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Re: [XP] "coaching coaching"

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  • 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 1 of 14 , Apr 3, 2008
      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 2 of 14 , Apr 3, 2008
        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 3 of 14 , Apr 3, 2008
          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 4 of 14 , Apr 3, 2008
            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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