Welcome to the third installment of my Instructor Interviews Series. My interests vary between artistic endeavors and online courses, so I’ve reached out to a number of experts in both arenas to ask their thoughts on a variety of teaching issues. You can see the first two installments here: Previous Instructor Interviews.
Instructor Interviews Series, Post #3
The people interviewed in this series teach a wide variety of classes on content such as Art Journaling, Art Quilting, Assemblage Sculpture, Digital Marketing, Embroidery, Facebook Advertising, Fiber Arts, Internet Advertising, Jewelry Making, Knitting, Mixed Media Art, Modern Quilting, Online Marketing, Paper-Pieced Quilting, Sewing, and Videography. How’s that for a super group of creative categories?
For this particular question, I've only included responses from those who teach live (rather than online) classes.
Question #3: What's your ideal class length?
Anita Houston (Mixed Media Art)
“Most things can be completed in four hours, so I usually shoot for that when designing classes. I have found that students don't stress when there is ample time.”
Becka Rahn (Fiber Arts)
“Two and a half hours. After that amount of time, you can see your students start to lose focus. There is a point where your brain gets full and you just can’t learn more without a break. If it’s a class with a lot of hands-on and moving around it can be a little longer. If we really have 3 1/2 hours worth of material to cover, I always schedule a 4 hour class because they will need a break in the middle. Although you say “10 minute break”, it is always a half an hour before you can get going again.”
Brenda Brown (Mixed Media Art)
Carolyn Dube (Mixed Media Art)
“It depends on what the class is about. I do 2-hour workshops all the way to 3-day immersion retreats. The goal of the class determines the length.”
Dyan Reaveley (Art Journaling)
“I like a full day – 10am-5pm. The longer the better for me! I like a three day class. It gets people settled in. I like to get to know the students and it lets go of their inhibitions and brings out there true selves. The longer I’m with them, the more people blossom into artists.”
Jill Wolcott (Knitting)
I think the type of class dictates length, and trying to stretch or compress does a disservice to the subject matter.
Julie Fei-Fan Balzer (Mixed Media Art)
“Five days for an in-person class. The longer I teach, the more I see how much time is a factor in learning. For an in-person class, students learn so much more, achieve so much more, and grow so much more with a longer class length.”
Kaz Hall (Mixed Media Art)
“I don't have a preference. It depends on the project, however if it is a whole day workshop it's important to have an hour break in the middle. This allows time to clean up and eat lunch, and also gives students time to catch up if they have fallen behind.”
Nat Kalbach (Mixed Media Art)
“That really depends on the topic or the kind of Mixed Media classes I am teaching and the crowd I am teaching. Anything from 3 1/2 hours to 3 days can be ideal in that sense. ”
Seth Apter (Mixed Media Art)
“I love workshops that are 2 days or longer. People have time to bond, get into their creative zones, learn to focus on the process rather than the project, and have a real opportunity to stretch and experiment.”
Teaching Your Passion™ Course
If teaching interests you, please sign up to be the first to hear when my online course called Teaching Your Passion™ starts again this Fall. It’s a 4-week course with lifetime access. I've structured it carefully and included everything I wish I’d known when I started teaching mixed media art six years ago. It’s a really detailed roadmap for teaching live and online courses and it includes everything from pitching class ideas to getting hired, self-hosting your own online courses, creating videos, contract negotiations, and much more. You can read more about it including some student testimonials here.
Wrap Up & Thanks!
Well, there you have it! Are you finding this Instructor Interviews Series interesting? I want to thank all of these instructors for taking the time to share their perspective on Question #3. Lots of great suggestions for new teachers! Find out more about each one by clicking their names to go to their websites.
Keep in Touch
Thanks for the visit!