Educating the next generation

PT Magazine - March 2015
PT Magazine – March 2015

There has been an explosion of training providers across the UK that deliver fitness based qualifications. With this has also come an increased level of interest from experienced personal trainers who wish to be involved in the education of the next generation of fitness professionals. Teaching is not an easy job and requires a very special temperament and ability to engage with an audience.

The role of a teacher is a vastly rewarding position as it allows the teacher to help form opinions and build knowledge in a group that will allow them to go out there and be the best fitness professional they can be. As a tutor you are directly affecting the standard within our industry. It is for this reason that I get asked on an almost daily basis is ‘how can I get involved with teaching?’ And my answer always follows the same format.

First of all if you are considering teaching the first and logical question is… can you teach? Teaching is not a vocation that suits everyone, you need to be able to formulate your ideas and get them across to a varied audience in an understandable way but probably most importantly an entertaining way. This is something that is much easier said than done, besides this you need to ensure you have the number one quality of a teacher… patience!

All tutors must hold a valid teaching qualification, most new entrants go for the award in education and training (AET) which replaced the PTLLS qualifications. This basic teaching qualification gives you the broad skills you need to teach using an established syllabus. In terms of what this allows you to teach, once obtained holders of the AET are allowed to teach any qualification that they hold themselves.

Now a big point that I make to newer tutors is that just because you are qualified to teach a subject this does not mean that you should. In order to teach effectively and get the very most form your learners it is vital that you truly understand your subject, this means that in order to teach you must go beyond the level that you are delivering as part of a course. The hard bit about teaching is not necessarily the explanations of a subject, this should come easy as you will have planned and thought through your lesson structure. The hard bit is responding to learner questions, this is the part that you will need true understanding of your subject to be able to answer questions concisely and with the required depth.

Additionally most training providers also like their tutors to have an assessor qualification, this then allows you to judge a learner against a set of criteria established by the awarding body. Putting it into basic terms this means that you can also mark the written work and practical work of your learners. Ultimately having the ability to sign them off on a given qualification.

Ultimately teaching is an extremely rewarding job that really challenges you on so many levels, but you need to be prepared… prepared for the learners themselves and the shear amount of energy that it will require to deliver at a consistently high standard. However there is no better feeling than seeing a group come in with all their preconceived ideas and then helping them and guiding them towards a point in their learning where they are in a position to enter our wonderful industry!

Tom has been involved in the fitness industry for nearly 20 years. He is a specialist in rehabilitation, exercise referral and helping other fitness professionals to improve their business. He is also involved with course development, teaching, assessing and IQA of a range of training courses. He is always willing to meet other professionals so please do contact him via social media with any questions or just to say hello.

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