How to become a BETTER Student . . .TEACHER: Kim Spooner

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kim Spooner is one heck of a lady! She answered my call to respond to these questions - volunteered - with no previous knowledge of what I might be asking! She is also a published designer - look for her work in Beadwork and Bead & Button magazine! She's very sweet and I gotta say - I'm lucky to be called one of her "friends". Thank you so much Kim! I appreciate your answers and that you took the time to help.

1. What is your most difficult obstacle to overcome while teaching a class?
KS: Some people learn by doing, some by reading text and still others by viewing diagrams or pictures. Trying to accommodate all of these and provide each student with enough information to be able to walk away and replicate what they've learned is my greatest challenge.
2. What is your most difficult obstacle to overcome while attending a class?
KS: (didn't answer this question)

3. Why do you teach? (Be very specific here please):
KS: Meeting new people and sharing my designs with them as well as seeing the fun & sense of accomplishment on their faces when I've done my job properly.

4. How do you feel about  beading SKILL levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced:
KS: I think they're too ambiguous. It's rare to see one of these descriptors without further explanation of what is required and that often isn't enough information. For example: Intermediate - experience with peyote stitch required. I've had beginner students sign up for an intermediate class because they thought that the last project they did had used the required stitch when that was far from the case. It's difficult for shop owners to know the skill level of new customers too! 

5. What is the BEST way you can handle a disruptive student?
KS: I've found that giving them as much of my time as possible while still being fair to the rest of the class is the best way to handle someone who might be viewed by the others as disruptive. I will also try to suggest (in private and after the class) that they might benefit from a private class in the future in order to get the benefits of one-on-one instruction.

6. What is the difference between teaching a TECHNIQUE and a PROJECT?
KS: Teaching a technique can be more difficult than teaching a project. A project requires that the students learn the specific steps involved in completing a design. When teaching a technique I feel it's necessary to explain how it can be applied. For example: when teaching beaded cabs, I would demonstrate how students can alter the basic technique to accommodate different shapes and sizes of cabochons.

7. What is the importance of using the materials you've listed in your materials list for the specified project (you're teaching)?
KS: My materials lists contain the elements necessary to duplicate the samples I've provided to a store and my class will inform students how to make the design using those specific materials. Therefore, any variation from that list (other than the color of the beads) is an alteration to the original design and while the substitution may produce an interesting design itself, cannot be used to learn the original.

8. Which do you find more useful: Written instructions with diagrams or STEP by STEP photographs and instructions (please chose one or the other):
KS: (didn't answer this question)

9. In your experience, is an average student easier to teach than a student who is taught? 
KS: I've never taught a teacher so I can't answer this one.

10. If your prerequisite SKILL LEVEL for the class is INTERMEDIATE: How do you divide equal amounts of time between Beginners/Intermediate to Intermediate beaders? 
KS: I don't even try. I've found that in most cases, INTERMEDIATE beaders require instruction to begin a project but need/want less once they've begun thus allowing me to spend more time with the Beginner/Intermediate students. I regularly tour the class and offer individual time as needed during the course of the class.

11. OPTIONAL: Please write specific tips for any student reading this to become a BETTER student:
  • TURN off your cell phone. Be prepared to be unreachable during the class. If you can't be, please try to reschedule the class another time.
  • WHILE it's fun to bead with a friend, please don't use the time in class to catch-up on your lives. It's disruptive and discourteous to both the instructor and other students.
  • ASK questions. This is supposed to be a fun experience. The last thing I want is for you to get frustrated trying to figure something out for yourself. If you get stuck, please (me) ask for help. Everyone learns by different methods and at different speeds - there is no shame in requiring further clarification to fully understand a process or instruction.
Like what you've read about Kim? Find her here: Kim on ETSY

Next we have the FANTABULOUS Jill Wiseman

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