Found in: Student Management
Mark M., New York
In regular lessons, we go at a pace appropriate for a given group/student and don’t preconceive how long it will take to get through any particular project(s). We also try to match students well so that a group will all go at close enough to the same pace to work well together.
In short-term workshops, we often have both of these factors working against us. There is often a preset amount of time and there is often a variety of experience among students that’s wider than what would normally be acceptable for a group to work well together.
I explain this nature of the situation to my workshop students and let them know that, because of the situation, I will be delivering certain content each week that I’ve planned in advance, in contrast to how I’d do things in regular lessons. And I let them know that for some we may be going too quickly and for others we may be going too slowly. I assure everyone that regular lessons would be more tailored to their pace either way and that everything that we’re doing now is simply a function of this kind of workshop environment where we have a limited amount of time and the varied levels of experience/coordination among students. For the ones who could go faster, I just say let yourself have an easy time for these few weeks. For the former, I assure them that they should learn at their own pace without worrying about keeping up with what I’m delivering in class, knowing that they can always use the SHM to come back to things I’ve clarified only once their ready for it, even if it’s after the course ends.
While this technically addresses the problems, it still ensures that some number of people in these classes will end up not achieving all the results (at least not in the timeframe of the class itself). Some of those people are fine with that. Others end up with a poor experience as a result of simply not getting done as much as they’d hoped. Yet others end up disappointed in a more substantial way because if they that much slower in learning than the rest, I simply can’t slow down enough to accommodate them in this circumstance because it would subvert the rest of the students. These slower students can end up unable to even accomplish things properly at home at their own pace.
Maybe this is the best that can be done under the circumstances. Maybe these extremely slow students in workshops are just going to have to be left out in the cold and told that thing can work for them but not in this situation with these other students since I have to teach more quickly than is good for you. But if anyone has successfully found a way to make these short-term workshops work better for people at the extremes of experience/coordination, I’d appreciate hearing how you accomplish that. Thanks.
I have only run one workshop as I am a new S.M. teacher. Great success. At the information Session when people enrolled I evaluated each one [on the spot] as to how I perceived their abilities, then grouped then together. 2-3 in a group, small but my goal was to have them achieve a positive experience so they would want to continue with weekly lessons. Yes it took more time but I value the positive experience so S.M. gets a good name. The workshop students varied from 10yr old to 80yr old. All at this point have chosen to continue.