Teaching and Learning in Person

Filed in Industry Insight by on March 10, 2016 0 Comments

Tomorrow I head out to teach and one of my very favorite events, the Weekend Away in Cambria, CA hosted by the Ball and Skein and More yarn shop. It is a favorite for many reasons, but mostly for the people I get to spend the weekend with.

Take a class in person

Teaching online is great, as it gives access to folks who might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn from traveling, national level instructors – but it is not a substitute for learning in person. In person, the instructor can help in a much more detailed manner. We can also see via facial expressions and body language cues when a point we were trying to explain just isn’t hitting the mark. But just as importantly, there is so much to learn from the other students in the class.

Selecting an Event to Attend

Once you have decided to make the investment to attend an in-person event, you have to select which event to attend. This is not quite as easy as it sounds as there are LOTS of options available. Things to consider are:

  • Time — How much time can you invest (a few hours, a day, a weekend, an extended weekend)?
  • Location — How far are you willing to travel? Are you willing to drive many hours? Are okay with flying to the destination?
  • Topic — What specifically would you like to focus on learning? Are you looking to enhance your skills in a particular technique? Do you want to learn about lots of concepts around a broader subject
  • Format — Are you okay with the typical 3-hour class format taught by most national level instructors or do you want more of an immersion experience?
  • Instructor — Are you looking to learn from a specific instructor?
  • Investment — How much are you willing to spend for the entire event? Is this just a small splurge or are you treating it like a vacation?
  • Companions — Are you going to do this on your own or do you have one or more friends that will want to join you?
  • Size — Are you happy with an intimate environment or does the excitement of a bigger event give you energy?
  • Shopping — Do you want the opportunity to shop from lots of vendors, a few vendors or is shopping not really a requirement?

Every event, whether hosted by a yarn shop, guild, or convention will provide different answers to each of the above considerations. The closer you can come to finding a good match between what you want and what is offered, the more satisfying the actual experience will be. Although it is not absolutely complete, a great list to start with can be found here.

Keeping in the Loop

For many events, the trick is to stay in the know about what is happening. The easiest way to do this is to sign up for their newsletter and then actually READ it. Many events will have early bird pricing, but only if you actually read the announcement in a timely manner. In addition, if you have to make travel plans, purchasing tickets is usually cheapest about 6 – 8 weeks out.

If you are interested in taking an in-person class from a particular instructor (say Kellie or me for example), then it is important to sign up for the instructor’s newsletter. In our case, we have an option to be specifically notified about our Teaching Schedule; we send it out quarterly with the upcoming 6 month schedule on it. If you want to sign-up click here, but be warned, if you are already signed up for our newsletter or blog posts, you will have to update your preferences.

Making the Most of the Experience

Once you have committed to an in-person class it behooves you to maximize the experience. This is true whether it’s just a single class hosted by your local yarn shop or a major event you flew half way across the country to attend. Some of the following may seem obvious, but experience shows it is not for everyone.

  1. Make a commitment to be an excellent student. I wrote a short post about being a great student if you are even slightly unsure what I mean.
  2. Meet someone new. Even if you are traveling with your friends, make a point to meet someone new. Obviously you have at least one thing in common and you never know who you will meet. FYI, I know this from personal experience back when I was a student — I met some fabulous people this way.
  3. Apply what you have learned within the following 2 weeks. Taking the class in and of itself is not enough to actually cement what you have learned into your brain. Even if you just recreate what you did in class, practice what you learned within a short period of time returning home. Each repetition will make the information easier to recall at a later date.

Have you taken classes in person? If so, what do you love most about them? If not, what do you think would be the perfect event for you?

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