We are pleased to be offering Table Tennis this year in conjunction with the Austin Table Tennis Club! Learn the basics of the sport and get access to the club for extra fun over the span of the course. Find out more on our website, www.informalclasses.org.
Instructor Scott Campbell will walk you through all the decisions that you have to make leading up to claiming social security. Our student Neill Weller wrote that the class is “a must for people of all ages, not only those approaching retirement. Very important info for 20/30/40 somethings.” You have to consider many aspects of claiming before you make your decision. Gain the knowledge you need to tackle this important task with confidence. Get your plan started on May 12th.
The book you have inside you can open doors to a whole new life, but first you have to write it. No more excuses - write it now with help from Ginie Sayles! Stop being intimidated by the writing process and follow her easy process to take you from start to finish in three weeks or less. Previous students have called Ginie both motivational and passionate - let her passion guide you to finish your book. Another student wrote, “I loved the motiviation-overcoming-fear section. I am sure this covers 90% of what stops us.” Tackle your fears and learn how to complete your book in Write Your Book in Three Weeks or Less on May 1.
If you’re considering a trip to northern England, take advantage of Anglophile Joy Owen’s extensive travel expertise in planning your trip! Learn how northern England is different from the rest of the country and why you should not miss out on its beauty! England - The North Country takes place on May 10.
Chickens are wonderful creatures who come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, who provide fresh eggs daily and contribute to the well-being of your backyard, your garden, and your mental health. Learn about the many varieties of chicken breeds and which are suitable for your needs, how and where to get chickens, plus much more in our upcoming class Backyard Chicken Keeping.
We have two sessions of Two-Step: Beginning coming up. One is on April 22 and the next is on June 1. One of the great things about two-step is that you can always add more twists and turns and make the dance more intricate. Instructor Johnny Bryant will make you feel comfortable out on the Texas dance floors. Find out why his students have called him “an extraordinarily good teacher”. One student wrote, “Class was really fun and informative, and a great skill builder. The instructor had a good sense of humor. He was very delightful.” Join us in just a couple weeks for the first session!
Our summer classes are now open for registration on our website, www.informalclasses.org! If you’ve had trouble getting into our Spanish and French courses, or if you’ve been waiting on the waitlist for HTML, beginning digital photography, or Modern Buddhism 101, now is your chance to get into the classes! Plus, with all the new classes we’re offering this summer, you’re sure to discover something brand new to excite you. Visit our website at www.informalclasses.org to view a full list of classes.
Go over everything you need to think about before you book your summer vacation and leave class with an outline of how to get started planning your next trip. Be Your Own Travel Agent will take place on April 22. Register on our website!
Delve deeper into health topics with Dr. Blessing Anyatonwu
Dr. Blessing Anyatonwu is a health advocate, speaker and health care professional who believes prevention is the best medicine. She works with clients that are tired of being told that drugs are the only answer to their health problems and who are looking for healthier options. She has taught several classes for us, many of them focusing on nutrition. Her upcoming class, Stress and Stress Management, focuses on helpful stress management strategies, including eating the right foods to help your stress levels and forming a personalized stress management plan. Read below for a preview of our instructor highlight with Dr. Anyatonwu and be sure to read the full article on our blog.
Informal Classes: What can students expect out of your class? Blessing Anyatonwu: They will learn new ways to fit healthy living and long term lifestyle change into their busy lives! Most people think that it is difficult to eat healthy with a hectic schedule but it can be done without the guilt of dieting.
IC: What are you most excited about sharing with your students? BA: Helping them come up with ways to create a healthier lifestyle on their terms. I help students come up with ways to eat and live healthier (while managing stress) without sticking to strict diets and guilt.
IC: Please tell us a little about your background. BA: I have a holistic health practice where I provide nutritional counseling and chiropractic care. I use my knowledge of the human body to tailor nutritional expertise to the needs of my clients. Whether they are looking to reduce inflammation and pain in their joints, maintain their weight or increase their energy naturally.
IC: What do you as the instructor learn from working with your students? BA: When I work with students it exposes me to new perspectives and struggles that come with long term lifestyle change (eating healthy, exercise and stress management). It allows me to better understand where they are coming from and work with them to come up with creative ways to live healthier.
Our new instructor Alley Lyles received her Masters of Science from Columbia University and currently works as a Principal Business Consultant at Dell Computers. Her upcoming course, Digital Marketing Strategy, explores what, why, and how of major current approaches, including online listening and monitoring, search engine optimization, search ads, email marketing, and participating in social media. Read more about Alley and her upcoming class in our instructor highlight below.
Informal Classes: What can students expect out of your class? Alley Lyles: Students can expect an introduction into the ever-changing field of Digital Marketing. Together, we will explore the promotion of products and/or brands via one or more forms of electronic media. For example, advertising mediums that might be used as part of the digital marketing strategy of a business could include promotional efforts made via the Internet, social media, mobile phones, electronic billboards, as well as digital television and radio channels.
IC: What are you most excited about sharing with your students? AL: I am most excited to open a dialog with the students and “current events” in digital marketing and strategy which can range from the Amazon Prime delivery via drone lunch or the recent (and failed) Snapchat acquisition.
IC: Please tell us about your background. AL: Recently, I graduated from Columbia University with my master’s. During the length of the program, I did digital strategy for Mayor Bloomberg’s Office of Media and Entertainment. In tandem, I was the Digital Media Strategist for Untapped Cities, a small digital magazine with hubs in San Francisco, Paris and NYC. Additionally, I served as a consultant to Silicon Alley start-ups. Currently, I am a Business Consultant for Dell Computers.
IC: What do you as the instructor learn from working with your students? AL: As an instructor, I am a proponent of open-dialog. By encouraging students of a variety of backgrounds to voice their opinions, every one in the class (including myself) hears a different perspective on the field.
Adobe InDesign is your best bet when you need to create periodical publications, posters, and print media. And you don’t have to be a graphic designer or a production artist to use it! Learn to produce a variety of single-page and multi-page documents in our upcoming course, Adobe InDesign. You’ll set and format type, work with paragraph styles, and much more with guidance from our veteran instructor, Greg Hervey. Our student Julia Barnard took Greg’s class this past summer and wrote to us: “Class was amazing. I learned a ton and Greg made class fun and made an intimidating class understandable. I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn. It was fulfilling both personally and professionally and I look forward to taking more courses in the future. Thanks, UT (and Greg!)!” Find out why his students call his class “excellent,” “superb,” and “awesome!” Class starts March 17.
Our veteran two-step instructor, Johnny Bryant, has his Texas Dancehall series coming up in March. These three classes include Triple Two-Step, Jitterbug, and Waltz. Johnny’s students rave about how much fun they have in his class, so register for the classes, come down to campus, and learn some new dance moves! Fun times are guaranteed.
Learn how to build an effective, easy-to-navigate website or blog without using code in our upcoming course, Build Your Website with WordPress. Small business consultant Gina Anaejionu will take you through all the necessary steps to build a full website promoting your business idea. You can leave class with a fully-functioning website and information on how to promote your new website and analyze the effectiveness of your new online presence. One previous student told us that the “class was of great value. This is exactly the class I needed and the instructors were excellent.” This session of class begins on March 4. Read more about it and register on our website.
Not only does instructor Todd Williams teach photography courses for Informal Class in Austin, he also travels regularly to Antigua, Guatemala and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to teach. He is currently preparing prints for book projects of images made during time he recently spent in Paris as well as prints from his trips to Mexico. His two courses for Informal Classes, Making the Experiential Photograph and Photography: Documentary, are both seminar-styled classes for those who well-understand photography fundamentals and want to develop a deeper capacity to make pictures that are more layered and complex, both emotionally and compositionally. This is the way that Todd composes his images, and you will learn how to do it, too. In his evaluation of the class, student Mike Farmer wrote, “Todd Williams offers the opportunity to consider ‘why’ to click the shutter.” Another student, Marilyn Vache, said that the class was, “inspiring, refreshing, challenging, and promoted inquiry.” Making the Experiential Photograph focuses on the creative process behind photography, as well as on analysis of relevant essays, photographs, and videos created by several of the medium’s best image-makers and critics. Gain awareness about why we photograph and how the process can enrich our lives through the experiences of artists, writers and others who live in and around the visual arts. In Photography: Documentary, students will learn technical aspects of photography and complete their first documentary project. Learn from Todd’s experience and be inspired by his passion! Register on our website.
Emily Carter is the Creative Director of Wimberley Writer’s Werkshops. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and writes historical fiction. Her life as a published writer spans nearly 40 years. She is offering two writing classes for Informal Classes this spring, including Writing the Romance Novel and Writer’s Workshop: Intensive. Read below for Emily’s Instructor Highlight.
Informal Classes: What can students expect out of your class? Emily Carter: Fun and inspiration for beginners ready to dive into the whole storytelling process! For those writers with a pretty good start on a novel project, my classes offer the emotional support and the friendly faces of fellow travelers struggling toward THE END.
IC: What are you most excited about sharing with your students? EC: Deep structure in storytelling. Very often when I am stuck on a difficult sentence or an article isn’t moving along for me, I back up and find the deep structure, move the parts around and discover a simple solution to get the flow moving again. In fiction, the discussion about structure dates from the ancient Greeks and the Three Acts – but among today’s writers, there is a tendency to break that second act into two parts. Which makes me wonder if script writers and novelists will be talking about a Four Act structure in the near future? My Deep Structure lessons use the film Jurassic Park as a case study.
IC: Please tell us a little bit about your background. EC: My “field” was archeology – it gave me the opportunity to write and publish professionally for many years. However, my best ‘fiction’ writing experiences happened in writing clubs and then with professional trainers in hotel ballrooms, or even on weekend retreats and writing workshops. I have found that Informal Classes supported my ambitions best and created great results for me personally. It was about sharing my hopes and dreams with like-minded students. As an example, back in the 1980s I joined a New Play Workshop and my play won. So it was produced on an Austin stage three seasons and then won a hometown award – which led to a job writing a docu-drama for public television – which got great reviews and was a finalist in the New York TV & Film Festival. From there I went on to publish a Texas Travel magazine for 12-years until I retired. Now – I’m aiming to have an encore career as a fiction writer.
IC: What do you as the instructor learn from working with your students? EC: Heart, ya’ gotta have heart! It takes heart and dreams to push through fictional story-telling but working with a group makes everything possible – it’s the ‘spoonful of sugar’ principle. Students are the icing on the cake when writing a difficult novel. Teaching writing has opened a new chapter in my life – hey, nothing is impossible!
Visit our website to learn more about Emily and to register for her classes.
Leveraging social media platforms in your job search is incredibly important. Veteran Informal Classes instructor Catherine Jewell is here to help you get the most out of LinkedIn. Her course, LinkedIn for Job Seekers, will take place again on March 2. Her students have called her class “motivating” and “eye-opening”. Get yourself on the right track with help from our resident Career Passion coach.
Nancy Schill, M.A., founder and Certified Professional Coach of ExecIntel Solutions, LLC has been coaching and providing educational workshops to enhance people’s success for more than seven years. She is teaching our course, Making the Most of Your Time: Individual Action for Time Management, starting on February 8. In the course, you can expect to explore your specifie “time strengths” and your “time challenges.” Nancy wrote, “You will become more aware about how you are being inefficient with your time and learn what you can do to get more out of your time.” Take a personal time management survey and begin developing a healthier relationship with time. Get on track by registering for our class on our website!
Martha Randall’s next Spanish course, Spanish, Conversational: Intermediate I starts on February 24. Martha’s enthusiasm for teaching Spanish always infuses her courses with great energy and excitement. One student wrote to us that it was a “great class! I’m very happy I took it, I learned a lot .” Another student told us, “This class was great! Professor Randall is exceptionally enthusiastic. She keeps the class lively and she has a passion for the subject!” Come enjoy the learning process with Senora Randall as your guide!
Instructor Joy Owen did college coursework in British history while living in the north of the country from 1981-1984. She teaches our England, the North Country course and travels back to her second home “at least once a year to keep it fresh and visit new points of interest. I keep in touch with friends in the UK throughout the year and spend a lot of time planning my next trip and all the fabulous new adventures I want to try!” When we asked her what she likes about teaching, she replied, “I ALWAYS learn from my classes. That’s part of the fun for me. I try to keep the class light and open for discussion. I want attendees to feel comfortable in sharing their knowledge with the class. My class is, hopefully, an exciting experience that invites people to reach out to other parts of the UK as travel destinations. London is fabulous, but there is so much more.” Visit our website to register for Joy’s class, which takes place February 8. Join in on her excitement and she will share her love of travel and of England with you!
Do you wish to start a business? Are you feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do - picking the best legal business structure, figuring out if you need to charge taxes, deciding on how to build your website, making a business plan and a marketing plan, doing your own accounting, etc? Take this class to learn how to start your business from scratch, obtaining the best free resources and software for your venture. After taking the course, our student Amy Maddox said, “I think this class was excellent. I learned so much in 3 nights! I am excited about what I’ve learned and I can’t wait to open my business.” Follow in Amy’s footsteps and get ready to launch your business! By the end of the course, you can have a fully functional business with ideas for relatively low administration/operating costs and a marketing plan for the future. Register for this class on our website - starts February 5th.
Our instructor Tonja O’Neill suffered through a fear of public speaking for many years before learning to overcome it. She now shares the secrets to overcoming those fears in her class, Speaking Without Fear. If you get nervous or even petrified speaking in front of a group, learn techniques to significantly reduce your nerves, eliminate the visible signs of nervousness and bolster your self-confidence speaking in front of others from someone who knows exactly what you’re going through, surrounded by a supportive group of people who are having the same experiences. Tonja has been a successful professional consultant, speaker and trainer now since 2001. One of our students who took the class told us that Tonja was “amazing! Extremely informative and helped ease my nerves. Tonja did an incredible job putting everyone at ease with her personal stories and with tips for reducing stress during public speaking.” Your fears do not need to hold you back! Sign up for her class and put those nerves to rest. We have a class coming up in February and another in April.
If you want a hobby that is relaxing and soothing, knitting offers the perfect balance of hand movement and mental quiet. If you are easily bored, knitting offers endless possibilities for creating complex, intricate, and beautiful objects. Student Helen Whitcraft took the course in 2013 and wrote, “Bridget was phenomenal in her passion for knitting! Her teaching style was wonderful!” This course starts on February 5. Register on our website!
Get on the path to your dream career! Being in the wrong work is bad for your health, but research shows that 80% of Americans are in the wrong job! Learn how to get on the right track from Career Passion® Coach Catherine Jewell at our January 30 session of Find Your Passion, Find Your Perfect Work.
Gaye Abbott, RYT, CMT has been offering workshops, classes, retreats and private consulting globally for over 25 years as a yoga teacher/therapist, health educator, breath and meditation guide, Master Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner, and hug therapist. Her book “Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath” was published on January, 2012. We are so excited to have her teaching for us at Informal Classes. Her upcoming course, Decrease Anxiety, Indulge Inner Peace, will teach you to manage your stress and panic levels, leaving you with fantastic tools to call on any time you need them. Utilize knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of stress and overwhelm and develop specific breath, meditation, acupressure, movement, and mind awareness exercises to combat them. Turn what could be a challenging experience into an opportunity to be more present and aware. This class begins on February 1st.
Our Beginning Harmonica instructor, Michael Rubin, has been playing for almost thirty years and has taught harmonica for over 20 of those years. He has also performed on Broadway, national television and with many local luminaries, including Cyril Neville and Ruthie Foster. His next course starts on January 29. Michael says that one of the things he most looks forward to in his classes is “sharing my excitement about the harmonica and music in general. I love watching that excitement spread.” One of his students have told us that his class is “very fun! I loved his enthusiasm and liked that he shared his history of music and encouraged student participation.” Another wrote, “Awesome class-wish it was longer! Mr. Rubin is a great teacher with tons of enthusiasm and energy.” Visit our course page for Beginning Harmonica to register today!
Instructor Eileen “Ike” West, MA, has taught grant writing workshops for both non-profit organizations and state agencies over the years, and has been teaching through Informal Classes for over 20 years. Her next session of Grant Writing I, which will take place on January 25th, will be as informative and eye-opening as usual. Her students always have fantastic feedback about Ike and her classes. “This class was great. The instructor was passionate about the topic and it was infectious!” Another student wrote, “The class was amazingly informative. It was helpful and has redirected my focus.” If grant writing is in your future at your organization, take advantage of Ike’s expertise and sign up!
We are happy to welcome Dr. Dianne Pingree to Informal Classes this spring! She is one of our new instructors, bringing with her over 20 years’ work of experience in the communications field and another ten years’ practice as a psychotherapist. She is a corporate etiquette and international protocol consultant, trained and certified by the world-recognized Protocol School of Washington. Her class this spring is The Art of Cursive Writing. Cursive is becoming a lost art in this age of electronic media. Dianne will teach (or re-teach) you cursive writing, as well as the etiquette of social correspondence. By knowing how to craft polished personal correspondence, you will stand out from the crowd in a highly-competitive world, socially and professionally.
Dianne answered our instructor highlight to help us introduce her.
Informal Classes: What can students expect out of your class? Dianne Pingree: Whether unfamiliar with cursive script, or whether they just want to improve their handwriting, students can expect to learn the basics of cursive writing and the practical application of it in class exercises. They will learn the etiquette of social correspondence and how to write notes and letters for appropriate situations.
IC: What are you most excited about sharing with your students? DP: I am most excited about teaching my students how to craft polished personal correspondence that enables them to shine, socially and professionally, in a highly competitive world.
IC: Please share some of your background with us. DP: I am of a generation that learned handwriting and penmanship early in life. As a trainer and consultant in etiquette, I am certified by the internationally recognized Protocol School of Washington. I hold a Ph.D. in Sociology, with a specialty in Social Organization, from Texas Woman’s University, where I taught in the Department of Sociology and Social Work. I also have an MLA in Liberal Arts and a BFA in Journalism from Southern Methodist University. I have more than 20 years’ experience in the communications field as an editor, writer, publisher and consultant. I was a seminar director in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute/SAGE program at UT Austin and an adjunct instructor at Texas State University.
IC: What do you as the instructor learn from working with your students? DP: Because learning is not a unilateral process, I continue to gain knowledge from my students through dialogue, interactive exercises, respect for their opinions and feedback.
Dr. Pingree’s class starts on January 22! Register on our website.
B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page - if these names evoke your awe and admiration, get inspired to play guitar! Our Beginning Guitar I is designed for someone who has little to no previous knowledge of how to play the guitar. You will learn how to tune the guitar, notes on the fretboard, major and minor chords, strumming patterns, and how to play several popular songs. Instructor Chad Tracy always gets great comments from his students. “Chad was great! I had no previous experience and I learned tons!” Another student wrote, “Chad has a great attitude. I enjoyed this class!” Come and have some fun! His next course starts on January 27th.
We are so glad to be offering Italian again! Italian for Travelers will help you become familiar with the words and phrases you will need to use in order to travel around Italy. Learn the words to use when you meet people, need directions, want a hotel room and more. Learn the language and it will deepen your experience in the country. The class starts on January 25.
Our veteran instructor Brian Loflin is a highly regarded commercial, advertising and biological photographer. We are excited to have him teaching his courses with us at Informal Classes. His upcoming course Digital Photography: Beyond the Basics will teach you how to take your photography to exciting new levels. Improve your photography skills and learn to create images of a quality that previously seemed elusive with Brian’s expert guidance. Previous student Laura Elliot told us that this class was “very informative, well worth it! This was a great class and I learned a lot that will really help me in the future. Mr. Loflin is a great teacher and explains things very well!” Another student, Tom Nicholson, said that Brian “made complicated subjects attainable.” The next course starts on January 27, but it has sold out! Don’t miss the chance to take his March class, which starts on 3/18. Register on our website!
Sharon is a UT alum (Hook ‘em!) and is a recognized Resume and Interview Success Coach. She has over fifteen years of experience in her field. She agreed to take our instructor questionnaire to help us introduce you to her.
Informal Classes: What can students expect out of your class? Sharon Spector: To learn by doing and be coached in a relaxed, friendly and fun environment, and to be able to “mine” some of their own gems of experience and share it with others.
IC: What are you most excited about sharing with your students? SS: Sharing a powerful, secret question that will give them the key to knowing what the Interviewer is really looking for.
IC: Please tell us about your background with career coaching and interviewing. SS: I became interested in interviewing when I lived in New York City. I was the Director of a health clinic in a dangerous neighborhood in Brooklyn. I would hire per diem doctors and on occasion their cars would be gone when they finished their shift….so I was always interviewing doctors! I went on to become an Executive Recruiter and was always amazed when I met applicants in person after I interviewed them over the phone. Many undersold their accomplishments.
IC: What do you as the instructor learn from working with your students? SS: I have taught interviewing to managers in large corporations, non profits and I do individual coaching. I love to watch the process of “lightbulbs going off” as I watch them connect to their own accomplishments. I always learn new and better ways to answer questions in an interview from my students. The collective group seems to have a powerful knowing, greater than any one individual.
Thanks to Sharon for sharing a bit about herself and her class. View more details about her class on her course page.
Another one of our fantastic (if we do say so ourselves!) Spanish instructors, Celina Nevarez, will be teaching Spanish: Intensive I (sold out) and Spanish: Intensive II this spring. Where Martha Randall’s popular Spanish classes focus on conversation, Celina’s classes take a broader approach to the topic and focus on writing and reading, as well. And Celina has gotten great responses from our students! One student told us, “Celina has a great personality and makes everyone feel comfortable and at ease, while at the same time pushing them to learn more.” Intensive I is aimed at brand-new speakers of Spanish and starts 1/27. Intensive II is for people who’ve taken Intensive I and people who’ve taken some Spanish in the past and want a refresher. It starts on 3/24. Sign up on our website!
Want to Relate to Others and Yourself in Amazingly Effective Ways?
Join Dr. Stephen Oyer-Owens for his class, Engaging Others and Ourselves, where participants will explore the process called Dynamic Engaging. “A major goal of this class will be to help people create a quantum breakthrough in how they relate to others,” says Dr. Oyer-Owens.
Dynamic engaging is a multi-step strategy that helps people dismantle barriers with others and dissolve the psychology of the “alien-other” that often arises and can sabotage effective communication. It enables people to view the world as others see it, move beyond the need to be right, resolve conflict and generate powerful ways to co-create with others.
“People can use similar skills to create a breakthrough relationship with themselves,” Dr. Oyer-Owens say, “and we’ll explore how they can do this in our class as well.”
The effect that this process can have is evidenced by what people say who have taken similar classes from Dr. Oyer-Owens in the past. “I’ve never imagined people could create the kind of deep community that I’ve found in this class,” one participant states. “Now, I think about my relationships and what I can achieve in life in a whole new way.”
Dr. Oyer-Owens has spent three decades exploring cutting-edge forms of human transformation, providing information about the new model possible to both national and international audiences. Dynamic Engaging is a key skill in this transformation paradigm. Dr. Oyer-Owens holds a doctorate in Humanities with a specialization in the History of Ideas. His class on engaging others and ourselves will begin on January 22. Register on our website.
We are glad to welcome Rebecca Gould to Informal Classes. A certified Sheng Zhen Gong teacher, Rebecca is one of our many new instructors this spring. Her new class, Introduction to Sheng Zhen Gong, will be starting on January 18th. Sheng Zhen Gong (shung jen gung) is a particularly joyful form of Qigong, an ancient form of healing movement and meditation, practiced for thousands of years to improve health and increase longevity.
Learn more about Rebecca and her preferred form of Qigong in our interview below.
Informal Classes: What can students expect out of your class? Rebecca Gould: Students can expect a combination of fun and sincere focus while learning tools for relaxing the body, calming the mind, and opening the heart. They can expect a high-quality introduction to this unique system of qigong that focuses not only on releasing stagnant murky qi-energy (chi) and bringing in fresh pure healthy qi-energy, but also encourages more enjoyment of movement and of life. They can expect to leave class feeling good.
IC: What are you most excited about sharing with your students? RG: I’m most excited to share a practice that has the potential to really make a profound difference in their lives. I’m also always excited to share a couple of movements that result in laughter.
IC: Please tell us a little bit about your background. RG: I’ve been teaching since 2008 and absolutely love it. I also have a background in Shiatsu and Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Five Element Theory, as well as massage, craniosacral therapy, and reiki. And in addition to Sheng Zhen, I also teach Supreme Science Qigong and Breath Empowerment. I first started Sheng Zhen Gong (shung jen goong), the Qigong of Unconditional Love, in 2006. After my very first class, I was hooked, and I knew my calling was to teach this to others. I’ve always learned directly from Master Li Junfeng, the founder and principal instructor of Sheng Zhen, who happens to be based in Austin, and I moved to Austin in 2012 to help him revise and write some instructional books, help get a new Sheng Zhen website launched, and study with him on a more regular basis. I recently wrote an article about it, a copy of which can be found here: http://elementalharmony.info/2013/12/27/needlerarticle/
IC: What do you as the instructor learn from working with your students? RG: Great question! I am always learning from my students. I’ve learned that everyone has different learning styles. Some students need more detailed instruction, some need less. Some need hands on corrections, some don’t want that. I also learn from my students to walk my talk, such as remembering to breathe more or smile more or relax more.
Nothing has changed our world more than the advent of the Internet. Not television. Not cell phones. Not the pet rock. The world wide web has literally changed the game. And it’s just getting started.
I know that sounds strange since the Net is about to officially be only 20 years old soon, but it’s true. What we can do online is constantly evolving. Yes, you can buy books on Amazon but did you know that you can also sell YOUR stuff on Amazon? Did you know that if you sign up for Amazon’s Associate’s program that they’ll pay you a commission to promote their products?
Over the last 13 years I’ve engaged in lots of Internet adventures, mainly because I like to try new things. I coach entrepreneurs and even Fortune 100 corporate executives so I’m required to know about the most important tools to help them succeed.
The Internet has been a big part of the strategies I lay out for clients, helping them to see that they can connect their teams, build their businesses and even engage their ideal clients via the web.
Here are just a few exciting innovations brought to you by the Internet.
Digital publishing: Information is perhaps the oldest sold commodity. We’ve been exchanging information since before the Bible days. The Internet has taken it one step further; allowing us to create information products that we can read on mobile devices such as cell phones, iPads, Kindles and computers. This means you too can be sharing and yes, selling your expertise online.
Webinars: This is a fancy way of saying you’re conducting a seminar (on any topic) over the web. Think about it. You can fire up your computer, invite attendees to be in your virtual audience and even sell a product at the end of your presentation. You can even charge for people to attend.
Coaching: Imagine, taking something that you do naturally and showing someone else how to do it. I know a guy who teaches an Introduction to Guitars class. He makes over $300,000 a year teaching this course 100% online. That is NOT a typo. This year he anticipates doing his first million with this same course.
If you’re not bursting with the possibilities of what you can do leveraging the power of the Internet, get to the emergency room immediately — you’re dead.
Nothing has leveled the playing field more than the Internet and if you’ve got access to a computer (even at the library) or a web-enabled mobile device, you can be in business before sunrise tomorrow.
Student Ryan Arbow sums this class up perfectly: “The class was fantastic. The ideal class for getting up and running with HTML/CSS and exactly what I was looking for. I have an HTML/CSS book which would’ve taken hours and days to read. Three evenings and I feel confident to start creating websites and continue to build my skills.” Instructor Greg Hervey will get you started in this program, making the “difficult subject matter easy to understand,” stated another student, Kerri Barton. If you have been wanting to learn HTML/CSS but have been intimidated by the topic, this class will get you on the right track! Greg’s spring Beginning HTML/CSS starts on January 25!
Learn about this potential new identity for Americans in an Informal Classes course that begins January 21. The class will be facilitated by Dr. Stephen Oyer-Owens, an educator and former political consultant who has also stood for political office.
“Given political deadlock in Washington, the aftermath of the Great Recession, and the hunger many Americans have for renewed national greatness, the time has come for a fresh national vision,” Dr. Oyer-Owens says. “In political life, we need to go beyond liberal and conservative battles to create a politics of transformation. In business, we have the chance to shape enterprises that generate healthy profits while at the same time relating to their customers, their markets and the world in entirely new ways. The same potential for a new paradigm exists throughout American society.”
In addition to politics and business, Dr. Oyer-Owens’ Informal Classes course will explore how new national vision can be applied to education, the economy at large, international affairs, gender relations and other aspects of American life. “The key to this new vision is using what we can call expanded intelligence,” Dr. Oyer-Owens states. “By bringing this approach to national life, Americans can discover how to transform their nation while also transforming themselves.”
Instructor Tausha Carlson wears many hats in a month, from a broker and small business owner to general contractor and investor. Her wide breadth of experience allows her to quickly and accurately assess real estate situations from a variety of perspectives. She is passionate about educating the Austin community about home ownership and investment possibilities in residential real estate. If you are considering investing in real estate, Tausha will set you on the right path and answer any questions that have been holding you back from taking the next step. In her class, you will learn how to get started, what type of investing is best for you, how to finance your investments, how to identify a “good deal,” and more. Her students have called her class “engaging and interactive! Tausha was super informative and set aside plenty of time for questions.” With an abundance of first-hand experience purchasing, rehabilitating and flipping residential investment properties, Tausha will speak about this subject not just theoretically, but also from her own investing experience and the experiences of other investors she has helped. This one-day class will take place on January 22. Register now!
What are the benefits of taking Investing for Beginners? Let’s ask instructor Sara Glakas! “My goal is to answer questions, share knowledge and translate financial jargon so that you feel good about your personal investing plan. You’ll learn strategies that professional investors use and you’ll get practical insights on do-it-yourself investing.” One of Sara’s students, Elisabeth Wilson, reported that “this class was excellent! I got exactly what I wanted from it. Sara was an excellent instructor for this material. I felt challenged but supported.” Another student wrote, “very helpful in getting the overall concepts down. I wish they taught this stuff in high school!” Come and take the primer you never had in school and walk out of class with the skills and confidence to set your own financial path. Our next course starts on January 21.
Spanish is so helpful to know around here! We have several fantastic Spanish instructors, whose classes almost always fill up, and their energy and excitement always seems to shine through to the students and make their experience even better than expected. Conversational Spanish student Michelle Bennett told us, “Martha is a great instructor. She obviously loves teaching Spanish because it’s reflected in her enthusiasm to help her students learn to speak Spanish.” We always love hearing the responses to Martha’s class! Another student, Amy Madden, wrote, “Martha Randall was very vivacious and kept the class interesting. I would like to take another of her classes.” Amy, we look forward to having you back! Here is the list of Martha’s classes this spring (minus the one that’s already sold out!):
Instructor Scott Campbell will walk you through all the decisions that you have to make leading up to claiming social security. As one student told us, you will leave class with much “more confidence regarding future financial decision-making.” There are many aspects of claiming to consider before you make your decision. Not only do you have to consider when to claim your benefits in order to take advantage of all that you can, but also you have to plan how you claim Social Security. There are 81 different ways to claim benefits for a married couple! Find out which one is right for you and make the right choice. Get your plan started in our first spring class on January 13th.