Tips to Building a Better Martial-Arts School by John G. Johnson
Make sure GOALS are clear..
Enrolling a student just because they want to “take classes” seems like common-sense on first glance. Yes, you can do that, and get paid. But you will never the true reason(s) why they joined. And if they enrolled into your school with pre-conceived expectations – and those expectations aren’t met – then the cost is that you’ll lose that student. Period.
Instead, interview each prospective student to make sure that you know specifically what their goal is and that it’s crystal clear – to you - and to the student. It’s fine if someone has more than one goal. You then build your curriculum around each student’s goal, or goals. Doing so keeps your classes interesting and challenging. It’s a Win/Win for everyone. And creating a curriculum this way also significantly reduces one of the many reasons students drop out…class is boring!
TEST and welcome FEEDBACK…
Even though you have a working curriculum, you still have to check (TEST) to make sure everything is going as planned. Students drop out for a variety of reasons. Some of these you can fix others you can’t. For example, if you realize a student has reduced his/her attendance or wants to quit, inquire into the reasons for their decision. Get feedback (FEEDBACK /FAILURE). You then use this information to make adjustments to your curriculum. Also, metaphors are powerful. Don’t believe your made-up story as to why “you think” your students aren’t showing up. Go to the source – the student – to get the specific information you need. This is within your control. If someone moves away and distance prevents them from attending, that’s something out of your control.
Your STATE OF MIND transfers…
QUESTION: Who are you? And WHY do you want to teach? You need to answer these questions for yourself. If teaching is something you want to do, and you are congruent with your intent, then it will show; it will be converted into enthusiasm, passion. Your students will absorb these states and will be inspired. They’ll want to push themselves. This in turn will translate into student retention. If you lack the appropriate states-of-mind, and are teaching from a consciousness that’s bland, wimpy and lacking enthusiasm… your students will also pick this up as well. Some will even make mention of having ho-hum feelings after a class workout and don’t know the source – which is you! Humans are always learning. Your students will model your state of mind and attitude. Everything flows from the instructor.
Adding to this, the best instructors know that teaching isn’t about them, the Instructor. It’s about the students (SELF/OTHER). Having your attention outwards allows you to track what’s going on in real-time, whether during a teaching session or during non-teaching moments. The benefit of possessing this ability is that you can creatively make adjustments to situations occurring in-the-moment that’s to the benefit of the student. Adopting the proper teaching frame of mind makes it easier to enter this uptime mindset.
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