What is in your student manual?

Discussion in 'School Management' started by gpseymour, Dec 16, 2017.

  1. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I had to learn a fairly large number of Japanese terms (including many with absolutely no relevance to my training), but we did no study of the kanji. I'm curious - what was the benefit of learning the kanji?
     
  2. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

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    From a student’s perspective...

    Keep it online, with a password if you’re so inclined. Have a few hard copies around for the occasional person who likes that. And have one you can show a new or prospective student.

    A brief history of the art, and possibly your experience

    Philosophy of the art

    Dojo rules/etiquette

    Explanation of ranks - you use kyu dan ranks differently than most others

    Common non-technique words and phrases commonly used, such as counting, rei, mokuso, etc.

    Syllabus, which includes eligibility requirements (time in grade, etc.). Also include any rank specific equipment and uniform requirements and/or options, like if 4th kyu + wear hakima, sparring gear, weapons, etc.
    - My organization lists the correct Japanese terms for the techniques in the syllabus

    I think that’s a bare minimum if you’re going the student packet/manual route.

    For more of a manual feel vs a student handout, you could give step by step instructions for the standardized stuff. My dojo has one at the shinzen, and everyone’s allowed to look at it. There’s probably a way to obtain one from our honbu, but I’m not sure. It’s a written reference, not intended as a teaching tool. My teacher will look at it time to time during class if there’s something that escapes his memory at a certain moment.

    Keeping this stuff online saves some cost and is more convenient for someone like me. It’s easier to pull it up on my iPhone that it is to find a book. A book will get thrown somewhere by my wife or kids and won’t be found when I want it. At least that’s how most things go anyway :)

    I’d love a manual. My teacher has a bunch of stuff in a filing cabinet. Somehow that thing’s FULL of stuff, yet he can never find what I need specifically. And on the odd chance he can, it’s almost always a copy of a copy of a copy that was originally written on a typewriter and has a bunch of handwritten changes/corrections. I like stuff written out so I can practice new material at home without worrying about practicing it wrong.

    I heard through the grapevine that students get a manual from honbu when promoted to dan ranks, but I haven’t heard a definite yes or no.
     
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  3. Anarax

    Anarax 3rd Black Belt

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    Our manual only consists of rank requirements and terminology. I've attended other schools that have very large manuals, but I think the smaller the better. You also might want to consider making a pdf, that way students can review it on there smartphones and computers. It also makes it easier to update information and upload it onto your website. You can also embed links to videos about various things, fold/tie uniforms, forms, techniques. The videos can be your own or links to videos that you think are accurate enough for students to use as a reference. It makes everything more streamlined, efficient and cheaper.

    My current schools is the only one I've attended that uses pdfs and as a student I can say it's a major improvement over paper manuals.
     
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  4. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Your manual sounds good. I like the idea of a student and an instructor manual. There are things that students should know and things that instructors should know. Best way to teach certain techniques. Policies on best training methods.
     
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  5. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Brown Belt

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    First of all, by learning the kanji, and how words are broken down into sub-pictures, if you will, you are empowered to look at the meanings of each component, and understand what the intent is, and not simply rely on a translation. I bring this up often in posts with word meanings, but no one seems to get it as they are content on the common modern usage and a given definition.

    The kanji are actual pictures, and we can see many things...it is also a tool used to develop certain martial skills that I can talk about in private.

    One final thing...especially if you practice writing kanji, it is sword training.

     
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  6. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Brown Belt

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    Anyone who want to even consider instructions must be invited into the Menkyo Sei process and ascend to be given permission to instruct. A simple manual does not cut it!


     
  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the detailed reply, JR. I've shied away from step-by-step references up until now, because I have been adjusting the curriculum. I'm either done adjusting it, or about to make a major change (have a decision to make beginning of the year), and I should probably bite the bullet and start building that reference for folks. Otherwise, they'll have to use the one from the NGAA, which I don't follow on about 1/3 of the techniques.
     
  8. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I can see that. We don't use much Japanese, so the benefit wouldn't be the same. I've dug a little into kanji in the past, just out of pure curiosity, and it's clearly the key to understanding some of the subtext in Japanese usage. Not knowing that subtext is why we use English to explain concepts, and I explain to students that most of the Japanese concept-words we use (as opposed to technical terms like stances) are used as a shorthand, and we are probably not using the actual Japanese interpretation of the word.
     
  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know what the Menkyo Sei process is - I assume it's some sort of instructor training. If so, I agree. However, a manual should be part of any such process. A basic principle of training is that the trainee shouldn't build the manual (which is what happens a lot in both business and MA - we make them watch and take notes, and they use their notes as their sole or primary guide later). The same is true for an instructor trainee. They should have a reference manual to help them through until they get enough experience teaching that they (almost) don't need it.

    I've seen instructor training (including what I went through) that relied upon the instructor candidate to build his own reference. While there is value in that, it means each instructor starts with a reference written by a new instructor, rather than a compendium of the best knowledge thus far (or, at least, one written by an experienced instructor).
     
  10. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I have no idea what Menkyo Sei is. I study Chinese Kung Fu so manuals work differently for us.
     
  11. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Brown Belt

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    Why would a manual work differently? An established pathway forward is a pathway forward,correct?

     
  12. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    I started giving new students a student handbook this year, and it includes: 1) welcome message, 2) school rules, 3) white belt curriculum, 4) info about how belt testing works,5) info about required equipment, 6) tenants of Taekwondo, 7) how to tie the belt, 8) a thing about our social media accounts. I've been thinking about adding a short history of Taekwondo, a chart showing the belt progression (what ranks there are & what you learn at each rank), and an FAQ.
     
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  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks. Do you see any direct benefit, since you started doing that relatively recently? By that, I mean do you see different or fewer questions about the material that's in the manual?
     
  14. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    We have a general handbook that is given to all the students by the Sifu. But the instructors can still make their own handbook to fill in areas that weren't covered by the Sifu. For example, a guide on how to teach Students does not exist for the Instructors. I'm assuming there is one for the Sifus in the organization but not for the instructor. Not everyone is a good teacher and not everyone does a good job with teaching children. So tips and information on how to teach children would be of great use to an instructor. There would be no need to seek higher approval to produce something like that.
     
  15. JP3

    JP3 Master Black Belt

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    My stuff is entirely online and/or in my head, and I dribble it out onto the heads of my people or they can whip out their phones and use a screen. Website is currently undergoing revisions, and we're updating the template as the old one is clunky and doesn't support the video as well as I'd like.
     
  16. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a manual for IRT practitioner's. I give it to practitioner's that have been around at least for a year. The manual has our entire syllabus and lays out the system and what is covered at each level. While useful to any IRT practitioner it is geared for instructors.
     
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  17. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    Some. Much of the info in there was available before, as flyers that we were giving out in a more ad-hoc fashion. But I have noticed some improvement in, for example, general etiquette-type behavior (making sure to pick the kids up on time, not interrupting classes, etc) and an awareness that sparring gear will be something they need to get and how to do that.
     
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  18. thanson02

    thanson02 Blue Belt

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    I have been using Student Manuals for my clubs for years. We have the following in ours:
    1. Introduction
    2. History of the Art
    3. Overview of Leadership Team
    4. Overview of membership packages
    5. Core Philosophy
    6. Overview of core program and descriptions of additional programs offered (sparring, grappling, etc)
    7. Explanation of what they need to perform for their test and a explanation of how testing works.
    8. List of other events that the club is involved with.
    9. Final letter to student from head instructor
    10. Appendix with terminology, reading list, overview of curriculum breakdown and what is covered per belt
    In the past, we have had it on a website, but I was working with a bunch of college students so anything that is free is always appreciated by them. Right now, we are putting together introduction packs for new students with a welcome letter, test paperwork, order forms, sales deals for new students, and a copy of the student manual so they have a printed copy.

    I also have an Assistant Instructor booklet that I have for my assistant instructors. It basically explains the expectations of leadership in our club which includes my Principles of Leadership and it goes over the logistics of things that instructors need to know in addition to the student manual like how to participate as a tournament judge, break down on how classes are run with the rotation schedule, etc.
     
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  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks - that looks similar to what I've been working with, at least in concept. You're pretty well organized in that material.
     
  20. thanson02

    thanson02 Blue Belt

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    Thank you! One of the things we ran into since we were part of a college club was that our student base would rotate out every 4-5 years and you would have to train in the new people as they come in. We made instruction booklets for every officer position so the new people had a guide book to they didn't have to reinvent the wheel. We also set up the student manual for the club to work with our introduction program for students to check us out and see if they wanted to become full members. The organization kept everyone on the same page. The new club instructor is not as organized as I am, but he is figuring out his process and what works for him.123
     

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