In a hands-on class, we get a unique experience. Not only do we get to receive information from an authorized source, but we also get to test that information ourselves on mannequins or live models. It's a rare opportunity to try new techniques and to observe ourselves objectively. The facilitator will have an agenda and specific techniques to demonstrate, and most classes leave plenty of room for questions and personal attention. Only we can determine the kind of experience we're going to have. How we prepare ourselves—outwardly and inwardly—will go a long way in making the experience a good one. As an educator (and frequent student myself), I can offer some tips to help…
Be dressed for class and arrive prepared. Everyone knows when we look our best, we feel and act better. For class, dress comfortably, but appropriate to the occasion. Depending on the setting, you will be sharing this experience with any number of people, and you never know who will be in the room! Hands-on programs attract serious learners, and there are often opportunities to network with salon owners, educators and fellow hairdressers. Additionally, in most classes these days, we can count on being video-captured, or at least images for social media. You never know where your face may end up!
It's advisable to be 15 to 20 minutes early, supplied with everything from the tool-list. Be sure to know beforehand what's required. Be fed and caffeinated—learning is hard without sustenance, and not every class provides refreshments.
It's your class, your experience. You paid to get hands-on education, which is customized education just for you. A facilitator will be present to offer personal attention and individualized advice. Ergo, you deserve to have certain expectations! If possible, research your facilitator in advance as well as the content to be provided—this will prepare you for the day. Be you, and endeavor to get your needs met in class. A classroom is a safe environment, and nothing you do will be viewed as "wrong." Your facilitator will present information and demonstrate techniques, but their job after that is simply to guide you along as you have your own experience. Willingness, openness, and honesty are necessary to maximize your learning. Participate, ask lots of questions and don't fear mistakes—they're part of the process. Many hands-on classes use human-hair mannequins (such as Pivot Point) to remove the stress of having to be perfect, or even complete the look at all. Remember, mistakes are tremendous opportunities for learning if we view them as such.
The object of any class is that you take away something you can use in your own world of hair. No one, not even your facilitator, can tell you what that is exactly! It's up to you. Don't hold yourself to a standard of perfection, but be mindful of taking away the points YOU need. If you do this, you will have a great class experience, unfettered by insecurity, comparison, or shame.
Take good notes. Or obtain permission to video parts of the class when you need to. Be sure to review this information within a few days to reinforce it in your memory. Decide what parts of the program are useable now at your chair, and what parts can be worked on later. Think of it as a fitness routine, working with a trainer. The trainer will show us forms and concepts, and how to do them correctly, but the results only happen when we continue the work on our own. We must make time to implement what we have learned, otherwise we do not benefit from the routine. Like exercise, hands-on education is a long-term benefit. The truest results are not measured until we have been performing the techniques for a while. The best way to begin is to begin!
Remember, a hands-on class is not only an education event, but a personal experience. The skills we refine this way directly benefit us, as well as our clientele. Being serious-minded and methodical in our approach to learning will ensure we get the maximum return on our investment. And, don’t forget to have fun!
See you in the classroom!
Jesse Linares, Sam Villa ArTeam Member