Danny Murawinski, 27, from Virginia’s Wintergreen Resort, believes that an open mind is the key to progression. As an instructor of seven years, he feels that keeping an open mind through every scenario not only betters students, but the instructors as well.
“Don’t get caught up in the step-by-step process. There are always different ways of doing the same thing,” he said. “If you go in with an open mind, it promotes your students to have an open mind.”
To Murawinski, teaching with patience and an open mind relates to how you present information to students, as well as what information you take away from them.
Keep Students Excited with Lateral Learning
Murawinski finds that many students come into a lesson with one major goal in mind, but will often lack the skill to accomplish it. To help these students reach their goals and stay excited about snowboarding, he presents information through lateral learning, which shows students how all aspects of the sport relate.
“If I have someone who wants to spin off a jump, they need to know fundamental carving. So I teach them carving and then take them to the jump,” Murawinski said. “Through this, they start to realize that there is more to it than just riding the park.”
Learn From Your Students
According to Murawinski, teaching with an open mind also means changing your own teaching style to fit each student.
“If I can show them that I’m learning new things from their learning process, it helps me relate and get to their level while also remaining in that teaching role,” he said.
During a lesson, Murawinski will look for feedback from his students to understand how they learn best and adjust his style accordingly. He also rides behind his students and mimics their movements in order to understand their perspective and discover exactly what their barriers are.
Trust is FUNdamental
Murawinski explained that he maintains his open-minded approach as an examiner and clinic leader in order to best relate to the instructors he is coaching.
“Trust is such a big part of what we do; being able to relate to people, to get to their level and have them trust you with the knowledge you present them is really important,” he said. “A big part of trust is having fun. When I work with new instructors, before I hit them with a bunch of information I take them out, ride with them and do silly things.”
Murawinski’s theory has earned him notice as a PSIA-AASI emerging leader. He has also earned the following credentials: Snowboard Level III, Alpine Level I, Freestyle Specialist 2 and Children’s Specialist 2. And he recently applied to coach with the U.S. Olympic Team.
The PSIA-AASI Emerging Leaders series focuses on up-and-coming instructors who have been nominated by their peers as future PSIA-AASI leaders. To nominate a PSIA-AASI instructor under the age of 30, send us an email!