For this blog I’ve decided to focus on the way I like to teach during my workshops. People who want to learn more about a subject should be able to do so in a constructive and enjoyable way. They should be able to learn basic principles that can be put into practice and developed for themselves.
My workshops are designed with simplicity in mind. After a brief introduction about the subject to be considered I like to give a demonstration in stages of how I achieve a certain goal. Between these stages participants develop their own piece of work using the principles discussed. Over-complication of a subject can be confusing so I keep instruction as simple as possible. With less clutter in the mind, creativity has more room to show itself.
It’s all very well having someone explain how to do something but asking questions is vital to building knowledge. I fully encourage questions during my workshops because everyone learns at a different pace and some may have less comprehension of a subject than others. Some may question something that hasn’t been thought of which could lead to further experimentation. The learning process never stops and questions are the way to keep this process moving forward. It’s like a climbing a steep cliff. The more questions you ask and knowledge you build, the more succesful your climb to the top will be.
Making mistakes is often considered a negative thing but no-one has ever become good at something without making at least one mistake. Mistake making is an unavoidable part of learning and is actually vital for the process. The beauty of creating art is that sometimes mistakes can take you along another path of exploration. When I’m demonstrating a process in front of a group, sometimes something unintentional will happen. The important thing is to look at how that mistake can be adapted or used constructively in your piece of work. I encourage everyone to be unhindered by what they would consider “a mistake”.
Surroundings are very important to our well-being. Just ask anyone who lives in the countryside. This applies just as much when we are learning or experimenting. I remember how much I enjoyed or hated certain lessons at school and a big part of how I felt was due to the classroom I learnt it. I hated history when I was at school and what contributed to this was my surroundings. History lessons were always held in the prefab block. The classroom was particularly dark with a cold, damp feel and smell to it. It had a certain advantage I suppose when getting into the feel of Dickensian England but it was a horrible atmosphere to learn in. I now find history interesting, maybe partly due to the fact that my post school research has been in warm libraries or at home in front of the fire.
I like to feel that my workshops are a relaxing place to learn and experiment. Of course people are attending because they have an interest in a particular subject, not because they are having to learn something against their will. Refreshments are always provided to add to the relaxation. So if you or someone you know could benefit from a relaxed workshop where questions and mistakes are encouraged, please check the ‘workshops’ link in the menu bar. I look forward to seeing you sometime.