Originally Posted by FredInChina
Thank you AshiharaKaicho, very interesting.
The following article about retention was posted earlier in another thread - it is very good: Osu!
You welcome. I had a look at that article. Find some more from our Operations Manual
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 ready).
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.
So, how can you, as the Sensei or dojo owner, lessen students quitting and increase your dojo’s financial strength? Consider these measures:
1. Do exit interviews of students who have quit and fix problems with the dojo quality.
2. Pursue quality of instruction and curriculum, so your students have interest in what they are exposed to in your dojo.
3. Target market to martial artists who have moved into your area. Be a part of Welcome Wagon programs—work with real estate agents in offering discounts and specials to their clients, etc.
4. Have safety policies in place at the dojo and enforce them. Make sure everyone knows the policies and why they’re necessary.
5. Require students to report all injuries or health problems to the Sensei. This will lessen the chance of re-injury or exacerbating the health problem.
6. Have students know that if they do their best, that is all that is required of them. If they cannot physically do 100 push-ups, do as many as they can WITHOUT INJURY. Make sure students understand you do not want injuries. Then, design each workout keeping the individual abilities of your students first in your mind. Push students to grow, but not to the point of injury.
7. Target Universities and colleges with your marketing program. These institutions oftentimes provide one-time martial arts classes to their students. Make an offer to these students to continue their martial training . . . at your dojo.
8. Keep an eye on dues increases. Consider increasing your dojo revenue through seminars or special events. This way, your students will truly get more for their money. Whenever a dues increase does occur, have payment conditions, terms and alternatives ready to keep an economically-challenged student training.
9. As an early warning measure, survey your students and ask them what, if anything would cause them to quit coming to the dojo. We survey our membership regularly—keeping up-to-date on our dojo’s quality. This activity can help you preempt a student’s decision to leave.
10. Do your best as Sensei. You can’t do anything about over half of your students leaving—but you can have some impact on the other 46%. So, improve yourself to improve your teaching and curriculum. Go to seminars yourself and share with your fellow budoka—for this will improve your quality and improve your student retention.