(Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
I am teaching senior citizens. How many can I have in the class in order to give individual attention?
Optimum Group Size
When running any kind of group where you want interaction, the rule of thumb is 8 to 10.
No more than 10 people, I agree
by: Janine Gerade
I taught a polymer clay class in Florida to seniors. I had the best time!
(See the article about it here – Teaching a Polymer Clay Class.)
Remember that most of them have some crafting experience through their life time so it is good to get an idea at the beginning of class who can help their neighbor.
Some people may have arthritis or eyesight problems, so it is best to be patient and thorough.
I was thinking of doing 2 a smaller classes next time of five, so I could teach an advanced technique to one group and beginner to another.
Hope this helps you.
Also for teaching seniors . . .
I’ve found it very handy to bring along a couple of those wearable magnifying glass things.
It’s a magnifier on a cord you wear around your neck, and the magnifying glass props up on your chest – so if you hold your work under it, you can see it nicely magnified through the top of the glass.
Since jewelry making often involves tiny parts, it might be helpful to have a few of these along in case any of your students have trouble seeing fine details.
Not everyone needs one, but it can make all the difference for someone who does.
I think I got mine at a dollar store – and you can also probably find them at Target or Walmart type of stores.
We’d love to hear about your class afterward!
I advertised a free pre-Mother’s Day class on creating basic forged earrings with the idea that it would be great for some kids to come make something for their mom & a nice way to treat a few moms to something special in honor of all of their loving service to their families. Before I knew it I had 20 people signed up and had to cut off registration. I attempted to arrange for a helper who cancelled on me the day of class due to illness, so I had no time to make other arrangements. What I had to do was split the class in half and do demonstrations in two sets. Instead of working with the students at their table while they are seated as I usually do, I created a work station and had them come to me in two groups, alternating. I did the demo for one group and then sent them back to their table to work on their projects to complete part A, then I demoed for the other group. I then called group A back up to do the second part of the demonstration and so on. It was effective but VERY exhausting. I made it through though, and I had a lot of very happy students. In the end I was actually amazed that I had pulled it off. I do not think I would like to repeat that if I can help it. I would, as someone already suggested, stick to no more than 10 students in the future. However, the rotating demonstration method was effective and I might even use that with smaller classes in the future depending on the project.
Keeping it small
by: Michelle B.
I am in agreement with those above who have said; 8 – 10 students max. That’s a very managable number.
It’s possible to have 12 to 15 students depending on exactly what it is you’re teaching and what the craft/skills level is of the students/seniors you have, but it does become a bit more difficult to give the personalized and individual attention to the ones who need it when there’s more students.
Plus, it’s more rewarding for the students and the instructors when everyone feels they are getting more out of a class than they anticipated and although a lower number of students doesn’t mean all will run smoothly, it can help add to the positive experience.
by: Bridgette Rallo
I’ve taught anywhere from 2 to eight students at one time. The number really depends on the location of the class and the instuctional level of the students. For instance, I can teach eight in a well-stocked studio and give each one the time he or she needs if they are beginners.
I limit intermediate students to five or six and advanced students to two or three, tops, because they will be working on more difficult techniques.
no more than 12!
When I started teaching for a tech school I limited class sizes to 12, knowing that with more students than that, they would start losing my individual attention. Generally I get between 6-9 students which is a nice size. I have also had one class with 12 students, which worked out all right as it was a 8 week class and each class was 3.5 hrs long, so there was plenty of time to get around to everyone.
I love working with Seniors. You will find it a very rewarding experience. They are so supportive and friendly, and they love the social interaction of getting together with others to learn a new hobby.
Depends on the class
by: Dianne Culbertson
For me, it depends largely on what I am teaching. The more people I have, the longer I run my class or I have even split it up into 2 days which has worked great. If it is basic stringing I can get around to quite a few students but the beadweaving techniques mean more individualized attention. I always offer a follow up refresher as well. It also depends on how organized you are. If you have all the printed instructions in detailed format you can show a techinque once and then there are usually some that just take off from there. Also, people learn differently so the printed materials are alwasy good…in detail. I believe in handouts!