This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Learning by experience

When I first started teaching, way back in 1996, I made all of the mistakes that most teachers make. I prepared long, complex lectures, I created multiple-page handouts, I did a lot of complex demonstrations. It was hard work, and absolutely the worst thing that I could have done for the students, so I learned quickly to stop that stuff.

People learn by experiencing things. Especially something like Graphic Design, and computer software. So I very quickly threw away as much of the boring, time-wasting stuff that I could, and changed from a *professor* (someone who talks too much) to a trainer.

I started calling this technique *getting the student's fingers into the clay*. Well, on computers, but you see what I mean. Getting a student to try it, to experience it. To gain confidence by doing it.

So my classes, and training sessions, became more of a *hey, look at how cool this is* thing. Yes, I would talk, and demonstrate, but mostly to whip up enthusiasm, and to help students conquer fear. In every class I did, I said *you can do this!* And the results were amazing.

Of course, most people never learn to teach by doing this. Most often when I ask someone, for example, about a new piece of technology that they have, they launch into a long, boring lecture, and begin a series of complex demonstrations, that go right past me. And then, every once in a while, someone will let me *get my fingers into the clay*. That happened yesterday when a friend of mine showed me their new tablet. I touched the screen, I held it. And I was encouraged to do so, and I learned.