I remember the feeling of teaching an age group I hadn't had much experience with, 5 - 8 year olds, in the early days of working as an art educator at Auckland Art Gallery. I wasn't sure how to speak to them, how to be myself with them, how to structure the class to suit them best and what to expect from them. I had to find my junior children teaching voice.
This was the case in my art workshops for adults which I started this year. I had taught art to teachers in a professional development capacity but our BE CREATIVE workshops for adults were something new to me. Again, I initially wasn't sure how to speak to them, how much to be myself with them, how casual or formal I needed to be, how much instruction to give, how much encouragement and positive feedback I should give them (without seeming patronising), how to structure the class to suit them best and what to expect from them. I had to find my adult teaching voice.
And I think I have.
And this is what I've discovered.
Adult learners have similar needs to child learners. We appreciate being given a chance to explore, experiment and practise, we like being taught some actual skills and techniques, we like being given space to be creative and approach our art in our own way, we like options and an element of freedom, we love a bit of positive feedback and encouragement and also some extra help when necessary, and we feel proud of ourselves when we have achieved something.
And I loved that these adults I worked with took the techniques and ideas to their own place, creating works that meant something to them and that they felt comfortable attempting, with only a vague reference in the end to the original theme of pattern.
Some feedback from the participants: Unique ideas I hadn't tried before; Acceptance of whatever we do; Encouragement and affirmation of our creations; Relaxed evenings with great company and professional facilitation; Exposure to new techniques; Loved getting the creative juices flowing!; Really fun and a nice break from life; Convivial, supportive atmosphere - totally relaxed; Working with colour and materials that can be easily found so I can create these again; LOVED IT; Keep it up, this is a fabulous opportunity to be young again!
Can't wait for the next Be Creative course!
Linocut Print Making Tue, 1 Aug 2017 to Tue, 5 Sep 2017