Effective teachers negotiate when their student’s needs overlap their ability to perform well. A fitness teacher introduces form and technique that provides integrity to the student’s limits and possibilities. An example is knowing when students need movement and interaction, as opposed to stillness, introspection and individual reflection. Education has many formats, curricula and tools to establish a set of guidelines for teaching the elements of fitness; cardio, strength training, and flexibility. Teaching physical fitness is an art because these rules have more exceptions than standards.
Learning styles and performance capacity make teaching to mixed groups a challenge. Every student likes to do well. When encouraged, any fitness student will manage their energy more effectively. An excellent teacher adapts class structure to include elements that support learners on both ends of the group, novice through master. Implement group interaction to allow the opportunity to give positive feedback to students of all types.
Some subject matter is straightforward. Typically, fitness students perform well when given some informational foundation of why they are practicing their chosen activity. The challenge of teaching is only experienced by doing the work. In other words, applied knowledge makes a teacher, not the assessment of a student teacher. Knowing the subject matter (executing a perfect yoga posture) and finding answers to student problems are different skills.
Fitness teachers learn the art of listening. Interactive communication skills are primary to teaching any subject, but a key component in health and wellness. These skills lessen liability when choosing a program of exercise for your students. A great teacher has the ability to listen to the students’ changing needs and make immediate adaptations. Interactive communication introduces new formats to the learner, therefore making fitness accessible on all levels of well-being. Teachers apply creativity to fully engage every student of their mixed level group. Learning to listen is foundational for fitness exercise instruction.
Service-learning provides opportunities to take what they have learned and practice teaching. Service learning requires confidence in your student’s ability to negotiate without offering advice, coercion or control. Experiential learning is applying fitness information to the specific task of leading mixed group fitness. Often, experiential learning (service learning) gathers more information while executing the fitness activities. Effective teaching resumes letting go of any expected outcome, and allowing students to problem-solve with a variety of modifications, or alternative movements.
Risks and Resistance
Teaching applies knowledge and skills to overcome resistance while maintaining safety for any group dynamic. Teachers commonly encounter resistance that puts the scheduled class activity at risk. Any lesson plan can be sabotaged by your student’s emotional outbursts. Listening to your student’s request elevates the student’s status from receiver to engaged in the work of attaining fitness. One cannot learn how to adapt and change without the experience of teaching disruptive students. Practice an intentional class awareness exercise to overcome resistance, and lower risk of injury among the group.