What will be discussed in this blog is the roles of the student and teacher and the relationship between them. It is important to realise that both of these groups of individuals have a role to play in fencing, and especially fencing training. They are actually both important to one another and it is this relationship and how sound this relationship is that will determine how effective the training is and also the ability to excel on both parts.
The first thing to realise is that both the teacher and the student have important roles to play in the training process and this cannot be ignored. In many ways the roles are two sides of the same coin. One does not happen without the other in an effective environment. A person cannot be a student without there being a teacher of some sort, and a teacher cannot be a teacher really without there being a student to teach. Now, in some instances, the student and the teacher will be the same person, but still the same applies.
One is reliant on the other. The student is reliant on the teacher in order to be taught what is required, but the teacher is also relying on the student to learn what is being taught in order that the relationship between the two is fruitful. In this it is important both fulfil the roles that they have in their best capacity in order for the best outcome for the situation and the training process. If one slacks off there is the highly likely chance that the other will slack off. This will result in a reduction in the level of learning. This is where it is best seen that they have a reciprocal relationship. If the teacher is lacking in enthusiasm for what is being taught, then the student will also slack off as they will see what is being taught as not important and also will reduce their efforts in order to learn what is being taught. If the student is lacking in enthusiasm for what is being taught, the teacher will recognise this and will not put in as much effort in the teaching process which will lead to a reduction in the learning. In this way it is important that both put in the maximum amount of effort in their roles in order to achieve the best outcome from the training situation. This also leads on to questions of what it means to be a student or teacher in fencing.
The role of the teacher is to teach. The role of the student is to learn. It is as simple as that, or is it? Does this mean that the teacher may only teach and is precluded from learning, even from the student? Does this mean that the student may only learn and is precluded from teaching? The simple answer to this is "No." This is best seen in the situation where fencing or particular parts of fencing are being learnt alone. In this situation the individual is both student and teacher rolled into one. The individual must not only teach but also learn. Where there are two, or more individuals the same applies. The teacher should also be learning, even if it is only learning how to teach better. The student must also be willing to teach, even if it is to teach the teacher a different perspective. We should all be seeking to learn at all times, and from everyone who has information to part with. The learning experience should never stop and we should never become only teachers as there is so much to learn and in order to do this you must be a student.
What has been discussed is the relationship between the student and the teacher. It is also important to examine what it means to be a student and what it means to be a teacher in fencing. This was a subject that was going to be left for another blog, but it fits too well into the current one to be left separate. This is because in order to understand the roles of these two it is important to understand what it means to be a student or teacher.
What does it mean to be a teacher in fencing? The simplest answer to this question is simply that you teach, but it must be taken further in order that the complete role is understood. It is true that the teacher's primary role is to teach, but it must not stop there. The teacher must also be able to understand. Understand where the student is coming from and understand why they may be having problems. This is another place where there is a division between the teacher and the instructor. It also means that you are willing to learn to improve your ability to teach. The learning process of the teacher is more aimed at improving what is being taught to the students, but it must not stop here. In some ways the teacher must also be able to talk with the student in order that they can understand where the student is coming from and possibly assist the student in dealing with some of the problems that they may be having. For some teachers this will be limited to how this problem is associated with their fencing, for others this is not neccessarily true. The important thing here is that the teacher must draw a line between where they are a friend of the student and where they are the teacher.
What does it mean to be a student in fencing? The simplest answer to this is that you learn. It is true that the primary goal of the student in fencing is to learn in order that they become better at their craft. To be a true student in fencing also means that you will go out and learn whatever you can from whomever you can in order to improve your fencing. Every piece of information is important and every piece in its own way will assist in improving the skill and understanding of fencing overall. This means that the student should also go out and seek such information that will improve their own fencing. This also means that for the true student, they will pay attention to what is being taught and approach this process with enthusiasm in order that they are able to get the maximum benefit out of the relationship with their teacher. In some ways being a student is also about being willing in some part to teach at some stage. A person learns a great deal from teaching and this process can actually solidify what the student knows as it is important that you know something before you teach it.
Once these roles are understood then the relationship between the two can be more completely understood. It is important that both the student and the teacher completely understand what their roles is and what it means for them. The relationship between the two is of great importance and the boundaries that are set between the two must be clear in order that both are able to act correctly in their roles. In order that students and teachers can perform to their maximum capacity both roles must be fulfilled and performed at their maximum capacity, once this is achieved then the maximum is able to be gained both from the relationship and from the fencing practice.