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Guidelines for Classroom Etiquette

Here are a few tips on classroom etiquette, which will help both you and your fellow students (not to mention the teacher) get the most out of your convention experience!

Download this information here [pdf].

  • Don't get in over your head; take classes at a level that you know you can fold. An OrigamiUSA class is not the place to try to "stretch" your folding ability, because you will likely hold up the entire class if you are below the stated class level. (The place to stretch is in a small class, a one-on-one session or a class specifically designed to teach new techniques.)
  • In theory, if you are clearly below the class level, the instructor should proceed without you. In practice, it is extremely hard for an instructor to bring him/herself to throw you to the wolves, so what will probably happen is that most of the class ends up waiting for you, which is bad for your karma and their mood.
  • Show up on time. If you're late, either the instructor leaves you behind, which is no fun for you, or the entire class waits for you to catch up, which is no fun for them.
  • Don't try to fold two of the thing you're taking. Teachers typically watch for the cessation of folding to move on to the next step, and it's not fair to the other students for them to have to wait because the teacher is waiting on you to finish your second model.
  • For the same reason, don't fill waiting time by folding something else; again, you will cause the teacher to wait and thus delay the entire class.
  • If you want to record your step folds, a small digital camera is OK to shoot pictures of your own folding for your own records. It is not OK to make people wait while you try to draw diagrams.
  • If you feel you absolutely MUST fold two copies in parallel or draw step folds, ask the instructor at the beginning of the class if it's OK, so at the very least he/she knows he/she is justified in ignoring you if you fall behind. And if he/she says "no," respect that.
  • Watch what your neighbors are doing. If your model differs from theirs, actively compare what you're doing; one of you is wrong, and the one who's right should be helping the other. If you can't figure out who's right, ask the instructor.
  • If the instructor is helping one individual, wait till he/she is done before you demand his/her attention. Asking "is this right?" while his/her back is turned to you will not lead to a correct answer and annoys both the instructor and the other people who are waiting patiently.
  • If you are done and others are still struggling, don't strike up a conversation; when half the class is conversing away, it's hard for those still working to engage in a discussion of what they need to do.
  • Please be silent when the instructor is talking – it is very distracting to other students and you may miss the next step.
  • Don't try to do or anticipate the next step. You may be wrong, and some instructors take particular delight in catching the unwary.
  • Don't ask, "is the next step X?" If the next step is X, the instructor will almost certainly tell you at the appropriate time.
  • Don't ever take or handle another person's paper unless you have asked, AND they have given permission. (This goes for instructors, too.) People come to classes to learn how to fold something with their own hands, not to watch someone else's hands fold their model.
  • If many people are having trouble and you're not, you can help by offering aid to those around you who are struggling; but per previous advice, offer first, and wait for acceptance of your offer before you dive in.
  • If you are falling behind, ask the instructor to wait. Loudly, if necessary. Don't wait until you're many steps behind, because the odds grow exponentially that you'll miss something as you try to catch up. (And you won't ever catch up.)
  • If you're clearly over your head, you may leave; there's no shame in it, and the instructor might be available to give you some one-on-one help outside of class.
  • For instructors: stress the level of the model at the beginning of the class and encourage students who are in over their heads to switch to a different class, or offer to tutor them after class if they can't keep up.
  • When a fellow class member has been helping you with previous steps, please wait until they complete the current step on their model before you ask for help.
  • If you have trouble with a specific step, ask the instructor before he/she proceeds with the next step. It is difficult for an instructor to teach several maneuvers at once.
  • If you suspect that your skill level is borderline for the class, you may make arrangements with a friend, colleague, or the person next to you to ask for help, but warn the instructor.
  • Even though there are very few folders with physical disabilities or hearing impairments, be sensitive to their need to pay more attention to the instructors and to their own folding before you interrupt or distract them.