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Will Higher Level Instructor Certification Help Me Teach Beginners Better?

Magikarp

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TL: DR at bottom

I’m currently a Level 2 instructor with CSIA that teaches part-time. I’m thinking about pursuing higher-level certifications but having mixed feelings about it.

I chose to teach skiing because I wanted to improve my skiing technique. But what brings me the greatest satisfaction is teaching, especially to beginners. Being able to see students discover their capabilities or rediscover themselves is an extremely exciting, almost addictive experience for me. I still get enjoyment by teaching intermediates or advanced students, but the improvements aren’t as immediate.

This is consistent with my own experience in trying to improve my own skiing, the growth curve just slows, which is why I believe skiing is relatively easy to learn but hard to master.

Pursuing the higher levels is going to come with some clear trade-offs. The courses aren’t cheap, and the difference in work pay isn’t that significant. I will to have to spend more time training and taking courses, which requires a high level of dedication. Lastly, the higher level courses focus on advance skiing and teaching techniques, which doesn’t 100% align with my mindset, especially for teaching.

Many other instructors pursuing further certifications look forward to teaching more skilled students because they get to ski more. Higher level instructors get priority on teaching “better lessons”, and don’t have to stay on the bunny hill with beginners. Somehow, that doesn’t excite me. When I am responsible for a group of students, I stick to the “maximum difficulty on minimum terrain” idea. I’m not going to ski as fast or as difficult of terrain that I normally would, and I can’t really enjoy the skiing that much because my focus is on delivering a good lesson.

Once I start something, I tend to go all-in, which is why I’m having doubts at this stage. I just want to hear some other perspectives from higher-level instructors on why you decided to pursue higher levels?

TL: DR Need help finding motivation to go for higher level instructor certification, even though I enjoy teaching beginners the most.
 

cantunamunch

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TL: DR Need help finding motivation to go for higher level instructor certification, even though I enjoy teaching beginners the most.

Higher certification is how to have the things you say get taken seriously. Higher certification buys you room to explore your ideas.

Do it now, while you're young, and chase it as hard as you can. You might rediscover yourself on the way, but it won't be given to you.
 

Bad Bob

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The more you learn about teaching at any level, the better your teaching skills at all levels.
I live on the other end of the teaching timeline. In Ye Olden Days I chased pins in PSIA and ended up an examiner. Life took me away from skiing for a number of years but pulled me back. Started teaching part time again a few years ago. Everything had lapsed, but decided up front not to get back into the Association (at 70 why?).
I did find that at every level my skiing and teaching skills sent up a notch. You will too.
The same forces that cause a ski to carve on the steeps cause a beginner to learn to turn a ski. You will just have more tools to work with.
The money is never worth the effort, but the satisfaction is,
 

scott43

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As Tuna and Bob said, how could it hurt as long as you're motivated to teach beginners? An experienced, good coach/teacher can see things very quickly and correct little bad habits early. I coach kids hockey and if I see something small but important, and I can get them to hear what I'm saying, you can change their skills so much for the better. Someone just going through the motions might not notice, but attention to little things early can speed things up so much. Spot, articulate, demonstrate.
 

Prosper

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I'm not all that familiar with the certification process apart from the basics. Can you get a child specialty certification at the CSIA-2 level? Always more to learn.
 

cantunamunch

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Do you mind expanding on what you mean by that?

Not at all.

The lower your cert, the more you have to explain your ideas as part of someone else's context.

If they happen to clash with that context, or if they aren't properly understood, you'll get taught out of having them.

It takes very smart instructors to recognise and value students' ideas, nurturing them without tearing them out - and you're not likely to run into a surfeit of those.
 

Jilly

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I'm not all that familiar with the certification process apart from the basics. Can you get a child specialty certification at the CSIA-2 level? Always more to learn.
No we do not. Would love to see it. L1 is really considered a children's program with an adult portion.

As you may have noticed, higher cert instructors can pick out fine details better than lower. So why not go for that L3. Even at the beginner level teach you will notice things beyond stance and balance that are hindering progression. I'm thinking timing/sequence of events etc...You're eye will see these details faster.

Remember around 1/2, L4 candidates fail wedge turns!!
 

HardDaysNight

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Remember around 1/2, L4 candidates fail wedge turns!!
Is this really true? How astonishing. If wedge turns are so difficult to perform that half of the candidates for the highest level of instructor certification cannot do them adequately perhaps beginners should be taught some other way.
 

Jilly

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Is this really true? How astonishing. If wedge turns are so difficult to perform that half of the candidates for the highest level of instructor certification cannot do them adequately perhaps beginners should be taught some other way.
They can't demonstrate the maneuver. Most add something to it. They edge, they don't glide, or they pressure instead of turning the feet. They just forget how do simple task.
 

Bendzeekneez

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Is this really true? How astonishing. If wedge turns are so difficult to perform that half of the candidates for the highest level of instructor certification cannot do them adequately perhaps beginners should be taught some other way.
A fair argument.

Most fail as the goal is to show a wedge turn with expert skills - refined movement patterns. One wouldn't expect a beginner to do that. A L4 should show the best possible demo, and understand the technical aspects so they can pass information on to the new instructor and provide a clear and precise demonstration of that turn.

The end user doesn't need a technically perfect wedge turn, it's a stepping stone but a new instructor (who a level 4 is usually training) should know the technique (to be able to detect and correct issues in their client) and deserves to see a demonstration from their trainer that exemplifies it. This is why it is marked. It's not final form, just a demo of a basic turn using expert skills.
 

Jilly

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A fair argument.

Most fail as the goal is to show a wedge turn with expert skills - refined movement patterns. One wouldn't expect a beginner to do that. A L4 should show the best possible demo, and understand the technical aspects so they can pass information on to the new instructor and provide a clear and precise demonstration of that turn.

The end user doesn't need a technically perfect wedge turn, it's a stepping stone but a new instructor (who a level 4 is usually training) should know the technique (to be able to detect and correct issues in their client) and deserves to see a demonstration from their trainer that exemplifies it. This is why it is marked. It's not final form, just a demo of a basic turn using expert skills.

Thank you for wording that better than I did.
 

TheApprentice

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Do it. If there's nothing barring you from doing it like school and/or career stuff, then 100% do it. It'll still make you a better teacher, and now you can teach a wider range of students. On top of that, it'll make you a better skier, which in turn makes you a better teacher. Since you said you wanted to stay on the bunny hill and keep teaching small kids, learning more about the sport (and specifically technique) will let you improve them more in a shorter timeframe.

Plus you never know, you might discover something that'll rekindle your desire to improve yourself as a skier. The thing that's best about skiing is that it has basically limitless pathways to take to whatever goal you may have.
 
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Magikarp

Magikarp

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Thanks, and while I'm still interested in improving as a skiier, I'm just considering my full time work obligations (non-skiing related) and other things in life.

It's pretty much the difference in commitment between spending time on a hobby vs studying for an exam about the same hobby.
 

cantunamunch

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Thanks, and while I'm still interested in improving as a skiier, I'm just considering my full time work obligations (non-skiing related) and other things in life.

It's pretty much the difference in commitment between spending time on a hobby vs studying for an exam about the same hobby.

You won't have more time than you have now until after you retire...and then you'll have missed out on those years of advanced teaching.

Not to even mention that your body won't be anywhere near what it is now.
 

Henry

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Don't take the exam. You aren't advancing for the sake of advancing; you don't show a need for the recognition. You'll never recover the cost of the exam. Do take free clinics for L3; it may help your skiing. For your students, improve your teaching to the point where in a group class you can give six concurrent individual lessons to the six students,e.g., "Bob do this, Sue do that." Teach them important things not in the book such as sideslipping down a bad slope and reading the terrain as part of speed control. Spend a few minutes teaching them about equipment, especially the importance of good boot fit. Understand the engineering and dynamics of skiing such as the skis' interaction with the snow and how the designated movements are used to do that. Find ways to teach a great lesson in different ways for different individuals and to keep yourself fresh.
 

JFB

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Yes, higher level certs will help you teach beginners better and I encourage you to pursue them. However, the pedagogy for achieving higher certs is largely about teaching students with higher skill levels and not beginners. And I believe that many of the more important things for beginners are, as Henry says, "not in the book". I think that you would get more bang for the buck (WRT teaching beginners) by learning how to teach better, how to coach better, better ways to articulate instructions about how to move (or not move) the body in way that enable us to ski, better ways to help the students feel what it feels like when they do it right, how to overcome/manage their fear (that they don't even recognize or understand), how to relax, and on and on and on. Also work on expanding your bag of tricks because every students is different and different things work for different people. My $0.02
 

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