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Teacher's Lounge Pedagogy - the art or profession of teaching

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Old 02-12-2020, 02:42 PM   #1
Mac an t-Sealgair
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Default How do you know that you ready to teach?

Lots of people out there with 'students'.

But how do you come to the point where you say 'Hey, I'm good enough to teach' to impart impeccable technique and execution??

How many have proper qualifications, or competition pedigree? Or is it a case of the blind leading the blind?

Is it a case of giving the basics, then 'you'll need to find a proper teacher'?

Asking for a friend..............
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: How do you know that you ready to teach?

I don't know that you'll know until you try. You'll probably BOTH be learning, one how to teach and/or modify teaching methods, and the other how to play this amazing instrument.

I've seen youngsters learn so wicked fast, many times placing higher in competition than the teacher, that there will more than likely be a time when you'll confess you've taught him/her all you can, and it's time to turn the student over to a more qualified instructor in order to not slow down their progress.

Good luck.

Just my 2£ worth....
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:24 PM   #3
CalumII
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Default Re: How do you know that you ready to teach?

I certainly wasn't good enough when I gave my first lesson, aged 16, and I had the audacity to charge his mother £20 for it. She didn't send him back, for some reason. Though he did pass his Elementary Certificate two weeks later.


At university I started doing some informal bits and pieces for people around me who needed (and didn't always ask) for help. Then I ended up doing a fair bit of teaching in my local band for a few years. By that point, I had sorted out a much clearer idea of how to actually play technique, and I started giving private lessons. I kept on like that through a few moves and playing for different bands. I was also interested in pedagogy and psychology and read a fair bit on those topics as well.


Teaching, like everything, is a craft and you have to work at it. Understanding what makes excellent technique, but so is being able to draw it out. I've seen more than one of the great names lost for words as they try to explain why a student is getting a different result than they are from a piece of technique. I've also seen them say one thing and do the opposite! No doubt I do the same as well, but I try to think about it.


But since we're after a simple test, here's one proposal: if you can teach yourself to play a march, strathspey, reel, hornpipe, jig and piobaireachd from the dots and play it correctly and idiomatically on a well tuned instrument, then you should be able to teach.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: How do you know that you ready to teach?

One way is to have earned a degree in Music Education and have decades of experience studying and teaching instrumental Music AND piping.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: How do you know that you ready to teach?

Any kind of teaching is a skill that has to be learned and practiced.

As far as piping is concerned, IMO it is key to know your limits. I am comfortable teaching kids in the local youth band. I teach the absolute beginners - how to hold and blow a chanter; get a scale; eliminate crossing noises; play basic tunes; play a couple of the simplest band tunes; teach basic embellishments, etc.

As a grade 3 light-music player, I am reluctant to teach them much else. Once the kids have mastered our youth bandís level 1, they move to a higher level with a more skilled piper.

I donít charge for these lessons, the kids pay a basic tuition fee to the band. However, I do receive a tuition waver for one of my kids, which amounts to less than minimum wage for me, but that is irrelevant as I consider it volunteer work anyway.
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Old 02-12-2020, 08:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: How do you know that you ready to teach?

I like all the responses, and have little to add. I can say that many of us have encountered students 'taught' by someone who never had any business teaching.

As an example, years ago, I put on a small workshop for a group wanting to form a band and had been 'taught' by a long-time piper. I first went around the table, asking each to play a little something. My head tilted more and more and I watched each. I asked them how they were taught to play a D throw. One of them said the instructor said to just wiggle the fingers on the low hand. It certainly put me in a difficult situation of needing to correct that (and other things), yet not wanting to trash an instructor they all appreciated.

On the same token, I've seen outstanding pipers who suck at teaching. Multiple reasons; sometimes personality; sometimes just not connecting.

There's a concept in therapy, called "Responsivity." It has to do with tailoring an approach that conceptually works for the client. If the client is not responding, it's the clinicians responsibility to adjust to find an approach that works. Same with teaching, to my mind.
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Old 02-13-2020, 03:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: How do you know that you ready to teach?

I got some experience with elementary instruction in a band with a more experienced teacher. Invaluable. So I was not just flying solo and making guesses as a new teacher. Since then I have had the experience of students going off to the College of Piping, and the National Piping Centre, and returning home to Israel with favourable comments on their technique and tuning. It doesn't feed the ego, so much as it informs the teacher in a person.

I had a similar experience myself, 43 years ago, when I spent a long day with a Scots Guards piper in Edinburgh, and he was clear that my own teacher's instruction was clearly inside the best of the piping tradition. I had my own flaws and lacks, to be sure. But those learning in semi-isolation, or on the periphery of piping, can benefit from contact with the seasoned centre--especially before teaching others. I also have had musical, but not piping, parents and siblings and friends of the student sit in on the lessons I give.

Use the experts, and learn how to both instruct, and mentor. I have always found top musical pipers to be accessible, honest about my flaws, but polite and instructive. These pipers did not just help me, but many pipers of all levels. I couldn't even begin to have taught without their passing on the art.
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Old 02-13-2020, 02:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: How do you know that you ready to teach?

I'd like to double up on what Michael (EquusRacer) said. Being able to change up how you are instructing something so that your student "gets it" is key. Is it slowing it down? Is it showing it to them again? Is it touching their fingers in sequence? Each person learns their own way, and sometimes, in a particular circumstance, that way is different.

Another thing is you shouldn't be doing it for the money. Sure, that can be a factor, but you should enjoy teaching. It requires patience and understanding. Knowing when to be firm and when to be easy-going. A harsh word at the wrong time can crush a student. A harsh word at the right time and kick a student into gear and practice better/harder.

Be humble. Listen to what your student(s) are telling youósometimes non-verbally! You may think you are teaching perfectly, but you may not be.

And as someone said, know your limits. Know when to let a student go.

If you have skills enough to teach and impart knowledge, give it a shot. You'll learn quickly if it's for you. The more good piping instructors out there, the better!

Andrew
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:30 PM   #9
CalumII
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Default Re: How do you know that you ready to teach?

One the topic of "knowing limits" - I actually see it the other way round. I think expert instruction is most important at the beginning. I was lucky that I was always around good players and leaders but what made it easy for me was that my first teacher had given me technique that, broadly, I have never needed to change. All I had to do thereafter was shut up and listen.



Which is not to say people shouldn't teach if they are the only option going!
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:20 PM   #10
Andrew Lenz
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Default Re: How do you know that you ready to teach?

I think itís a given that an instructor should be able to play all embellishments properly. If they canít, they have no business teaching. That said, all instructors donít have to be pro level players, though that would be great. I believe a Grade III piper can typically get a newbie started and on the right path. Itís possible even some Grade IV pipers who have medaled at larger contests could do so too.

Andrew
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