Moving Rope Education from Teacher-Centered Education to Student-Centered Education
To those of you that attend my classes on a regular basis, much of what I'm about to say won't be of terrible shock to you but it might be for those of you that are unfamiliar with my teaching style.
As many people know, I am a teacher by trade and currently in school studying for my Master's Degree in Education. What does this have to do with rope? Well, a lot actually. It means that I'm constantly in classes learning what the most modern research shows about how students learn best. The cool thing is that most of the material applies to adults in the same way that it applies to my high school kids. But the bigger thing that it means is that it has made me start rethinking the way that I teach rope and the way that rope is generally taught.
Currently, rope education is heavily teacher-centered, meaning that the instructor is frequently in the front of the class demoing something and either having the class tie along or having them try it on their own after the demo. While this method of teaching is still heavily in use in schools, modern education research suggests that it's not actually a very effective way for students to learn.
Students tend to learn best in a student-centered classroom. This means using teaching methods that allow for student discovery with instructor guidance. It means curated peer sharing. And it means giving up a modicum of control from the instructor to allow students to learn from making mistakes.
Classroom formats like this are scary for student and instructor alike. It's scary for students because many times they come to the classroom expecting the instructor/expert pump them full of knowledge that they can then use and what they get is a classroom where they are expected to investigate and make mistakes and take constructive criticism. It's scary for instructors because it requires giving up a lot of control. Within the rope community, it's also scary for instructors because this is most just not how rope education is done. People that break the current model have to take a big risk.
My goal is that as I teach classes through this year, that each class I teach, will be reworked to follow these modern teaching techniques. What I ask from you all is to come to my classes with an open mind to learning in a different way. I can promise you that it will be worth it. I also ask that you provide feedback. The best way for me to make something designed for students is for me to hear from those students that are in my classes.
Feel free to discuss this teaching style in the comments below but please keep it civil and constructive.