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flowerdry

Hobby Potter Teaching Others.

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ChenowethArts    461

I do wish that an MFA or a MA/M.Ed guaranteed a consistent level of artistic talent and/or teaching skill (or both)...I suspect that we all know of examples terrific artists who are poor teachers, and perhaps some lesser skilled artists who are terrific teachers.  It is definitely a bonus when you discover those individuals who are skilled, passionate, and life-long-learners in their area of artistic expertise as well as their instructional development.

 

Higher education institutions face the challenges of accreditation bodies when it comes to hiring faculty. A Master of Fine Arts degree  is pretty much a standard requirement for a teaching position at any accredited, four-year, higher-ed institution. It is possible to hire an art faculty member who does not hold a terminal degree, but those hires are truly exceptional, generally meaning that the hire is justified by other credentials (i.e. professional experience, publishing, and awards).

 

Just recently, I have observed a new MFA hire who meets weekly with a more experienced, faculty mentor. Interesting enough, the collegial relationship that has developed has likely enhanced the quality of teaching for the rookie and the mentor.

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Babs    386

Don't think it wa stated that an MFA guarantees a great artist but it certainly does not guarantee a great teache as stated above. Another way of selecting because selecting for teaching is difficult.

In an ideal world the student would seek the teacher that suits them. And if that teacher accepts them off they go off on a journey.

Chilli I agree that using the same words to  establish a skill is a good device, becomes a mantra so that the brain stops cogitating at a surperficial level and just does it, then the brain lets go and the body just does it, while the potter watches. THen the kiln decides!

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Chilly    331

...........a mantra so that the brain stops cogitating at a surperficial level and just does it, then the brain lets go and the body just does it, while the potter watches. THen the kiln decides!

Oh yes.  I love that description.  Have you been looking inside MY brain or is everyone's the same?

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Babs    386

 

...........a mantra so that the brain stops cogitating at a surperficial level and just does it, then the brain lets go and the body just does it, while the potter watches. THen the kiln decides!

Oh yes.  I love that description.  Have you been looking inside MY brain or is everyone's the same?

 

Nah! Just us!!

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Bob Coyle    113

I kind of had a "bad hair day" today with my ceramics class of senior citizens. I have taught this class twice a year for six years now and the sad thing is that most of the people I have taught, do not have an interest in learning ceramics. They want to roll out a slab, turn up the edges and call it a platter.. and that is as far as it goes. I seem to have to push them even to make a box. So after three weeks of "platters, I blew it and told everyone "NO MORE FLATWARE!"

 

I know that some of these people never did any art before and that the class is just for entertainment, and to kill time while waiting for God, but I have people who have repeated this class three or four times, and are still making platter to give to their friends!

 

I don't want to try an force them to do something that they don't want to do but on the other hand, it seems if you are taking a "class" you are supposed to maybe progress a little???

 

So what do ya think... just let them be or push them a little?

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bciskepottery    925

Given the group involved (seniors), if they want to make platters, then let them make platters. That does not mean you have to make platters, and if you make something different, then it may catch their interest. Maybe not the whole group, but one or two or three may want to try something else. Or, challenge them to make increasingly more complex platters . . . either by adding handles, feet, etc., or carving, scraffito, or underglaze decoration. Their reasons for taking your class are so much different than the reasons of students taking the same class at a studio. Your expectations are more likely going to have to move closer to their expectations, than vice versa. But you can challenge them subtly, but I don't think its a group to push.

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Benzine    610

I agree with bciskepottery.

 

If some of them are set in what they want to do, let them be.  I would never do this, with my students, but there is a lot more I can do to push my students.  If I don't like the direction they are going with their project, I can require them to add more.  If I don't like it, it doesn't get fired, it doesn't get graded.  There are very few students out there, who want to fail a class, especially an Art class.

 

At the same time though, if you show them, there are ways you can "fancy up" the basic platter, you  might have some great results.

 

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Bob Coyle    113

 

At the same time though, if you show them, there are ways you can "fancy up" the basic platter, you  might have some great results.

This is what I do and have done.. it doesn't seem to take. Most of these people are very unwilling to try new things unless I require it.

 

So it is kind of a pull between "I know you can do better" and " what the heck... they are just killing time...don't sweat it."

 

So far I have two votes for "don't sweat it".

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Benzine    610

The one thing, that a teacher at any level should learn, is to never let the students bring them down.  Whether it be it their words, actions or attitudes, if you are doing everything you can to support them and their learning, and you are still getting nowhere, then it's on them.  It's almost never anything personal, so don't take it as such. 

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ChenowethArts    461

This is what I do and have done.. it doesn't seem to take. Most of these people are very unwilling to try new things unless I require it.

 

So it is kind of a pull between "I know you can do better" and " what the heck... they are just killing time...don't sweat it."

 

So far I have two votes for "don't sweat it".

 

 

I sense your frustration and disappointment, Bob.  I'd bet that anyone who has taught a high scholl/college art class can quickly identify students who are just there 'to get a grade' and those who are 'engaged and into it'.    For us seniors (and yes, that would include me), having an activity that makes us feel that we can still do something productive (though marginally creative), may be enough.  Social engagement among the class members may be more important than the actual activity...and clay is a wonderful, social media.  Your encouragement for people to do more, try something different, etc. may be a tough sell to a group that may be terribly uncomfortable getting out of their comfort zone...but it IS the right thing to do, but gently.  I view your efforts to increase the creativity level as 'planting seeds'.  You may not see results of that encouragement immediately (or never), but those seniors who keep coming back ARE benefiting from your interactions and the fact that you are willing to push  will bear fruit, even if it is a small harvest.

 

IMHO,

Paul

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Pres    896

I do wish that an MFA or a MA/M.Ed guaranteed a consistent level of artistic talent and/or teaching skill (or both)...I suspect that we all know of examples terrific artists who are poor teachers, and perhaps some lesser skilled artists who are terrific teachers. . . . .

For many years I have been complaining that Art Ed degrees have been degrading in some ways. When I came up through, there were requirements of core studios, and elective fine arts, and elective crafts. We did not have to take Ceramics, or Jewelry, or Sculpture, or Weaving, or Watercolor 2, but we had to fill so many studio requirements that we ended up taking many of these if not all. The requirements for Art Ed today have been hit with new media (computer), more pedagogy and more in the way of methods classes where the studio time is greatly diminished. So often students going into teach in schools are lacking in Ceramics, or other areas-a shame.

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Bob Coyle    113

Like I said in my original post... I was just having a "bad hair day". Having this group to vent to is great, because most of you have been in similar situations. I will continue to nudge the geezers, especially the ones who have been repeating the class, but I'll let them make their darn platters if that is what they really want to do.

 

 

Thanks all!

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JBaymore    1,432

 I'd bet that anyone who has taught a high scholl/college art class can quickly identify students who are just there 'to get a grade' and those who are 'engaged and into it'.   

 

No... that NEVER happens!  :rolleyes:  ;)

 

best,

 

....................john

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Pres    896

You mean some of my kids were just there because guidance put them there? I can't believe that! ;)

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ChenowethArts    461

You mean some of my kids were just there because guidance put them there? I can't believe that! ;)

 

Shocking, isn't it! :wacko:

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Chilly    331

I kind of had a "bad hair day" today with my ceramics class of senior citizens. I have taught this class twice a year for six years now and the sad thing is that most of the people I have taught, do not have an interest in learning ceramics. They want to roll out a slab, turn up the edges and call it a platter.. and that is as far as it goes. I seem to have to push them even to make a box. So after three weeks of "platters, I blew it and told everyone "NO MORE FLATWARE!"

 

I know that some of these people never did any art before and that the class is just for entertainment, and to kill time while waiting for God, but I have people who have repeated this class three or four times, and are still making platter to give to their friends!

 

I don't want to try an force them to do something that they don't want to do but on the other hand, it seems if you are taking a "class" you are supposed to maybe progress a little???

 

So what do ya think... just let them be or push them a little?

I feel for you Bob.  Not sure where the line is for "seniors", but I go to an "over 50" class.  If I'm there the average age is around 70, if I'm not there it's closer to 80!  The tutor is fighting an uphill battle to get the ladies (only one gent out of three groups of 15) to do anything at all with clay.  She casts statues, figurines, vases etc and some of them paint with acrylics, while many are happy to "paint" - their words - with glaze and rush it to get it done ready to "paint" another one next week.

 

Whether they are learning anything or not, without them there wouldn't be a class at all for those who do want to learn and be creative  - or a "job" for the tutor.

 

So, I guess I'm saying: if it pays and there isn't anything more productive/profitable you could be doing instead, accept and let them be happy making platters, but satisfy yourself by making sure you encourage them onwards :)

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Bob Coyle    113

 

So, I guess I'm saying: if it pays and there isn't anything more productive/profitable you could be doing instead, accept and let them be happy making platters, but satisfy yourself by making sure you encourage them onwards :)

cleardot.gif
cleardot.gif

 

Since this is volunteer work, the only rewards are the intangibles. But you are right, at this stage in my life and theirs, it's probably a good thing for both student and instructor. We are all learning something.

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Benzine    610

You mean some of my kids were just there because guidance put them there? I can't believe that! ;)

  

 

You mean some of my kids were just there because guidance put them there? I can't believe that! ;)

 

 

Shocking, isn't it! :wacko:

Or they took the class because there was nothing else to take, or because they had friends in the class, or they thought it would be an easy grade, or.......

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flowerdry    128

Bob, after 6 yrs, my suggestion is, take a break.  It sounds like it has gotten a bit old for you, so take a year off and then you can go back with a fresh outlook and who knows, maybe the folks will realize how much they missed their clay work and it might liven them up a bit.

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Babs    386

Bob,

maybe you could organise a joint community project for them, like tiles for a bench/table in the garden of their establishment, or birdfeeders for a community garden, or whatever, so that they get involved with each other and a space in their community  Everyone, well almost, has enough platters by that age.

I salute you for your interest in doing this, and admire you for keeping firing their platters all these years.

Maybe they could make easter decor. and sell for a charity, dog bowls for the animal welfare?/ ABP anything but platters!

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Bob Coyle    113

Babs

This may be an idea for this coming Christmas season. I would hold a special class for experiences students and have them make pieces to sell at the Christmas sale.

I was going to do this last year but got side tracked by some major projects at home.

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Chilly    331

There's a saying round here: "Those who can, do;  Those who can't, teach; Those who can't teach, sell; Those who can't teach selling, ????"

 

I've spent a one day a week, (but not every week) for the last year and only just mastering centering and coning, but cant get lifting to create cylinders.  I spent an hour yesterday teaching another lady on the wheel, and she ended up with a very thick, low "plant saucer" shape.  She thinks I'm such a good teacher that next week she's going to make a plant pot 10" by 8" to sit on the saucer.  What have I started?

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Davidpotter    8

There's a saying round here: "Those who can, do;  Those who can't, teach; Those who can't teach, sell; Those who can't teach selling, ????"

 

I've spent a one day a week, (but not every week) for the last year and only just mastering centering and coning, but cant get lifting to create cylinders.  I spent an hour yesterday teaching another lady on the wheel, and she ended up with a very thick, low "plant saucer" shape.  She thinks I'm such a good teacher that next week she's going to make a plant pot 10" by 8" to sit on the saucer.  What have I started?

you have started inspiration!

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nairda    7

I am in a similar position - leading a community pottery.  I sent you a PM via this site.  Should be an alert in the envelope icon at the top of the page.  Perhaps we can share info.  I am also located in Virginia.  Thanks.

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I have two thoughts on teaching that tend to enter conflict under some circumstances.

    

    1. You'll learn more about a process through teaching it than you will doing it. To clarify, the digestion of material to present it during the teaching process paired with trouble shooting will lead to a better understanding of the material.

 

    2. When teaching a specific process, one should present it under optimal conditions, as retention won't ever be close to 100%. This is relevant especially to academic situations where there are low contact hours and high pressure for success.

 

That being said, teach as much as you are allowed to, if only for your own personal improvement. If you're underperforming as a teacher in an official position, that's something to deal with, however in a less formal situation, the learning experience is geared more towards enjoyment than learning. Keep this in mind. 

 

Frequently when teaching at the community studio, I attempt to remove the correlation between product and success. Having a great time is far more important than making good pots in this particular setting (it also involves far more storytelling than teaching).

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