Recently I read, Are You a Good Teammate?, a post on Catalyst Athletics’ blog, and it reminded me of our Spirit of Learning. I realized just how transferrable this dimension can be in students’ lives, even beyond their profession. You could call each of our classes a team, making each student a teammate of each other student, all supporting one another in the pursuit of their goals: some common, and some individual goals.
At ASM Wellness we believe in creating a safe space for supportive teaching and learning, in all of our programs. This means that there must be a trust in the classroom, so that students, and instructors all feel comfortable sharing sensitive information. Our learning environments enable students to feel comfortable asking any and all questions they may have, without fear of judgement or ostracism. We believe that this kind of environment allows for better learning, and greater personal growth. In our fields, experiencing full vulnerability and the growth that comes with it gives our graduates the ability to facilitate a safe emotional space for similar personal growth. When all that comes together, it’s an empowering and amazing process – for the client as well as the trainer, massage therapist or esthetician.
We establish this expectation of our students early on in each of our programs, emphasizing that the school should be a place of openness and non-judgement. We reinforce that the classroom is a sacred place of trust, and that trust should not be violated. We discuss the roles and responsibilities of students and teachers, and that includes supporting the learning environment.
The tricky thing is that a single person can undermine that safe space in the classroom. We have addressed this challenge in the personal training program through our concept of Spirit of Learning. Students are graded on this dimension on a daily basis in their student clinic. We kept it simple; students either detract from the learning environment, they remain neutral ( neither adding or subtracting), or they support the learning environment. We encourage all students to contribute in their own way, so we didn’t want to dictate how their Spirit of Learning should “look” – just that it’s in play.
The post, Are You a Good Teammate?, really reinforced the importance of this dimension. It validated that we are correct to put such an emphasis on this trait, and that we’re probably correct in allowing each individual to choose how they are most comfortable with it, so that they are most likely to cultivate it into a lifelong and career-spanning attribute. We’re educating amazing massage therapists, aestheticians, and personal trainers. Perhaps most importantly, we are educating amazing teammates!