Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Monkey See, Monkey do

I am just in from four hours in the field where I have been huddled around the tip of my cigarette trying to keep warm as well as instruct. It’s not even that cold yet! Wait until next week, they have even mentioned the S word on the long-range weather forecasts.

Anyway, I’m not here to discuss the weather. I have been seeing a lot of stuff recently about how we instructors should take into account how the pupil learns. Some, apparently (and I’m no expert) like to see and do, some like to hear and do, some like to feel and do, some even prefer to read and do. I, as your instructor for the day, am supposed to pick up on little things like ‘ah, I see what you mean’ or ‘I hear what you’re saying’ and pitch my lesson accordingly. All honky dory you might think.

 Now, we get to the point. I haven’t always been an instructor, in fact up until a couple of years ago I have been the instructed, and, never once have I felt that the instructor has altered his natural teaching method to suite my particular style of learning, whatever that is. So, is this psychological profiling of a students natural learning style  just pretentious pseudo bollox or is there something in it? All instructors are different but very few of them are psychologists. I would suggest that most of us have a teaching style we have developed from experience and from what we see and hear from other instructors, a bit like our casting styles in fact. A picknmix we cobble together over a period of time to suite our taste and personality. Perhaps a tool box is a better analogy. The more tools we have the more choice we have of picking the right tool for the job. All instructors have been in the situation where they are not making any progress with someone  and have had to change tack. Is this profiling…or desperation. No. Desperation sets in a bit later when you are rummaging about in the bottom of the tool box and not finding the tool you want. Before desperation comes guess-work, with experience this becomes educated guess-work. Now, this is me. As I said before, I have never noticed anyone instructing me rummaging around in their tool box to find the right tool. This is not to say they haven’t though because I would hope my students don’t spot the desperation in my eyes as I mentally dig around my tool box.

 My particular learning style? I’m a dyslexic poet.


November 20, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I hope you don’t start rummaging around in my tool box.
    I had a two hour lesson with you that wasn’t a lesson, and I came away learning quite a lot, all of it about casting.
    Thanks for today Mike, you have put me back on track, but in a really chilled out way.


    Comment by Roger Miles | November 20, 2010 | Reply

  2. I don’t think it’s psychology at all Mike. It’s almost exactly as you explain it – rummaging around in the tool-box to find an approach that works and sticking with it until it doesn’t! Very few people can answer the direct question “how do you like to learn” and I wouldn’t ask it.

    I defintely have (in retrospect) seen a lot of different learning styles: People who can take a verbal explanation and just do it; people who need to see it and then do it; and people who just need to try it for themselves.

    I do like to check for understanding though. sometimes you get people nodding away as you explain or demonstrate something, or ask them to try something – but you have an inkling it’s not really sinking in, or they’re off on a track of their own: not their fault – it’ll be my crap explanation!

    Comment by Will | November 20, 2010 | Reply

  3. Spot on Will. I think they bring out these profiling theories just to make me feel inferior. I’m not so sure about people not knowing how they learn though. I do..slowly.

    Glad you enjoyed it Rog. Your tool box is safe with me.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | November 20, 2010 | Reply

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