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DeepSoulSheepGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
2,617 posts
Location: Berlin, Ireland

Hello HOPers.

I need a little advice. I've had another look at the teaching thread and run a search and now I'd like a few opinions, ideas and general comments.

I'm running a poi workshop next weekend for Grassroots here in Dublin. I've never really taught more than a move or 2 to people, generally people who could spin a little already too.

I've a few ideas already from certain people and my head but I'd love to hear from anyone who's run workshops in the past. Approached you took, observations and lesson learnt would all be appreciated.

Oh and what do I do if I can't manage to teach one thing to one person . Ok I'm hoping that won't happen.

I live in a world of infinite possibilities.

AdeSILVER Member
Are we there yet?
1,897 posts
Location: australia

I don't say this often: dude, do a search

there's quite a few discussions on this from what to teach, how to teach, teaching kids, teaching adults etc...

DeepSoulSheepGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
2,617 posts
Location: Berlin, Ireland

Thanks Ade, but as I said, I had already run a search (and always do, because of the fear of posting that's been instilled in me even after over 500 posts) and just did again, searching for "teach", "teaching", "workshop", "teaching workshops", "teach adults" and I've come up with nothing.

If you know where these are I'd be gratefull for you to point me in the right direction, as long as it's not the teaching thread, if that's what you're refering to. As I said I had re-read that already and think it cover's less than half of what I'm looking for.

I wasn't even going to post this thread, only a person on this board, whom I pm'ed for advice regarding this, suggested that it would be a good idea to post it to the board. I agree that it is a good idea because unless I'm missing threads, I don't think there is an awefull lot of helpfull info on the board, especially considering the advise this person had for me, which I thought was very usefull.

I live in a world of infinite possibilities.

flokiGOLD Member
183 posts
Location: brussels, Belgium

i never gave a workshop ... but i allready went to follow them ...
it is perhaps good to know that, what i appreciated during this workshop, was just the new input from the others ... of course, people will ask to show some moves ... but i suppose that this can be not a problem. as a teacher id say : I WAS ALWAYS HAPPY WHEN THE STUDENTS DISCOVERED THINGS THEMSELVES. i think you cant teach everything, a good teacher only shows the right direction ...

Bender_the_OffenderGOLD Member
still can't believe it's not butter
6,979 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia

a few tips from wot i learnededed:

-no swearing (it's tempting)
-don't put anyone on the spot (it's embarrasing enough as it is for many)
-like in dance/martial arts classes, try demonstrate reeeeal slow, several times, then have everyone practice it.
-as they practice it, encourage partnering so that peeps can ask each other or just laugh with another, while you go about seeking to assist the troubled and coax the shy. if you don't coax the shy, they never come back. Indeed try not to spend all your time with the sexier students, cus self respect is important too
-unlike dance/martial arts classes, try to have every student stand in a circle as opposed to in a grid; this allows equal visibility for all of you. always show it again if someone's missed it.
-yogic stretches - always! shoulders, elbows, wrists at must! waists/hips, neck & shoulders for btb stuph, knees, ankles hamstrings for btl or leaping stuph.
-make *everyone* clap whenever someone weaves for the first time , it's such a crucial poi development milestone!!
-the policy for BYO twirling toys is up to you - will they bring their own, or will you have to get busy with the broom handles and socks the night before?
will you be free?
there will be more people! and positive karma! plus the friendships you forge will be priceless.
will you charge?
do you give them toys to use? are you priced competitively with most peoples' alternatives? (take a peek at dance classes' pricing regimes) remember that twirling lessons may appear a bit of a gamble for many people, our own love of the art notwithstanding.


Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always

ben-ja-menGOLD Member
just lost .... evil init
2,474 posts
Location: Adelaide, Australia

ive run a few workshops and found that everyone can click with something, so if you keep throwing lots of stuff at people until they find something they can do, but do it such that you are demonstrating lots of moves to the whole group. then let them play and go and help individuals, doesnt matter what move it is if they can get one they will be happy

ive found most girls are able to pick up the weave if you explain it to them in skipping terms, ie get them to skip with the poi first (without jumping if your kind with if you not )

soft music in the background also is a good thing just adds to the mood and helps some people get into the flow of things. i would recommend running the first few for free until you get confident with teaching to a group and with the material you present, that way it takes the presure of you as if you charge and are unprofessional ppl wont come back where as if its free then ppl will

also work out how you will explain how to do the moves to ppl that have never done it before, how to explain the hand movements

oh yeah more importantly than anything else when teaching the butterfly or similar moves to guys to swing backwards rather than forwards as a poi in the face is discouraging but a poi to the groin gives something like a 99%* owch im never touching poi again responce

check the forcast as rain makes for much frustration, if you have access to a indoor area well yay if not pray. also set a limit to how many people you will have in the class as quality is really important that and space can be a major issue. if you can get hold of a uv floro tube and make up some practise poi out of glowing material its a really nice way to finish the session as it looks cool even if all you can do spin it in a circle (electronics shops and hardware stores are a good source for them lighting shops are generally much more expensive, if you decide to get them shop around as you get major differences in prices, whatever you do DONT buy from rave shops they are so overpriced) i got my uv fluro tubes for $22 AUD each ~ 10 pounds? its definately worth the money if you are going to charge for workshops.

oh but more importantly than anything if you have ppl that dont know each other introduce them and make sure they have a good time. on a final note fuzzy poi made out of fake fur are just great great i say (very cheap to make to fuzzy poi, with fluro string + filling works out to around $2.50 each AUD so if you have the time make em)

*actual numbers may be higher

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

ben-ja-menGOLD Member
just lost .... evil init
2,474 posts
Location: Adelaide, Australia

i forgot to ask what was the advise that you where given that was helpful in the pm

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

642 posts
Location: UK, London

Some more advice:

1. Give lots of positive feedback to those you are teaching.
2. Try and have more than one way of teaching a move as some people can learn in different ways. For example I have 3 ways in which to teach the weave.
3. Encourage people to learn all the moves in all directions as it will allow them to move more freely.
4. Organise a big event at the end of the teaching sessions to give them a kind of reward. i.e. organise a show for them all to give or if it is appropriate finish your last lesson with everybody doing fire.
5. Have lessons planned. Plan everything to the smallest detail and make the lessons flow nicely from one to another building on what has been previously learned.
6. Try and incorporate ways of showing people how to invent their own moves. I particularly like the method that allows you to concentrate on 1 move and modify it until something new has come out of it.
7. Encourage others to find their own style. As mentioned before have music in the background to encourage them to dance more.
8. Give your students homework. That way you will not be starting from square one every lesson.
9. Go over everything they have previously learnt in other lessons so that they can remember the moves they can already do.
10. Bring lots of pens and paper. Many people like to jot down notes so that they can remember what has been taught to them over the lesson. This way when they get home they can look over their notes and be able to practise everything without missing stuff out they forgot.

Above all keep it fun

Hope some of this helps

'Happiness is liking peeing on yourself. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth.'

'If *I* had a hammer, there'd be no more folk singers.'

2,364 posts
Location: austin,tx

i always bring a pile of sticks, that way you can show the moves super sloooow and really show the hand movements and how they relate to the poi.

also some people learn by learning the hand movements, some people learn by the wick movements, as somebody said, show them as many different ways to learn a move as yu can. and pay attention to the way they each "got it", and try showing each individual the next move using the same style, ie, if they learned the weave by following the wicks, then show them TTN by following the wicks too.

TTN in it's most minimalistic form, with little or no arm movement, is the most important beginner move IMHO.

-Such a price the gods exact for song: to become what we sing
-Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.
-When the center of the storm does not move, you are in its path.

Fire Mamamember
53 posts
Location: West coast gal,Canada

I just taught a free workshop today!Funny this post should turn up now. Everyone was really new at it though one gal could do the basic 2 beat weave...trying to encorporate the 3 beat into that for her as a teacher was challenging but a great learning thing for me! I started everyone out with the butterfly...done nice and wide and until everyone in the group got it pretty tight. After all of them could do it with hands together we went into the over head butterfly move. I love to watch folks try this for the first time....remember to tell them to "follow through" and trust that the poi will come back to the butterfly if they do so. My quickest learning student I ever had was a really tiny lady (I'm a really tall one) and I would stand behind her and hold her hands and do all the moves so she could feel them...get them going and then let go. Because she trusted me and was being kind of a "rag doll" she learnt most of the butterfly family, the 3 beat weave, the backwards weave and turning and the corkscrew in about 2 hours. She did it all will fire a few days later.(Won't say how long it took me....). Make sure to watch for things like " a weak hand" in the weave (ie...usually one hand doesn't follow thru as strong as the other). I teach the corkscrew by drawing a circle on the ground in front of the student and having them use it as a reference point. Music is great. Lots of positive reinforcment and laughter is necessary. Have fun!!!

Thru meditation I program my heart to beat break beats and hum bass lines on exhilation....

DeepSoulSheepGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
2,617 posts
Location: Berlin, Ireland

Thank you everybody for your replies, I've taken a lot from them, loads of usefull things in here. I can't post the advice in the pm cause I sent a reply back to the person and now I can't see it anymore.

This is a once off for grassroots (which takes place every year) and I only have an hour and a half, so that's making me a bit edgy. It sounds like I should be able to get something done in that time though. It will be free so I'm thinking I'll have to make loads of sock poi as soon as I got paid.

Again thank you all.

I live in a world of infinite possibilities.

9,232 posts
Location: NYC, NY, USA

You do need to do some research as to who's coming and who can help teach. In some workshops we've had tons of teachers which really helped.

Most of the positive stuff has been already said (Sorry, I didn't see this thread sooner!)

I always bring practice poi for the newbies.

If it's all newbies then you may want to keep everyone together. The main challenge is when you've got kids who are getting stuff faster than others. That's when the veterans come into play.

Also, it's nice to have those that JUST learned a move teach it to others.

Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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