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I recently listened to a Ruby Rogues episode on which the theme was teaching. The discussion revolved around the topic of technical teaching and how we can and should do more in our industry to improve it. It was an excellent discussion which brought up some great points.

The guest on the show was Eric Normand whose currently known for producing LispCasts amongst other things. Eric talked about his previous teaching experience and some key things that are important for effective teaching. He mentioned three steps that are essential to effective learning:

Another very good point that Eric made was how the most successful technical books are focused on the reader. Instead of focusing on what you want to say as an author, you should ask yourself the question “What do I want the reader to take away from this book?”. Instead of starting from the beginning and the idea you have in mind, start from the end and what your reader should learn by reading your book.

The podcast gave me a lot to think about and I went over it, and will go over it again, while taking notes. One of the areas our industry needs to improve is in how we teach people. It’s something I’m working on myself and having to mentor someone with no prior knowledge (student apprentice) is a challenge that pushes me to become better at that.

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Personal blog of Makis Otman

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