How does he condense the 3 years into 12 weeks? I am now teaching
dentistry at USC and I could use some help. Using the same
approach I could turn out a dentist in 16 weeks! Is the secret in
that the students already have skills and knowledge?
I read your message and the question about condensed learning.
Certainly having motivated, passionate and experienced students
makes learning easier and quicker. But mostly we are talking about a
change in culture.
Most learning in jewelry traditionally took place in protracted
apprenticeships. These relationships simply do not exist in a formal
way, in the US now. What people call apprenticeships these days
would not really qualify.
A traditional apprenticeship combined 3-7 years of instruction,
practice, chores, practice, theory, practice, demonstrations,
practice, personal service, practice, errands and a lot more
practice thrown in. The arrangement was contractual and legal,
involving the promise of the master to shelter and teach, and the
apprentice to serve and learn. Such an arrangement would not be
legal in the US today.
The position was appropriate for the times and the amount of
material needed to become proficient and self-sufficient.
Apprenticeships lasted up to seven years. Clearly, there is no way
to compress that experience into a few weeks. During the contracted
period, the apprentice also promised not to gamble, stay out late,
associate with certain types of women, fornicate or do anything in
any way to hurt his Master.
Most people nowadays, cannot fit that into their lives. And so today
there are different options for learning our trade: Teach yourself
through books, videos, trial and error Work your way up through bench
jobs Attend academic college jewelry programs for years Attend short
intensive professional jewelry courses, like ours in San Francisco.
At the Revere Academy, we take the important facts and skills of
making jewelry and have compressed instruction by streamlining,
preparation and practice. It is true that we can teach an
apprenticeship’s worth of in a far shorter time.
Streamlining: Each of our classes, which are mostly 3 days long, is
packed with and demonstrations that would take up far,
far longer to cover in an apprenticeship. Our 8 week program covers
all the essentials to work in a wide range of materials and
Preparation: Our studios, benches, handtools, shop equipment,
supplies, materials and kits have been perfected to remove all
obstacles to learning. Our instructors, all working bench jewelers,
have been teaching for years, and fully understand how to transfer
knowledge efficiently through explanation, demonstration and
supervision. Even in the best apprenticeship situation, it is
unlikely that the master will have the time, motivation,
preparation, materials, and patience to teach in a way equal to
Practice: After 25 years, we have it pretty well figured out. We
have taught the material and techniques so much to so many that we
now have jewelry instruction down to a fun, smooth running process
from start to finish. I personally have taught over 10,000
individuals how to make jewelry since 1973.
So the answer is, Yes. I can say that we are able to compress
learning. What we cannot do, is compress practice. In your field,
trial and error are unacceptable, and so practice has to happen
under supervision. In jewelry, it is appropriate for students to
practice on their own. What we give up in our systematic, condensed
approach to teaching jewelry, is the repetitive practice that is
essential to developing good skills. We do not deny its importance,
but we simply do not provide for it either. Most of our students
return to their own benches to practice what we teach them.
By the way, over the years we have attracted many people from other
fields, as they look for something meaningful to do that is
satisfying challenging and also has side benefits. We have had a
slew of dentists, surgeons, and other medical professionals as
students. A close friend of mine, a former student, is at the Mayo
Clinic, where he cut back to 90% so he could spend more time making
jewelry. I met my first California dentist when he was my student.
Another of my dentist/student/friends from Seattle, is seriously
talking about attending an 8 week intensive this fall.
Sorry to write so much, but I just got going and could not stop.
Check out our website below for about what we offer.
Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, Inc.
760 Market Street
San Francisco, California 94102