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Think Like an Educator – Tips for Yoga Teacher Trainers


When a yoga teacher decides to take the leap and develop a teacher training, there is a fundamental shift that needs to take place: we have to start thinking like an educator, rather than an expert.

And expert is someone who is passionate, experienced, and knowledgeable about their chosen subject. An educator is someone who can inspire others to a different level of performance. Let’s look at how these are different.

If we approach our teacher training like an expert, we may make what I call, “The Great Mistake.” The great mistake is thinking that education is about what I tell my students. If we think this way, then we are tempted to give students the contents of our heads. We think that if we just give them enough information, they will be educated. Although this is very well-intentioned, it often leads to a “fire hose” approach where we saturate students with information.

Instead, to think like an educator, we have to change our point of view. Rather than thinking that education is about what I tell my students, I change the focus. I reframe the experience and define education as what my students can DO.

By making education about what our students can do as a result of the learning experience, I change the focus of the experience from me (what I say or show) to the student (how the student can perform differently). From this point of view, I am now focused on the student’s measurable performance. I can set a clear benchmark for what I want the student to be able to demonstrate or articulate at the end the lesson.

This change may seem simple, but it will transform the learning experience in profound ways:

  • As an educator, I now need to set clear goals for student performance,
  • I take the focus off of me and put it on the student,
  • I get clear about what “inputs” the student needs to achieve the desired performance, which defuses the danger of “firehosing” them with unnecessary information,
  • I have a clear idea of how I will assess the student’s success.

Before you create your next lesson plan, workshop, or teacher training, pause to think:

What do I want the student to be able to DO as a result of this learning experience?

This simple inquiry will help you take the leap from expert to educator, and support your students to have a successful learning experience.



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