Oct 092014

Of course I’m thinking about learning all the time, I am a teacher after all.

But I took two classes last week, a spinning and a weaving one and that got me thinking about how I approach classes and learning in general.

I had known about the classes since February or so, and I immediately studied the list of things I needed to bring, bought some hand cards, a flicker brush, and weaving tablets, downloaded the class description and let it sit for a few months. I also ordered a book on spinning flax but then I made myself not read it because for once I wanted to go to a class and actually learn something.

Because my first impulse is always to get every information I can before taking the class. I found and read about tablet weaving on-line, and I had watched a video on flax spinning a while back. And that usually makes me a very grumpy student in class. I’m sitting there, muttering under my breath, „But I already knew that.”

The good thing about classes like flax spinning and tablet weaving is, though, that knowing about it still doesn’t make you perfect at doing it.

So I went to class, and they were all very good. And I sat and listened, and tried to spin hemp and linen, and thought I did very well until the teacher pointed out to me that I was doing it all wrong because I was using my hands like when spinning wool, and when I started doing it her way everything got much harder, and my thread was not as even as before, and then she sat down at her own wheel to show us and did it completely different. Well. I will re-watch the video I have, now that I know what to look for, and I will definitely read the book I have.

Tablet weaving went somewhat better. The teacher had us warped and weaving in a rather short time, she teaches a no-nonsense way of warping and threading the tablets which I love, and I even got to weave about 20 cm (8 inches) right there. And I made all these interesting mistakes, and got to learn what I did wrong, and how to fix it, and that band is like a visible record of how focused I was while weaving it.

Then I went home. And found myself thinking about what I learned, and how to do the things I learned, and about what I need to know more about, and the mistakes I made, and how to avoid them in the future. And I pulled out my tablet weaving pdfs again, and read them all through, and had the joy of understanding much more this time, and then I wove a bit more on the band, and ordered two more books on tablet weaving, like you do.

And like everybody else I often think that everybody is like me though I really should know better by now.

And then I thought about the person in the flax spinning class who wasn’t really sure if she wanted to spin flax, and she tried for about ten minutes and then decided this was not for her. And I thought about all the people who go to a class, try something, and then never do it again. And I thought about knitting and spinning students of mine who took the class, went there happily but never touched their knitting needles or spindles between classes. And then I realized that no, there are people who approach learning very differently from me.

I keep telling people that I didn’t ever study for school. I did most of my homework, and that was that. But now that I can see how my son does this; he comes back home from school and forgets all about it, does homework because he must and spends his thoughts elsewhere; now I can see that the thing that I do, the thing where I think about what I learned, and what I understand and what not, that thing does count as studying. The mere question, „What did we talk about?“ followed by, „Hm, I didn’t quite get that, I should look that up.“ is all that is needed. Well, unless you study something that needs a lot of rote learning but I don’t tend to do that.

Seems I’m taking my learning more serious than I thought. And you?

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