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How to Teach a Craft Class

Lesson 26 of 29

Great Answers to Hard Questions from Students


How to Teach a Craft Class

Lesson 26 of 29

Great Answers to Hard Questions from Students


Lesson Info

Great Answers to Hard Questions from Students

Great answers to hard questions from students now in your work but you're going tohave you have actually a very detailed list of these things that you'll I invite you guys to look back at kind of if you in this of course is not every hard question and that you'll get but I thought it was a really good selection from both my experience and from a lot of other teachers that I asked I did I didn't like a very informal survey like what are the hard questions that you guys get asked on so I think that this really covers a lot of them so let's we're going to do this all together I want to see you guys obviously have the answers in front of you but this is probably the most common thing you're going to hear your classes especially when you teach adults for some reason people just they're just very ah self deprecating about their abilities in terms of the craft so what do you say to the student that says I'm never going to be any good at this what's so good what's a good thing to say well the ...

first thing that came to mind is saying something like well we could always start somewhere and you can keep going yeah you could invite them to think well how long have you been doing this really well I just you know happen our since I got to class like well, can you really expect to be an expert after doing it for half an hour? You know, just try to get to think about what they're actually saying um and really, really, really reiterate how much practice it takes it takes and just reiterate that you know that they'll be just that they will be good at this if they really did if they really practice okay and challenge them tio be like well, let's check in again and a half in half an hour I'm gonna I'm gonna prove to you that you've gotten better even in just that half on hour susan e had to and I feel like I'm not very good at something they will point out something specific and I'll say oh, look at this I really like how you did this line here that's really nice maybe the whole piece is it beautiful but that one little thing so that's yeah so pumps up your students and that goes back to what we said about always looking for something good. So even if the whole thing is kind of in shambles there there is guaranteed to be something really like I remember there's always something right there's always something oh my god, I really love the way that you drew that that figure over here or I love the you know, facial expression on this monster that you drew are you something there's something good in there? Okay, but this is going to be really common just again cheerleader you guys pep talk pep talk pep talk you can do this don't say that. Oh my gosh. Are you kidding? You're already good at this look at this. You're already good at this. You can't say that you're never going to be any good at this. Okay, you get the idea so I feel like this one is really easy toe toe handle, right? That's and you know you can you can you can cut these off right by saying, uh, the beginning no disclaimers and I want to hear anybody say, well, I guess it's good, but you know, so you can kind of here it's all about creating this atmosphere of appreciating our our work. Okay, here we go. Oh, this is like another person who's more famous and use work as a teacher you might get this right. So your student comparing your technique or your style to somebody else, right, which in and of itself isn't it isn't a big deal, but you might feel it might feel a little bit like, oh, you might feel a little bit defensive or, you know, not appreciated for what you're doing so what's a good way of potentially responding to this I would probably say oh yeah isn't she awesome I love her work yes I degree yes exactly and if there's a sense of like oh well you know I'm not saying that this could happen this is obviously worse case scenario if there's a sense of like that they're accusing you of copying that person's work there's also a nice way of handling that as well which is to say yeah can you believe it I know it's so funny how two people can kind of you know side by side create that you know use the same technique isn't that cool it just shows you how how you know great of a technique that that this really is if two people are doing it you know not not you're so you're recognizing that yes that person's doing it as well but that you're not like taking it from them ok or if you did learn from somebody please give them credit like I know when I was first starting out I took her class isn't that cool something like that um yeah I mean this one it happens okay oh I know somebody who doesn't another way and then they'll probably want to proceed to do it the other way what could you say that person this is kind of along the rebel that that difficult student the rebel who wants to do it a different way you're going to say but it's always good to have variations in your tool kit are from that. Yeah, well, it's good to know a bunch of ways work arounds there. Exactly. I think it depends on the class. So I know in a lot of my classes it's very freestyle. I love to see where they go with its on my response might be well, I can't wait to see what you do with that. Yeah, you know, yeah. And they're paying for the class of that if they want to take it in their own direction and right there expectation can't possibly be to look like the demo. You know, that wouldn't bother me so much. I think it would say something like I'd like to see what you could do with that. Yeah, yeah, totally agree it doesn't necessarily bother it doesn't it's not it necessarily issue unless it starts to, like, influence the people around them. And then everybody who wants to start to do this other way, I think a good way of kind of cutting it out from the beginning is saying, oh, my gosh, yes, there's so many different ways to do it. I'm so happy that you're you're taking my class so that you can try it this way today. Andi, you can decide later, like what? You can tell me afterwards if you like my way or if if you're going to, you know, continue to do it the other way, you want to invite them to really try your way because it really throws off the rest of the room if yeah, and and I like to push those people who are kind of rigid, you know, I kind of want to challenge that you don't want it to necessarily be like you're going to come to michael, yes, they're paying I understand that, but, you know, I want to push people they're coming to class to learn, so why not try it like this for a couple of hours? And then you can go back to you, you know, we're very we're very set in our ways, so I like to, you know, try toe challenge up in a nice way, of course, right? But why not? So? And they're obviously in the in the works, but there are other other examples of how you can address that one this's like the I just don't want to do it your way this you might get a more with kids, right? You might get kids who may be flat out don't want to do the work right well, you're welcome tio try it your own way but you might find that you won't get the same result are you know yeah or you can always come back and try it this other way if you if it doesn't work for you yeah it's a very similar answer to the previous one, right? But you wanna you want to understand what this is coming from so you want to channel you feel like oh my god, I'm so sorry to hear that what like, um maybe you could tell me a little bit why like, what is it about this way that you're that you're feeling uncomfortable about? So maybe I can help you? Maybe I can how we can help work through this try to understand why they're being kind of why they are being so rigid type of approach yeah, exhibiting okay, right that and this is kind of like a broad, overarching student who is being sort of like, you know, what's expression healed their their heels or in the dirt right there just kind of like I'm not going to do it this way, right? So you always wanted and it happens to adults too, and you you probably are going to find that there's some deeper issue there that there's something going on, so if you just really patiently and kindly um, do a little like a mini therapy session to try figure out what that issue is you might you'll find and it's actually really rewarding when you get this person to do to do work or to try it, and maybe they try and then they leave class in there like a convert, you know, to use that language it's actually super rewarding as a teacher. Okay, so don't just be like, oh, my god, and ignore it and then later be like I had this student who, you know, he was so this and that he didn't even it. At least I want you to try to get this student too, you know, open up. Okay, um, and now, let's, see, this is something that you're going to get to. And I think this question came up earlier as well. This is too easy for me. Can you give me something more challenging? What do you think the answer could be? Yes, so I would always say yes, and then, depending on what the class is, maybe I have something planned, maybe there's just a variation on what we're doing, that I can give them on the spot or maybe I've had I have this plant, right, uh, I would always offer that person something even if it's not anything too much more difficult ok especially if you're doing a technique ok if it's a project hopefully this won't you won't get this because it's a project that you know you're making a finished product so maybe it's something where they could make two of the project you know if it's something that's too easy? Well, obviously maybe let's see what you can do and another variation on this or something like that so I've given a few a few examples and there's obviously more in the workbook but is there any more wondering if anybody has ever had another type of a question or comment or situation in class that they'd be willing to share and we can talk about anything someone great? They were a couple of comments by teachers mixing teenagers with adult oh so one wass from patsy evans how do you deal with the hyper teenager who knows it all in in a class with adults is not good to mix teenagers with adults and the nancy kaye also asked how would you handle a clique of teenagers that want to be separate from the rest of the group body language rolling their eyes dickering especially if they're mix with adults so it sounds like that's on people's minds I would love to know but I would love to hear about these classes that are mixed mixed with adults have super that's fascinating and tuber dynamic to me that's really cool, but to answer the question, gosh, getting breaking up a click, especially that the tea if it's teenagers it's a lot easier to boss them around because you're the teacher and you're the authority figure, so I would I would split them up, I'd be I would I would literally split them up and said and move, move, moved them around. Um, I obviously have a lot of experience doing that, and it might feel a little bit awkward doing it at first, okay, so I would try to do it very kindly and say, like, look, girls, you guys aren't getting any work done, I'm noticing that you're creating kind of an atmosphere of exclusion um and that's not really kind of what I'm going for with this class, so I'm wondering, I would ask first, I'm wondering if you guys could split up to get your work done and hopefully they would do it without you having to force them to write, but I would really try to reinforce that you're trying to create a certain atmosphere, and I want to create an atmosphere of inclusion and not exclusion. Um, I could you could always give what is my favorite definition of why I don't like gossip in the classroom, which is look if we're talking about somebody who is not here that's not fair to them so unless the topic is unless you're talking about people who are in this room I don't want to hear anybody anybody else's name mentioned because it sounds to me a little bit gossipy and that's not fair ok so that's kind of why it would always say no gossip and then you could also keep make sure you say let's keep the topic the conversation topic on class on the topic so if you start talking about movies or talking too much about you know I don't know who people who kids listen to these days but like when I was a few years ago when I was a teacher was always justin bieber everybody's talking about justin bieber okay so like let's stop talking about justin bieber okay let's focus on what we're doing maybe people are still talking about just a fever I don't know I don't think so maybe negative sides to be re these days anyway back to the time sorry no no don't evolve flaring so do you feel like it's not good to mix teenagers adult oh no no I just I for I've never done it so I'm just like it sounds pretty it sounds pretty cool yeah I mean it reminds me of like my husband I finally got a sitter for the kids and we went out to a nice quiet dinner yeah, and the table next was has kids, it kind of defeated the whole purpose. So sometimes I think that when people ask, can I bring my younger child of the class? I feel like but some of those people are escaping that for the day. Yeah, I don't have escaped really the best sport for, but in that murder that day, for me, it was escaping, you know? And so I feel like mixed classes don't always work unless everyone's fully aware that it is a mixed class and that their children were becoming total because I think you can catch a lot of students off. You definitely want to keep that in mind here. Obviously again, you're your focus is the student's experience, right? So you want to make sure that their student, if if there's a small child that's unexpected addition that might change someone's experience, right? Do you have anything? Yes, there are more questions. One from patty robinson I who says I often teach four session workshops? Yeah, there were shot with four sessions. If people miss one or more classes, I feel like I want to catch them up, but I don't want to hold up the rest of the class, so she love your advice about that, yeah, oh, my gosh, that is such a good I think this this is how this is something that is you're always going toe face, especially if you do teach in a school are in a serious type class, I would tell the person at the beginning so you've missed, you know, you'll know that they've missed in say, look, we're going to I'm going to move forward and then once we're having work time, I'll come over and I'll catch you up on what we're doing, and it would be really nice if you set a precedent to of if a person is going to miss a class, that they know that you know, in advance and that they actually try to catch up on their own, if if they can, if they can, ok, and obviously it's it's your responsibility to catch them up. But there's, nothing like being in the class, so they should also understand that that it's, they're not going to get the full experience of what they missed. So and I think that the student will well understand that holly really careful, like I would teach, like a making a sweater cost. It was over and there was sometimes I was in notorious student that wouldn't company, then they would come, and they kind of want a one on one like all the time and then it's like that's not I'm not paying to give it wasn't a private lesson, and so then you have to kind of say, you know, maybe we made the wrong trust. Maybe we should have had a offer. Another suggestion, if you know they're going to be a time, yeah, yes, that's, a really good point. And in those situations, it's really just about clear, clear, clear communication and honesty, right? And and the person is going to understand them, and they always try to invite that empathy for you, write and say, look, you know, I can't right now, I'm sure I want to make sure that everybody in classes getting their full experience so let's, maybe re about, like, let's, check in a little bit later, like, I'm going to leave you for a minute, and then I'll come back.

Class Description

Teaching opens you up to a whole new revenue stream and lets you connect with people who are passionate about what you do. Learn how you can use your existing skills at the front of a creative classroom in How to Teach a Craft Class with Ashley Nickels.

Ashley is a life-long quilter and multi-discipline creative educator. In this class, she’ll show you how to prepare to teach a craft class and offer plenty of insights on making it fun for everyone involved. You’ll learn:

  • A variety of teaching styles for the full range of teacher personality types
  • How to plan lessons, set objectives, and manage student expectations 
  • Classroom prep tips that help you feel fully prepared 
  • Techniques for dealing with tricky situations 

Ashley will share insights from her years as an educator and help you feel confident before your first (or next) class. She’ll reveal her favorite classroom management techniques and teach you how to deal with difficult personalities. You’ll learn ways to engage and inspire everyone – from advanced learners to beginning students.

Teaching is not easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding both personally and financially. How to Teach a Craft Class will demystify the magic behind a good craft class and help you make your dreams of educating and inspiring others a reality.


Claude Aimée Villeneuve

This was a very good class, well prepared and packed with such useful information! I've been teaching various arts and craft classes for over 10 years now and did it sort of instinctively. Ashley gave me the tools I needed to refine my classes and prepare really good classes outlines and how to find venues to teach and pitch my classes. That was awesome and I plan to watch it again and again because there is so much in it! This was a first class presentation! Thank you Ashley! Claude Aimée Villeneuve, Visual artist and teacher

a Creativelive Student

I'm not even half way thru the online videos and want to recommend this class to anyone who just needs that extra boost to start their own classes! I like the fact that Ashley suggests that we think from a student perspective to help us to better plan. This class covers many things I have heard before BUT in greater detail. When I hear the 'WHY' of doing things, I'm more likely to follow thru. These videos explain many 'WHYs' (There are many informative sites/classes for this topic but not many people give you 'this is WHY' it should be done this way) Ashley gives the "WHY' and the 'HOW to'. If you want to teach and are mostly ready to teach, take this class and all the gaps will be filled in and you will be ready to go forth and teach your craft!

Barbara Schiffman

Great class -- watched live (most of it) and purchased for ongoing review. I've taught many things, including some crafts (decorating gourds, collage, making your own tarot-collages) but I gained new insights, ideas and confidence from Ashley's advice, the students questions and input, and the panel! I recommend this for anyone who wants to teach a class -- craft oriented, personal development, or anything else!