On Teaching Fashion: Learning how to teach and teaching how to learn

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This week I was lucky to attend a conference in London on learning and teaching.

The revelation was quite substantial, when I realized that we lecturers need to be taught how to best teach, how to encourage learning and how to motivate students to deliver their best possible output. This output should not only be present in university but prepare them for their professional life.

It is, of course, a high threshold to set for a lecturer. We want to be the best in our profession but how can we achieve that? As I reflect on this topic, I find that the best approach is to develop empathy towards your students.

Empathy is an interesting word:  “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also :  the capacity for this” – is what the Webster’s Dictionary states.

This empathy can take on many forms, depending on the subject, the students, the context and time and place.

How do your students feel who have begun to study fashion?

What are their ambitions?

What do they want to know and what do they know already?

Are they local residents or have they come from a different city, country and culture?

Will they need to develop core skills of the subject matter and which teaching methodology actually works best for them?

What amount of pressure do they perceive as productive and what amount is counter-productive?

As teachers and lecturers, we should always ask ourselves such questions to improve our classroom experience. Perhaps it is also a good starting point for professionals who have been working in the industry for a long time and decide to lecture part-time or even full-time. Hopefully, the quality of teaching can be constantly improved.

As the old proverb goes (and it seems to exist in many languages, cultures and even popular culture):

“There is no bad student. Only a bad teacher.”

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Fellow academics and students, what do you think we need to learn in order to be truly good teachers? What do our students need, especially in the fashion sector? I am eager to hear your views!

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2 Comments

  • Graduation Stoles April 01, 2017 12.00 am

    We need to learn to listen. Learning never stops, even for the teacher

     
  • Olga Mitterfellner April 12, 2017 03.14 pm

    So very true! Its a great exercise to practice “active listening” which means not answering, not commenting but just hearing the other person. It’s not easy to do but we can only improve.

     

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