Thank you, Marvin. Our classroom has only one wheel. I wish I could
demonstrate while students watch and have them be able to try while
watching, but we are a small district and are lucky to have one wheel.
Centering the clay seems to have become the main drawback/frustration for
students in their efforts to make wheel-thrown pieces. With one wheel, and
with a class of 12-15, there doesn't seem to be enough time to spend having
the students fail at centering many times before they "get" it and still
have time on the wheel available for the other students.
I learned recently by watching an instructor on one wheel and all of us
students using our own wheels, and some (adult) students still had problems.
I think I may have had the advantage because I had some exposure to the
process in college but never really mastered it. Now that I've mastered
centering well, I want to pass the love for the process along to my
students, but there seems to be this one stumbling block... and, yes, your
analogy to learning to ride a bicycle is one I've used many times.
I agree with all the helpful advice you sent, and I have a step-by-step
poster on the wall above the wheel, but am still unable to have much success
with students in this area. Hence, my question about the Quick Center.
Also, to others who teach ceramics in high school - when a student is
learning the wheel, do you have them concentrate on the wheel for a week at
a time (with 12-15 students, this can take a semester for all of them to
have one chance to practice)? With only one wheel, I have to have one
student working on the wheel and others working on hand-built projects that
need my assistance as well. Any suggestions will be very welcome.