Formal writing practices suggest avoiding use of the first person perspective, feeling it makes the writing less objective. Generally, that has been a guideline for the posts in this blog. However, in this case, I need to speak for myself.
I am constantly striving to learn Wing Chun, and how to teach Wing Chun. In the quest to learn how to teach, I often evaluate the phrases I use. I freely admit I can be a bit foul-mouthed at times, liking some four-letter words, but I do teach mostly adults. Sometimes an expletive can add emphasis or generate a moment of laughter. Laughter is important in learning Wing Chun. It helps you to relax.
One thing I have been incorporating into my teaching is the use of the question, “What’s different?” I learned this from Sifu Francis Fong. An instructor can either tell a student what to do, or guide the student toward self-discovery.
When a student executes something without the proper structure or focus, the instructor can point it out, telling the student they should be doing x or y. What Sifu Fong does, and what I have been trying to do more often, is pair up with the student, taking the student’s role and ask, “What’s different?” Then we run through the drill twice, the first time I do the technique the way the student has been doing it. The second time I execute the technique in a proper fashion. “What’s different?” The student feels the energy, structure, or focus for himself or herself. The students discover the error themselves, as well as how to fix it.
This self-examination of my teaching practices leads me to wonder about a particular habit, which I would like to get some feedback on.
When demonstrating a concept disconnected from a student, either free standing, or against an inanimate object, or with another partner but not the students the demonstration is aimed at, I will often say, “I want to …” “I want to focus my energy here,” or “I want to be sure this is covered”, or some other point of interest.
The question is would it be better to say, “This is what you want to do”?
In the “I” instance, I am trying to provide a road map, placing no direct requirement on the student, again allowing for more self-discovery. However, that may also pull attention away from the students.
The “You” instance focuses attention on the students themselves, but may also have a ‘command from on high’ feeling.
What do you feel works best for you – your instructor saying, “I want to do this” or saying, “You want to do this”?