Monday, April 18, 2011

Leadership & Teaching

Being a Leader in Paddlesports

Psalm 78:70-72
Jeremiah 23:4
2 Timothy 1:7

If you are reading this resource you must have a passion for paddling and probably helping others to learn how to paddle. Additionally you want to be able to provide a unique approach to teaching paddlesports in a way that helps transform the lives of your students in a spiritual manner so they can live as Christ in the world. That or you have been given a job at camp and you are desperately searching for resources on how to be an effective leader and teacher for those in your care. After working for many years in and around camps, one thing that is clear to me is that if you are working in a camp or outdoor setting, it is because you have a passion for it and not because of the enormous income generated. In my experience, that is the first step in being a successful leader…passion! Consequently, you need to have a passion for what you are doing and who you are doing it for. King David of Old Testament fame was the model of passion. He was even criticized for dancing for the Lord in public!

David demonstrated often what was necessary to be one of God’s leaders. Psalm 18:72 shows that he governed as a concerned shepherd, “With upright heart he tended them, and guided them with skillful hand.” Think about that. The goal for any outdoor leader is to fulfill the Psalmist’s words. It is important to have an upright heart and be an example both on and off the water. Only then can one lead and teach those following them effectively.

One of the primary purposes of this resource is to use “teachable moments” during paddling activities and instruction to develop life skills and transformative experiences. The students not only experience physical and mental development through new knowledge and training but also spiritually to more fully live their faith in the world. It is the chance for a leader to help a person turn a new activity into a passion and hopefully a lifestyle of living as Jesus in the world.

The second Timothy passage reminds the leader and the follower that even though some of the applications might not be easy to understand and various situations might even be a bit scary, God is still with us. By working together in love and through self-discipline one can develop a sense of God’s power in our lives and a sense of control on the water. The passage from Jeremiah agrees with the importance of watching over your group and protecting them from harm as you teach them. Would a good leader be able to return home with one less person? Would you, could you, tell your director “Oops, I lost one, I’ll do better next time.”

For additional thoughts on leadership for paddlesports, see Raft Guiding as a Model for Servant Leadership in this resource.

Teaching an Activity

1 Corinthians 3:1-2, 10-15

When teaching anything to someone, it is important to start with the basics and lay a good foundation for the rest of the information to build upon. That is one reason why there is so much attention on this resource for the PREP acronym in the General Fundamentals section. It is important to increase skills and expectations in a progressive way and do not skip steps along the way. Give the students a chance to work on each new skill or set of skills before moving on to the next one. Recognize that there are several different ways for people to learn.

There are many ways for students to learn. At its most basic, there are four learning models, or ways to learn: Think, Feel, See and Do. Recognize that just because you learn by watching someone else do a skill, doesn’t mean that all of your students learn that way. Maybe it is because of impatience or lack of focus but my own personal learning method is by “doing.” I like to get the basic concept and then go try it and mess around on the water. My biggest challenge is to teach a thinker and I am constantly trying to do a better job of understanding the various details and ways of presenting them because I know that it is not my strong-point. Bear in mind that if you are teaching kids, you may want to do more and talk less. One thing that is worth adding is the KISS principle that works for all learning styles: Keep It Short and Simple and spend most of your time paddling.

When demonstrating a new concept make sure that it is done slowly. That will allow the students to be able to notice most of the details for the stroke or technique. You may even need to exaggerate the movement so that it more easily seen and understood. Those that follow us, tend to imitate us because they think we know what we are doing and so it is important that we set a good example on and off the water. If we make mistakes, admit to them and move on making an effort to do better.

No comments:

Post a Comment