Developing Personal Teaching Skills
Most of us have favorite teachers and can recall personal qualities which made them outstanding teachers. Certainly the ideal teacher understands how people learn, stays in charge, is well prepared, and makes it fun all at the same time.
How can you prepare yourself to be a good teacher? Of course, some people have a natural talent for teaching, but studying, organizing, and enjoying working with others are a few qualities of a good teacher which can be emulated. This handbook was designed to assist you in developing these essential qualities and it will also provide some helpful guidelines and suggestions to help you become the best teacher you can be!
The focus of your class should be to teach crochet on a given skill level. If students are beginners, keep the focus on beginning skills chosen for that lesson. They will be struggling to hold the crochet hook and trying to remember how to hold the yarn.
While giving instruction, pause frequently to allow the child to think about what you have just said. Speak clearly and slowly. Speaking slowly will allow your mind to work ahead of what you are saying and you will be less likely to forget anything. It is always a good idea to make a brief outline of things you want to cover in class each day. There's no substitute for a graphite memory . . . WRITE IT DOWN!
Be Organized and Prepared
Good organization is essential to good teaching and will make you more efficient and effective. Whether during planning or in the classroom, organization is an important factor in successful teaching. Review and study for each lesson; collect examples and supplies to make sure that each class begins on time and goes smoothly. Being ready avoids needless confusion, puts students at ease, and prepares them for learning.
Be thoroughly familiar with the subject. Before every class review each skill and idea to be taught.
Visual aids will assist you in your teaching and simplify your task as a teacher. We've all heard, "A picture is worth a thousand words," and that is especially true teaching children in a classroom setting. Students prefer to see what you're talking about instead of just hearing about it.
A lesson plan is simply an outline of what you plan to teach in a class. Developing a lesson plan makes you focus on how to accomplish your teaching objectives for each class and helps you stay on schedule.
If you are writing lesson plans for the first time, below are three helpful guidelines:
- Define your goal for the entire series of classes. This can be completing a simple project or teaching specific techniques.
- List all the steps to be covered with your students in order to attain this goal.
- Divide all the steps between the number of classes you will be teaching.
Even when using detailed lesson plans, you can't always stay on schedule. You might have an entire class of slow learners, or conversely, a class of speedy students, who complete two lesson plans in the time you thought it would take to complete one. There will be times when you will just have to go with the flow, but most times you should be able to stick to your plans.
Crochet is a skill taught in a step-by-step, organized way. The student must understand and be able to make "step" progress. The teacher must be alert to a student's response and be as certain as possible each step is learned and used before progressing to the next step.
One teaching method that can be utilized is to provide a hook with rows of crochet already worked to teach beginners, skipping how to chain until they are more adept at handling yarn, hook, or needles. This is an exception to the "Step Rule," but works for some classes.
Always assume students in a beginning class know nothing about the skill; take nothing for granted. Those who are self-taught need to know what they are doing right and wrong. Although students may have crocheted or knitted for many years, they may still not understand why gauge is important or how to use gauge information.
Review also gives continuity from class to class. By reviewing at the beginning of each class period and re-capping at the end of each class, the teacher reinforces the techniques already learned and connects them to new ones.The Basics of Teaching Children Needlework
Written by Harry & Dixie L. Berryman
Think of teaching as providing directed activities from which the child will learn.
Learning activities should appeal to a child. Know their current interests and use them to involve the child in learning activities.
The child should understand that each learning activity leads directly to accomplishing the finished project. Example: The chain must be worked to begin a project.
Showing is better than telling.
Demonstrations should be short, well paced, and repeated, either by teacher or students.
Demonstrations should be broken into steps:
Example: Starting a chain.
1. Pull 10" yarn from ball
2. About 5" from end, fold over hook
3. Twist hook around so yarn is twisted under it forming loop
4. Yarn over hook and pull through loop in hook
Put something in their hands as soon as possible. Demonstration should be followed by the learner's doing what they have observed. Children should have their hook and yarn to try while you are demonstrating.
*A completed example of the project created for children to learn should be available for their examination.
Example: After teaching how to chain, make a necklace with 3 or 4 separate chained lengths in different colors. Twist to form rope, slip stitch together.
Communication is enhanced when you use concrete images, word "pictures", and a vocabulary children understand.
Children are seldom interested in learning a new vocabulary just for the skill they are learning.
Children like jokes and games, but these should be directly related to learning the skill being taught, otherwise they become distractions.
Example: Chains should be loose enough to work the foundation row. "Fat Worms" describes what you want. Tight chains are " Hungry Worms."
Constructive Criticism and Correction is an Important Teacher Activity.
Recognize and encourage any activity that leads towards accomplishing the learning goal. Show them how the current activities are related to the finished project.
Children must have a sense of accomplishment. Provide them with frequent progress reports. They will quit or feel they cannot do it when they are unable to perceive progress.
When a child is having difficulties doing the demonstrated task, show them an alternative, if possible. Repeat demonstration individually using different and new words. Observe the child while he/she tries.
Example: If a child has problems making a chain with the hook, try teaching them with just their index finger. After they have the concept, switch to the hook.
Each child will have a different "pace" and it may be necessary to allow some children to learn another step while others are practicing on the previous one.
The Crochet Guild of America expresses its utmost appreciation to the Craft Yarn Council of America (CYCA) for developing these materials on teaching children how to crochet and for allowing CGOA to post this information on our web site. These materials were developed by CYCA for participants in CYCA's Certified Instructors Program (CIP) and first distributed at the CYCA Certified Instructors Luncheon at CGOA's Chain Link crochet conference held August, 1999 in Bellevue, Washington.