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This past summer I took the Fire Service Instructor class at the NYS Academy of Fire Science.
The fire service is big on using very specific, detailed lesson plans. Mostly, I think this is because they are training instructors who don't have a lot of teaching experience, and they need to know that specific material is covered in all the classes. When you're dealing with life or death situations, there's not a lot of leeway and they can't risk having people "graduate" from a class and not be sure of what that student did and did not learn.
When I started teaching, I used to write out plans for every class, to make sure I didn't leave anything out. I don't have to write out the plans anymore, but I still use the same basic format.
I'd love to hear about what those of you who teach do.
Do you use written lesson or class plans? If so, did you write them yourself, or get them from your teacher? Or somewhere else, like a book?
If you don't use written plans, what DO you do? How do you decide what to teach in each class? Each individual lesson?
Interesting topic! Though I am hardly an authority, I will try and answer, since this has been very much on my mind lately. Hopefully those more experienced will also share their thoughts.
My teachers wrote fairly extensive class plans. From my very first day their influence has guided my fencing, and more recently, my teaching. As our focus these days is the Scuola Magistrale, we enjoy using Maestro Gaugler's text as a primary source. Lots of good stuff in there. So you could say that the standard CFS classplan shapes the basic format, while the content is the Roman-Neopolotian school as we've been taught. Currently working on writing/re-writing lesson plans with my co-instructor & training partner.
I've also tried a more spontaneous style - teaching/training without any particular preconceived plan. Very fun when working with someone creative or inquisitive who can help provide or provoke good ideas. Or, a lesson might grow out of a particular problem or interesting phrase encountered in a bout. But no matter what, having a plan to fall back on is always a good thing.
And even given a good plan, some tweaking is often required, at least in my experience.
So I suppose my answer to your questions is: Yes.
Hope that made some sense...I promise to come back with a little more coherency after some sleep. A few related questions -- do you share your plans with your students at all?
does your basic format change much between children and adults, or when teaching different weapons? and, how much is planned out vs improvised in individual lessons?