Thank you for your interest in teaching seniors. Teaching older adults in the mountain environment provides a unique challenge. Working with seniors requires both strong foundations in the fundamentals of skiing as well as a solid knowledge of the way older adults move, learn and engage in the sport. The purpose of the Senior Specialist program is to provide educational training for instructors of all ages and various abilities to gain the tools and knowledge necessary to provide high quality teaching and performance enhancement outcomes for the senior skier seeking lessons. To this end, PSIA-NW has created a curriculum to meet the unique needs of teaching to the senior population.
The PSIA-NW Senior Specialist program consists of the Senior Specialist 1 and Senior Specialist 2 educational courses. This is a certificate program which is based on an educational framework with an assessment component. The Senior Specialist program is based upon the PSIA-NW Senior Specialist Standard referenced in its entirety in the appendix of the Senior Specialist Manual and on the Senior Specialist PSIA-NW website. The Senior Specialist Standard is derived upon existing National Standards including Alpine, Children and Snowboard.
The premise of the Senior Specialist Standards is based upon the concepts of “levels of understanding” levels that define stages of learning within degrees of understanding. Just as certification is a measure of understanding, levels of certification represent stages of understanding. Although not a certification, Senior Specialist participants will be expected to meet levels of competency as defined by SS 1 and SS 2 standards. Participants will be held to the knowledge and performance standards of the level at which they are participating as well as the criteria for all preceding levels. Levels of participant expectation are based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, referenced further in the SS Standard.
Senior Specialist 1 (SS 1)
A two day course available to any Level I or higher PSIA member. There is a mandatory workbook and quiz for this course that both need to be successfully completed two weeks prior to the on-snow event. Principles of the senior specific models, teaching cycle, theories and professional knowledge will be covered. Identification of critical skills and skill blending including senior specific movement pattern techniques that allow for efficient outcomes. A SS 1 certificate is awarded based upon the degree of participation and understanding including the knowledge and comprehension and application and analysis of course material.
Senior Specialist 2 (SS 2)
A two day course available to any Level II* or higher PSIA member who has successfully completed the SS 1 course one season or more prior to the SS 2. The SS 2 includes a teaching component and a rigorous curriculum focusing on the beginning through advanced skier applying concepts, tactics and theory specific to coaching the senior learner. This includes a deeper exploration into the cognitive and affective attributes of a senior as well as identification of movement pattern techniques for the advanced level skier. There is a mandatory workbook and quiz for this course that both need to be successfully completed two weeks prior to the on-snow event. A SS 2 certificate is awarded based upon the degree of participation and understanding including the synthesis and evaluation of course material.
It is important to note the Senior Specialist program is an educational training opportunity, it is not an exam. However, there is an assessment component and a certificate will be awarded upon successful completion of the SS 1 and SS 2. It is assumed each participant will accept ownership of this material. Successful participants are expected to show an appropriate blending of skiing skills and an appropriate level of understanding of senior specific teaching knowledge and theory. Courses include written feedback and suggested personal goals for continued growth.
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