Monday night saw the second session of my beginners crochet course.
The course lasts for 10 weeks with each session lasting 2 hours. It is run and funded through the community learning programme in Wigan and is amazing value for money. However, I have only a minimum of control over the size of my class and, as such, it is much larger than when I teach my private workshops. I currently have 15 students on my beginners course which presents a number of challenges, least of all supporting 15 students all at the same time. It takes a lot of careful planning and I have developed a few ways of managing such a large group:
1) Make use of the skills your students come with.
Luckily, some of my students could already crochet a chain prior to the course and so didn't need as much support as other students who had never picked up a hook before. For those with experience, they were able to get on independently and move on to other stitches whilst I could support those who needed it.
2) Make use of the facilities
Teaching within a school, I also have access to a projector which is really useful for sharing images and information to the whole class. I always prepare a PowerPoint presentation with stitch instructions, diagrams and images prior to the lesson and use this to guide my lesson. When I teach private workshops, I don't have access to a projector so I make use of the local library's photocopy to reproduce my slides in A3.
3) Provide Handouts
Handouts are really important and extremley useful. They allow students to work at their own pace and practise outside of class. They can also make notes and helpful hints on them.
When I teach private workshops, I have a maximum number of 8, preferring to only take 6 students at a time, as this means that everyone can have plenty of support and get the most out of the class. It is really important to consider the size of the group to ensure it is manageable for you and allows all students to receive the support they require and to get them hooked on crochet!