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Teach to Your Client's Learning Style


Teaching Pilates requires a great deal of personal knowledge about the work. Over time a teacher develops comfort with their cueing and ability to assess the needs of a body before them. Teaching a client how to execute choreography is only one layer of a good session. Quickly being able to identify a client's learning style will enable you, as a teacher, to more efficiently translate Pilates to the bodies of new and existing clients. There are seven different learning styles categorized by general educational standards;

1. Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.

2. Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.

3. Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.

4. Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.

5. Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.

6. Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.

7. Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

Every human has some level of information intake through each style. When learning new information the brain uses it's strengths. Each client has a dominant learning style that an instructor can teach to directly. Thereby giving the client an accelerated opportunity to 'get it'. There is a huge emphasis on the use of imagery and visualization in teaching body therapies. It is imperative to remember that not all clients are visual learners. It will be obvious when they look at you like you are crazy and can't command their body. I have even had some clients flat out ask to stop giving imagery and "Just tell me exactly what muscle to move when". In contrast, more experienced clients may prefer vocal cueing and physical touch to guide and correct. When teaching group classes, it is most helpful to teach to the Aural senses. Use the inflection of your voice to 'sing' the tempo. Command the class with dynamics of your voice to get clients to work harder or release when necessary. Snapping, clapping and the occasional stomp also come in handy. The bigger the class the harder it is to be hands on. You can only do so much as one teacher. You also won't have time to individually figure out each client's dominant learning style. I like to say that a great group instructor has a knack for being generally specific. If you have ever taught a mixed level class of any kind, then you know exactly what I mean. For Pilates to take root into someone's body they must be able to visualize themselves in space. They must be taught to internalize verbal cueing and trust the physical support of the instructor and apparatus. Their mental ability to communicate with their body will multiply by using the simple logic behind the fundamental principles of Pilates. Whether a class or a private, knowing how to teach to the different learning styles will only make you a better and more sought after teacher.

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