Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lessons I Learned from Knitting

knitting

If you told me 5 years ago that I would be a knitter, I would have told you that you were crazy! I finally took up knitting about a year ago.

It may look hard but actually may be easier than expected. Many times I look at a pattern and feel overwhelmed, yet I really want to make the item that looks so cool in the picture. I decide to try it because what is the worst thing that can happen? Then I find out it really wasn’t that hard and if I had given up before I started, I would never have found this out. Maybe that is the way my lessons appear to my students. My explanation may sound more difficult than it really is so I have to be careful about overwhelming them. I need to find ways to simplify what I’m teaching and then when they understand the concept, I can go into more detail. This way it won’t scare them.

Sometimes you have to rip out and start all over. When things don’t go right, I sometimes have to rip it out and begin it again. But that is alright. That is how I find out my mistake so I don’t do it again. If I hadn’t found out what I was doing wrong, this might never turn out right. That is why I make my students correct their mistakes early on. So many times they want me to just give them a grade a move on, but they won’t learn that way. They will just keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

It helps to get have a support system. I found a group of people who do well in knitting and are willing to help me. Over time I feel more comfortable sharing my mistakes so that they can show me an easier way to do things. That is one reason I think we need to put students with various strengths together in groups in order for them to learn from one another. Also if students are working on a project if they have the same interests, it is likely they will learn different strategies for learning the material.

Mistakes happen but don’t agonize over them. I made a sweater where the arms were too long but didn’t find out until I tried it on when it was done. I made a pair of socks where the foot was too long and the heels stuck out of my shoes when I put them on. These are things that I can adjust the next time I make a sweater or a pair of socks. From these mistakes, I learned what I need to do differently but I don’t just give up on knitting because of them. I need to encourage my students the same way about their learning. Sure they will make mistakes but those are just building blocks for future successes. I don’t want them to give up on learning because of their mistakes.

Sometimes you just have to believe. Once I really didn’t understand how a pattern would make a sock but it did. I studied and studied the pattern but could not make sense out of all the steps. Somebody just told me to believe it would happen and just start following the steps. Well, I did and was amazed that it really turned into a sock. After I actually made the sock, I was able to understand how the pattern worked and it made sense to me. It would never have made sense if I didn’t try it. Sometimes we need to get our students to do the same things. If they go through the process, they may actually understand it better. That is why I feel that hands on activities are so important to learning abstract ideas. If I can relate the abstract to a real thing, the students seem to grasp the concept so much better.

I think I learn something new every day from my new knitting adventure. If you haven’t ever tried it, I would highly recommend it to all men and women. It is a great stress reliever and research shows that it lowers high blood pressure. If you aren’t into knitting, I suggest finding something new to learn because the lessons you learn will definitely help your classroom lessons be more successful!

Original image: 'Noro Socks finished (365.2.7)'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/33953253@N00/3131969145 by: caro sheridan

6 comments:

sabridv said...

Dear Pat,
As usual I totally agree with you. As teachers we sometimes see thing as pretty obvious and we tend to forget that we have spent many years learning in order to "master"? whatever it is we are teaching. As an EFL teacher, I believe it was very important for me to start learning a new language in order to understand how my students feel. I have started French classes, and it was great to see that at some points I've started doing all the things I don't want my students to do. Once I have reflected upon that and have realised why I have been doing those things I could understand my students better. It is a great experience and I'm learning a lot from being a student again.

stoneTeacher said...

Faith, patience and hard work are rewarded!

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Miss Miller said...

This was a timely post since I am learning to knit and so far failing ;) Your words have given me the courage to carry on! Thank you!

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