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Challenging the Principle of EDICT

Posted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:43 pm
by AndrewR
This thread is here to allow for people to meaningfully take account of their own instruction techniques in relation to EDICT and their responses to the article 'Challenging Edict'. Thanks

Re: Challenging the Principle of EDICT

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:14 pm
by ham n salad
Wow Andrew that's some seriously productive procrastination!

I've skimmed through it and found some stuff that I agree with and some that I disagree with, and will do my best not to read it fully or reply in depth until after exams! Expect a proper reply sometime over the summer!

It's great to have some discussion on this, I'd be really interested to hear what other people have to say. I was advocating EDICT to the UL crew on the basis of relatively inexperienced paddlers running introductory sessions for the hundred or so people who show up every year to give kayaking a go. EDICT is simple, it works, and it's emphasis on brief explanations and clear demonstrations I think is very important. Inexperienced instructors often get carried away with explaining every nuance of a skill, without realising that the student isn't really taking in a word that they're saying.

You mentioned something in your document about explanations not explaining why and where a stroke is used; I disagree with that; I try to always include those things when introducing strokes to people. While trying to keep things brief of course. Why strokes are used, where they're used, and, just as importantly, where they're not to be used are just as important as the technical bits of how a move is performed.

There may be better methods out there and it would be great to develop them, but I wouldn't send EDICT to the graveyard just yet. It provides a great starting point for teaching basic skills, and obviously can be modified to suit the situation depending on the experience of the instructor.

...this is Keyes by the way, in case you were wondering! I had to search through old posts to find my username, I guess I was feeling hungry when I registered for the site!

Re: Challenging the Principle of EDICT

Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:36 pm
by AndrewR
Firstly thanks Eoin for the response, and no hurry with responding again I know you are very busy.
ham n salad wrote:EDICT is simple, it works.
Yes EDICT is simple but the question is who does it work for?

The answer is that it works for a novice instructor at basic delivery on a key stroke. This is where the huge weakness of EDICT lies. Like I've specified in the article the entire philosophy of the learning process is focused around the person instructing rather then the person being taught.

I have actually had a very interesting discussion with the training and development unit of Canoeing Ireland through email since this went up. I will post their responses in full when I have their permission so I am not seen to be "cherry picking" quotes which help my argument.

But this is a telling finding for me:
TDU: "The main weakness we have seen in the cohort of Irish Instructors is their ability to observe and analyse performance to provide meaningful and accurate feedback."

My response:

EDICT as taught as a staple grassroots method of teaching requires very little on the part of the learners, for this reason they don't respond in ways that make an instructor think about why they teach a particular skill in a particular way.

The feedback instructors provide is what they remember from their instructor courses or what whoever taught them used to say on the topic. With such little interaction between instructor and learner it is no surprise to me that instructors can't adapt to analyse performance because EDICT doesn't allow for students to question or make the instructor think in different ways.

If instructors are started off using EDICT as Level 2 instructors and get comfortable in that role I feel it will be more difficult for them to change their coaching methods to accommodate learner focused advanced methods. This is especially true if there is a number of years between an instructor gaining a Level 2 certificate and Level 3 certificate.

But by directing instructor focus on hearing from the learners from the start (L2) new instructors can autonomously improve their learner directed practices during their logging hours stage and beyond. This is because they have been given the philosophy that hearing and responding to the learners in different ways is important. That way by the time the Level 3 instructor course comes around they are ready and open to hear about the more advanced practices and can relate to the topic of learner directed teaching from experience.

Do you agree that EDICT although simple and somewhat effective (for instructors) can create hard to break routines and rituals for instructors moving forward?

Do you think EDICT can be changed to create something that is just as simple but requires the instructors to ask more from the learners?

My TRUSTS method is unlikely to be effective for novice instructors as it requires an abundance of experience and perception.

However I believe strongly that there is scope for EDICT to be altered in order to set instructors on the right path in terms of receiving feedback from the learner, be that through a complete overhaul or an addition of a discovery/understanding or review stage.
ham n salad wrote:You mentioned something in your document about explanations not explaining why and where a stroke is used; I disagree with that; I try to always include those things when introducing strokes to people.
I'm perfectly happy with people disagreeing with me. All I ask is that you try different methods out for yourself to see if they work for you. I personally have found great positives from not giving beginners the answers straight away. By giving students the answers all you are requiring of the students is imitation.

You have to remember that you speaking about why and where a stroke is used is just meaningless words to beginners, they may nod their head enthusiastically and reiterate what you said but this does not account for true learning. You can repeat teaching points 100 times and true understanding may not occur.

For instance you could tell students to lift their upstream edge to let the current flow under their kayak when breaking into the flow Or you can ask students to look downstream when breaking in and let them tell you why it is important. My belief is that the latter allows for a far greater learning experience as it gets them to think rather then be given the answers.

Wrote this while very tired so hopefully it makes sense.

Cheers for the reply again Eoin, hopefully some others can get involved in the discussion.

Re: Challenging the Principle of EDICT

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:40 am
by Johnb
Thanks for posting, you made me miss teaching paddling.

I agree with the sentiment of what you're saying about learner or instructor focus. I don't necessarily think we need to implement an entirely new system to achieve this though. As I see it, most of the critiques are to do with people's interpretation and application of EDICT rather than the principle behind it. Not that I see anything wrong with TRUSTS, I think it's good, but learning more acronyms is going to make me forget the ones I already know.

Most of the critiques of EDICT in the article aren't how I believe it should be applied, or how I was taught it should be applied.

I agree with you on the implications of the word "Correct", but my understanding of how to run the "correct" part of the exercise would be closer to your suggested "skill refinement" section. Having said that, I've seen beginner sessions with the scenario you described of the instructor listing everyone's flaws in their paddling, it's pretty cringeworthy.

My issue with EDICT or any teaching principle like it is it doesn't look good when it's obvious. I think this is more a problem of inexperience in the instructor though. Sometimes you can almost hear a recently qualified instructor say "And now I'm going to go through the motions of EDICT" in their heads as they run through a stroke. The only way around this is experience being in front of a group and planning your session so that you can put a certain stroke into the context of the environment you're in. Good teaching looks seamless, and feels almost conversational to the student. You can do that with EDICT or IDEAS or TRUSTS.

The whole point of putting the onus on the student instead of the instructor is awesome though. Like you, that whole idea of the responsibility of learning is something I've felt for a long time, but you put it better than I could.