Had a first crack at blogging and wrote two long winded posts on learning to kitesurf and going upwind. The posts detail reasons why kitesurfers often plateau and provides insight into what both riders and instructors can do to mitigate this.
If you have time to read I would love to get feedback from riders and instructors:
Thanks for this, I am a rider, not instructor except for casually teaching wife lol.
I went upwind pretty fast, i remember that once you learn to lean back in harness it gets quite easy.
I remember asking my instructor how to slow down first time I experience picking up speed on gusts it was quite hard to slow down, pushing back feet didn't do anything until I learned to leaned back in harness.
Once you can control "breaking" by edging it's pretty easy to find the balance point to go upwind (not too far but enough).
Good steady condition, right board and kite makes it easier too. a few knots can be key.
I also learned on smallish kite 10m ...
I think your advice of telling student to progressively edge further upwind until they come to a spot is basically same thing as learning to slow down and come to a stop. Once you can do that with enough wind then it's quite easy to go upwind.
Learning board control to edge is hard until they learn to lean in harness a bit, finding balance point to lean in harness requires a bit of muscle memory on bar and feet... So I guess some exercise to develop that muscle memory would be good and smaller kite is not bad idea!