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    • #4655
      Laura Berlage

      building masteryIf you love teaching newbies all the time, go for it!  If you really want to take students to the next level, and the level after that, then you have different considerations in your course building.  For my own practice, I’ve developed a 3-level model (interspersed with skill builders) that helps students both gain new techniques and concepts while investing in time practicing–elements I consider essential for developing mastery.

      This might excite you or not be your thing–that’s ok–but whatever way you choose to build your sequential learning model, you’ll find that you need to decide something essential:  what do I teach when?

      Here are some essentials to consider:

      • What set of skills and concepts in my medium would students need in order to enjoy being a beginner and be able to create nice pieces at that level?  Really get down to the grit level here:  list them.
      • What tools or materials would students need to accomplish this beginner level?  Also list these, as we’ll cycle back to them in the materials kits section.
      • What would be the skills, concepts, and techniques that are the logical “next step” in this medium?  What would bring students to an intermediate level?  List these (as well as any other materials or tools needed).
      • What would be the skills, concepts, and techniques that are the logical next step after that–essentially the advanced level stuff.  List these, as well as tools and materials.

      Here’s another tip:  list all the skills and techniques you want to teach on separate pieces of paper (sticky notes work well or cut them off a bigger piece of paper).  Then lay them all out and organize them by beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.  You may find that you have too many in one pile or hardly any in another and may need to reconsider your first brush at organizing.  Give this some time, as you may find you wake up at 3am remembering three more techniques to add to the list!  (Said from experience as my brain does this all the time.)  If so, keep a pad of sticky notes by the bed so you don’t lose those ideas!

      When considering skill builder options, if desired, these are projects that help students practice what they learned at a level without having to do the same project over and over.  Some students will jump right into designing their own projects, but many would much rather make someone else’s designs.  Why not have it be yours, as you have an understanding of what is achievable at their level?  This field of class creation can essentially be endless, as you continue to dream up new level-specific projects.

      These also make great places to collaborate with a host organization for projects of harmonious theme to their style.  I had no idea I had a huge Scandinavian niche market until I took up teaching online.  Voila, I now have a bunch of Scandinavian themed classes with a waiting audience!  You may have a Celtic audience, or an Appalacian one, etc.

      How does this help you think about breaking up the pile of things you know and want to share into beginner, intermediate, and advanced content?  What questions do you have about crafting sequential curriculum?

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