“WE’VE ALWAYS FOCUSED ON THAT COMMAND-TASK WAY OF TEACHING, AND THIS CHANGES THE WHOLE DYNAMIC.” —DAVID OLIVER
than it does from the traditional structure of the classroom.
At its heart, it recognizes that each lesson is a group or team
experience—an experience that is only improved by the active
participation of everyone.
“What changes is the instructor’s behavior and group-management tactics—moving toward a much looser format—
but there is still structure, just not as obvious,” PSIA Alpine
Team member David Oliver wrote in the Spring 2011 Issue
of 32 Degrees, in an article titled, “The Road to Retention?
Freestyle!” which previewed the rise of the session lesson.
In an interview for this article, Oliver stressed that rather
than just assigning tasks in the hopes of achieving specific
outcomes, the instructor has to be more of a facilitator,
actively encouraging students to participate in the lesson, and
the fun. “That kind of thinking just raises the involvement
of everybody in the class,” Oliver said. “We’ve always focused
on that command-task way of teaching, and this changes the
FREESTYLE FOR EVERYONE
The session lesson atmosphere certainly thrives in settings
where instructors are focusing on freestyle riding. Snowboard-
born (see page 38), the term itself comes from the free-form
way in which boarders tend to hit the halfpipe or terrain
park, everyone encouraging each other to try new tricks, and
pushing each other while still providing a support group, as
well as plenty of high-fives and stoke.