Monday, August 6, 2012


"The success of the students is the most important measure of how effective the teacher is," Dr. Paul Lam

What makes a memorable teacher in any field?
      Communication, Inspiration, Empathy

Dr. Paul Lam introduces the art of teaching Tai Chi and communicating with students.  These principles can also apply any field of teaching as well as applications to interpersonal relationships in all areas of life. 

Teachers of any subject including Tai Chi and martial arts will also benefit from Dr. Lam's wisdom and knowledge.  Perhaps a teacher can pick up Tai Chi practice for increased centering, focusing, and health benefits?  What better way to teach students along the broad spectrum from quantum physics to visionary creative arts?

**  "Science and Art are One,"  Henry Adams

* What Makes A Good Tai Chi Teacher?
Dr Paul Lam

Many Factors make a Tai Chi teacher effective.  Effective teaching takes time and experience, like the art of Tai Chi, the art of teaching grows with practice.  You will become a more effective teacher with experience and the willingness to learn.  The essential components of effective teachers include knowledge of the art; understanding how your students learn and their objectives; adequate preparation; and the ability to communicate and inspire without intimidating students. 

The success of the students is the most important measure of how effective the teacher is.  To assess the value of any work, one must first look at the end result.  And it's important to define the end result accurately.  For example, in the case of an athlete training for competition, the true end result is not necessarily about winning the competition although that can be part of it.  The most important end result is the progress of the athlete in terms of his or her physical, mental and emotional growth. 

For a Tai Chi teacher, how well your students have learned; how much they have achieved in their goals; how much interest they have developed in Tai Chi; how much they have benefited; how much they enjoy the art, and how frequently they practice are all important components of the end results. 

Once the end result is defined, then the teacher should look into the objectives of the students and how they learn.  These will form the basis for the teacher to work out a teaching method.  For example, there are three main types of sensory learners:  the visual, the auditory, and the kinesthetic learners.  When teaching a group, chances are there are all types of students, so a teacher should develop techniques to use all three methods in order to achieve the desirable outcome.  The teacher should describe the movement for the auditory learners; demonstrate for the visual learners; and do hands on work for the kinesthetic learners. 

                                             Yin and Yang in Stained Glass?

Based on ancient Chinese philosophical understanding of nature, harmony, and balance, Tai Chi is an art with great depth.  This can be applied to being an effective teacher. 

The law of nature is a balance of Yin and Yang, which complement each other.  Maintain balance, growing internal strength and harmony are the essence of Tai Chi.  In a combat situation the, Tai Chi approach is different from most other martial arts.  It's not confrontational in the sense that blocking and punching back, faster and stronger win the day.  

The Tai Chi approach is best expressed in the technique of pushing hands.  Let's say your opponent throws a punch toward you.  You use your hands to touch and "adhere" to the approaching arm, feeling the incoming force and at the same time yielding to it.  Yielding is not admitting defeat.  You still maintain your balance and center.  Yielding is moving backward intentionally without compromising your strategic position, at the same time, absorbing part of the incoming force.  Once you understand the direction and property of the incoming force, you can then redirect it away from its intended target.  As you redirect, you can add your own force, and select your own way to gain control of your opponent.  In a blow-to-blow combat, the winner could sustain injury for blocking a full incoming force.  Whereas in Tai Chi approach, you can gain total control without injuring yourself.

This is true for real life, too.  Instead of shouting back when someone shouts at you angrily, take a step back to absorb the incoming anger, survey the situation, try to understand why the person is angry.  As you do that, the person's anger will most likely be alleviated from your yielding and willingness to listen (being absorbed).  once you fully understand the situation, you're in a much better position to work out a more positive outcome for both of you.

I use this technique to resolve some major life challenges....I was able to use the yielding method successfully.  In fact it took an immense amount of yielding and redirecting but we were able to work out a achieve...objectives peacefully. 

To apply this technique to teaching, first step back and listen to your student.  Find out why her or she wants to learn Tai Chi, and then establish an appropriate teaching method.  Once we understand what we want to achieve, it's easier to get there.

                                            Dr. Paul Lam:  Achieving Goals

Related Posts:  Universe Shadows of Cranes, steps to achieve your goal by Dr. Paul Lam (Mar 2011), Catching Up (Apr 2011) Travel Light With Tai Chi (July 2012)

Resources:  Dr. Paul Lam is a family practice physician in Sydney, Australia.  He travels the world to promote Tai Chi for Health programs, empowering people to receive benefits of Tai Chi practice.  Free newsletter, articles, research, self-teaching DVDs, music Cd's, E-books, find and a certified instructor in your area.  You Tube, Facebook, and Twitter

Teaching Tai Chi Effectively by Dr. Paul Lam, hard copy and E-book available.

* What Makes A Good Tai Chi Teacher by Dr. Paul Lam from Dec 2004, Dr. Lam's online newsletter.  Photo of Dr. Paul Lam, Tai Chi on Sail Boat in Helsinki 2012, Tai Chi Practice (2012), and Dr. Lam Teaches.  Photos and article reprinted with permission.

**   Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres join a pilgrimage led by Henry Adams to sacred sights in France.  Read thousands of free full text books on Fullbooks.

Mr. Holland's Opus, a compelling movie about a music teacher inspiring student achievement.  Group conversations are collected and shared in once place from anywhere in the world.  All with no software to install.  Teachers and professors can use these unique methods for feedback and input.  Articles, digital library, new Voice Thread Mobile.  New Book Stories From My Heart by Debra Basham, CHTP, NLP, HTt  Learn More from Joel P. Bowman, Ph.D and Debra Basham, Executive Wellness Consultant Request free PDF E-Book. Silver Butterfly, Create A Vision, A Tai Chi Journey with a Mystic Twist

Dr. Paul Lam:   Tai Chi on Sailboat in Helsinki (2012)  Achieving Goals (2012), Teaching Students

Pisces in Zodiac Window of Chartres Cathedral, 12th Century, France, suggests Yin and Yang.  Google Images