As the Lead Teacher at Master21 I have taught HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Ruby for many hours the last six months. I’ve received a lot of feedback from our students and have tried out some different teaching techniques. Over the course of the next couple of blog post I will give you insights into what I’ve learned and what for methods or approaches I want to try out in future courses. In this first post I want to write about the importance of slipping into the role and skin of others.

One thing became clear very early on: our students enjoy that I as a teacher explain tech topics in plain English and use analogies that are based on their everyday business lives. What sense would it make for our students to understand how Node.js functions in exact bits and bytes but not grasp how this server environment can assist them in their business context? It is my job to make sure that our students have a sound understanding of how certain technologies can be beneficial for their specific business setting.

In order to achieve this I try to understand the business constellation of our students: How large is the company they work for? Do they frequently collaborate with software developers? What challenges do they encounter when working together with developers? Do they have specific business challenges that could be solved by creating digital or technology assisted products? And so on and so forth.

Since we always start our courses with a goal setting session, I get most of the information I need by listening to the goals the students have set themselves. Every student has different reasons for participating at our courses and by listening to these reasons I know better what analogies I can use.

Recently I had a three hour coding session with the students from Product Academy. Most of them are either product managers or product owners and I noticed that their needs and questions were very specific to their job roles. After this experience I’ve set myself a new personal goal: dive into the business world of each student before the course starts so as to better understand the challenges they are facing. Once I’ve done that, I can already have analogies and possible solutions at hand for when they visit our courses. In theory this should help intensify the Joyful Learning experience.

This approach plays along well with my trait of being infinitely curious. I love learning new things and understanding the details. So diving into the “How’s” and “Why’s” of our students’ business settings is a very pleasant task for me. And thinking of ways how to convey technical topics and digital solutions so as to help them in the setting they are currently in is something that deeply interests me.