When asked for the solution to society’s woes, Henry David Thoreau famously quipped: “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity…” Well that quote has always stuck with me, partly because it’s brief (and redundant) enough so that a ski instructor like me might remember it, but primarily because it rings true to my experience about life, and more importantly – about skiing. As instructors we work hard to put things into simple terms for our guests. Straightforward makes sense. This season our new members will have one simple, affordable choice for Level 1 certification; a two day module. With input from trainers, resort operators, and accessing best practices from other PSIA-AASI divisions, we are working hard to implement this pathway to Level 1 certification. I believe this simplicity for prospective members portends many positives. We have revamped the exam outline to be engaging and experiential education-based. Resort Trainers will be relieved of the burden of administering the “in-house” certification, allowing them to focus on candidate engagement over evaluation. A simpler format decreases the ‘barrier of entry’ cost for the candidate and administrative cost to the PSIA-AASI West office. What isn’t changing is that there will still be level one tasks, demos, movement analysis and teaching. The national standard is still the standard. In conjunction with this change, as PSIA-W Education Staff training will focus on pedagogy with a capital P, the method and practice of teaching. This means facilitating ‘experiential education’ approaches to learning outcomes (not just lecturing on them.) Simplicity applies to all levels of certification, it’s what great instructors intuitively do. So, there you have it – simplicity in a nutshell – we are back to the basics again. So grab friends, spouse n’ family – tell them there is never a better time to train (or re-certify!) as a level one instructor! Can’t wait to ski ya on the slopes!
This article appeared in print in our Fall Edge Newsletter in September 2017.