How to become a BETTER Student . . .

Friday, September 30, 2011

No matter what your medium is or what gets your creative juices flowing – how can you get more from an instructor or a class? How can you get exactly what you expected out of the class you registered for and how can you do so by not being silly or causing extra problems for the entire class?

I’m not shy and I’ve certainly told people that I’ve never taken a class – because in my mind it’s true? But in reality I took one class about 9 years ago at a bead shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma and it was the worst experience I’ve had in a class setting so I tell everyone – I’ve never taken a class.

First, the store didn’t sell the same supplies the instructor used in her design which was a version of decreased brick stitch. At the time – I didn’t know that using Czech seed beads in brick stitch would give an entirely different look to a design.

Second, the shop had no lighting for classes which made it virtually impossible to see especially because the class was at night. And the OWNER of the store was constantly chatting on and on about her life – her wife – her real job – how difficult it was to own this business – how she didn’t get her real dream and had to settle for the shop she owned…it was actually horrible having to listen to her negativity!

My first projects with seed beads...

Third and I believe this to be the most important part – the instructor never got up from her seat. Even though there were two tables of students and many, many questions – the instructor never walked around the classroom or even spoke to us all, as a group. She responded to questions by raising her voice and telling the frustrated person to “read the instructions” and she never – not once – told us what stitch we were learning or any of the tips or techniques to make learning the stitch – easier! It seemed as though my sister and I had walked into an alternate universe – and had no way of getting out?

Last but not least – I left the shop – frustrated and never returned. Of course, while I was extremely upset over the experience – it taught me two very valuable lessons.

1. What I didn’t want to do as an instructor in my own classes.

2. What I should have done to be a better student and walk away from the class with more knowledge.

The experience made me realize that while this instance was partially the fault of the shop and a partially the fault of the instructor – it was also partially MY fault.

I didn’t ask the correct questions before I signed up for the class (I didn’t know what questions to ask). But you learn from experiences and what doesn’t kill you – defines you.

I’ve wanted to write an article or blog about “How do you become a better student” since September of 2006! So here we are FIVE years later and I’m still trying to compile helpful data? Sound familiar?

So, how can we become skilled at being a more efficient student in a short period of time (some classes are a few hours long to 8 hour sessions) – because our time is money and money is scarce these days! After reading the STUDENT surveys – average class costs were $60.00! And let's face it, it's been a LONG, LONG time since most of us have been in school or studied? Do we apply the same high school - college techniques to our crafty type classes - I say HELL YES! 

So I sat down and wrote out some standard questions – some tough – some not so tough and asked my friends from REAL life and Facebook friends – to play along. I want to write this in a format that helps – so bear with me.  And please if you have questions that I didn’t ask or aren’t answered – feel free to write me and I will do what I can to get them answered.
On another note – I’ve decided to POST random questions on my FACEBOOK pages to get some interaction going between FB friends and the blog posts – I’ll be posting some of the comments right along with others – here on this blog…so lets’ have fun too, okay?

With this I begin the NEW Blog Series – How to become a BETTER Student?

I want it to show both sides of the classroom- teachers perspective and student needs - to try to find a balance?

How can a student get more from a class and the instructors teaching those classes?

How can teachers/instructors – help students become a more informed student who walks away from that class – knowing a basic stitch or element of the design and a project?

How can a STUDENT improve on the learning experience for which they paid  – without feeling disruptive?

Peek your curiosity? 

Leave a comment. Check a box. Share it. As always - thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

I've taught basic beading for several years at the very local level. I've come up with a list of things that some students do that drive me up a wall. 1. Show up to class unprepared. Even if the teacher provides everything, you still need to make sure you have your reading glasses if you need them. I don't know how many times I've had to hunt down spare reading glasses for the student who "never thought I'd need reading glasses to do beading". 2. Being afraid to play by constantly saying "I have no talent/skill or creativity". I try to prevent this by reminding them they are learning a new skill and with all things it takes practice. 3.Talking on the cell phone instead of listening to the teacher. I've had to ask several students to leave the room because they ended up have long discussions on the phone. 4. Bring a pen and paper to take notes. If nothing else, you might just get the name of a fantastic source of beads.5. Eat before class not in class, and make sure if you bring a drink, it's sealed. You'll feel really bad if you ruin someone's project by accidentally spilling your coffee on it.

The Hole Bead Shoppe said...

@Capemaynuts - thanks for your comments and sharing your tips! I hope the students who share their experiences can also help others become better students. . . do you mind if I ask - who you are? =oD

flyingbeader said...

I've been on both sides of the fence being the teacher & being a student. I think the most important thing to remember when you are a student is that YOU ARE THE STUDENT! Let the teacher TEACH!

I've been in situations where another student will literally take over the class with "suggestions". Or the students who will be loud and obnoxious telling distasteful jokes or off color stories about their lives. I like chatter in my classes, but sometimes the chatter is so much I can't concentrate. Then the cell phones going off...yikes! I don't need a completely quiet class, but please no screaming madness.

As a teacher, I have had to remind people to be quiet or if I have someone wanting to take my place as the teacher I say to them "thank you for you suggestions but please share them with me at break".

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