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Teaching Thoughts (part 1)

I’m back home after a truly wonderful weekend – I think I had as much fun teaching my weavers as they had with the tablet weaving!

As always, what makes part of the fascination I have with teaching is how very differently people see (and thus learn) things. This gets especially obvious in techniques like tablet weaving where you have a combination of motoric skills (how to grasp and turn the tablets) and knowledge (when to do what) plus several directions where the tablets can move.

Sometimes, my explanations hit home straight away. Sometimes, though, my way of thinking and a students’ way of thinking is so different that I need to find another way to explain, and that can be surprisingly difficult. In these cases, it often takes me a while to find out where I did not get across correctly what I was trying to, but once that has happened, there usually is a way to translate things and get the point right.

Mind you, this is by no means an indication of being “a bit stupid” or “slow on the uptake”. Usually, it really just means that my way of thinking (and therefore explaining) is so different that it takes a translation, so to say, or a way of looking at things from a completely different angle. I’ve been having effects like this with the Most Patient Husband when I was trying to explain things to him, and he is certainly a very intelligent man who is quick to get things. We just see some stuff very, very differently. (Sometimes, by the way, someone else in the group thinks in some kind of inbetween way, and can help by phrasing things just differently enough to convey the message – and then I try to remember that for future teachings.)

So one of my goals when teaching is to find the words for everyone in the group to understand what I’m getting at – and the bonus, for me, is seeing all those large and small differences in how we all see our world.  And if you ever find yourself in one of my workshops and my explanations just make no sense to you, please don’t think you are stupid, or slow, or unable to understand. Let me know that I have not gotten across, we will try to figure out where the problem is, and I will hunt for the words or the story or the way of explanation that will bring it home to you.

Because the way I see it is this: If I am telling you things, and you understand what I am telling you but choose to ignore it and do things differently, and you get into trouble – that is your problem (and I might or might not be able to help).
If, however, I am telling you things, and you do not understand what I want from you, that means I have not explained it well for you, and that is not your problem at all, that is my problem, because it means I am not doing my job right, and I will do everything I can to take care of it. So don’t think you are slower than others – you just think differently, and we need to find the matching explanation.

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