I’ve been teaching origami since I first turned professional in the late 80s and have worked with a huge range of students from young to old, fully sighted through to blind, special needs through to gifted, unemployed through to professional businessmen and overseas to French, German, Japanese, Swiss, Italian and Austrian students. Classes have varied from 10 minute “micro teaching” sessions, 90 minute sessions, through to all day classes. Venues have included Scouts, Brownies, schools, youth clubs, hospitals, art galleries, old people’s homes, back gardens, street parties, fetes, offices, studios, libraries, shopping centres and even a karaoke bar in Tokyo! Early in my career as an origami artist, I gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Huddersfield and have a current DBS certificate (and a clean driving license).
I have worked extensively in primary schools in and around Sheffield. Students ranging from Y2 through to Y6 and I have a a variety of lesson plans to provide the appropriate level of folding. Having spent many years sat behind a computer writing and illustrating origami, working “at the coal face” is a constant source of excitement and challenge, I always come away from a session feeling inspired by my students and having learned something new about teaching, origami, often both!
Younger children enjoy decorating origami after folding it – this may be allow them to “own” the origami, having made it different to their fellow students. Having some bright crayons can result in a fascinating display of eye-catching origami! I often encourage students to make a second example. This not only reinforces the sequential learning, but gives them one model to take home, one to add to a display. Another fruitful challenge is to ask them to repeat the model using progressively smaller sheets of paper. The results are often quite amazing and I need to don my glasses to see the very smallest.
The benefits of teaching origami are manifold ;) – it can be a purely recreational activity (just for fun) but it also helps improve dexterity, understanding of instructions, linguistic skills, concentration, team work, creative ability, self-confidence, maths, geometry, awareness of other cultures, language skills, self expression and much more besides.
I provide diagrams for all models taught, which schools usually make available to students via the photocopier. I encourage all classes to continue their learning via libraries and the internet and always encourage the formation of a self-contained origami club to fold during lunch breaks.
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