4 Elements of an Unstoppable Curriculum

As a mentor of aerial teachers, I am often asked this question:
How do I develop a cohesive aerial curriculum for my studio?  I just don’t know where to start.

This is a huge question. While the iceberg itself is tackled in my book, The Aerial Teacher’s Handbook, I wanted to help you out with a tip of the cold rock here. Let’s outline a few core principles:

1.  Be consistent across multiple instructors.
How do you get teachers with varying styles to operate on the same page?  If you have inconsistencies in your studio, start with a faculty meeting expressing the purpose of consistency.  Every teacher should focus on specific concepts and skills within a specific level (particularly level 1 which has the largest population).  This ensures that the level 2 instructor knows what the students have achieved in level 1, so they don’t have to backtrack (which is a must for safety, but not good for retaining higher level students).  Once you have established the purpose or the why, move into the how (see nos. 2-3).

2.  Make levels transparent for students.
What skills or concepts should be addressed in each level for your particular student population?  How do you communicate levels to students effectively?  And how do you enforce student registrations so a 
level 1 student doesn’t sign up for a level 3 drops class?  Answer all of these questions on paper (with staff input if desired).  Then make an action plan to implement your decisions.

3.  Use advancement procedures that work.
How does a student advance to the next level?  How do they prove they are ready to handle a more demanding class?  Every studio needs a clear way for students to demonstrate what they can do before a skilled instructor who approves whether or not they can move to another level.  Write your advancement procedures on paper and store them in the faculty handbook.

4. Train and Maintain.
Once you have created a curriculum and advancement procedures, train your staff to implement them consistently.  Write these procedures on paper and store them in the faculty handbook.  Then find ways to share procedures with students so there are no surprises.  If you are consistent and transparent with your policies, students will take your studio seriously and they will see greater value in their training because of it.

For additional discussions and charts for curriculum planning, please check out The Aerial Teacher’s Handbook.

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