First, one of the most common questions prospective students ask me is "How do you integrate new students into an ongoing martial arts class?"
The answer I usually give them is that Martial arts classes are not like college where everyone starts and ends at the same time.
Of course, you will be coming into a class where some of the students have been training for six months or more. Sometimes new students may be intimidated by having to be in a class where they don't know what to do.
However, as a teacher, I basically have 3 different things I can do to integrate new students into an ongoing martial arts class
3 ways we deal with mixed level classes
1.) Teach something new
For instance, in a mixed level class, one way to get everyone on the same level is to teach something that is new to everyone. The curriculum for the style of kung fu is vast. Basically, we teach a new movement that students have not seen yet. This evens the playing field and everyone learns together. Interestingly, there is one drawback to this method. Students who are constantly shown new techniques do not get to practice the techniques they have already learned. So they do not end up perfecting those movements. That's one way to integrate new students into an ongoing martial arts class
2.) Advanced students can add on
Secondly, I could run the class where I teach the fundamentals of a fighting technique and then add on for the advanced students. I could possibly add on a variation of the technique. Or perhaps, I could add on additional follow-ups, or change the type of attack they are defending against. This technique works really well when I have a larger class.
3.) Break the class into groups
Lastly, I could possibly break up the class into groups. This allows students of similar levels to learn the material needed with people who have a similar level of experience.
I use this only occasionally because this requires multiple instructors and that is not always available. Another reason we don't use this technique very often is that a new student can learn a lot form students with more experience. This method to integrate new students into an ongoing martial arts class is the best way to do it.
Helping to teach
In conclusion, I also firmly believe that when older students teach newer student they learn a lot form the act of teaching. In addition, older students are forced to verbalize the steps required for the techniques and this, in turn, solidifies their own understanding. I hope this has cleared up any questions you might have had about how we integrate new students into an ongoing martial arts class.