Modern Machine Shop

SEP 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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Page 46 of 220

THE VIEW FROM MY SHOP MMS SEPTEMBER 2018 44 A Metalworking Leader's Perspective Defining Practice Are you working on a hobby or are you training? KEVIN SARUWATARI | OWNER | QSINE CORP. My wife has been learning Japanese flower arranging (Ikebana) for years and now teaches her own classes. When we discuss teaching problems, my experience in training new hires, students and customers gives me quite a bit to contribute. It always surprises me how much metalworking and flower arranging have in common. I guess problem solving for creative endeavors is not specific to the endeavor. In our last conversation about her "rookie" teaching problems, we discussed a situation in which one of her students became frustrated. She let her student create his arrangement, but when it came time for her to correct it, she had to tear it down almost completely. When she was finished, he agreed that it looked much nicer. However, he was frustrated that he could not repeat what she had done. We concluded that she needed to explain to her students the importance of practice and not looking to her for a technique for every situation. For example, her students needed to practice how to use a twig that is curved versus one that is kinked. Early in the conversation, she thought I was "off my rocker" for thinking they somehow would not know the value of practice. She also could not comprehend how they would keep looking to her to prepare them for every color vari- ation and geometric anomaly of flowers, greenery, branches and other natural material. I explained to her that in my experience, people automatically view me as an authority when I teach. I have to remind them that I make mistakes and there are plenty of things I do not know. This is often greeted with an expression of, "You sound a bit like me." Depending on the student, they are either satisfied or put out. As we discussed it, my wife came around to the view that school, among other institutions in society, patterns our thinking to look for teachers before using self-practice to solve problems and develop skills. Teachers are expected to know all and provide us with everything we need to know in any given situation. Do-it-yourselfers are labelled, often self-labelled, as amateurs. An interesting snippet from the conversation was about our own perception of practice. If we enjoy practice, it is a hobby, pastime or interest. We do not feel like it is training, and the more time we can spend at it, the better. It does not matter whether we have a teacher. With our lack of knowledge working against us, we gain experience and insight, creating paths forward for ourselves. Things go wrong when we just try things, but somehow, we find ways to deal with them effortlessly. This is actu- ally practice and training, but it does not feel like it because we are patterned into thinking practice and training are hard and should have an element of boredom or at least onerousness. If we dislike practice, it becomes grueling training that we perceive as pressed upon us. That is what real training is, isn't it? The less time we can spend at it, the better, and there has to be a teacher for it or we simply will not do it. We tell ourselves we are stuck without someone to

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