Teaching never ceases to stop fascinating me. Next year will be my 30th year of standing out on a practice ground helping people play better golf. In thirty years you can imagine how many changes I have seen and in all shapes and sizes from equipment and techniques to fitness and playing strategies. I am not sure that subscribe to the view that teaching has changed that drastically. Of course teaching methods and techniques have changed, no question however I would say it is just as much if not more a continual progression of being able to extract more accurate and more factual data that has changed the way we now teach. Therefore in turn this data collection has taken much of the guesswork out of what we are now seeing and assessing.
For many years I use to wonder why data analysts received vast salaries. Well now I know why and I apologise to all those pupils of mine that I jokingly accused of being overpaid analysts as now 15 years on, and in my own profession, if you are not some type of data analyst then you are certainly not giving your pupil the best service you could. Strong words I know however the more I use factual data the quicker I am seeing positive results.
This leads me onto a real teaching dilemma and one that many teachers face on a daily basis. Affirmation versus confirmation. It is the scenario of the pupil that comes to you for a lesson adamant that they know what is wrong and invariably they know how to fix it however they need your advice on what they are doing. You look at the lesson and actually realise that what they are asking for is actually not what they need and this is where the conundrum presents itself of doing what is right, as opposed to what the pupil believes to be right.
In my earlier teaching days I would say that for possibly the first 10 years or so if an experienced player came to me and stated that they needed to achieve something and this is how they achieved it then I would very much go down a road of finding myself formally agreeing and effective becoming a teacher almost monitoring a situation that they thought they new best how to fix, after all it was their game and as the pupil they should know their own game, so you would think.
Very often I would find myself being led away from some of my own solid beliefs and slowly I was working towards the beliefs and ideals of the pupil standing in front of me.