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Teaching Hints and Tips       

        As your experience in making temari grows and you become more knowledgeable in the art, you may find yourself asked to share your skills. It helps to do some inner searching first and be sure that you truly feel able and secure in your craft; this usually takes several years to accomplish. However, once you are there, then it can be a most rewarding experience. One is not considered qualified to teach temari by the JTA until having passed Shihan / Level 3 certification; Shihan actually translates to teacher (Sensei is a title; shihan is descriptive). In order to attain these qualifications, one has studied and practiced about 5 years minimum, and passed a rigorous examination. While we many not hold to the these same strict standards in the West, it is only honorable and ethical that students you teach are learning authentic traditional skills. Be honest with yourself about your abilities.

        The first thing to work through is how to handle class materials. Some teachers purchase the supplies and make up kits for the students, which can save a lot of class time and assures that everyone has the proper needed items, although it puts a larger load on the instructor. The class members then purchase the kit from the teacher or it is included in the class fee that the teacher receives from the sponsoring institution. Other teachers provide a list of what is needed for the students to obtain on their own and bring to class (be warned, though - this can be dangerous in terms of what people may actually show up with). Yet others will include a trip to the craft or thread store as a field trip for the first session.

        Some instructors will not only provide a list of items to bring to class but also a handout of some prep work to be done; depending on the experience of the students this may or may not work. It is difficult to ask first timers to wrap a mari without having done it before, but if you are teaching an experienced class, then of course expecting them to do some preparation is not only acceptable but advisable to save on class time being taken on procedures that could be accomplished at home.

        Obtaining course material is not difficult but some protocol must be observed - if you are reproducing printed material from published sources, including the web, you should investigate the need to obtain permission and/or cite sources. Some publications (including the web) severely restrict duplicating and reusing. Others require that you obtain permission and possibly pay a royalty to the author. Some authors will cooperatively share and allow reproduction for educational purposes if no profit is gained by you and the source is clearly cited. Be sure of what you are using for materials, and the terms of their use, if you are not writing your own.

       I've been teaching and leading workshops both in person and online for a good while now. As the saying goes, I've learned as much if not more than I provide. There have been some tried and true things that have come about, and most folks that have taught will agree. First of all the teacher has to be honest with the students. Some will present an "interpreted" version of things, using their own verbage and so forth rather than traditional Japanese terms/translations. If someone is going to do that, they must be honest upfront and provide a disclaimer to the students, who come into the class not knowing up from down. We've had some interesting times with folks coming into TT thinking that they have been taught authentic temari, and it turns out not so much. How much time is available makes a big difference in terms of what and how much you are going to present. You must be reasonable in this - especially if it's a group of first-timer beginners.  My personal approach is to prepare a marked mari and include that in a simple kit with thread, needle and handout for learning Uwagake Chidori Kagari to make a simple kiku design. The students bring scissors, narrow tape measure, pencil and paper. I have pins and paper strips available. An alternate good starting point is Maki Kagari with a simple design of wrapping bands on a Simple 8. Reserve the mari-making for the next class; everyone is much happier stitching first. In general, the age old process of presenting a topic and then having the class perform it, works. Remember to caution people about jumping ahead if you are using handouts - there will always be some of those and most often there will be errors from them doing so. Don't present too much at one time - allow things to "digest" and gel in a step-wise process. I use the very basic, about as simple as it gets, http://www.temarikai.com/PatternsPages/Simple/GT14.html  both for my classes and for the beginner kit I have on the TK Etsy Shop. It has worked well in both situations. The other basic design I will use for beginners is a simple Maki Kagari worked on a C8, just following the marking lines.A simple project that can either be finished in class or come very close to it is always much better received than going home with hours of work left to accomplish. If it's returning group after the first class, I will do another simple pattern the next time, again providing a marked mari - and only after that do I take them back to making and marking the mari. Getting people introduced to the fun of stitching prior to what some consider to be mundane things like making mari, often helps build some confidence.

       Moving on to copyright stuff - I'll make the clarifying statement again that I'm not an attorney, obviously. But, through the years of TK and TT I have had to learn, research, seek advice and obtain counsel (as in professional consultations) to a fairly deep extent. I offer what I've learned here as some help. Stitches are like words or notes of music - no one owns those "building blocks". It's not the actual idea and the building blocks of that idea, but rather HOW you use those blocks and what results that is protected. Someone else can have the same idea, use the same blocks, but their presentation of it will most likely be slightly (or majorly) different from yours. Each one of your presentations is protected under copyright. Make sense? Think of temari in the Japanese beginner books - combinations of several basic stitches. You'll find these repeating themselves in several books - remember what I said about it being the presentation of the idea rather than the idea that is protected. It may be the same design in several books but the presentation is different in each based on the individual authors. In general, no, you can't take original patterns or designs from books, kits, etc and "mass produce" them for profit (teaching and fund raising counts as profit). The easiest way to figure this out for temari is, things in the ToolKit and yes, the Glossary - are the building blocks that are fair game use to everyone.  Beyond that, be careful. It's not advisable to simple copy off pages from a book or print out pages from the web. Seek and obtain permission, and cite your sources. You're also setting the proper example for your students.
        One seemingly common problem "new" teachers - and more experienced ones, too -  seem to have is establishing the atmosphere of the class....  from one person: "my classes always seem to be a happy 3-hour gab-fest with little given to the teacher! It has become a little circle of friends with one person having knowledge and techniques to share... just no respect for the superior knowledge of the teacher" .....  and another: "I was interested to read your post because I often have the same experience. I often teach for my guild, which has both a day and an evening meeting, and, come to think of it, there is a big difference in the two groups.  The evening meeting seems to be a happy gab-fest, just as you described, and it's very VERY hard to teach.  We've finally started asking those who are not doing the class and wish to chat to move to another room while they stitch and chat, and that helps some but not too much.  I've also taught for seminars, where the stitchers don't know each other, and that's been a much easier experience, I've found.  If they don't know each other they are much less likely to be chattering away while I'm trying to teach......  Well. You are the teacher, and you need to establish straight up how things are going to work. This can be especially difficult if you are teaching people you already know, but it has to be done. In comparison, were you in Japan, you would go to class (for any avocation, not just temari) each week having done your homework, be ready when the teacher enters the room to begin work, with your materials and notebook ready, quiet and attentive to the sensei. You would pay attention to the lecture, be diligent in the classroom work, and not speak until there is a break (if there is one). If you have a question, you raise your hand and wait your turn for the teacher's attention. It's not a social time. On another note but still within "atmosphere" - it helps greatly to request that people refrain from using body fragrances and so forth. One, or more, overpowering scent can make for a lot of problems, including the teacher.

        Something you'll need to be prepared for is "lefties' - or righties, if you are left-handed. There are two tricks for this - stand or sit directly across from the person with the opposite dominant hand, and work normally. This will "reverse" things so that it matches the students' needs. Also, keep a mirror in your teaching supplies - opposite dominants can watch in the mirror and it presents in proper orientation for them. Most left-handed folks have adapted quite well in "translating" things.

        Class size is something you cannot forget to consider. If you are new to teaching, start out small. I've managed groups as large as 15, but it was a reach for one person even though I've been teaching for a number of years. Don't hesitate to limit the class size, or have assistant(s) with you. As mentioned above, set the tone from the beginning and it helps tremendously to adhere to "raise your hand" for questions. This way you can attend to people in order, and that helps manage that person that is always demanding more or all of your attention. How long to schedule is another consideration; I do 4 hour workshops, as well as 2 hour classes. Don't forget to think about age - of the students, that is - when determining class time. Community resources often open their sessions to people of all ages, so be sure what you are getting into. Children adapt to temari wonderfully well; many teachers have begun including it in various curriculum. I've taught kids as young as 6 years old, and he did wonderfully well.

        As mentioned above, it's important to present accurate information. If you are adapting the traditional skills, stitches, etc then you need to be clear about that to your students. There is nothing wrong with it as long as you are honest to them about it. They come to you thinking that they are going to learn Japanese Temari, not "your version" of Japanese Temari. If you have nicknames or whatever for stitches, techniques or what have you, then let them know "this is my way of remembering this". It's being honest and respectful to and of them. They will go out to other places, perhaps online, and being using the nicknames you taught them with no one else having the faintest idea what they are talking about, if they believe that they learned the authentic vernacular. If you are teaching your interpretation, then just be clear that it is your interpretation. You'll be much more respected for it
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