Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Teaching and learning

I had an email from Quilters' Connection the other day that was a really good read.  All about teaching quilting classes or any other class for that matter.

I love teaching!  Absolutely love it!  I love to impart the knowledge I've learned over the years to everyone and anyone who will listen.  I love to give out tips to make quilting easier and more productive.


As soon as anyone signs up for a class I'm teaching I tell them right away...................I start promptly at the time given.  I will not wait for anyone and I don't.  Remember the classes are set up so that work can be accomplished in the time frame provided.  Waiting for a late arrival is not only frustrating for the teacher, but for those that arrived on time and are ready to start on time.  9:30 means 9:30.  I don't start before and I don't start after.

We always had an introduction time.  We would start at one side of the room, after I had introduced myself, (I usually picked someone I knew to start) and have the girls give their names and a fact about themselves...............anything, where they lived, if they had grands, or children.  It broke the ice for the quiet person in the room.

Store owners should take the time to introduce the teacher to the class and then step back while she takes over.  I did that when I was head of workshops for our Guild.  Sometimes its hard for the teacher too.  Everyone needs to be put at ease.

When you teach you have to remember that there are different skill levels in the room.  You have to teach at the most basic level.  If people have questions they are never, ever stupid questions.  Maybe the person just didn't get it..................we all have those days.  Be prepared to re-word the directions so that everyone "gets it."  Please don't tell someone "that isn't the way to do it".  I don't paper piece like other people, but its the way I feel most comfortable doing it.  It is probably the same for others.  To the students, if you ever get told that, you have my permission to pack up your stuff and walk out of the room. 

Always, always, always have a materials list and put every single solitary thing on it.  Never presume that someone will know what to bring.  If you are the student, don't presume the teacher will supply it.  She has enough to do in preparation for the class.  When you pack up to go to class do it a few days before, not the day of.  If you need anything buy it in advance,  not the day of.  While you are packing check off everything that is on the list........................everything!  You know then that you have it with you.

Don't put things on the list you know will not be needed.  I once had on a materials list a $40 paint kit.  I never used it and to this day it sits in my closet.  I wasn't impressed.

Know your sewing machine!  I know my sewing machine, but know nothing about Pfaff, Janome or any other brand.  Take along you manual so that if you run into trouble you have your book with you.  Take along extra needles for your machine,    

an extra threaded bobbin.  Don't borrow from other people.  Its your responsibility to have your own supplies.  It irritates the heck out of me, when someone wants to "borrow" from me.  I took the time to be prepared and I expect other people to do the same thing.

Visual aids.  I love them.  I am a visual person.  I think most quilters are.  If you are taking a block for instance have that block broken down step by step.  If you are teaching a "trick" and it can be seen visually, have that as well.  Use a blackboard or a dry erase board, a bulletin board.  Anything that lets everyone in the class see what you are doing.

Heather's posting was a really good read as I've already said.  Take a look here. (This link may not apear until later today.  There is a 3 hour time difference.)  For those that don't teach it gives you an insight into what we have to think about when we hit the front of the classroom. We are not only there to give you a lesson but to make the day a fun occasion as well as a learning experience

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by Maya Angelou

"Sometimes a small thing you do can mean everything in another person's life. When you learn, teach. When you get, give."

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