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Karate Instructors: Six Simple Steps For Scheduling Your Classes

Jan 4, 2008
One of the most important elements of a martial arts school's operations is the class schedule. Deciding on an appropriate and effective schedule that matches the needs of your students and your curriculum can often be a very challenging task but if this is done right then the benefits are well worth the initial effort.

Have you ever had problems trying to design an effective schedule? If so, then this article is for you.
Here are the six simple steps for scheduling your classes:

1. Decide how you will arrange your classes. Will you organize your classes according to program, age, rank, or all of the above? Most schools have different programs such as a Little Dragons or Tiny Tigers program, a junior program and a Teen & Adult program. Often family classes are offered too as well as various other programs including a Leadership and an Instructor Training program.

The programs are usually structured by age but within each program are different levels such as beginner, intermediate and advanced. How you structure your schedule depends on the size of your school and your membership but the different programs directly affect the type of schedule that you need to offer.

2. Size of each class. How many students do you want to have in each class? For the 4 - 6 age group, 10 to 15 students in one class are enough. For the 7 - 12 age group, 15 - 20 students is a good size and for the teenagers and adults it is not usually a problem to go up to 30 students in one class.

There are other strategies for teaching more students in one class by using additional instructors and assistants or by implementing a rotating curriculum, but if you are on your own and your floor space is limited, it is probably best to stick to these suggested numbers per class.

3. Length of each class. How long will each of your classes be? Keep in mind that young kids have shorter attention spans and probably only need 30 minute to 45-minute classes. Older kids, teenagers and especially adults are looking for a good workout and will usually need at least an hour.

4. Decide how many classes you need. How many students do you currently have and how often do those students come to class each week? For example, if you have 100 students and the average student comes to class 1.5 times per week then you should plan your classes as if you have 150 students coming once per week. If you want 15 students in each class then you need 10 classes.

5. Available timeslots. When are you and your instructors available to teach? If you are operating a professional school, you will set your schedule based on which hours are best for your members. If you are running your program part-time through a community center or a YMCA and have volunteers as assistants, you may need to be more flexible when it comes to setting your schedule. Find out which hours are available and fit your lessons into those slots after you have completed steps 1 through 4.

6. Tracking methods. How will you track your attendance in each class so that you know which classes are working and which are not? Are you a state-of-the-art school with pre-printed membership cards and a scanner system? Do you use a name box system where the student hands his or her name card to the instructor or the desk person that day so that attendance can be manually inputted, or you do the good old-fashioned head count each class to get a feel for how many members show up each week?

Either way is fine but you do need some kind of method for tracking your attendance otherwise you have no idea which classes are working (i.e. well attended) or which classes are failing (i.e. the ones that have all but turned into private lessons for the same monthly tuition fee).

So use these six simple steps for setting your class schedule and if you need more tips on how to become a great instructor get my FREE Report on "Instructor Mastery: How to Become a Great Instructor Right from the very First Lesson." You can download it at http://www.freekarateinformation.com.

Good luck and best wishes on your journey in karate.
About the Author
Paul A. Walker, is a 4th degree black belt karate instructor with over 25 years experience in the martial arts. In 2003 he attained his 4th degree black belt, after studying with the legendary Karate Master, Hirokazu Kanazawa in Tokyo for three years. Get more info at http://www.freekarateinformation.com
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