New National Standards and RM Exam Process Help You Train While Teaching

New National Standards and RM Exam Process Help You Train While Teaching

Written By: Chris Rogers
PSIA-AASI Rocky Mountain Snowboard Committee Chair
PSIA-AASI Snowboard National Team

When the Snowboard and Alpine Committees set out to redesign the Level 2 and Level 3 Teaching exam process during the summer of 2021, there were three primary guiding principles: 1. Alignment with the new PSIA-AASI National Standards, 2. Reducing perceived “trickiness” by making the Level 2 and Level 3 exams more uniform, and 3. Creating a process that more resembles how we teach our guests.

The new PSIA-AASI National Standards created the framework we were operating within. Since the Teaching Fundamentals, Learning Outcomes, and Assessment Criteria are the same across all disciplines, and since we needed to update both the Alpine and Snowboard processes to accommodate the new standards, it made sense to align our Assessment Activities – or what you’re asked to do during the exam.

The Teaching Fundamentals, Learning Outcomes, and Assessment Criteria put a large emphasis on the Assess & Plan phase of the teaching cycle, and this was an area that we realized our previous exam process fell short. In the previous iteration, Level 2 and Level 3 exam candidates were assigned their teaches, which didn’t leave room for an examiner to evaluate the teacher’s ability to assess the student and collaborate on a goals and objectives. If I assign you to teaching “intro to bumps,” I can’t really assess how you decided that was what your students needed to work on!

To better address this element of the new standards, we learned from other divisions of PSIA-AASI and built a new teaching exam process. Now, candidates spend time observing their peers in the morning, have real conversations on chairlift rides about goals and/or deficiencies in their skiing and riding, and are tasked with creating real learning environments to help each other improve, correct, and expand their skiing and riding abilities. As an examiner, I can now ask the question “How did you determine that your students would benefit from working on their switch carving,” and the teaching candidate could answer something like: “In conversations on the chairlift my students mentioned that this was something they were feeling like they needed to improve. While we were riding, I observed that they were using a lot of rotation in the upper body to initiate their turns, which caused the board to pivot and prevented a clean carve. To meet their goals, I focused on reducing their rotary movements in the initiation, and instead creating more tilt through a combination of inclination and angulation.”

This change helped our exam process meet the Assessment Criteria set forth in the National Standards, but it also achieves our second goal of reducing the perceived trickiness of the exam. By creating a real teaching scenario with exam candidates teaching each other, the Level 2 and Level 3 exam process is now identical – just operating at a higher standard of skiing and riding instruction at the Level 3. When you attain your Level 2 Teach, you know exactly what to expect at the Level 3 – you will watch your peers just like at the Level 2 and create an advanced learning environment that helps them meet their goals.

Perhaps more importantly, the change in process means that any time you are teaching a guest, you are practicing the exam model. You meet your guest, you ask them about what they are working on, you observe how they are skiing or riding, and you work together to create short term goals and long-term objectives for their lesson. Granted, you have more time in an all-day lesson to meet those goals, but the format is the same. As many all-day lessons are made of several learning segments, mini-lessons within the lesson, the difference is negligible. Collaborate on a goal, introduce some movements related to a fundamental to help achieve the goal. Work through the new skill development with some drills, play, and feedback, and then solidify that new skill by adding mileage.

In the exams we’ve held so far this season the change is dramatic and exciting. Gone are canned “intro to…” teaches and instead we’re getting to witness real teaching and learning occurring. In on-snow training for the teach exam, I’ve watched instructors use the teaching exam format to coach each other on riding skills that will help them pass their ride exam, and in online training we’ve been able to watch a video of a rider to practice MA, and then build real teaching progressions to address their movements.

These changes also means that you can even train for your exam teaches any time you’re out riding with friends or other instructors. You don’t need to wait for an examiner or trainer to assign you a teach, instead ask your friends about a goal, something they’re working on, or a movement they feel a deficiency in, and then work together to develop a short lesson plan.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new process, share your feedback or let us know how you’ve been training for your exams this year!

 

 

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