Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique.
"Good teachers join self, subject, and students in the fabric of life because they teach from an integral and undivided self; they manifest in their own lives, and evoke in their students, a capacity for connectedness. They are able to weave a complex web of connections between themselves, their subjects, and their students, so that students can learn to weave a world for themselves."
–Parker J. Palmer, founder and Senior Partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal
It is in this weaving activity – where you as my student are empowered to learn and use what you learn; not only the 'how,' but also the 'why,' combined with the desire and willingness to act on that knowledge – it is here that I find the most joy.
As a seasoned professional in the fields of graphic design, training, and business management, I've taught classes ranging from coaching, negotiating, and time management, to the core of both of the well-known Adobe Creative and Microsoft Office suites.
I was a top-scoring trainer (both in-house and on-sight classes) for these applications: Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver, as well as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. And I have years of real-world experience consulting, doing design and marketing projects for clients as an entrepreneur, as well as part of a team.
I'm driven by both the passion for learning and the shear joy of helping my students bridge their knowledge and skills to attain goals. Interestingly, my exposure to so many students and business settings over the years has given me great insight in to the various scenarios learners bring to a session. Whether it is overcoming personal obstacles with the software, maybe using Photoshop or Excel for the first time, or learning a best method to get particular tasks done effectively so that your workload seems significantly reduced, in either case, I respectfully meet you where you are at.
When it comes to one-on-one training or tutoring, instead of teaching from a book, I make it a point to learn what your expectations are, evaluate any special areas of interest or goals. If you have courseware you need help with, we'll do a thorough overview of the syllabus and any outlines to determine where best to focus our time. If on the other hand you have a work-related project, I make sure to focus on the tools and skill-building necessary for you to get started. When asked to do the work as a separate contract, which has happened in some cases, I make sure to keep the learning time separate for the sake of clarity.
Through a personal approach, keeping things fun and engaging, I regularly check in and make it a personal goal to ensure the web we weave between technical knowledge, skill-building, and tangible examples, is indeed strong enough to hold the material.
That being said it will forever be up to the a student to apply the knowledge as soon as possible in order to retain it. We are busy little people on this planet! And it's easy to get sidetracked and forget the most important step to the learning process– application!
So, at the onset of any instructor-led trainings, back when I was a full-time trainer (typically they were one-day and two-day classes), and this especially applies to learning software, I always write this on the board:
Then I would explain in one form or another:
"You're paying to be here. I'm getting paid. You have certain goals and so do I. Chances are your goal is to come away being able to do something more effectively than when you got here.
If you want to achieve your goal, and get best bang for your training dollar, you're taking a great FIRST step…
1– Taking the class! But THEN you must… (either Practice or Apply)
2– Practice the material (as soon as possible), then practice even more if you have no current real-world scenario to apply the knowledge to. Then finally you really get bang for your buck when you…
3– Apply what you've learned!"
Oftentimes if the opportunity for the 3rd part isn't readily available to the learner, which we make a determination about early on – it's not uncommon to discover a need for certain skills in a class that you didn't know you needed before the class – then I highly emphasize the the Practice!
To that end, when it comes to being busy and trying to fit in time for practice I will help by suggesting supplemental online learning resources, which I teach my students how to find. Spending 5-10 minutes a day watching targeted tutorials or reading a little bit will *always* help. Hopefully before long you'll be empowered to continue learning and won't need me anymore!
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