How to be a better origami teacher


How to be a better origami teacher

On September 2nd 2017 I gave a talk at the 50th Anniversary British Origami Society Convention, which took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon from September 1st to September 3rd 2017. I shared 15 tips on how to be a better origami teacher, be it when teaching in person or in a video.

This talk was recorded by Paul Hanson and Robin Macey, which I edited including some pictures and video snippets from the years past. I hope you enjoy it!

For those interested, you can also download the slides I used here. I have also included slides for the questions asked at the end of the talk.

Introduction: Mick Guy
Camera: Paul Hanson and Robin Macey
Video Editing and Presentation: Sara Adams


Thank you very much Sara. Your talk was extremely helpful and I enjoyed it a lot; I've watched it twice so far. I was able to put in practice some of the tips during the V International Origami Convention in Facatativ√°. Before the convention it helped me a lot to teach the models one on one, in order to identify the difficult steps through other people's folding process, besides discussing possible solutions. One friend suggested using clothespins in order to hold together some layers during a particular step. I also practiced folding the models, trying to figure out the best an easiest way to accomplish each step. During the workshops I followed many of your tips: I tried to use a more clear language, that included talking about my hand movements in many occasions, I had a paper ready for "zooming in" a difficult step of a particular model, every so often I asked them to show me their paper in order to know who was done, and I also passed around a good number of example folds of the model.

Now, when I passed around the example folds I explained I wouldn't allow people trying to reverse engineer the model. I explained to them that I was sure they were very able to make out all the steps but I also had for them many different tips in order to make each step the best way possible. That way I was able to avoid some uncomfortable situations.

There's one thing I did very differently and I will probably try doing it like it that from here on; it's opposed to your "look but don't touch" tip. I wasn't folding my own paper in order to teach how to fold the model. Instead of that, for each step, I took a different student's paper and advanced to the next step as I explained it to everyone. Then I asked that student to continue the step in the other sides; each student had a turn. I did explain my method at the beginning though, apologizing beforehand for having to take and manipulate their papers. I LOVED this idea! That way I was able to concentrate in what they were doing and how were they doing it, instead of concentrating in my own paper. It might be a problem with a workshop with numerous students since their paper won't be too big for everyone to see it clearly, but it helped that the maximum number of students per workshop were only 20.

On a workshop something happened that reminded me about one of your tips, I had someone that was very young for an advanced workshop and I wasn't sure he would be able to fold the model completely by himself. So we talked at the beginning, I tried to convince him to try out a different workshop but he insisted in wishing to fold my model. I finally did convince him by promising we would meet the next day one on one in order to teach him how to fold it. We did meet and he was able to fold it, it helped a lot that I could concentrate exclusively in his paper and folding process. We did have to add a bit of tape inside in order to ease the process, but he didn't mind at all.

So once more thanks Sara and the rest of the crew behind the making of the video. Your tips helped me try to find my own style as an origami teacher : )

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