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‘What it takes to be…’ A Great Educator

September 29, 2022

Education is the foundation of a successful career in hairdressing and for a career to really flourish, ongoing learning is essential.

This makes the role of an educator pivotal within the hairdressing industry. We asked multi-award-winning hairdresser and international artistic director and head of education at TONI&GUY, Cos Sakkas, what makes a great educator?

1 Keep up to date with trends

Hair is a fashion accessory just like clothing, and keeping up to date with current trends is essential. A great educator will use social media, fashion magazines and celebrity websites to keep on top of hair and fashion trends. Those educators who also work in the session world will bring their own experience to their teaching, sharing the latest trends, skills and techniques with their learners. Part of being a great educator is seeing every experience as another learning opportunity for yourself and then passing this on to others in a way that is relevant to them.

2 Don’t neglect foundation skills

Ensuring learners have a foundation of core skills is essential. It’s great to share inspirational new ideas and techniques, but if the basics aren’t in place, learning to master more complex processes will be much harder if not impossible. Even experienced hairdressers sometimes need a refresher course in the foundation skills — it’s easy to slip into bad habits or get blasé about the basics. As you are teaching, keep an eye out for learners who may still need some coaching in their foundation skills. It could just be case of giving a few words of advice that will make a huge difference to how they progress as hairdressers.

3 Avoid a ‘one size fits all’ approach

Everyone learns differently. A great educator will be able to gauge the individuals within a group and tailor the way they teach to each learner. It may be a case of some learners needing to be more hands-on, while others are happier watching and asking lots of questions before they actually touch any hair. Try and be flexible in the way that you teach — dragging someone out of their comfort zone too soon can be detrimental to their learning.

4 Make everyone feel confident

As an educator, it’s your role to create an environment where everyone feels safe and confident to ask questions and to make mistakes without being judged. At the start ofT any educational session, ensure everyone knows they are in an open environment where no question is a bad question and where making errors is all part of the learning process.

5 Make education relatable

Sharing experiences of working backstage at fashion shows or styling the hair of a famous celeb are obviously going to be interesting to a group of learners, but it’s also important to make these experiences relatable. A great educator will take a catwalk hair look, for example, and break it down so that their learners can see how it can be turned from a, sometimes outrageous, runway creation into something commercial. 

6 Keep learning yourself

An educator who thinks they know everything is going to get a wake-up call! There is always something new to learn. Keep attending courses and learning from those around you. Sometimes someone with far less experience than you can teach you something new.

Find out more about Cos Sakkas:
Instagram: @cossakkas