Find something about Retention from our Operations Manual.
Many schools have a good marketing program where they are pulling in new students. However the students were falling out of the bottom as fast as they came in. They would come in the front door and back out through the rear! Gone are the days when you could scream and yell at a student and smack him with a stick to develop good karate.
You have clients who want to be there for the fun and for the camaraderie. You must learn how to keep your students excited and fired up about your program so they will want to continue to come. They want to train in an atmosphere of fun which will enhance their learning. If they are not having fun, they are not going to stay. It’s plain and simple.
I encourage each and every one of you to learn modern sports technology and to lean sports psychology approaches to deliver information to your student base. Learn and explore teaching styles and learning styles. This is the future of karate today. You owe it to yourself, as a professional educator, to find the best approach to get your knowledge across to your students. Demoralising them and slamming them down is not the way to do this. Each student should come in feeling no fear about their training. They should know they are going to have a good time. And when they leave, they should feel better than when they came in.
The key to having good students and long term students, is to let them know you care about them and that your best aim for them is to grow and become great students. How do you do this? Well, first you have to shape their behaviour. A student comes in and you tell them they are great just for the little steps, just for trying. They will then live up to your expectations. If you tell them they are a bum and they will never be any good, they will also live up to that expectation you have of them as well.
One area of development to explore is instructor training. Our Teaching manual gives you guidelines on how to teach with a systematic approach. You must educate yourself on how to become a better teacher if you wish to be successful at what you do.
The key to becoming a great instructor today, is to be able to mask training skills and develop physical skills through the means of fun games for the youth. In other words, conduct the actual training exercise that will benefit the child in building speed, power, mobility, physical karate techniques or whatever, but masking this through a game. The parents will understand you are training these children to be better karate-ka, and the child will feel he is playing a game and having fun. I know it is hard for traditional instructors to understand, but children aren’t going to stay in any program unless they are having fun. So you must sure you are helping them grow as a karate-ka, but at the same time make sure they are enjoying themselves and having fun in order to keep them in training.
Students Should Come In Feeling No Fear About Their Karate Program ... They Should Leave Feeling Better Than When They Came In
Steps to Increase Beginner Retention - implement a sound curriculum
1. Identify the specific requirements each student will be tested on.
2. Provide students with a written list of the specific techniques they need to demonstrate at their first test. Give them this list at the conclusion of their second lesson. We issue new students with the Student Handbook which contains all the requirements. The price of the handbook is included with the Registration fee.
3. During class time, teach more advanced techniques as a challenge or to more advanced belt ranks. Be sure to mention that the techniques are bonus material that is not required at their next test (this gives them a sneak preview of what they have to look forward to without the pressure of having to perform the more advanced material before they're
4. On test day, make sure you have prepared a script of techniques to be called by the test conductor. This script is taken directly from the rank requirement list that each student has been provided with. This helps so the test conductor won't accidentally ask a student to perform curriculum from a higher rank (implying that they should know something they don’t).
5. When students are presented with their new rank, they already know what the requirements for their next test as it is contained in the student handbook. This way, students can start focussing on new material for their future stripe test.
By having detailed lessons plans you can ensure that the rank requirements are being covered in class by yourself and the other instructors. By having this curriculum in place, not only will you retain new students, but you will also have a plan that will increase retention at all of the levels. By letting students know what will be expected at each rank level, making sure that enough class time is dedicated to the teaching of the expectations and consistently testing those specific expectations, sets students up for success. Students who experience success are happy and therefore stay in class.
Think of retention in terms of archery. If you start new students out with a large bulls eye at a close range, they have a measurable and achievable goal to shoot at. As they achieve their goal, you set a new slightly more difficult goal. In time they can develop into a champion archer. On the other hand, if on their first session you give them a strong bow, a small bulls eye at a great distance and cause the target to rapidly move via a remote control device, after a few feeble attempts the large majority of students will leave feeling defeated and frustrated.
You can repeat the step by step process with all of your belt ranks. If these concepts are new to you, then start with your beginners and work your way up to your upper ranks. The more people that are truly learning and enjoying their martial arts training, the better your communities will be.