When i did adult informal classes, I had everyone write down contact numbers, what sort of experience they had with ceramics, what their other interests were, and what they wanted most to get out of the class, whether a new skill, or a certain type of project. As I taught in the winter on Saturday mornings contact numbers were important here in PA. The cards would be handed in, I would use them in a quick session to get to connect names and faces, and discuss their interests-quickly. Then we usually started with demonstrations on the first day that would include a wheel throwing and a hand building usually slabs. I would have my slabs for the project rolled out and all cut, but then I would demo with wedging two ways-rams head, and cone. Then roll out slabs with rolling pin and slab roller. Cutting the slabs and if all the same-template design. Then beveling edges using a fettling knife and board edge and a bevel tool. At this point I would pull out the preformed beveled slabs for assembly of the project and discuss clay consistency including wet, cheese hard, leather hard, and bone dry.Then assembly with slip, or/and with Magic water.
The wheel throwing demonstration pushed heavy emphasis on mastering and centering, then on opening up, compressing bottom, recentering, then the pulling and shaping. Always check for understanding, and have them put hands on to feel what a centered piece of clay should feel like, and what a centered donut feels like. I often would reinforce the fact that if they had never worked on the wheel to be patient, as they had no pre-learning to help them out with the learning curve. I also stressed that most potters believe the first steps to be mastered before trying to move on. I also told them to start with 3# of clay when learning. I would finish off with the demonstrations, telling them that if they had problems or missed anything to just ask, I would be willing to demonstrate individually as much as they needed. Finally, I made certain as with HS students that they knew that there were no stupid questions. Sometimes it can be tedious, but if you get it in your head, they'll get it in theirs.