One of the most useful courses I have participated in in my professional life was a people management course where one of the requirements was to take one of the learning modules back to our work groups and teach the material. The objective was for us to observe how we learned differently when we had the role of teacher, rather than of student. This was in the days before budgetary constraints forced most professional development onto the online space. Online and intranet based training might be appropriate for compliance training, such as the requirements of the Competition and Consumer Regulations Act, which my employer requires us all to understand, but there are only so many ‘soft-skills’ you can learn via online learning. In my opinion, the same applies to hands on skills like weaving.
It hasn’t been long since I completed the Hand weavers and Spinners Guild introductory weaving course, but with a little experience under my belt and a pretty decent reference library in my studio, I was happy to offer my services as teaching assistant in the current introductory course that is being offered over four full day Sundays.
Being a teacher has, indeed, made be a better learner. In addition to getting to know a charming and varied group of students, including an artist, a student of fashion and an early childhood educator, I have had the opportunity to help others with their warping, fetch and carry for the teacher and inspire others. I brought along my waffle weave scarf to show the class members my first project. One of the group decided she wanted to do a similar design so I added waffle weave to the class sampler. You can see the student’s sampler below. One of the major leanings for this student was the importance of an even beat, which she is well on the way to mastering.
The student had already done part of a previous introductory course at the guild. She brought in her work from that previous class and it was evident how far she had progressed since then, as the quality of her current work was way above what she achieved the first time.
A beginners class puts a big load on the teacher, especially at the warp preparation stage. We all learn at different paces and I was able to help one student who needed to understand the why as well as the what, while our teacher guided those with a faster learning style.
It’s been great fun and I recommend teaching to those who might be interested in seeing what they learn as a teacher, not a student.
All photos were taken and published with permission.