Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can't, Google It!

There are few things in my life that I will readily admit I can't do.  I can't sing, and I can't lick either of my own elbows. Oh, wait. It appears that I can (don't try to picture it...it wasn't pretty.)

I've never been the type of girl who crumbles at a challenge, or murmurs "I dunno" when asked how something is supposed to be done.  It's not that I have to be the best at everything, only that I need to give it a try.  Failure sucks, but it's not as bad as wishing I had given something a go in the first place.  That's why I'm completely baffled when I see young girls who would rather admit defeat from the beginning than give something an honest try.  Is it lack of self-confidence? Laziness? Fear of criticism?  What's the cause and how can we erase it?

In my classes, I've taken to not always answering my students' questions directly.  When I was young, my dad always told me to "look it up."  Back then, he meant the encyclopedia or the dictionary (do you know how frustrating it is to have to look-up how to spell a word in the dictionary?  You don't know how it's spelled!   How are you supposed to look it up??) Now days, I do the equivalent with Google.  I wish Webster would have had cross-references like, "Do you mean BOLOGNA?"  But I digress. 

"Google it."  I'll say.  Yes, I'm the teacher and I'm supposed to be teaching -- but the way I see it, I'm teaching something far more powerful than Python and JavaScript.  I'm teaching them how to fish. I'm trying to feed them for a lifetime...and not just with Python. When Python becomes Go and Go becomes Clojure, they'll know how to translate, look up samples and eventually learn the complete syntax. There's definitely a lot of guidance yet to be given and someone has to steer the boat while the students focus on the sport of it.  In the end, I don't care whether they think I taught it to them or that they learned it themselves.  I only care that they have learned it and believe in themselves enough to do it again.

No comments: