Check out our blog, Ohriginal
, written by CRMA Education Director, Erin Thomas.
Below you'll find Erin's most recent blog entry...
Reach Out & Teach Someone: Resolution #5
One of the things many artists—and teachers—will tell you is that teaching someone is the best way to understand something better. I teach all the time as part of my work as a museum educator, and the more I teach, the more I learn.
It’s one thing to read about how to paint a portrait or to learn a new brushstroke. It’s easy to hear someone lecture on the subject, and only slightly tougher to attempt it yourself. (After all, we’ve already discussed how it’s worth an attempt, even if you feel the results are terrible!) But what really makes you understand it, what creates a lasting impression, and what perfects your skills is to explain it to someone else.
When you teach something, you have to understand it from multiple perspectives and you have to be able to communicate it in a variety of ways. It’s one of the ongoing puzzles of my chosen field. How can I take a skill or a nugget of information, and transform it into something that every member of my audience will understand? Not just understand… How can I create a lasting impression in their memories? In their creativity bank? In their scaffolding of learning, on which to build more skills and knowledge?
It’s a delicious challenge, and a privilege to know that I may have slightly altered the way another human being sees the world.
That old adage springs to mind that says if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. That’s how you feed an artistic soul, as well. Are you looking for fresh ideas for your own work? Teach someone a skill at which you feel accomplished. Stymied about what project to do next? Start with a piece of wisdom you can give to someone else, and see what comes of it. What you inspire in someone else has a way of coming back around to further inspire you.
And occasionally it will remind you of how much you still have to learn. And how fantastic is that? To know that there’s a great big world full of stuff you still have to explore?
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin… “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” — T. H. White, The Once and Future King