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Re: [XP] "coaching coaching"

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  • Cory Foy
    Hi Mike, ... Multi-Day / Multi-Week training can be a bit overwhelming. In my last position, I had to teach some extremely low-level courses that were
    Message 1 of 14 , Apr 2, 2008
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      Hi Mike,

      Wilson, Michael wrote:
      > I'm steeped in the practices of XP and their derivation from Agile
      > principles, so I think I'll be as covered as I can reasonably be as far
      > as raw material goes. But the dynamics of multi-day (much less
      > multi-week) training has got to have a number of basic "gotchas" that
      > I'm going to run straight in to.
      >
      > Any advice on this? I confess I'm not quite sure what I'm asking for.
      > It's just rather undiscovered territory.

      Multi-Day / Multi-Week training can be a bit overwhelming. In my last
      position, I had to teach some extremely low-level courses that were
      multi-day. Our workshop on Advanced .NET Debugging ripped the CLR apart
      and even touched on assembly concepts - and was 4 intensive days for the
      students. It was brutal.

      The key to a successful class has several elements:

      1) You have to feel comfortable with the material. Not be an expert.
      But be willing to look up things, discuss things, and follow through on
      your research. You need to be the confident one, but also humble.

      2) The course should have definitive goals and check points. People
      should reach passes throughout the class where they can see that they've
      learned something and gotten to the next level.

      3) People need to be dedicated to the class. If they are in and out
      all day, then it is disruptive for everyone involved.

      A book I'd highly recommend (outside of the ones already given) is _Even
      a Geek can Speak_.

      Finally, I found the most successful classes I delivered were those
      where the students had an action plan in mind and ready to go. They were
      mapping the concepts we were discussing into their domains and
      real-world situations. That's something that can really make a class shine.

      And, of course, let us know how it goes!


      --
      Cory Foy
      http://www.cornetdesign.com
    • Victor
      One more thing to what has been said here. There is a common tendency for novice teachers/trainers to over prepare. Remember, the purpose of classes is that
      Message 2 of 14 , Apr 3, 2008
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        One more thing to what has been said here.

        There is a common tendency for novice teachers/trainers to over prepare. Remember, the purpose of classes is that students learn, not for the teachers to show off how well they know the material. This should be reflected in the class plan. If the students are overwhelmed, they will not learn well. Good communication (which also means being a good listener) is of the essence. Minimize assumptions as to what they know by keeping a good dialog going. Arrogance and put downs are no-nos.

        I hope I didn't overwhelm anybody here. :-)

        Victor

        =======================================================

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Cory Foy
        To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 10:42 PM
        Subject: Re: [XP] "coaching coaching"


        Hi Mike,

        Wilson, Michael wrote:
        > I'm steeped in the practices of XP and their derivation from Agile
        > principles, so I think I'll be as covered as I can reasonably be as far
        > as raw material goes. But the dynamics of multi-day (much less
        > multi-week) training has got to have a number of basic "gotchas" that
        > I'm going to run straight in to.
        >
        > Any advice on this? I confess I'm not quite sure what I'm asking for.
        > It's just rather undiscovered territory.

        Multi-Day / Multi-Week training can be a bit overwhelming. In my last
        position, I had to teach some extremely low-level courses that were
        multi-day. Our workshop on Advanced .NET Debugging ripped the CLR apart
        and even touched on assembly concepts - and was 4 intensive days for the
        students. It was brutal.

        The key to a successful class has several elements:

        1) You have to feel comfortable with the material. Not be an expert.
        But be willing to look up things, discuss things, and follow through on
        your research. You need to be the confident one, but also humble.

        2) The course should have definitive goals and check points. People
        should reach passes throughout the class where they can see that they've
        learned something and gotten to the next level.

        3) People need to be dedicated to the class. If they are in and out
        all day, then it is disruptive for everyone involved.

        A book I'd highly recommend (outside of the ones already given) is _Even
        a Geek can Speak_.

        Finally, I found the most successful classes I delivered were those
        where the students had an action plan in mind and ready to go. They were
        mapping the concepts we were discussing into their domains and
        real-world situations. That's something that can really make a class shine.

        And, of course, let us know how it goes!

        --
        Cory Foy
        http://www.cornetdesign.com




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Mike Hill
        Mike, Victor, Cory... For Industrial Logic, I teach about a third of my work time, a figure that s held true for about the last ten years or so. (The second
        Message 3 of 14 , Apr 3, 2008
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          Mike, Victor, Cory...

          For Industrial Logic, I teach about a third of my work time, a figure
          that's held true for about the last ten years or so. (The second third is
          spent coaching, and the last spent developing course material for our online
          and in-person courses.)

          The advice being offered is great, and I'd like to add these elements:

          1. Don't teach what you don't care about. Communicating passion is often
          far more valuable than mere technical knowledge. Your students are
          grownups, *internet-capable* grownups, and they're perfectly capable of
          finding out more on any topic that they wish to pursue. At least half of
          your job is in sparking that wish.

          2. In teaching, the first step forward comes when you are able to stand in
          front of a room full of people and say "I don't know..." There are several
          variant endings, perhaps the best of which is "...let's find out." But the
          first three words are still key. Instead of thinking of yourself as the
          professor, think of yourself as the 'lead student'. The trust you garner
          will more than make up for any perceived weakness deriving from a frank
          admission.

          3. Watch your pupils closely. Look for the glaze, the lightbulb, the
          glare, the nod, the nodding off. All of these are ways to assess how
          effective your current take on a topic is. There are dozens of effective
          ways to communicate your ideas, and no one of them is right for every
          student, so be prepared to experiment, even radically, with your material.
          (When I teach for IL, I try one completely new experiment each week. Some
          flop, some soar.)

          It will help if you marry a master teacher, as I did. Failing that, at
          least befriend one. I would never have become a successful teacher without
          my many many daily debriefs with Virginia, my wife. She has convinced me
          over and over again of the importance of the above principles. She has also
          been an absolute fountain of weird and sometimes wildly successful ideas for
          engaging my classes.

          Cheers, and good luck, and above all, have fun!
          Hill

          <mike@...>
          Check out our advanced eLearning on microtesting: <
          http://industriallogic.com/elearning>


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • jay_conne
          Hi Mike, I have spent a large fraction of my four decades in this industry successfully developing, delivering and managing such training. Cory s advice below
          Message 4 of 14 , Apr 3, 2008
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            Hi Mike,

            I have spent a large fraction of my four decades in this industry
            successfully developing, delivering and managing such training.

            Cory's advice below is great. To do this well require a thoughtful
            plan and practices - call me if you need some coaching in doing it.

            Here's a quick primmer...

            Start with knowing your goal for the class: Upon completing this
            training the students will be able to... (starting with verbs) - with
            as much detail as you think appropriate.

            Then develop a hierarchy of knowledge to get you there. This should
            include presentations of ideas, exercises to concertize those ideas
            and discussions to establish understanding and reinforce the ideas in
            the group or team.

            Remember - you are using valuable time - multiply an hourly rate by
            the number of people involved. Invest enough effort to make it worth
            the company's investment of that amount of salary and potential lost
            opportunity.

            Start the class with why people should care...

            "People are not interested in answers to a questions they don't have!"

            For example, I start my Lean/Agile/Scrum/XP Intro. classes or Project
            Team Start-up classes with evidence of how our historical approaches
            have failed, and get people to a clear YES on the history of
            self-deception we have endured. We acknowledge how painful that has
            been for all parties and then proceed to discuss a more same
            alternative. I use the line:

            "Humans deserve better!".

            To get past normal defensiveness in getting people to change long
            established habits, I think it is critical to make it humorous and
            fun. Get people laughing about how foolish *we* have been - and how
            painful it has been for all parties in the game as I said above.

            Here are some details -

            1. Milestones are critical for keeping the
            instructor/leader/facilitator on track as well as the
            students/participants. An agenda slide that repeats at transitions
            allows you and the class to track where they are on the path - in a
            Tufte style of visual presentation. I even color code the slide items
            to indicate what's done, what's next, and what's left.

            2. Think through the hierarchy of learning that the material
            requires. Get the dependencies nailed down. Understand how lecture,
            discussion and exercises reinforce the learning sequence. (This is a
            principle missed in much education of our children today based on
            incompetent ideas coming from John Dewey's theory of education -
            misnamed 'progressive'.)

            3. Using PowerPoint, I use the notes feature with this outline:
            Purpose, Points not to miss (Points:), Optional points (Opt:), and
            Transition. I do this to manage the attention of both the leader and
            the students to my training intention. In effect, I develop each
            course as a train the trainer tool. It serves me well if I'm only
            doing it for myself.

            Purpose: (What should the presenter have in mind as the goal for
            this piece of the presentation. Knowing your goal clearly at each
            step is critical to presenting naturally.

            Points: (What are the points not to miss - just key words as
            prompts to what you have to have already well thought out. This also
            keeps one from the common mistake of spilling your guts on everything
            you know on one slide. It's all about intentional focus.)

            Opt: (Notes on issues that may arise or filler for when you get no
            interaction that your timing is dependent upon.)

            Transition: (What do you want to say about the next slide before
            you distract the audience with reading the new one. Remember it's
            about managing the attention of your audience and yourself.)

            4. Exercises - get them off their butts and get them mentally
            active beyond the conversation in other activities. Know what
            principle the exercise dramatizes. Perhaps tell them before or let it
            be discovered. Change up the approach. Once you have their trust,
            they will play along in your game. A good exercise produces ah-ha's
            with fun. At the end of the class, I like to review a list of
            exercises and the principles they concertize. My expectation is that
            they will be able to remember these in the future to validate why the
            principle is valuable.

            5. Remember that all knowledge is contextual - know the context
            for each principle and practice you recommend. Know the boundary
            conditions. For example, the ides in the Agile Manifesto apply in our
            'discovery' context, but not in mass production discipline. Not
            understanding that distinction, in my opinion, is the heart of why we
            needed Agile.

            You can contact me off-list to discuss these ideas. I don't monitor
            this list as much as I wish I could as you can see from my delay in
            posting to your message.

            Jay Conne
            ==============================
            Lean/Agile Coach, Trainer and
            ScrumMaster-Practicing
            jay@... www.jconne.com
            617-776-0339 M:617-470-5038
            ==============================

            --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Cory Foy <usergroup@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Mike,
            >
            > Wilson, Michael wrote:
            > > I'm steeped in the practices of XP and their derivation from Agile
            > > principles, so I think I'll be as covered as I can reasonably be
            as far
            > > as raw material goes. But the dynamics of multi-day (much less
            > > multi-week) training has got to have a number of basic "gotchas" that
            > > I'm going to run straight in to.
            > >
            > > Any advice on this? I confess I'm not quite sure what I'm asking for.
            > > It's just rather undiscovered territory.
            >
            > Multi-Day / Multi-Week training can be a bit overwhelming. In my last
            > position, I had to teach some extremely low-level courses that were
            > multi-day. Our workshop on Advanced .NET Debugging ripped the CLR apart
            > and even touched on assembly concepts - and was 4 intensive days for
            the
            > students. It was brutal.
            >
            > The key to a successful class has several elements:
            >
            > 1) You have to feel comfortable with the material. Not be an expert.
            > But be willing to look up things, discuss things, and follow through on
            > your research. You need to be the confident one, but also humble.
            >
            > 2) The course should have definitive goals and check points. People
            > should reach passes throughout the class where they can see that
            they've
            > learned something and gotten to the next level.
            >
            > 3) People need to be dedicated to the class. If they are in and out
            > all day, then it is disruptive for everyone involved.
            >
            > A book I'd highly recommend (outside of the ones already given) is
            _Even
            > a Geek can Speak_.
            >
            > Finally, I found the most successful classes I delivered were those
            > where the students had an action plan in mind and ready to go. They
            were
            > mapping the concepts we were discussing into their domains and
            > real-world situations. That's something that can really make a class
            shine.
            >
            > And, of course, let us know how it goes!
            >
            >
            > --
            > Cory Foy
            > http://www.cornetdesign.com
            >
          • jay_conne
            lol - this certainly contrast with my posting. I agree with your points Victor. The trick is knowing what is appropriate preparing, out of respect for people s
            Message 5 of 14 , Apr 3, 2008
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              lol - this certainly contrast with my posting.

              I agree with your points Victor.

              The trick is knowing what is appropriate preparing, out of respect for
              people's time, and what is over preparing :-).

              Like - "Postpone decisions until the last responsible moment."
              There's a lot of art in discovering that point.

              Jay

              --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Victor" <vmgoldberg@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > One more thing to what has been said here.
              >
              > There is a common tendency for novice teachers/trainers to over
              prepare. Remember, the purpose of classes is that students learn, not
              for the teachers to show off how well they know the material. This
              should be reflected in the class plan. If the students are
              overwhelmed, they will not learn well. Good communication (which also
              means being a good listener) is of the essence. Minimize assumptions
              as to what they know by keeping a good dialog going. Arrogance and
              put downs are no-nos.
              >
              > I hope I didn't overwhelm anybody here. :-)
              >
              > Victor
              >
              > =======================================================
              >
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: Cory Foy
              > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 10:42 PM
              > Subject: Re: [XP] "coaching coaching"
              >
              >
              > Hi Mike,
              >
              > Wilson, Michael wrote:
              > > I'm steeped in the practices of XP and their derivation from Agile
              > > principles, so I think I'll be as covered as I can reasonably be
              as far
              > > as raw material goes. But the dynamics of multi-day (much less
              > > multi-week) training has got to have a number of basic "gotchas"
              that
              > > I'm going to run straight in to.
              > >
              > > Any advice on this? I confess I'm not quite sure what I'm asking
              for.
              > > It's just rather undiscovered territory.
              >
              > Multi-Day / Multi-Week training can be a bit overwhelming. In my last
              > position, I had to teach some extremely low-level courses that were
              > multi-day. Our workshop on Advanced .NET Debugging ripped the CLR
              apart
              > and even touched on assembly concepts - and was 4 intensive days
              for the
              > students. It was brutal.
              >
              > The key to a successful class has several elements:
              >
              > 1) You have to feel comfortable with the material. Not be an expert.
              > But be willing to look up things, discuss things, and follow
              through on
              > your research. You need to be the confident one, but also humble.
              >
              > 2) The course should have definitive goals and check points. People
              > should reach passes throughout the class where they can see that
              they've
              > learned something and gotten to the next level.
              >
              > 3) People need to be dedicated to the class. If they are in and out
              > all day, then it is disruptive for everyone involved.
              >
              > A book I'd highly recommend (outside of the ones already given) is
              _Even
              > a Geek can Speak_.
              >
              > Finally, I found the most successful classes I delivered were those
              > where the students had an action plan in mind and ready to go.
              They were
              > mapping the concepts we were discussing into their domains and
              > real-world situations. That's something that can really make a
              class shine.
              >
              > And, of course, let us know how it goes!
              >
              > --
              > Cory Foy
              > http://www.cornetdesign.com
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • Wilson, Michael
              Thanks very much for all this everyone. There s an awful lot of really great information for me to wade through, I really appreciate it. I m going to spend
              Message 6 of 14 , Apr 3, 2008
              • 0 Attachment
                Thanks very much for all this everyone. There's an awful lot of really
                great information for me to wade through, I really appreciate it.

                I'm going to spend some time chunking through all of this and see if I
                can't cobble together an interesting digest.

                - Mike

                -----Original Message-----
                From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of jay_conne
                Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2008 10:33 AM
                To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [XP] "coaching coaching"

                lol - this certainly contrast with my posting.

                I agree with your points Victor.

                The trick is knowing what is appropriate preparing, out of respect for
                people's time, and what is over preparing :-).

                Like - "Postpone decisions until the last responsible moment."
                There's a lot of art in discovering that point.

                Jay

                --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Victor" <vmgoldberg@...>
                wrote:
                >
                > One more thing to what has been said here.
                >
                > There is a common tendency for novice teachers/trainers to over
                prepare. Remember, the purpose of classes is that students learn, not
                for the teachers to show off how well they know the material. This
                should be reflected in the class plan. If the students are overwhelmed,
                they will not learn well. Good communication (which also means being a
                good listener) is of the essence. Minimize assumptions as to what they
                know by keeping a good dialog going. Arrogance and put downs are
                no-nos.
                >
                > I hope I didn't overwhelm anybody here. :-)
                >
                > Victor
                >
                > =======================================================
                >
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: Cory Foy
                > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                > Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 10:42 PM
                > Subject: Re: [XP] "coaching coaching"
                >
                >
                > Hi Mike,
                >
                > Wilson, Michael wrote:
                > > I'm steeped in the practices of XP and their derivation from Agile
                > > principles, so I think I'll be as covered as I can reasonably be
                as far
                > > as raw material goes. But the dynamics of multi-day (much less
                > > multi-week) training has got to have a number of basic "gotchas"
                that
                > > I'm going to run straight in to.
                > >
                > > Any advice on this? I confess I'm not quite sure what I'm asking
                for.
                > > It's just rather undiscovered territory.
                >
                > Multi-Day / Multi-Week training can be a bit overwhelming. In my
                last
                > position, I had to teach some extremely low-level courses that were
                > multi-day. Our workshop on Advanced .NET Debugging ripped the CLR
                apart
                > and even touched on assembly concepts - and was 4 intensive days
                for the
                > students. It was brutal.
                >
                > The key to a successful class has several elements:
                >
                > 1) You have to feel comfortable with the material. Not be an expert.

                > But be willing to look up things, discuss things, and follow
                through on
                > your research. You need to be the confident one, but also humble.
                >
                > 2) The course should have definitive goals and check points. People
                > should reach passes throughout the class where they can see that
                they've
                > learned something and gotten to the next level.
                >
                > 3) People need to be dedicated to the class. If they are in and out
                > all day, then it is disruptive for everyone involved.
                >
                > A book I'd highly recommend (outside of the ones already given) is
                _Even
                > a Geek can Speak_.
                >
                > Finally, I found the most successful classes I delivered were those
                > where the students had an action plan in mind and ready to go.
                They were
                > mapping the concepts we were discussing into their domains and
                > real-world situations. That's something that can really make a
                class shine.
                >
                > And, of course, let us know how it goes!
                >
                > --
                > Cory Foy
                > http://www.cornetdesign.com
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >



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