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Thursday, February 3, 2011

MM: Leading a Class or Workshop

Organizing and leading a workshop can be a fun and interesting approach to promoting your spiritual practice, expanding your network, and earning extra income. Before deciding to teach a class or workshop, however, you should keep in mind that teaching is a special skill that not everyone possesses.  

To be an effective teacher you must 1) have a strong desire to teach 2) have the ability to teach and 3) be knowledgeable enough about your subject to teach it. Other considerations to keep in mind include:

  • Subject Matter
  • Location
  • Advertising



Subject Matter

Your subject matter can be as narrow or as broad as you like, but keep your student’s level of education and understanding about the subject in mind when preparing the lesson. In addition, you will want to specify whether this class in an introductory or advanced class on the matter at hand.

Once you have decided on your subject matter, write a lesson plan which should include the following:

  • Title of Lesson- What the lesson is about.
  • Time required completing the lesson-
  • Material(s) Needed
  • Lesson Objective(s) - This should describe what the student should be able to do upon successful completion of the lesson.
  • Lead In- Introduces concepts and/or skills which are the focus of the lesson. This will often include the use of visual aids such as photographs and models, and asking leading questions.
  • Instruction- This includes describing a logical sequence of events making up the lesson and will often include the teacher’s input along with a guided practice.
  • Independent Practice- A period of time whereupon the student is encouraged to extend his skills and knowledge on their own.
  • Summation- A quick overview of the lesson, wrapping up all discussion and allowing time for questions and answers.
  • Evaluation- Though this is not always necessary, some students prefer a test to evaluate the mastery of skills or knowledge to assess what they have learned.

Location

You have several choices when deciding where the class will be held. They include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Independent Bookstore or Metaphysical Shop- Many independent retailers who cater to the magickal community will often allow their shop to be available for classes and workshops during certain times. This is usually with the understanding that attendees will also purchase some of their wares. If you are a regular customer at a certain metaphysical shop, speak to the owner about making arrangements to use their shop to host a class or workshop.
  • College Classroom- Local colleges, especially if you are a student yourself, may be willing to allow you to use an empty classroom or auditorium to teach a workshop.
  • Local Library- Libraries sometimes have rooms which the public can rent for meetings and workshops.
  • Public Meeting Hall- Many town have halls that can be made available to the public for meetings in exchange for a small fee.
  • Outdoor Space- Depending on the nature of your class as well as the weather, you may be able to hold your workshop in an outdoor space such as a park. Some parks even have an enclosed picnic area with tables that are ideal for small groups. Keep in mind that although parks are public areas, you may still need a permit from your local Parks and Recreation Department to use it for a meeting.
  • Private Residence- Although the option of using a private residence to hold your classes and workshops is always available, it is not always recommended especially if you are meeting with a group of people that you do not know.

Advertising

Once you have your lesson written and your time and place set, you’ll need to make people aware of your class and sign them up. Avenues for advertising your class include:

  • Distributing fliers
  • Posting Notices on Community Boards
  • Mass Emails to your Business Mailing List
  • Posting Notices on Your Company Website
  • Through Online Social Networking Sites

Any advertising that you utilize will have to include the following:

  • Class Title and Description
  • Time and Place
  • Cost of Class
  • Materials Needed
  • Closing Date for Registration.

In addition, you will have to provide information on how students can register and pay for the class. Registering is important so that you will have an accurate count of how many people intend to attend the class. Depending on the location of your class, the nature of your lesson, you experience teaching a group of people you may want to limit the number of people who will attend.

Options for paying for the class include accepting paypal © payments online or the student may be able to pay via cash or money order at the time of the class. Have a receipt book on hand to write receipts if asked.
Have a sign-in sheet in which students can leave their name and contact information to be included on your mailing-list. You can use this list to inform students about future classes, as well as your products and services.

Afterward the Lesson

When the lesson is ended and before you dismiss the class it is a good idea to ask each student to fill out an anonymous teacher-evaluation form. This will give you some feedback about your ability to teach, areas which need improvement, aspects of the lesson which students enjoyed, or even suggestions for additional lessons or subject matters.

Before dismissing the class you may also want to stand at the exit and greet each student as they leave. This will give them the opportunity to speak with you one on one even just for a minute or two. You may also want to pass out your business card to each student which you have stored in a glass jar along with a cotton ball that has been anointed with steady-work oil.

Carolina Dean

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