Learning from a self instructional
program like this has its limits, but it can do a few things quite well
(see "Learning from this Program" below). This way of learning is not a
good way to develop creativity, but being better at a skill can make it
easier to express something creative with your skill.
Watching an expert allows learning
by imitation and this does not make one creative either. However, an expert
might inspire creativity if the expert obviously values and practices creativity.
Watching an expert can be a great way to learn, but it also has limits.
TOO MUCH TOO FAST
The expert may give too much material
too fast. Many learners miss much of it. It requires more concentration
and focus than we are capable of.
EXPERTS LEAVE OUT SOME STUFF
In many cases the expert leaves
out important explanations during the demonstration. Some things
are overlooked because of forgetfulness. Other things are assumed
to be obvious (but a beginner misses them). Finally, experts do things
by habits they learned long ago and they themselves are unaware of some
of the techniques they are using. Even the best expert demonstration
of a complex technique can not include everything needed to master the
TOO BORING OR TOO ENTERTAINING
Some experts are very entertaining.
Learners forget to pay attention to details because they are simply enjoying
the humor and being impressed by a virtuoso show.
Some experts are too boring or they
go on too long. Learner's minds wander. Learners fail to stay
LEARNING FROM THIS PROGRAM
Using a book, a video, or an interactive
learning help such as this, can supplement and review what an expert shows.
The computer is patient. It doesn't rush on to the next step until you
are ready. If the learner is distracted or thinking about something else
momentarily, it is easy to go back over an item. When you get tired, you
can stop and continue when you are refreshed. When a teacher repeats a
lesson you already learned, you can't stop the teacher. Somebody else in
the class might need the lesson. If you find information in this program
that you already know about, you can skip to something else. Computer
assisted learning can fill learning gaps.
After using this program, go to
the potter's wheel the first chance you get. Try to practice at least one
new thing in a deliberate way. Once you have mastered new things, make
note of things that still seem difficult. You may be able to find a section
in this program that speaks to your difficulty.
Falling is part of learning to
ski. Getting back up is the other part. If repeated practice at the wheel
and this computer program does not help you with a problem, definitely
ask an expert to watch you work through
the difficult passage at the potter's wheel. Chances are, an expert will
immediately see ways you can modify your technique and get better outcomes.
There is no
substitute for hands-on practice.
While doing hands-on practice,
learning can be extrinsic as well as intrinsic. At first, when leaning
a new thing, deliberate thinking and concentration is required. This
is HARD practice. This is very extrinsic (coming from external sources).
When you simply repeat things you can already do, you are doing intrinsic
practice. Your body's skills are being refined. Your brain is extending to the tips of your fingers and learning to respond appropriately without thinking.
HARD AND EASY PRACTICE
Whether you are learning the violin,
tennis, or pottery, if you alternate
practice, it will get easier. It is a great way to develop skill.
Thoughtless intrinsic EASY practice
allows hands and other body parts to "think for themselves". They
become automated. They learn how to effortlessly respond to every
common event in the routine of the skill. Easy practice makes us
better at things we already know, but it does not teach new skills.
During easy practice we can learn to be more expressive because we do not have to think about what is being rehearsed. The brain can can
involve higher thinking and feeling modes during easy practice. This
works because we are no longer using all our conscious effort just to achieve
the task. Artists who are also experts are more creative because all their energy and innovative effort can concentrate on expressive and creative efforts.
News skills require hard practice.
Hard practice tries new techniques, new moves, harder pieces, bigger things,
and things that have never before been accomplished. Hard practice includes
risks and failures. Hard practice is falling down and getting back up again.
Successful hard practice often includes knowing where to go or who to go
to when help is needed. Hard practice is trying something new and more difficult.
LEARNING FROM MISTAKES
Learning from mistakes is hard
practice, but learning from mistakes is an excellent way to grow. When
a mistake happens, don't try harder - try it differently. Creative artists
value mistakes because mistakes suggest new ideas. Physical geniuses, (people
with expert skills) admit their mistakes and use them to focus their remedial
practice sessions. Good learners do not make the same mistake twice.
DEVELOP HEALTHY RITUALS
Expertise comes from the good habit
of regular practice time. Routine warm-ups are helpful to set the
mood. Avoid distracting environments.
Music, if carefully selected, often
can facilitate learning. Music, if it is poorly selected, can result
in more mistakes because it distracts us from the task. Individuals
differ. Come to the task well rested. Expect to leave the task
tired, but fulfilled.
Be alert to how long you can work
productively. Concentration times vary. During a periods of
creative flow, hours pass without notice. During periods of drudgery,
minutes refuses to move. When you can't concentrate, do something
totally different. Come back refreshed at a better time, but come
back very soon. Nothing is learned from good intentions alone.