Saturday, November 26, 2016

Good communication isn't easy!

When I became a ski instructor in my native France, we went through a highly selective and grueling training, mostly focused on skiing technique. In other words, you needed to be or become an excellent skier (in those days) to have a shot a becoming a ski instructor.

Just like Christians, French ski instructors had to study their own bible called “Mémento du Ski Français” that captured the art, the essence and the “theology” of “selling turns” to the public. That piece of literature was no easy read and was written in technical jargon that required to be adapted by the savvier instructors in order to communicate it understandably to their students. It's also true that pedagogy wasn't top priority at the time.

A couple of days ago, I discovered that an updated version of that manual had been released, not just in print, but also available on line. I jumped on it and I tried to discover what was new and hip; as I delved into the material, I discovered that the entire piece was written in gobbledygook instead of in a style that readers would be able to comprehend without focusing and pondering like crazy on each and every word.

I'm pretty good with foreign languages, but there, I was just lost! Skiing is already a counter-intuitive sport and if it's not explained in ways the student can directly relate, see and feel by using images and simple terminology, learning becomes even harder.

I hope the French skis instructors that must study their updated method are resourceful enough to translate it into a practical language that speaks loudly to their students' mind eyes and physical senses!

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