Teaching versus Conducting an Orchestra
Conducting a Taekwondo training class is similar to conducting an orchestra. An orchestra conductor must lead a group of individual musicians with different skill levels playing different types of musical instruments in a manner that allows each musician play his or her best while still blending in with the orchestra to create beautiful music. A Taekwondo instructor leads a group of individual students of different belt ranks, each with a different type of body and skill level, in a manner that allows each student train at his or her best while still blending in with the class to create a harmonious learning environment. To conduct a smooth running Taekwondo class that is both challenging and enjoyable to a group of students with different skill levels requires an exceptional instructor. If all students are taught the same techniques in the same manner, the lower ranked students may feel discouraged at not being able to perform difficult techniques and the higher ranked students may feel bored at having to perform easy techniques. An instructor must simultaneously:
- Teach all students techniques that are applicable for their belt rank,
- Watch each student so corrections or rewards may be given when required,
- Keep the overall energy of the class at a high level,
- Challenge each student both physically and mentally, and
- Keep the entire class moving smoothly toward a successful conclusion.
To accomplish all these things, an instructor must know each student personally. He or she must know each student's capabilities (present physical ability, potential physical ability, learning potential, emotional state, desire, and determination) and be able to use this information at the appropriate time to keep a class moving smoothly and effectively. Just as all orchestra conductors are not great conductors, not all Taekwondo instructors are able to orchestrate a great training class. Some instructors, although they may be superior instructors in every other way, are not able to conduct a great class—a well-orchestrated class is a thing of beauty in which it is a pleasure to participate.