Checking hundreds of craft course reviews each month gives us some fascinating insight into what students value most in their creative experience. If you teach craft, check that you have all these boxes ticked or see if there is room for improvement...
Taking time out from the humdrum to indulge in a craft experience is incredibly enriching, but students often feel a bit nervous at the offset (creative self-doubt is a recurrent theme). Welcome your group warmly (perhaps with a hot cuppa) and make sure everyone knows each others' names to help put them at ease, so they can get right into enjoying the shared experience. This is particularly important if there is a mix of established friendships and newcomers.
Some characters will always make sure they are heard, so be vigilant that all participants get a chance to ask questions and benefit from your guidance, even the quiet ones. Make sure that there are ample tools and workspace so that each participant has what they need to get on with the project you have set. You know your workspace best and how many students can be comfortably accommodated ; most tutors set an upper limit so that no-one is left twiddling their thumbs.
Managing different skill levels is one of the challenges of teaching, in craft as in any field. Having written notes that recap the stages can be useful to many students and it's great for them to have a reminder of key stages of creation to take away with them.
...is just like for the rest of us : refreshments ! Those delicious chocolate brownies or the perfect ginger cake will stick in the memory (SO many reviewers talk food) so try to offer something a bit special for break time to add to the indulgence of the experience. Homemade is marvellous but if you are no Nigella, then maybe you could source some delicious fancies from a local bakery or farmers' market ?
5. Be clear about what you are offering
Forewarned is forearmed, so make sure you give details about necessary clothing, nourishment or materials that participants should bring, as well as clear directions about where and when to meet.
Maybe the workshop gets chilly or the loos are a short walk up the track (potentially in the rain) ; people are remarkably understanding if they know what to expect. Also, be very clear if there will be extra costs on the day. You may need to charge for extra materials if a student gets very ambitious ; be sure to clarify this from the start so that no-one is left out of pocket.
Update your CraftCourses pages regularly with dates and details, and make sure your web links are working (if you have them). Social media sites can also be a great way to keep your regulars informed about your activities and subscribers are welcome to use CraftCourses social media boards to promote upcoming courses and fill last spaces. Make sure you request reviews from your students as each course passes to build up a body of reviews that potential students can refer to when researching courses.
That's it for now. Let us know what you would want to see added to the list and your top tips for other course providers.
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