By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
How can you improve your Yoga classes, and keep your student core group together at the same time? Whether your purpose is to make classes safer, enhance your lesson plans, or encourage new students to join, your core group may resist the idea of change.
Imagine the following scenario. You have spent weeks, or months, studying another online Yoga teacher training course or attending a teacher intensive. Each day, you intensely learned new methods for improving your classes. Now, you want to implement the knowledge you absorbed. On site, and online, Yoga teacher continuing education courses are both wonderful tools, but students often resist change.
The acceptance of change can be bypassed, by creating systematic change in small steps. Rather than introduce every change at once, make changes when the need presents itself. If an asana could be improved for student safety, cover the improvement, at that point, in your class.
There is no need to go over each new change you discovered in one single class. If you are making drastic changes in teaching methodology, safety issues, or style – another method is to have introductory workshops. Generally speaking, changes in style can cause an exodus within your core student group.
This is one reason why many Yoga schools have classes of different styles, meet at different times, during the course of the week. Each of us has different interests, and there is no shortage of variations within Hatha Yoga. Understanding this, we should actively listen to student feedback.
Some students will never say anything, while other students have much to say all of the time. The best way to measure the general feelings of all students is to engage them in conversation before or after classes. When we engage in small talk, all of our students find us approachable.
Strangely, some Yoga teachers enjoy being unapproachable. There seems to be a feeling of pride, within some teachers, who avoid answering questions, and are not accessible to their students. At this time, and during good or bad economic conditions, the aloof Yoga teacher may eventually show up to an empty classroom.
Class time is for the benefit of the students, and this is why our students’ opinions are worthy of consideration. To envision change, in lesson plans, as a teacher’s right, without considering a student’s perspective, can easily create an atmosphere that causes students to leave.
Therefore, our students should understand that all forms of Yoga are constantly evolving. At the same time, we should realize that Rome was not built in a day. Change is part of life, but it must happen on a gradual basis.
© Copyright 2010 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
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