Thoughts on Teaching III

[anti-rclick]中文版: 教學感想 III

Having taught for these years, I have found one thing that is always true:

Pure beginners with me always learn best and progress fastest.

Transferred students have all those unseen learning past and unknown factors that can never be understood fully. Those “unseens” and “unknowns” include the teaching methods, teaching attitude and philosophy of their previous teachers, the teaching materials used and learnt, as well as the learning experience of the students.

Thus I find teaching absolute beginners, young and mature, to be an experience most satisfying and smooth. They are those I refer to as “pure” and “uncontaminated”. I know exactly what they have learnt, what method books they have used, what materials they have gone through, what exams, competitions and performances they have participated in, what kind of songs suits each of them best, what kind of characters each of them bears, etc etc.

To teach the transferred students is most headache-provoking. Especially in the initial stage of their learning with me, I need time to understand them, their characters, their learning styles and modes, their attitudes towards playing the piano, the materials they have learnt so far. A lot of times I find it most surprising (even to annoying) that there are so many things they should have learnt (particularly for those who have piano lessons for quite a few years) but do not know! I start to wonder what has happened to them during all those years of piano learning: have they every learnt anything at all?

Although it has been quite a challenge to teach those transferred students and I have put up with quite some good fights (not the violent kind!), it can also a satisfying experience after I have invested more time and effort to get to know and teach them. Parents of transferred students should understand that it does take some time for their children to get comfortable with the new teacher, her teaching style, method and environment. The first couple months (to sometimes a few months) is always the hardest to get through. But eventually one can see results, little by little. If there is no result, the students might need another teacher, or they are just not suitable for playing the piano. One can always enjoy music in many different ways, I always say. Playing the piano is only one of them. Of course it is for me one of the most gratifying ways!

Teresa Wong

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