Alpine Certification Sample Teaching Assignments
These Teaching Assignments are meant to provide guidelines to help candidates prepare for their exam(s). The lists are by no means exhaustive, thus a candidate may find him or herself given a teaching assignment not on this list during an exam. However, it is our belief that success can be achieved through a combination of: actual teaching of customers at the appropriate level, practice teaching (peer to peer) of a variety of the assignments on these lists, and committed study of the materials such as the Teaching Model, Core Concepts, Biomechanics—and by a thorough grounding in the National Standards and the Five Fundamentals of Good Skiing.
What: Assignments generally fall into three categories—Introducing, Refining, and Mastery—and correspond to the kinds of lessons we give the general public. For example, a common lesson in the Beginner Zone has as a goal the safe and fun acquisition of the basic skills necessary to turn left and right on appropriate beginner terrain. A Level 1 Exam teaching assignment might be to introduce wedge turns to this beginner. A common lesson in the Intermediate Zone has as a goal the safe and fun acquisition of the blended skills necessary to make parallel turns on appropriate intermediate terrain. A Level 2 Exam teaching assignment might be to refine the rotary and edging skills necessary to turn Wedge Christies into Basic Parallel turns.
Why: Working through sample teaching assignments can give instructors the opportunity to experience situations that it might take years to accumulate naturally. In addition, the Catch-22 rule often applies: How does an instructor get experience at Level 2 teaching when a prerequisite for those lessons at many ski schools is Level 2 Certification?
How: There is no substitute for experience. The portfolio process has taught us that we get better when we reflect on our experiences—that we learn how to be better teachers not by rote, not by studying texts, but by teaching! Start by practice teaching those assignments that relate closely to what you already know how to do. Expand from there. Work with your peers to help ensure that your demos are on target. By also practicing the Alpine Movement Learning Activities for Developing Skilled Skiing (link in the Alpine Resources Portal) you will gain insights into the movements you need to focus on in any given lesson. Attend appropriate PSIA-C Education Events, work with trainers at your local or nearby ski schools, and find friends/peers with whom you can try out your lessons.
Teaching Assignments Protocol in Exams
Every Exam day will include a teaching component. Related to the teaching will be a Movement Analysis segment. Technical Knowledge will also be tested by asking questions on slope, on lift rides, or indoors.
With every teaching assignment at every level you will be asked to identify the who, what, why, where and how of your lesson plan. This is for your benefit, to help you prepare for what can be an unnatural and sometimes unsettling experience of presenting in front of an “audience” of your peers, rather than the ”students” you are used to being in front of.
Experience with the Movement Learning Activities to Develop Skilled Skiing will help you plan the “guts” of your lesson: the series of practiced and related movements which when skied in order will guide your students safely and pleasantly from one set of blended movements (say, a Wedge Christy) to another set of blended movements (an Open Parallel turn).
Movement Analysis Exam Protocols
During the exam process, each candidate will be asked to provide movement analysis of other skiers. While movement analysis can be a daunting proposition for some, it is an important part of your professional development, and a critical component of ski teaching mastery. Take the time to study the document: PSIA-C Movement Analysis Model: MODDS as a starting point to develop your MA skills.
There are several different scenarios that an Examiner may use when asking a candidate about MA. The most common would be a “call down” scenario where the candidate and the examiner stand next to each other and the candidate simply provides information about what they are seeing in the group to the Examiner. An Examiner may choose to demo a movement based upon a candidate’s teaching segment, in order to highlight a key component of the candidate’s selected activities. Or the Examiner might ask the group to observe a member of the skiing public, and provide a description of a particular aspect of that skier’s performance, and possible prescriptions that might result in an improvement of that’s skier’s performance. While these are common scenarios, they are only examples—and an Examiner may provide other scenarios where movement analysis can take place.
Movement Analysis is part of the PSIA Certification Process. At each level there are different standards, just as there are for skiing and teaching.