Learning How to Teach New Developers

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One of our most exciting initiatives of 2014 has been creating a series of “How to Teach” workshops for the broader tech community. While GA is well known for what we teach, what many people might not know is how much time we spend training our instructors and talking with them about how to teach. In fact, we have staff members and instructional coaches whose sole job it is to help train and support our instructors.

While our industry-leading immersive instructor training program has helped set up our internal staff for success, we decided in January of this year that we wanted to open up trainings to share best practices with anyone who wants to teach in the tech world. Since then, we’ve expanded these trainings to all of our teaching staff and started a global conversation about teaching tech better. We have two 1-day public workshops led by coaches and current GA instructors in this series, and are planning more to come!

On Day I, we cover Objective-Driven Lesson Planning, Adult Learning Theory and Instructional Delivery Tactics. While Lesson Planning may not seem like the “hottest” topic in the tech ed world, we’ve found that using objectives to backwards lesson is one of the most powerful factors in enabling new teachers to be effective.

For a glimpse into what we’ll discuss in the first session, imagine the difference in these two lesson plans: “Today we will cover hashes and arrays,” and “Today students will be able to create basic hashes and arrays, and describe the similarities and differences between them.” We’ve found that there is a large chance that the first planning statement will result in a rambly monologue. The second, designed to describe what students actually be able to do by the end, can enable more targeted, hands-on teaching when combined with backwards planning.

The other sessions, Adult Learning Theory and Delivery Tactics, discuss what types of lessons adults need in order to maximize their learning, and tools for creating dynamic adult learning experiences. While nobody has all the answers when it comes to teaching tech well, we’re excited to share what we know with the broader community and be a part of the conversation!

Whether you’re a current course instructor who hasn’t yet had a chance to participate in enhanced training, a developer or designer who is teaching or doing lunch and learns at work, or just someone who wants to learn more about how to share what you know, we hope to see you at one of our workshops soon.