ABANA Affiliate Liaison Letter,
Sucessful Guild of Metalsmiths Programs September 2003|
The Guild of Metalsmiths (Minnesota and Western Wisconsin) wishes to share this successful activity with all affiliates. For more information contact Pete Stanaitis, (715) 698-2895 or email@example.com.
What is this successful activity.
The Guild of Metalsmiths conducts a yearly Instructorsí Workshop to train the instructors who teach our beginning workshops. The Instructorsí Workshop is an all day Saturday event. All instructors are required to attend.
Why use this activity.
The Instructorsí Workshop (1) aids in the recruitment of instructors, (2) improves the quality of instruction and (3) makes all the beginning workshops consistent with one another.
Recruiting a sufficient number of instructors is often a problem because 12-15 instructors are needed to teach all three beginning workshops. If prospective instructors realize that they will receive support and training they will be more likely to volunteer for this position.
Training of teachers always improves instruction. This is especially true because many of our first year instructors are inexperienced in teaching blacksmithing workshops. Even persons with some experience can benefit from additional training.
Consistency between all the beginning workshops is necessary. This is achieved by having one curriculum and having all instructors agreeing to use only that curriculum.
Description of the successful activity.
The persons registered in the Instructorsí Workshop are being prepared to teach The Guild Of Metalsmiths Beginning Workshops. The Guild of Metalsmiths conducts three Beginning Workshops each year. Each workshop consists four all day Saturday sessions. The first three sessions are devoted to instruction and practice of the basic blacksmithing processes and during the fourth day the students make two or three items.
Throughout this article the persons enrolled in the Instructorsí Workshop are referred to as students in the Instructorsí Workshop and as instructors in the Beginning Blacksmithing Workshop. For clarity, from this point on they will be referred to as student/instructors (SI.)
The Guild of Metalsmiths has held the Instructorsí Workshop annually since 1996. The content of the workshop changes every year as the needs of the SIís change and as the instructors of the Instructorsí Workshop gain experience in conducting this workshop. At the conclusion of the workshop the SIís are asked to complete an evaluation form which the instructors of the Instructorsí Workshop carefully consider and use in the planning of next yearís workshop. The instructors also visit the Beginning Workshops to gain personal impressions on the instruction.
The following description of the curriculum contains that which has been taught over the past eight years; not everything is currently used. The workshops evolve over the years.
? A 33 page manual is given to each SI.
? During the beginning years considerable time was spent planning the curriculum of the Beginning Blacksmithing Classes. As the years went by we gradually decided upon what should be taught and how we should teach it. Currently, we spend little or no time changing the curriculum. However, we do need to emphasize the need to stick to the curriculum and for the SIís not to go off in different directions when teaching the Beginning Blacksmithing Classes.
? The SIís are given instruction on how to demonstrate a blacksmithing method. They then role-play giving a blacksmithing demonstration. (Role-playing is the most valuable part of this training!) The other SIís give feedback to the role-playing SIís with the emphasis on being supportive and positive.
? The SIís are given instructions on how to supervise students at the workstation. The instruction follows the same procedure as in ďhow to demonstrate,Ē described above.
? We teach and role-play the Instructor-Coach Method. Since the newer SIís teaching the Beginning Blacksmithing Workshops are not highly experienced and able to smoothly teach independently, an SI coach is used for support. The SI coach follows along with the demonstration using a written guide giving prompts to the SI demonstrator when needed. This process must be role-played for the SIís to feel comfortable with it.
? How to give instruction and feed-back to a new blacksmith in the basic course is important. We instruct and role-play this process emphasizing facial expression, tone of voice, words that are used and to be generally supportive. This instruction has been given in a variety of ways over the years.
? Teamwork. Each year three teaching teams are formed and they begin the process of meeting together to plan their workshops. Remember, the three most important aspects of teaching a good workshop are preparation, preparation and preparation.
? Blacksmithing skills are not normally taught at this workshop. However, there have been a few times that the instructors have observed the need to give a short demonstration on a specific blacksmithing skill.
? The Certificate of Associate Instructor is presented to the first time SIís, Certificate of Instructor is presented to second year SIís, and a seal is affixed to the previous certificate of the ďold timersĒ.
How may you use this activity.
Think about the workshops that your association has taught. Could they be improved with more preparation similar to that described in this article? Remember, there are many, many details not given in his articleóyou will have a good time discovering them for your self. Talk about it with the persons who teach blacksmithing workshops for your association. Best of all, discuss this activity with your board of directors.