This approach is very appealing as it would seem to provide a low anxiety introduction for the new turner. And if the cause and effect of catches is covered before the lathe is turned on, and then reinforced several times, the new turner might be gaining not just a procedure or approach but more importantly an understanding as well that would allow self-correction down the road.
It would be very helpful if you would consider a description of your process in some detail so others could give it a try. For example, what size skew and shape of the cutting edge, what diameter and length round dowel, do you simply turn the handwheel by hand or do you have a dowel attached (like a "necker-knob" for steering wheels) so the handwheel can be rotated more evenly without paying it a lot of attention? What indicators suggest when the student is ready for the spindle to be motor driven? What indicators suggest when to increase the lathe speed, and at what rate, what top speed?
Is the first moments devoted to demonstrating catches, planing cuts with the lower half of the cutting edge, or a _______ planing cut with just the short point?
Does this first lathe and skew session transition at some point into making a take-home project, such as a spurtle or top, so the session is not just exercises? Another recent discussion here or on Woodturners Resource expressed some concern that the first session on the lathe should allow the student to make something to take with them.
Thanks for sharing, hope the flocks are healthy.