Teaching and learning

I’ve picked up on a document put out by WordPress which suggests a prompt for every day of the year for a blog post. Don’t worry, there’s no way I’m going to start posting every day, but perhaps a little more often than I have in the past.

The suggested theme for today is ‘teacher’s pet’ which I’m taking as a start for generally thinking about teaching and learning. I, like so many of my generation, learnt to knit from my mother. She tried and tried to teach me, over two or three years when I was 5 or so. I am left handed , but it didn’t really occur to anyone that you should or could knit anything other than right handed, so that’s what I did, eventually. I also can have very sweaty hands, and the resulting damp or wet, tight mass of yarn and needles was not good. Once I had got the knack, or the penny had dropped, I was away, knitting doll’s clothes, mittens (at school) and a jumper for myself before I was 11. Crochet was acquired as a skill in my teens but in between times I did plenty of French knitting (i-cord on a cotton reel), lots of embroidery, which I loved to work and small amounts of tapestry, the needle worked sort. I learnt to machine knit when I bought a machine in the late 1970s, and that was a battle too, the instruction books being in poorly translated Japanese and YouTube not having been invented at the time.

In the context of knitting and other textiles, I had no formal teaching at all until I was in my 30s when I went on the Knitwear and Knitted Fabric Design MA at Trent Polytechnic, now Nottingham Trent University. I was a proficient machine and hand knitter but had no idea about design or designing. That is what I learnt at Trent although the balance between learning for myself and being taught was a fine one. There I learnt about using design concepts, colour, garment shape and construction, markets, fashion forecasting, promotion and a ton of other stuff. It was a massive sacrifice at the time, involving a weekly commute away from my school age family, and taking a large financial risk. However, it was probably one of the best things I have done, over the years.

Fast forward 30 years or so, and teaching and learning has changed a lot. Now we are all experts. Oddly enough I wrote about this some weeks ago, and then didn’t post it, but now it seems to be a natural follow on from this piece. It will be the next post.



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