow, draw a line like on a highway …

Being creative makes your instruction and communication joyful and shows your enthusiasm. Useful approaches to create your own non-technical cues are sentence starters such as: Show me …, Imagine …, It feels like … It looks like …, Picture yourself …



CORRECTION

Correcting participants’ response should always be done in a positive way. A positive attitude to correction of technique is essential for successful teaching. Correction is necessary to control the class. The participants should get used to the way you control them and correct them. You should not correct an individual in a way that makes him/her feel embarrassed or humiliated in front of the class. When correcting you go through three steps:

First is correction by using visual cues such as eye contact or using verbal cues such as "good row!”
Then you recommend, "not too high with your elbows!”
At the end you commend by praising like "yes, that is enough!”

When choosing correction strategies you should differ between those for the whole class, those for a group within the class and those directed to individuals. Always use the beginning of the class or the beginning of one track as a time to explain technique. Corrections during the tracks should be brief so as not to disturb the flow of the movement.

Because technique corrections require personal body awareness, they also require time. So be patient if you and your participants do not see positive changes all at once.



VOICE QUALITY

The way in which we speak is more important than what we actually say. An effective communicator is aware of the quality of delivery of a message. The elements of voice delivery are intensity, pitch, and pace. The intensity or force is an important factor in delivery. Some instructors speak so softly that they cannot be heard, while others speak with such volume that they are annoying. It is a challenge to the instructor to determine effective intensity of the voice.

Pitch (also intonation) is the general level or place of the voice on the musical scale. Everyone has a characteristic pitch. Some speak in a singsong fashion while others speak in monotone. Some people may end their sentences with an upward inflection while others end with a downward inflection. A noticeable rise in pitch level decreases effective delivery because it usually denotes incompleteness of thought. Experienced instructors have a wide range of pitch, which they use effectively during delivery.

Rate means the speed of the utterance or the number of words spoken per minute. Most people speak at the rate of 115 – 150 words per minute. Variations in rate depend upon such factors as the importance of the material, the desire for emphasis, and the mood of the content. Speaking too quickly reduces clarity, and can be confusing for those listening; speaking too slowly may bore the listener. Pausing gives others time to think about what is being said.

The primary qualities, empathy (ability to experience another person’s world as if it were one’s own), warmth (unconditional positive regard or a respect for another person regardless of his/her individuality and uniqueness; it bridges professional distance through friendliness and consideration regardless of a "liking” for another person), genuineness (can be defined as authenticity or being honest and open without putting up a front or facade; it is a state in which the helper’s words and actions are congruent: for example, when an instructor greets a class with "I’m glad to see you all here today” his/her body language and voice quality must be consistent with the words of welcome) and interpersonal communication skills are important and valuable throughout the entire instructor/participant relationship.



LEADERSHIP QUALITIES

Exercise leadership by the Freestyler instructor is an important factor in adherence and motivation. Some of the qualities of an effective exercise leader include the following:

- Punctuality and dependability about scheduling sessions and communicating with the client. This includes being regularly prepared for training sessions.

- Professionalism in dress, behaviour, and demeanour. This means treating clients with respect and letting them know that you take the responsibility seriously. It also means respecting the client’s privacy and confidentiality.

- Dedication to the Freestyler exercise program endeavour, as demonstrated through putting continual effort into making workouts fun, rewarding, safe and educational. Instructors should be working as hard in their capacity as clients are expected to work in their Freestyler workout.

- Willingness to plan ahead for things that may interfere with the workout and preparing the client, as much as possible, for any breaks, difficult exercise patterns, and sudden changes in choreography that may occur.

- Sensitivity to each client’s past experiences, current preferences and current and future needs.
This means providing a regular means for evaluating the client’s performance as well as your own and being open to suggestions and alternatives that may enhance the workout.

- A commitment to seek additional education for professional growth,
which includes keeping abreast of the latest scientific information about physical activity as well as current exercise fads about which your client may have questions.

- Engaging in communication with the client using supportive and empathetic words to show understanding of what he/she is going through. Approach the workout endeavour with an open, nonjudgemental attitude, a sense of humour, and a willingness to listen.

- Presenting oneself as a role model for both Freestyler workouts and other areas of health.

- Taking responsibility for problems that may arise in the course of helping clients reach their exercise goals. Consider issues of motivation, the Freestyler program itself, and client safety and well-being.

- Forming a partnership with each client in the Freestyler experience, which includes giving the client the right to adjust the exercise demands to his/her level of execution.

- Learn your client’s names!!