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Hobby Potter Teaching Others.


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#41 Chilly

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 12:51 PM

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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#42 Bob Coyle

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 01:52 PM

 

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.



#43 Benzine

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 05:38 PM

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.......
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#44 flowerdry

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 08:04 PM

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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#45 Babs

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 08:14 PM

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!



#46 Bob Coyle

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 09:34 PM

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.



#47 Chilly

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 05:16 AM

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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#48 Davidpotter

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 01:18 PM

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!


Practice, practice, practice. Then when you think you've practiced enough, the real practice begins.

#49 nairda

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 02:46 PM

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.



#50 Colby Charpentier

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 04:40 PM

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).



#51 Chilly

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 05:20 AM

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.

So true.  I couldn't get the difference between aperture and shutter-speed settings, until I had to explain it to someone else.  Then it clicked.

 

Sooooo, now I need a student to teach flocc/deflocc to ..........


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#52 williamt

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 11:38 PM

I've been a hobby potter for about 15 years. Basically self taught, read books, watched videos. I've had the opportunity to demo a few times and have even had folks ask "can you show me how to do that?". I take it as an honor if someone asks this of me. I'll show them, let them try it, and point out it's practice and finding what works for you. Some think its great and seek greater experience. Some decide that it's not for them. But you provided the opportunity to ignite the spark.

For the original post, it sounds like you and the group you are with are doing a great thing that is likely to lead to some new, fantastic potters.

Good Luck.
Lee Tucker
Black Kitty Pottery
http://www.blackkittypottery.com




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