Christian Di Leo VI Dan ITF (AR-6-131) Bachelor Degree in Psychology (Mat. N° 30088), lecturer at University of Buenos Aires until 2007 in the course: “Evolutionary Psychology in Childhood”.
I am convinced that the ITF has made a significant step when developing this program. I am of this opinion since I believe it is a highly valuable tool grounded on firm pedagogic tenets. The speakers had a deep knowledge of the environment that may facilitate the development of the child. Knowing how to take the most of it may have a great impact on our students and instructors.
I deem it of the essence the remark made both by Master Donato Nardizzi and by Sabun Nim Fabian Izquierdo on the flexibility of this Program, and that this would allow its application in different social and cultural spheres, following the guidelines and the wish of our founder of a Taekwon-Do for mankind.
One of the hallmarks of the seminar, from my standpoint, has been the mentioning of the fact that the instructors should pay attention the viewpoint of the child, thus significantly helping an approach to understand him and, therefore, to reach his self in a better way. Moreover I consider it fundamental the way this program highlights the work through stimulation and awareness by the instructor of the achievements of the student, as a key motor for progress and learning; searching and fostering self-improvement as something pleasant and instead of demanding. Besides, the inclusion of all the students in the activities through the doctrine of morphing involves an appreciation environment for each of them, where they are not compared among themselves, granting the “winning” and “losing” concepts the suitable status described by R. Kilpling with clear-sight and sharpness in “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same”. Moreover, I found it excellent the remark made not to label the student, since this allows him to feel and be certain that he has chances of change and progress, thus giving him hope. This is an essential step towards personalization and conferring him value and significance as a person. This last statement shows a notable empathic capacity and a thorough preparation by the authors of the project.
All the above is of great importance for the development of an adequate self-esteem in the child, since their psychic structure is under full construction at such ages. Sigmund Freud held “… Parents, teachers and educators are for the child their ideal models” thus their words are highly valuable for the student as another significant person and you rescue this in its essence, highlighting its importance again, and giving it the place it deserves.
Apart from that, I found it very significant the comment on the most adequate means of communication where you have clearly and consistently described verbal and non-verbal aspects, the adequate management of the group by the instructor, and the discipline as pacifier and framer of limits where the student is given containment for both his aggressiveness and that of the others thus safeguarding and protecting him. At the same time, said care and protection become functions of their own in the long run (since, in different ways, the program intends that the student becomes more autonomous and independent). All these considerations, when in practice, help to increase the self-esteem in the student.
But I ask here: This program is limited only to children between 4 and 7 years old? I believe that although it is so, methodologically speaking, the topics you have developed luckily exceed this, to become not only excellent guidelines for instructors when working with children of said ages, but also, beyond that, its core ideas, from my viewpoint, provide instructors who attended the course (and who may read the material given in detail) with the chance to rethink teaching, its ways and modalities of how knowledge is transferred not only to older children, but to adolescents and adults, as the concepts can be extrapolated, making the qualitative changes, as regards ways and manners, for each of the relevant ages.
I have read carefully the project and I could add more things to the letter I sent to Master Nardizzi, since it was written shortly after the course.
Regarding the ages, the characteristics concerning the thinking for each age have been kept in mind, regardless of the knowledge of theoretical concepts.
For example, the articulation between theory and practice is accurate.
The thinking of ages of 4 to 6 or 7 is mainly intuitive, following studies based on Jean Piaget observations and experiments. This period’s characteristic is intuition. Kids don’t handle logically something, they use intuition. The internalization of any schema that allows anticipation. The internalization of perceptions and movements in uncoordinated mental images. Intuition is more linked to perception, centered at a typical point of view of them.
About 6 and 7, depending on cultural development degree and times, the stage of concrete operations begins. Kids can start to process operations, but with concrete elements. For example, if they learn to add up, some elements are used to do this operation, like oranges and caps. For these two stages, kids need a concrete support. Laterality and turn concepts aren’t developed. You can’t just say to a little kid: “Make the right cross, moving the right foot and turning counterclockwise, since he is not prepared for that, except some individual differences. It’s difficult even for adult beginners. Even for us, in our first steps in TKD, it was difficult to learn right and left crosses. Fortunately we’ve improved our methodology and students learn in a faster, better and easier way.
The simple fact of working with green and red brands in arms and legs and with reference points on the floor is a solution that allows the kids to do the exercise. I want to show with this example the coherence and theoretical foundation of your project. There are many examples I can give you, but I think I put it clear.
Other point I want to underline is the mental examples to symbolize something in a pleasant or unpleasant way. For example the way some instructors try to explain the pivot at the saju jirugui. (You were very graphic and specific with the designs presented at the course), saying that the foot is “nailed” to the floor. You mentioned other ways to say the same thing, but with pleasant nonaggressive mental representations.
The attention time according to the ages is correct, and the length of the classes and the exercises are organized this way.
In short, what I mean with this addition to this note that has already a couple of years, is that you have considered and studied what happens to the kids regarding their type of thinking, their psychological structure and stage of psychophysical development. You have clear specific objectives and goals, and you provide as well an attractive abundant material that can increase instructors’ resources for their classes.
It seems a very viable and seriously studied project, with variations and adaptations that can be made according to certain sociocultural conditions of the environment in which teaching takes place.
As I said in the previous e-mail, it provides many tools for classes of all ages. I find the sections “Effective Communication”, “Discipline” and “Discipline in the Classroom” and “Teaching discipline” a guide for a TKD instructor that teaches to all ages.
Unfortunately some instructors believe that discipline is only for children, and they allow to teenagers and grownups unacceptable things, probably because current social settings tolerate and accept unbearable issues that because of being frequent are took like “normal” in the wrong way. As our dear master Enrique Eiriz believed, protocol standards, courtesy and discipline, keep away low types from our space. So I find very remarkable what you have developed at these points because I consider it crucial, not only for teaching kids, but for teaching Taekwon-Do in general.
Probably, the only adaptation that I would do, due to cultural and environmental circumstances typical of our teaching areas, it’s the implementation of a program dividing the class in children of 4 and 5 years old, and 6 years old and older, by the other hand, implementing in 6 and 7 years old kids, a mix of Kids methodology with the traditional program. But this is due to the sociocultural environment in which my instructors generally work. That’s remarkable in this program, because it isn’t something strict and fixed, but flexible and adaptable to the circumstances and the environment in which classes are developed.
In short , I hope you continue the Program, because whoever appreciates and values it, will have very good results in their work with kids because you have developed a serious and well founded work, with many resources not only for instructors especially dedicated to teaching kids, but to everybody.
As a psychoanalyst I recommend this Program for its solid foundation, proper structuring and methodological organization. It’s viable, because of the educational resources brought to the TKD instructor and therefore the significant benefits that gives to the students regarding their education, improving the self-esteem, their sense of independence in their daily lives and attention and observation of the environment capacities.
It also strengthens the relationship between mind and body through the development of mental capacities (coordination, abilities, physical and mental skills, attitude).
The section regarding hazard perception and abuse along with tools necessary for the resolution is also very important. This activates the distress signal and prevents it from becoming an unmanageable distress that can paralyze or put the kid in a passive and helpless situation, which would result in a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that inevitably leads to a low self esteem.
In this case, the tools provided by the program imply an active position of the student to perceive and be aware of the surrounding world in order to be able to solve with many resources risky situations. This reaffirms the feeling of safety and most importantly, of being objectively safe. It’s not only an inner feeling but it also materializes in facts because it provides tools to protect their physical integrity.
Other benefits for students are the points on health care, nutrition and hygiene.
I hope that the contribution that your work does with professionalism and pedagogical accuracy concerning kids’ education will be eventually valued and recognized.