Teaching Tips: The Beginner’s Mindset

Teaching Tips: The Beginner’s Mindset

Here’s a great way to become a better teacher: sign up for a class to learn something completely new that is outside of your previous experience.

If you are teaching knitting, you probably have been a knitter for a while and may have forgotten what it was like to learn to knit for the first time.  One of the biggest mistakes we can make as teachers is to assume the knowledge we have about our subject is “obvious” and skip over important explanations and steps in our teaching.

So go take a class outside your comfort zone.  Experience being a beginner taking a class from a subject matter expert.  Notice what the instructor makes easier by adding details for the novice and/or notice where the instructor makes assumptions about what you should know that you don’t know.  Where does the instructor go too quickly for the novice?  When does the instructor ask questions to assess student understanding and how do they tailor their instruction due to the responses?

Then the next time you teach a class to beginners or you teach an unusual technique, put yourself in the place of the beginners.  Think about what assumptions you are making about your learners and how you can confirm those assumptions are correct and what you can do if they are not.  What knitting moves need slowed down so the novice can follow them?  What details might you need to mention that the novice might not know?

Every time you teach a class, remember to put yourself in that beginner’s mindset.  Your students will thank you!  If you are using my teaching packs, you’ll find a list of common points of confusion for each lesson and how to handle it!

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