I’ve been working on a new concept for classes: still a work-at-your-own-pace idea, but with specific progressions, skills and levels with measurable achievement!
This idea came to me after watching a swordfighting demo by Academie Duello at VCon, Vancouver’s Sci-fi/Fantasy convention that happened in Richmond in the Fall. The swordfighters have leather gauntlets with coloured cording to mark their achievements, and this immediately made me think of glitter banding that could be applied to hoops!
My background in aquatics has also let me experience a number of programs for monitoring progress through swim lessons, and my favourite system was “I Can Swim” by Swim/Natation Canada. They had created a method of acknowledging participants’ skills in specific areas: still working on basic front crawl, but you’ve got an awesome breaststroke? Great! Let’s give you stickers for each skill you’ve achieved in the breaststroke category! Unlike the Canadian Red Cross and YMCA programs (which required everyone to complete all of the skills attached to a specific level before earning a badge and moving on), the I Can Swim system recognized that each learner had their own strengths and weaknesses and could benefit from the positive reinforcement of earning recognition of their successes!
This applies easily to hooping: right from the start, many hoopers struggle with basic waist hooping but are quickly in control of off-body moves, and are able to polish up their planes and horizontal/vertical transitions when the hoop is in their hands. Some students are fascinated by shoulder hooping, barrel rolls, and working on their on-body angle control, while others want to jump into poi-style moves with smaller hoops. I’ve always taught the weekly classes as all-levels, work-at-your-own-pace lessons, so students have been able to focus on their particular interests…. this new system will just provide a method to track progress and provide specific routes to travel, for the students who prefer a more structured approach!
My program is still in the development phase, but by the time classes resume in January I expect to have a Skills List ready to go, with progressions grouped into categories of movement. Beyond that, I’ll be working on the Examination and Recognition side of things: creating standards for each skill (probably at both a “basic achievement” and “mastery” level) and developing the tracking and reward system.
I’d appreciate it if you took a moment to let me know what you think! Is this something you would use? Are you motivated by having a checklist of skills to master? Do you want a progress report card? Would earning a stripe of glitter tape to add to your hoop make you happy? I’m open to suggestions and brainstorming - I love the springboard effect of sharing ideas, and how more input and excited energy leads to a better product! Please leave a comment here, or email me at email@example.com with your thoughts.
One more thing to share: I’ve been taking videos with my iPhone when I have a few moments of quiet studio time, and this is one of my latest clips!