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Amy Eberhardt

Humor: The Best Way To Learn!

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Yeah, I've never sighed at a student's questions, or goals... Well not honestly, I will do it in an obvious joking manner, simply because they always seem to ask a question, just as soon as; I get to the other side of the room, just washed my hands, just sat down, etc.

 

I also tell them, during my demo that if the clay is terribly off center, and I show them visually what that means, don't ask me to check to see if it's centered.

 

But I take questions seriously, and will answer them, in the same way.

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Sometimes, I'll have a student start a question, decide they think it's "Stupid", and not ask it.  Sometimes I'll dig, and get them to ask it, and it won't be a stupid question at all.  Other times they refuse to ask at all.  Students don't like to risk sounding "dumb", in front of their peers, even though much of the time, they have valid questions.

 

That's why I never discourage questions.

 

I should note, even though somewhat clay-related, the question, "Can I throw clay/ slip?" usually just gets a "sigh" from me.

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I have never understood the thought that asking questions is dumb. You stay dumb if you don't ask questions! I was always the guy asking weird questions that got people thinking past the obvious.

 

I thought the video was funny for probably her first attempt at a comedy sketch. I did find more amusement in her bad acting but the idea was ok. I think they are all valid questions that a beginner will ask but I am sure after the 100th time it gets a little tedious. As long as they are learning from their questions and not asking the same things over and over.

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People learn in different ways:  a teacher sitting on their chairs whilst someone is obviously getting pretty frustrated is not a good practice or funny, A time of frustration is prob. an ok/necessary? state to be in. The experienced teacher asks the questions... where are your elbows.. are your hands maintaining contact with each other and the clay..and so on. perhaps this student needs either to watch another demo one to one, or read about the process or have the process spelt out in stages.

Not amused by the video.

If a student has paid attention during the teaching process then I would give them all the poss time it takes to "get it". 

Did have may great laugh WITH students, one who continuously wore her clay cylinder up her arm like a funky bracelet, many in class wanted to know how sshe did it!! How to get her to stop doing it took a while, went from funny for her to frustrated before she got it...senstive to thickness of clay on pull up..

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Actually, a good teacher doesn't have to ask the questions about what they were doing wrong. I usually only had about 6 wheel students at a time, so it was easy for me to keep an eye on all of them. I hovered over my 2 students in the beginning like a mother hen, while the 1's were getting clay ready or working on sketches. I would usually be able to move back and forth between the two rooms about 4 times. The large window like opening between the two rooms helped me to monitor things as well. I could never find myself in my seat as I would always be on the move.

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Actually, a good teacher doesn't have to ask the questions about what they were doing wrong. I usually only had about 6 wheel students at a time, so it was easy for me to keep an eye on all of them. I hovered over my 2 students in the beginning like a mother hen, while the 1's were getting clay ready or working on sketches. I would usually be able to move back and forth between the two rooms about 4 times. The large window like opening between the two rooms helped me to monitor things as well. I could never find myself in my seat as I would always be on the move.

I ask questions, Pres, to move the student on from external cues into a mindset of self observation so that they can practice, analyse and feel for themselves what is going wrong or right for them. Of course videoing themselves and watching the replay will bring the aha, but this is not always possible.

thisis after  have taught through demo etc

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I had a more hands on approach; I would often use the students hand to make a pull, center the clay, or open up. I usually had them working on 3# balls so I could get my hands in there with theirs. I usually asked questions about how the new positions were in contrast to the ones they had been using. In long run, different strokes for different folks, no two teachers are alike.

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We are currently painting large portraits in acrylic paint on Mayfair paper. They are large-3ft. by 4ft.

A student said;" Do I have to paint the eyebrows using my left hand.?"

Without cracking a smile, I said;"No you don't. I am left-handed. That is why I use my left hand to paint eyebrows." Not said in a sarcastic way. She said,"Oh! I get it."

Gotta love teaching art.

T.

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That would have taken me a little while to work out TJR.  I too am left handed.

 

It's funny, and kind of sad, that they try and copy a demo exactly.  They don't do any reasoning, as to why you might be doing something different, and why they should or should not follow suit.

 

For instance, when I do some of my drawing demos, they are on large paper, that I tack to a cork rail.  Because I'm not very tall, I put the paper vertically, so I can reach most of it easily.  However, some of the drawings that I am demoing, should be horizontal.  I preface it, each time with "I'm making mine vertical, so I can reach it easier, but your's should be horizontal."  I still get several, that set their paper vertical, because I did...

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That would have taken me a little while to work out TJR.  I too am left handed.

 

It's funny, and kind of sad, that they try and copy a demo exactly.  They don't do any reasoning, as to why you might be doing something different, and why they should or should not follow suit.

 

For instance, when I do some of my drawing demos, they are on large paper, that I tack to a cork rail.  Because I'm not very tall, I put the paper vertically, so I can reach most of it easily.  However, some of the drawings that I am demoing, should be horizontal.  I preface it, each time with "I'm making mine vertical, so I can reach it easier, but yours should be horizontal."  I still get several, that set their paper vertical, because I did...

Couple points here; It is tricky demoing as a left-handed person as it's hard for right-handed people to reverse for themselves. The other art teacher is also left-handed, so no help there.

I am demonstrating on a vertical easel. Some students copy me step by step, which is O.K. by me.The other problem is that students set up their paint on the left side even though they are right handed. The leftes set it up on the right as no one has ever explained to them that it would be easier coming from the side your hand is on.

I repeat-not being sarcastic here-it just struck me funny. :)

TJR

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YOu  lefties, "sinisters" should get into teaching dance, yoga etc as you could be facing you  pupils and all moving the right way! Or is that dependent on hemisphere????

I am always facing the right way. When I was in Australia, the water went down the toilet the wrong way. and the moon was sideways. Quite un-nerving.

T.

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I just now watched the video, I was not amused by it at all.  I don't understand the motive behind it.  Was it to ridicule beginners, illustrate how 'boring' teaching is?  I have been that beginner, and I hope I will never be that teacher.

Every question the 'student ' asked was a valid one, I hear all those questions in my beginning wheel class.  If the student already understood what he was trying to do, it wouldn't be a beginner class, for Pete's sake!  If a teacher is that bored and condescending to her students questions, PLEASE, DON'T TEACH!  You do the rest of us a disservice.

I can laugh my head off when it's funny, but this wasn't

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Not a thing wrong with you, Pres, you are probably the teacher most of us wish we had.  I had a wonderful, generous, giving, over worked first teacher, and it made all the difference.  When I don't know what to do in a teaching situation in my studio, I always think, "What would he have done" and the answer is always the right thing to do.

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I think the intent was to be funny. Some of us found it funny, some of us found it demeaning and sarcastic.

I had a day today where I was tired and my leg hurt. As student asked me to look at her work. I got up from my chair[unusual to be sitting], and went over to her with out complaint, without rolling my eyes or sighing.

Teaching beginning pottery is a tough gig. She needs a break.

TJR.

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I agree TJR, I don't think there was really any ill will with the video. But, like I said, I just didn't find it funny. What they could have done, is focus on the pottery student "characters" we all have to deal with, that give us a chuckle. The big, strong athlete, who thinks they can throw a two foot vase right out of the gate, but then realizes that a pound of clay, can put up a good fight, and won't quite give you enough clay, to get to two foot. Then there's the gigglers, who secretly make something phallic, when you aren't looking, or just laugh at anything that has that look, i.e. coning up clay, pulling a handle, etc. And there is the student, who thinks they will be the first to successfully sneak a pipe or bong past the teacher, because obviously, the teacher is oblivious to such things, having just been relesed from the "Art Factory/ Farm, where they were isolated from all the outside world....

 

In my opinion, focusing on those types would be more amusing, than the struggles of a student sincerely trying to do something.

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Students have dreams and aspirations as we know. I love the guy who can barely paint, but is there everyday trying his hardest. I have heard people say;"If you stuff it up really bad, Mr. Roberts will fix it for you." True. I will. But I really like the failed attempts. They have that Impressionist quality. I never stomp on anyone's dreams.

Mr. Roberts

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I agree TJR, I don't think there was really any ill will with the video. But, like I said, I just didn't find it funny. What they could have done, is focus on the pottery student "characters" we all have to deal with, that give us a chuckle. The big, strong athlete, who thinks they can throw a two foot vase right out of the gate, but then realizes that a pound of clay, can put up a good fight, and won't quite give you enough clay, to get to two foot. Then there's the gigglers, who secretly make something phallic, when you aren't looking, or just laugh at anything that has that look, i.e. coning up clay, pulling a handle, etc. And there is the student, who thinks they will be the first to successfully sneak a pipe or bong past the teacher, because obviously, the teacher is oblivious to such things, having just been relesed from the "Art Factory/ Farm, where they were isolated from all the outside world....

 

In my opinion, focusing on those types would be more amusing, than the struggles of a student sincerely trying to do something.

Used to love challenging the biggest jock in the class to a "wedging contest". This after everyone was worn out from wedging, but getting the hang of the Rams Head or Cone technique. All of the complaints about my muscles hurt, I am not strong enough, I can't do this had been heard, and whined out. It was time for a laugh. So I challenged a student. First to choose the right student big, strong, not self conscious. Then to have him choose a weight of clay to wedge, and I double that. So then to wedge, any technique he wanted. As would always happen he would be worn out in 5 minutes, and I would still be going on. After everyone would get over the laughter, I would explain as I already had, that it was about the rhythm and the body movement. If using your arms to wedge and not your body you would get worn out easier. If using your body, with legs spread as in walking, right height of table, and movement from legs up to shoulders you don't have to move your arms so much to move the clay.  Lesson learned, break in class period, and proper reinforcement of good technique.

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Guest JBaymore

 

  Lesson learned, break in class period, and proper reinforcement of good technique.

 

And some "street cred" built.   ;)

 

best,

 

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

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