Learning Styles & Lesson Format
|"I learn best when eating."|
After a challenging but successful lesson, the four of us chatted over dinner and wine and the conversation eventually turned to group vs. private lessons.
The two ladies who had just ridden both preferred (small, 2 or 3 riders) group lessons, but for different reasons.
One felt that it was mentally exhausting to focus consistently for an entire hour in a private lesson, and needed the breaks in between jumping efforts to collect her thoughts and get mentally refreshed for the next go-round.
The other benefitted from watching other riders in the lesson while waiting her turn, taking the time to notice how they did the exercise, and make a plan for how she was going to improve when it came her turn to jump again.
Both riders are also visual learners, and find that watching other riders at or above their own skill level helps them learn and understand.
|"I'm-a learn all about this pile of hay."|
While I won't deny the benefits of watching other riders, when it's my lesson time I get the most out of an intensely-focused one-on-one time with my trainer. When I ride, I FOCUS, and having my trainer's stride-by-stride, jump-by-jump input is an important part of what makes lessons valuable for me. When she's calling out "THAT'S IT!" at the same time that I'm telling Dino "GOOD BOY!" I know I'm doing something right!
I also value being able to use walk breaks to talk to her about what I'm experiencing in the saddle, what I'm thinking as I ride, and things I'm having trouble with. In a group lesson, that time must be spent in silent contemplation, as other riders need the trainer's attention. Dino is also terrible at going back to work after having a break, so the group lesson format is generally not great for him, either.
One thing I found interesting is that everyone agreed that large group lessons of 4 or more riders were generally NOT beneficial. None of us felt that the typical clinic environment of a big group helped us learn, and concurred that it could even be detrimental. While we all enjoy auditing clinics, few of us enjoy riding in them!
So, what's your preference? Private or group lessons? What effect does your learning style have on the type of lesson you prefer?