Jiu-jitsu academies have little in common with most public schools.
There are no bells, hall passes, detentions, or books. Desks are nowhere to be found and BJJ professors do not have to lecture for one second in order to put their students to sleep.
Yet jiu-jitsu instructors are instructors, and they should embrace the time-tested techniques that elementary schools, high schools, and colleges have used to convey knowledge.
No matter what you think of the public school system in your state or country, there are plenty of things these schools do that you, as a jiu-jitsu instructor, should think about copying.
Here are four of them.
1. Creating a syllabus for your school
Some instructors have a haphazard style of teaching. They show a random technique one day, teach a completely unrelated technique another day, forget to teach a host of necessary techniques, then wonder why their blue belts cannot do a proper armbar.
A school syllabus can fix these problems.
A syllabus is a list of the techniques, goals, and behaviors students are expected to learn and abide by. It facilitates teaching by telling the instructor what he needs to teach and what he has already taught.
Much like their academic equivalents, good jiu-jitsu syllabi include weeks or months worth of techniques, allowing instructors to plan well in advance.
However, instructors should also feel free to update and occasionally veer away from their lesson plans.
A syllabus should be a guide, not a contract.
2. Making your syllabus available to students
Making your syllabus available to students benefits everyone.
It benefits your students because it familiarizes them with your expectations, reducing the likelihood they will ask you what they need to concentrate on to become a purple belt .
It also shows your students that you run an orderly, professional academy. You are not the type of instructor who is going to throw a random lesson together based on a YouTube video you finished watching five minutes ago. You plan your lessons well in advance, and you have clear goals and clear expectations for your students.
A syllabus benefits you because less confusion means fewer questions, and speaking as a 5-year classroom teacher, fewer questions makes your job far easier.
Syllabi should be available online or in print, and should use clear, concise, jargon-free language.
Students should also be reminded that reading and understanding the syllabus is a necessary component of their jiu-jitsu journey at your school.