To kick this series off I’m going to talk a bit about the ‘power’ teachers and tutors can have over their students.
Regular readers will be aware of the creative journey I’ve been on since last September when I was put into a situation that triggered a very strong response. The root of my reaction was rooted in my school experiences of art lessons which left me with a lifelong belief that I lacked any artistic or creative ability.
Since then I’ve had the privilege of meeting many more adults who tell a similar story. ..it might not be art, it could be anything that they firmly believe they can’t do because my teachers said so! What’s even more disturbing is that I’m hearing similar things from and about children going through primary school at the moment!
As a tutor I firmly believe that an important part of my role is to encourage. Yes I might need to spend more time with some students than others, I might need to change the way I demonstrate or explain but I keep persevering. Because it is not my right to tell anyone they’re hopeless or suggest they stick to their current craft.
Another thing to consider is that people have different learning styles so it could simply be that your teaching style isn’t right for them. It’s no one’s fault its just how it is.
When I need to frog a student’s work I make sure they understand why and also that they realise they aren’t the only person to make an error. I’m an experienced knitter and crocheter but I still make errors too and its important to be real with students and not come across as ‘Little Miss Perfect’. After all I often learn things from my students or by trial and error too.
I also work with the students on projects they want to do. I’m sure we can all remember classes where we’re totally uninterested and uninspired and hence disengaged. In the early stages things might need to be simplified or adapted but you never know!
The best lesson I learned in teaching was from a group of older ladies who I was running a taster workshop for. They declined to make a granny square and insisted on making butterflies. I found a reasonably straightforward pattern and within an hour the ladies were happily tackling triple trebles!
So to sum up remember it is not kind or good practice to pronounce a student as lacking talent or ability. And never underestimate lstent talents 🙂