The motivations to learn evolve as you become older; and for an adult educator, teaching can be even more difficult without a basic understanding of adult learning theory.
It has been said that there is no such thing as bad publicity. This may be true but lately, mentoring has received a bit of an unfairly negative rap. First there was Sheryl Sandberg’s bestselling book Lean In advising women to never ask anyone to be your mentor, then came the book by economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett proclaiming we should forget mentors and find sponsors instead.
While it may not sell as many books, mentoring has been an overwhelming success story for corporate hirers. At least 70% of Fortune 500 companies have adopted formal mentoring programs and, according to one survey by Robert Half International, 94% of U.S. executives say that having a mentor is important for professionals starting out. Companies large and small understand that mentoring is a powerful tool for encouraging diversity and inclusion, and making people feel more successful and gratified in their jobs. If your startup is considering a mentoring program, ignore the hype and focus on the benefits of mentoring.
These two took a leap of faith when they crossed the Atlantic to settle in the UK. While in London, Maite completed WDI and Chris completed UXDI at our London campus. Now, they’re are giving back by helping current students master their new skills.
Gary Sinise recently penned an article in the Huffington Post. Perhaps best known for playing wounded veteran Lt. Dan in the movie Forrest Gump, the actor and philanthropist is also an amazing stage actor and a founding member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company. But it’s the Lt. Dan role that changed his life, inspired a band (yes, the Lt. Dan Band,) and made him a supporter of and an advocate for America’s veterans. In the article, Sinise makes the case for training veterans for high-end manufacturing jobs. His group, the Get Skills to Work coalition, is designed to help connect veterans to colleges and companies across the country, looking to train individuals in the manufacturing field.
Sinise is right. America needs skilled people to do these jobs and veterans with the right training would be excellent candidates. But why stop at manufacturing? The same case should be made for helping veterans learn digital skills and computer programming. Now is the time to put resources and support behind training veterans for the most in-demand jobs through adult learning programs.
When Sean Ellis coined the term growth hacker, he defined it as “a person whose true north is growth.” Likewise, instructors joining General Assembly frequently list professional growth as a key objective in taking on their new role. In addition to diversifying their expertise, our instructors are dedicated to fostering a new crop of technologists, designers, and leaders. Helping to transform what you – the instructors – know into experiences that maximize student learning is where GA’s Instructional Coaches come in.
Consider us your instructional growth hackers, where growth equals increased student learning and extended teaching skills. We’re part of the instructional team because we are also teachers. Coaches are experienced in pedagogical methods such as student engagement strategies, objective-driven planning, and learning assessments. We focus on teaching high-impact, low-barrier practices you can integrate into your classroom routines. Recognizing that each instructor has their own teaching style and expertise, our ultimate goal is to help you level up and transform your career by learning instructional skills to improve your effectiveness in the classroom and beyond.
Come to a Coach when you need:
- Professional feedback on a lesson – before, during, or after it is taught
- Strategies for student engagement
- Methods for assessing learning
- Advice from an experienced teacher
- Training and development in instructional best practices
Currently, Coaches are represented in New York by Damien DeCuir, in San Francisco by Jessie Slocum, in Los Angeles Jenny Wyss, and in Boston by Anna Tsykalova.
As we build a robust network of experienced faculty, these veteran Instructor Fellows provide a wealth of content specific knowledge and classroom tactics to share with other instructors.
At the global level, the Instructor Development Team is also here to support you and is comprised of Chelsea Byers, Carolyn Wakulchik, and Charmaine Lacsina. This team can help you by:
- Listening to your feedback and recommending ways to help you enjoy your roles and grow as teachers
- Training for anyone who creates course materials, and instructional design best practices in general
- Creating internal products that make the instructor experience better
Instructors, we are here for support as you transform your knowledge by gaining instructional skills to maximize your effectiveness in the classroom and beyond!
A common question that new instructors at GA ask is, “How can I ensure that I’m breaking a technical concept down well for students?” That’s hard and often learned in the role, over and over again. For our instructors who have taught multiple programs at GA, one underlying idea is that systematically building up the rigor of student questioning, tasks and assignments helps prevent confusion and pushes students to maximize their learning.
With nearly one-third of Americans now holding bachelor’s degrees, the level of college completion in this country is at an all-time high. Yet, according to the federal government, by 2022 the United States will fall short by 11 million the necessary number of workers with postsecondary education, whether bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, or vocational certificates. More importantly, we could face a gap between the skills learned in the classroom, and those needed to do in-demand jobs.
As the Product Lead for Consumer Products at GA, I lead the team that researches, designs, and builds all of the educational programs that you teach (or may teach one day) at General Assembly. I am one of many product managers at GA (also known as miracle makers) who build out and iterate on our education products. This includes everything from our full-time Web Development Immersive, to our part-time Digital Marketing course, and online Web Design Circuit. Here I’ll discuss how we build new products, starting with the first stage in our product development process. In a future edition, we’ll share more about how we keep our products fresh years after we’ve first built them.
I’m a nerd. I have been taking apart, assembling, and programming machines since I was in the single digits. Being exposed to computers at an early age, I have a strong grasp on the way they think (sometimes even stronger than I do with humans). However, those of you who haven’t spent the majority of your lives speaking to machines may experience some frustrating challenges in your attempts to communicate.
Let’s face it, machines are dumb (for now), and we have to bring ourselves down to their level to have a successful conversation. I do, however, think there are some valuable lessons to be gained when learning to speak a technical language, even if your end goal is not to become a technical linguist (programmer).
We love what General Assembly stands for. For us, it’s a place of tremendous energy and go-getter attitudes. Every member of the community wants to build and collaborate and learn, creating a truly exciting environment to teach.
We feel strongly about being leaders within the General Assembly community, at least when it comes to our discipline. We take pride and ownership over our curriculum and our school of thought. We love working with students to collaborate and mold them into communicative, skilled and confident marketers. One of the best parts about teaching is the ability to watch a class grow together and change each other. We’ve learned new ways to approach our discipline every time we teach. Especially in today’s fast-moving economy, it’s so critical that General Assembly makes it possible to learn new skills and improve expertise. We’re excited to be a part of that every day.
Our teaching experience has been rewarding well beyond the classroom; we’ve actually hired 4 former students. It’s proven to be a great alternative to a headhunter!
Meet Matt and Katie
Katie studied neuroscience and chemistry at Duke University before launching a career focused on consumer behavior. She specializes in data analysis and experimental testing, bringing a research-oriented approach to her work.
Matthew studied marketing and sociology at Duke University before embarking on a career focused on digital strategy. He specializes in digital marketing and user experience, bringing a creative approach to his work.
Want to Contribute to GA Blog?
Every newsletter we will have an Instructor write their thoughts and experience teaching at GA. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please contact Talisha@ga.co or Charmaine@ga.co