Friday, 13 July 2018

Badly taught?

I was watching an instructional DVD yesterday. It is on Fair Isle Knitting by Hazel Tindall. 
There are two parts to it and, so far, I have seen only one. So far she has not taught me anything about FI knitting I don't know but that was not the purpose of watching it.  I wanted to see what she taught and how she taught it and whether there were things included in the DVD that I should include in a class I will be teaching next January.
And yes, in that sense the DVD has taught me something. I tried to look at it as if I was just beginning to knit.
It is very, very difficult to teach knitting in this way. Knitting is not something you do rapidly. It often involves repeating the same movement over and over again. That makes for rather boring watching. No teacher can be blamed for that. The watcher has to develop the skills in question.
But, if you were a raw beginner, the DVD is in many ways very good. It is divided into small bites of learning. You could stop and start again, stop and repeat in a useful way. There are places where you could get a close up of what has just happened because the photography is good. She is working on an uncluttered surface so that nothing else distracts you. Ms Tindall does not talk constantly which is also good when you are trying to watch.
There may be something more said in the second DVD but, in the first one, she appears to make an assumption that anyone watching the DVD will already know about something called a "steek". That jarred with me. It is one of the things I plan to teach. 
And that is one of the many reasons it is good for me to watch that sort of thing. It is why it is good for me to do my own homework thoroughly. I can learn from other people.
It made me think again back to my own student days. I didn't much like school. For the most part I was thoroughly bored there. I liked my English teacher in my "Leaving" year because she gave me a lot of extra reading to do. She recognised I wanted to learn - but all she did was supply that extra reading. I had to do it from there. There is one lesson that stands out in Modern History - the day the teacher walked in and said, "Put your books away. I am going to tell you what is going to happen." His analysis of the situation in what eventually became Zimbabwe was absolutely correct. But, for all that, his lessons were pedestrian.  
I suppose I was the "odd kid out" - the one who wandered off to the university library because there was nothing in the school library that told me what I wanted to know. (And no, I had no right to use the university library but the staff there knew me and tolerated my presence...even helped me find things on occasion.) But I still didn't get the sort of teaching that some people say they had, the sort that sets their world alight. 
If I am going to teach other people about anything then I don't know that I can set their world alight now but I still want to try and make them enthusiastic enough to both start and finish a project. I want them to have the satisfaction that they have achieved something. 
So today I will watch the second DVD and I know I will learn something I should be teaching. 

1 comment:

Jodiebodie said...

Thinking back on my most exciting and motivating teachers: If you are passionate about what you are teaching, your love of the craft will exude from you. That's what often sets students alight. When passionate people can explain and show their reasons for loving the subject, it allows students to appreciate it better and can be very motivating. There are plain skills that can be learnt in isolation through books, videos et cetera but people go to classes for that personal touch. Personal connection is most powerful.