By Glory Benacka | July 5, 2018

For years I have been admiring friend’s modern embroidery designs on canvas bags and running my fingers over my great-grandma’s handiwork on doilies. I bought an embroidery book that sat on my bookshelf until the moment I was “ready” to give it a shot. I have basic sewing skills, but embroidery felt like a mystical thread art, and frankly, I wasn’t sure where to start.  Sure, I could have watched some videos online but didn’t want to sift through gobs of amateur content to find the right one. Living in the digital age, I sometimes think classrooms and teachers seem quaint. But as a busy adult, allowing a teacher to guide me through the ins and outs of beginning to learn something new alongside others is incredibly helpful and often less time-consuming than self-study or asking busy friends to help. In the spring an embroidery class taught by Kathy Mastin was offered through the library’s CLASS program, and I signed up. Finally, a time and place to focus and learn. I needed this class moment away from all of the distractions of home life, dogs and a cat to get started on my first embroidery sampler.

Top 10 Reasons to take a CLASS with other humans:

  1. Taking a class and learning with friends and family can increase your retention of new material. You can ask each other questions, clarify doubts and review information together solidifying new material in your memory bank.
  2. Taking a craft, exercise or language class is great non-screen quality time to spend with family and friends. Spend valuable time together making memories trying new things. Make jokes and hang out together during class.
  3. Practice social learning for the real world. In the workplace and throughout life, we have to work with others. Learning in classroom settings offers you an opportunity to hone your people skills and practice collaboration.
  4. Learn from other students in class. Most of us learn best from others and retain new information longer. When other students ask questions, you are learning from each other too.
  5. Meet new people by networking with other learners, sharing experiences and social interactions during classes.
  6. A class guided by a teacher experienced with the subject matter offers you immediate and practical help, troubleshooting and answers to questions. Teachers give learners focus and feedback, two elements imperative to learning.
  7. Sample and try something new in a low-risk classroom setting. Let the teacher provide the supplies, you just show up ready to listen for a couple hours or less. After sampling a topic in class, you decide if you want to pursue the subject further and invest more time and resources.
  8. Classrooms give you permission to focus and learn. Turn your phone off, sit back and enjoy the quiet time to focus on the task at hand without distractions.
  9. Learn IRL (in real life). You are human! Classes offer multisensory learning experiences that appeal to your multiple intelligences. Enjoy the passion and energy of a teacher and other students.
  10. Find your learning buddy. Learn new study skills, break the monotony and fill in learning gaps by taking classes with friends and family. Social learning is simply a human thing to do.

You don’t always have to play chess against the computer or struggle with an automated speaker to learn Spanish. Practice speaking Spanish to a fellow language learner and play chess with a human this fall (the fall CLASS catalog will be out mid-July). Sometimes the commitment of signing up for a class, knowing someone is there waiting to check me in and meeting a friend there motivates me to get started. So grab a learning buddy, find the right class and teacher, and try learning something new together!