Karate Kubs Blog 2
Kennedy’s Karate Kubs Blog
One of my favorite things about being a Karate Kubs instructor is developing an understanding of my students and their learning style. I love people and I love analyzing the ways they operate. What motivates them, scares them, makes them happy, etc. In Kubs class I am always paying attention to see the different responses I get to games and activities that I try in class, to help me get a better inside look on who they are.
As an instructor, these things are important to pay attention to, and can be used as tools to run your class. You have to be aware that no one else has the same perceptions, thoughts, feelings, responses, and learning style as we do. Even at the young ages of 3 -5 my students each have a very big personality, and are full of individuality. You really have to branch outside of yourself and the way you think in order to help your students grow and to understand them so that you can find the best way to reach them as individuals and help them develop to their full potential.
I recently came to better understand one of my students when I found out he was afraid of me. I was having a hard time getting him to participate in
activities and I could see that he was nervous, but I didn’t understand the source of the fear. I later found out through a parent he was scared of me. He thought that if he punched and kicked the pad in class then I would punch him back and beat him up! Of course I would never hurt one of my Kubs, but I guess my uniform and black belt “ninja outfit” along with the fact that I was a lot bigger than him was really scary for a little pre-school aged kiddo.
After finding this out, I changed up our first game to be played in a way I hadn’t tried before, hoping that it would put a lot less stress on this particular student. Throughout class I paid close attention to how he reacted to me and took care to smile at him and go out of my way to talk to him and make sure to get on his level and use a softer and peppier voice than usual. I had all the Karate Kubs line up and take turns doing a simple obstacle race, but instead of me holding a pad to punch or kick at the end, I put a small heavy bag at the end (so I was not connected to the thing students would be kicking and punching) in hopes that this would get rid of the fear and allow him to have a little fun. I had this student stand toward the end of the line for the first time through the race, that way he could watch the other students play and see that they were safe. I wanted him to watch and notice that I was there to help, and build up excitement as he watched how much fun the other students had playing.
It worked! My nervous Karate Kub participated more in this activity and through-out the rest of class than he ever had before, he was smiling and having a great time. After class I got a high five from him. In yesterday’s class I used the same strategy, and we made even more progress. For the very first time in this session yesterday, my nervous little guy hit the pad while I was holding it! He is moving forward SO much now that I have discovered what was hindering his learning. Not only has his class participation sky rocketed, but his negative behaviors are beginning to go away too. As he feels safer in class and knows that I am here to help, he is also becoming a better listener. I am watching him, along with all of my students learn that if they help me by listening and paying attention, I will help them have fun by providing games, teaching karate skills, and giving rewards. It seems without even knowing it, my students are beginning to understand membership oath #2 about “mutual friendship”. As their teacher I am here to help. I am making sure to get it through to my students that we should always help our friends, not hurt them. As Karate Kubs we are learning all the basics- even how to treat others. It looks like we’re headed in the right direction.