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Learning Theory vs Learning Form

February 4, 2012

Over the past few years I have spent countless hours working with seniors of all ages and capabilities. To be honest, they have taught me as much as I have shown them.

The difference; I didn’t know what I didn’t know – their reactions to what I did and taught me how to show and explain better. I am lucky enough to realize that I needed to learn from them.

When I first began teaching I was teaching exercises and the form of movement I used.  My style was:  this is how you do this… do your best to mimic this position, speed, and style.   That worked great, for some.  Many others were left in the cold, the dark, the dust or the fog…  sitting or standing there not really knowing what to do, since what I was doing was beyond what they could do.

It did not take long for me to realize that although I knew what I wanted to teach it was not necessarily what the seniors in my classes wanted to learn or how they could learn it. 

In reevaluating my teaching process, I came to realize that I might  be better off teaching a more intuitive method. I changed to the “why” of the movement, how it should “feel” and what it did  for them in everyday activities.  This helped them grasp the theory of what I was showing them in the movements.

Since each senior had different levels of capability, I began to see that how they would proceed through the motions to carry out the concept was unique to each one. They experienced that they could approach the exercises based on what they could do. Most found they could do much more than they first thought.  Not going after the perfect mimic, and in many cases not even close, but moving, feeling and living the exercise.

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