To assure the quality and consistency of walking skills in forthcoming generations, it is anticipated that walking will soon be taught by professional teachers in properly equipped, educational facilities. The following curriculum has been designed to achieve optimum results.
N.B.- This is a tried and tested teaching programme, which systematically imparts approved walking technique, in easily accomplished stages. Each stage builds upon previously acquired skills. Consequently, it is vital that every student fully complete the current stage, before advancing to the subsequent stage. Under no circumstances can any stage be omitted or taught out of sequence.
- Stage 1. Motivation.
While it is fair to warn children about the enormity of the task they are about to embark upon; we must prevent them from becoming disheartened. Accordingly, the teacher will present details of the dire consequences of failure, illustrated with tragic examples. When this is delivered in a suitably urgent tone, it will evoke the necessary determination. Children should be encouraged to participate by relating stories pertaining to sorry individuals unable to walk correctly. Once the students can demonstrate their understanding of the importance of walking skills and they exhibit sufficient fear of failure; they will be required to pledge their dedication to this program before being allowed to continue.
- Stage 2. Inspiration.
A multimedia presentation will be introduced, depicting renowned specialist walkers, both classical and contemporary. An admiration of their extraordinary achievements should be orchestrated. An overview of the history of walking will be delivered; highlighting that erectness of posture indicates evolutional advancement and superiority. This will lead on to study of a key area: defining the optimum stance and stride, which best displays sophistication and earns most respect. Students will be set projects on their favourite, famous walkers, and be required to copy a multitude of diagrams relating to correct posture.A limited portion of time should be allotted to the development essential walking muscles. This will be safely executed by specialised exercise equipment with computerised individual achievement records. The brighter students may even learn the name of the specific muscle that each machine targets.
- Stage 3. Theory.
An appreciation of the complexity of bipedal mobility must be instilled. By contrasting human walking with horses, including trotting, cantering and the gallop, the students should acquire detailed insights and be led to admire the supremacy of bipeds.Calculations of stride length and frequency and how they relate to distance and speed will be examined at length. Most students can’t be expected to repeat the more complicated calculations, but these lessons will still serve to reaffirm the class’s confidence in the superior knowledge and expertise of their instructor.
Students must demonstrate a working understanding of how a top heavy, unstable mechanism such as the human frame, can be balanced, accelerated and decelerated by adjusting the centre of support relative to the centre of gravity. The complimentary practical task, will require each student to learn to balance a purpose-built ball-on-stick, on the tip of one finger. This vital skill may take some time to attain, so it should be set for homework.
A note on homework: It is critical to solicit the help of parents, in order to extend the learning environment to include the home. This accelerates learning by reducing the amount of time children waste on unstructured pastimes. Parents have two important roles in assisting the success of this programme. They must supervise any practical exercises, and help consolidate what has been learned in class through relentless reiteration and quizzing. More importantly, they must insure that the child makes no attempt to walk spontaneously, without the protection of proper facilities and competent supervision. It should be impressed upon parents, in simple terms, that premature walking attempts might cause injury, will retard progress and risk the development of irreversible idiosyncrasies, which will prohibit their child’s graduation.
- Stage 4. The Components of a Stride.
It is useful to further breakdown the process of walking to enable students to master one component at a time. Students must be made to understand that walking is a cyclic process involving:
- balancing on the left foot
- swinging the right leg forward
- transferring weight to the right foot
- balancing on the right foot
- swinging the left leg forward
- transferring weight to the left foot
It is therefore proper to study and practise each of these skills separately, before attempting to bring them together.
Once these concepts have been absorbed, a series of practical lessons must be administered. Protective clothing, including full-face crash helmets, knee and elbow pads are compulsory and must be worn throughout all practical sessions. A large bare room free of distractions will be provided. Any objects or points of interest risk the danger of being chosen as destinations which could lead to disastrous, attempts at premature walking, or contemplation of auto-determination, which is known to lead to behaviour difficulties. Similarly, crawling, shuffling and other forms of self-propulsion must be strictly banned, in order to maintain motivation and focus on the task in hand.
Students will be instructed in the delicate art of transferring weight between feet; first with the left foot forward and then the right. Next they must become adept at balancing unsupported on either foot. Once proficient in these skills the student is ready to practise the most difficult component: balancing on one leg whilst swinging the other. No form of support should ever be offered as this would result in dependency and laziness.
- Stage 5. Walking Practice.
The proper sequence of the components of a stride will be taught to the students and thoroughly memorised. In the practical class, each component will be executed in order, at gradually increasing speed until they merge into a more fluent movement. The early attempts at walking are to be conducted individually, while the rest of the class observes. By witnessing the rigorous and repetitive corrections of their teacher, the students will develop a critical eye and inherit a dedication to perfecting the approved technique and uniform posture. This vital tool will lead on to peer correction and ultimately, all-important self-critique.
- Stage 6. Examination and Graduation.
Graduation is such an important personal millstone, that this learning programme should never be rushed. A child who has produced copious amounts of tidy paperwork demonstrates possession of the dedication and conviction necessary to be entered for the examination. More capable children will be ready to graduate by the age of 5 or 6. Others may take considerably longer. A few will entirely lack the necessary discipline to ever be awarded this crucial qualification.During the examination it is important to bear in mind that the capacity of students to recognise and revere proper method, is far more important than their actual ability to propel themselves. The weighting of marks towards the theory component of the exam reflects this principle. In the practical exam, poise, posture and proper technique will score more points than distance covered or accuracy of navigation. Correct walking expresses class; so sophisticated form is far more important than crass, utilitarian transport.
- Stage 7. Rewards.
Graduates of this advanced walking programme will be immediately recognisable by their distinctive and refined technique. Teachers should encourage graduates to feel a justified sense of superiority over those unfortunate, feral walkers, who exhibit a crude imitation of bipedal mobility without having had the advantages of essential training. The success of graduates, represents a sustained investment of time, effort and money and he or she should be made to feel proud of every well-deserved entitlement and reward, which this qualification affords them.At this stage, all students will have inherited a healthy distain for vulgar walking anomalies. They will be competent at classifying all aberrations such as skipping, hopping, jumping etc. Above all, this programme will ensure that every child will know better than to ever engage in that most dangerous and reckless excess: running.
Some students, especially the less able, who may have found this course difficult, may fail to graduate or even refuse to utilise the gift of proper walking skills. Having duly discharged your duty to instil the necessary knowledge; you need take no responsibility for the genetic limitations of these sad miscreants. After all, one may lead a horse to water, but regrettably remain unable to compel it to drink.
Please note: This is a provisional curriculum.
For an updated version please apply to The Dept. of Bonsai People.
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