Monday, February 11, 2013
Working with Adults
I teach adults; working with adults is, in my opinion, more difficult than working with children or adolescents. I have taught Sunday School, coached sports, and led Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. When you work with children (I will use this word to cover both children and adolescents), there is a definite distinction between the leader of the class and the students. When working with adults, there's a different dynamic. The students know they need to be there, but they're not in the habit of taking instruction from a stranger. People are sometimes better computer learners because there's not the interaction between adults requiring social skills. I have to balance what I need to teach them against getting them to accept me as a teacher. I have five minutes at 8:00 a.m. to make these people trust me. I have to give them confidence that they can learn and make them comfortable enough to take instruction from me. When reading Belfiore, I was struck by how the researchers interacted with the employees. In most cases, the researchers learned, rather than taught. Teaching software requires the ability to teach software, not a redundant statement. I know teachers who couldn't teach software, and software users who couldn't teach it. This class is reminding me of why I enjoy my job.