Tim Gunn and Teachers Share the Runway!

Trying to MAKE IT WORK!
with a menswear look
today! The pinstiped pants
are a little big…but

There is an interesting new mentor for teachers….Tim Gunn of Project Runway!  I am on a listserv of journalism teachers and this was one of the recent comments prompting a lengthy discussion:
 “So… one of the authorities on the show, Tim Gunn, walks around and helps fashion designers make their projects as good as they can be. Sometimes the projects – constrained by numerous obstacles and criteria chosen by the judges – are quite bad. Sometimes barely even salvageable. The way Tim Gunn goes about assisting his designers is really remarkable and has made me reconsider the questioning techniques I use during whole-group and one-on-one conversations in my classroom and journalism lab.  Tim Gunn asks open-ended questions that encourage his “students” to think deeper about the work they’re doing. Sometimes he intentionally angers his students. Sometimes he intentionally stumps them. The questions he asks are never closed-ended or leading, and his curiosity is honest. Sometimes he’ll weigh in with an opinion, but he more often stifles his own opinion in favor of questions that provoke his students into rethinking, reconsidering, and revising.  Tim Gunn knows the teacher’s role in conversation is not just one of Devil’s Advocate, but also one of attempted neutrality. When it comes to questioning my students and reporters about their various projects and pages, I want to be more like Tim Gunn.”
Thinking through his comments!
After watching every season of Project Runway, I would agree that Tim Gunn is an excellent teacher.  Unfortunately, he is limited on his teaching abilities within the show, because he cannot help the contestants….he can only probe in such a way as to send them off to find the right answers.  I am still amazed at how many will not listen to him, but, such is the plight of a teacher.  I love to force my students to completely think through a situation.  Personally, I find that the Internet has made the younger generation a bit lazy….why think, why work harder….the computer will do it for you.  We need more Tim Gunn moments when they can see that the process and the decisions are major components of the product.
Thoughtful consideration before speaking!
My outfit is all older Lane Bryant.  I haven’t pulled these pieces
from the back of the closet in a long time.

Even the flower is Lane Bryant.  The necklace is a jewelry store
from my husband this past summer.

I love this Dana Buchman bracelet from Kohl’s last year.  I really
like the geometric feel it has.  The belt is my pop of color in an
outifit which resembles old style gangsters!!

My $2 recent shoe purchase from Goodwill.  These Target shoes
were brand new.


  1. I don't know if I'd be a very good teacher. I may be too opinionated. However, after reading this, I'm moved to be more deliberate with my words and taking some moments to think BEFORE speaking. GREAT post!!! Thoughtful hugs to you Pam! ~Serene

  2. I love the flower! I don't watch Project Runway, but this post has suddenly made me very curious about the program. Good questioning skills is the heart of teaching that sticks, but you're right that you can lead a horse to water…but you can't always make them drink.

  3. Pam, my boss where I used to work was a lot like this. He had such a wonderful way of asking the questions that would lead me to the correct answer. He always wanted me to discover the answer myself rather than him telling me what to do. I think he made me into a much better person in general. Sometimes, I would not have thought of the approach he thought best, but he helped me to learn to anticipate what I would need to do to be successful.
    Do you plan to lead any lessons on 9/11? Our local newspaper had an article about teachers and 9/11. Here is the link if you are interested in it http://www.kansas.com/2011/09/06/2003729/teachers-focus-on-911-impact.html
    Love the flower and the red belt. They look lovely on your outfit.

  4. I've never watched Project Runway (should I even admit that as a style blogger?) but I agree about technology making us lazy.

    And I think that you, as always, look beautiful!

  5. Debbie@SheAccorissesWell posted a very helpful link on teachers and 9/11. I'm always looking for ways to help the senior citizens I work with to continue to grow and learn. I want to bring the world to them since they can't get out into the world. I don't want to focus on the horror of remembering the day but want to my folks to embrace the idea of 9/11 as a day of 'service and remembrance' Service can even be a smile to a stranger or an encourging word to someone who makes your bed. Everyone can be of service in rememberance of the brave who served on 9/11. Teaching is a job I could never do! Hats off to all you teacher!

  6. Thanks for posting this Pam – it helps me recognize what I appreciate about Tim Gunn. He uses the "Socratic method" to help the students come to their own answers (but they don't always pay attention!)

    Love your outfit, esp that gorgeous flower!

  7. That's a great point about asking open ended questions. I'm not a teacher, but sometimes I need to teach. People absorb what they learn so much better when they problem solve for themselves.

  8. I love wathing the Tim Gunn method! My stepson and I will watch reruns of "Project Runway", and this 9 year-old boy freely critiques the work… it's hysterical (yet often perceptive).

  9. Pam,

    As an ex-teacher, ex-Journalism student and the proud Momma of a daughter that has been Editor-in-Chief of her 3500+ high school yearbook for the past two years, I love your comparison to Tim Gunn. I am going to show your post to my daughter, Anna, as she has a hands off teacher and has virtually spent the last year and the beginning of this year being the teacher of the class.

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