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Message Board > Malarkey > Teaching people

April 4, 2013, 12:19
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641 posts
I am passionate about teaching and helping people and I would like to keep doing research on the psychology aspect of this.

My beliefs:
I believe that teaching is explaining a new concept to someone. You must not assume a single thing about your students. Nothing at all. Even if they have a high school diploma or whatever. The point is to let them relate to what you are saying and to let them associate patterns in their head so that their brain can make sense of things and let them learn and memorize things.

If I just babble on for hours using technical jargon-laden speeches, then that speech is going to seem like nonsense to someone listening to me.

Example:
I want to explain to someone how arrays work.

Bad teaching:
"An array is an N-dimensional object address in memory, but it multi-row or multi-column or both."

- process in brain:
- associate "N-dimensional" with 'aversion' because brain is not familiar with this, passes on emotion 'aversion' to amygdala. Works like a first impression. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
- result: negative association. Less chance to root it. Bigger chance to lose that data
- consequence: data lost. Next data that is based on that data will now be useless.
- same goes for 'object', 'address', 'in memory', 'multi-row', 'multi-column'
- result: did NOT grasp the concept; Brain rejects; negative experience

Good teaching:
"An array is like a book shelf. I label each book on the book shelf. Later, if I want to remove the book I just go and look "ah, that's the book I was looking for! and I remove it from the shelf. If I want to put it back, I just look at the books that are already on the shelf and I place it neatly in the right place in whatever order, be it alphabetical or something."

process in brain:
- memory picks up 'book shelf' -> common, deep rooted concept, easy to understand
- associate array with book shelf. array now becomes easier to link to that common, deep rooted concept and has a higher chance of staying there because the brain cells (using 'tentacles' or 'nerves') chemically pass on substances to the other deep rooted brain cells in the memory area

I am personally sick and tired of arrogant people. They are the very reason that there are so many bad teachers in this world. This so called 'teacher' (teaches programmers at university) believes the following:
"I assume my students already passed high school and I also assume they are not retards. I don't need to explain to them what a book shelf is."

You see, his beliefs are wrong because he is assuming things about his students. This is a horrible thing to do. You may never assume when you are teaching. And calling someone a retard just because he has not had the same education or lifestyle as you is what you call small-minded. If you ask me, he is not a teacher but simply a pompous, arrogant and ignorant fool. He is not teacher material. So what if I am holding a person's hand while teaching him (figuratively speaking)? That is the benefit of teaching. To go step by step, not to be an arrogant prick who calls you a retard for not understanding something that appears obvious to him just because he was indoctrinated by the government. Michael Porter and Tom Peters really address this. Tom Peters: "I would rather hire someone who colored outside the lines and sporadically had bad grades in his life than someone who had nothing but straight As his entire life. You know why? Because that person was not indoctrinated by the government. Why is it wrong to color outside the lines? Why? Because it's a conspiracy system. We should let people be creative. Those are the people who will bring innovations to our society. Another good example of this is this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

These arrogant, assuming type of people make me so angry. They are the reason our system is failing.

My message:
WE SHOULD BECOME BETTER PEOPLE AND STOP BEING SO ARROGANT! I AM SICK OF YOU ARROGANTS!
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April 5, 2013, 00:10
DTM
Earthling!
815 posts

Yeah. I tend to think my entire university time was wasted. Did I say that before? I literally learnt nothing from any lectures.

As well as sometimes having holes in background knowledge (specifically my maths is terrible, so anything explained using mathmatical terminology was lost on me), I simply don't think at a fast enough pace as they teach you at... and then you are left behind still wondering what the lecturer meant at the start and you've missed the basics and there's no catching up.

problem is, it's just not efficient to go at the right speed for everyone. I look forward to the day when learning by themselves on the internet is widely accepted as a proper and good enough education for children. (of course, perhaps with some hours a week with a tutor to be explained concepts they really could not understand)

I sometimes wonder if maths could be explained in your "good teaching" approach. That really is something. I'm sure there would be a market for some kind of advanced maths book that teaches in that style. (going right from the absolute mathmatical basics to the more advanced, using such descriptive approaches rather than pages and pages of textbook questions to be waded through.)

[kinda like those popular science books that try to explain advanced physics concepts to the layman via metaphors... only better, and actually using precise metaphors that really do explain the facts]
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April 5, 2013, 11:02
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641 posts
I can relate to you, DTM because I am experiencing the same thing.

As well I have holes on math.. considerable holes even. I barely know how to do singular equations. I really have to bite my teeth and study really hard to catch up on everything (like I am doing right now). Speaking of missing knowledge, there is this guy in my class who straight up from since he was born has been privileged to enjoy a high class education. He has had all the math you could ever want, so now our math is a joke to him. He comes to class asking me: "Haha, this class is really so easy. She gives us three hours to complete this task and I did this shit in like 10 minutes LMAO.". I didn't really say anything considerable to him but in the back of my mind I was incredibly pissed at him for saying that, because it not only took me more than three hours, it took me an entire week to figure that exercise out and he was in fact mocking my effort. Fucking asshole. Yeah I know, he's not directly doing it but it's not fair to assume that everyone magically knows everything or had their butt wiped in butter ever since they were born.

A friend of mine at university flunked four times (!) before he passed mathematics. He is now successfully graduated and he is helping me each week with this mathematics course. He is a great help to me.. It is very important to have the right, knowledgeable people helping you.

I have to say I am very lucky to have those people. That guy just approached me out of nowhere at university and he asked me how I was doing etc. .. while before that I had never ever spoken to someone at university before. I am lucky that guy was social and that he recognized me from class.

I admit, yes.. mathematics can be so confusing. I can really try so hard to pay attention.. but to what? The guy FLIES over the material at 200 miles per hour and doesn't even GIVE me the chance to understand or stand still at the concept he just explained. What am I? An auto-didactive machine? No, I am not. So unfortunately I have to spend a looooooooot of time (practically all my time except sleeping) studying the books, asking people on forums. I hate that stupid professor line: "Everyone understood it? No questions? (1 second later) Ok, moving on, .." and then you are so shitfucked if you didn't understand it because the next things he is going to explain are based on something you just didn't understand (sometimes not even at all!)! LoL!

I know that Dennis had a really hard time (understatement) trying to finish the same degree I am trying to get (Bachelor Application Development) and I know I will have to study at least equally hard.. read my books at least twice. A really good programming professor of mine told me: "I was an engineer by study. I received an 80% mark on my engineering exam. Do you know how I did that? Haha ;). I read my engineering book at least 5 times over.. and it was a 900 page book!!". Anyway, I would rather suffer 3 years than suffering the rest of my life in some shitty, crummy job that will turn me into a depressed rut hole because I would constantly barely be able to eat and pay my bills. No thank, I do not want to be part of that world. And I will fight, fight until I get this degree!!! =)

Oh yeah, about the right speed.. the ideal system would be where there would be three teachers in a class. One for the really smart guys, one for the people who have a harder time and one for the people who have the hardest time. BUT!!! It is very important not to do stupid shit like they do in some countries: seperate children and actually BLOCK them from being allowed into higher levels once they join the lower ones. That is fascism at its purest.

Learning on the internet by yourself? Well, that's already partially implemented. It's called e-learning. My university implements it. You study at home and you only come and take exams. However, I still think you need all the help you can get.

Speaking of that descriptive approach, there's one company already doing that. It's a book series called 'Head First'. I have the book 'Head First Statistics'. =) I don't know if it's descriptive enough - probably not. It's certainly a start. A lot of people have a lot of criticism on that book because people say "it makes me feel like a retard with those stupid pictures. I'm not a baby". Human ego.. it lies at the fault of learning.

I actually bought a 'physics basics' book from a university student. Let's see, it's this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Physics- … james+s.+walker

When I have some free time I hope I will learn a lot from it. =)

What I really do like are those vivid scientific videos on Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Stx6kLd9dYI

^^
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April 5, 2013, 18:07
Rincewind
programmer
1516 posts

Talking about teaching people. I'm considering becoming a high school computer science teacher. Teaching a class how to make websites or write a small computer program, would really be a fun job. When I was in high school I've taught a small class of people how to program in Fenix, and I really enjoyed it.

Of course I would even more enjoy building a passive income like DTM has, and then spend the rest of my time programming!
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Personal website: http://www.loijson.com
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April 5, 2013, 19:31
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641 posts
Fun fun fun. =)
Yeah.. money. =P
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April 6, 2013, 19:54
DTM
Earthling!
815 posts

I tactically failed some modules in my degree, just to focus on the modules that would give me the best scores. If you study exactly how the degree is marked you could still get the highest grade even if you failed some things. (Not that I did get the highest grade, but I could have if I put in a little more effort).

Rincewind, you should try writing some games programming tutorials or something! Like, noob guides. (I still fondly remember the DIV 1 manual tutorial as being the best tutorial I've ever experienced - going through every step in incredible detail, including making the graphics).

--> That could even later serve as classroom notes for you, or as part of a CV to get a teaching job...

[Edited on April 6, 2013 by DTM]
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April 6, 2013, 21:36
Rincewind
programmer
1516 posts

Hmm, I think I'll have that wait until I am actually working as a teacher. I would have to know what to teach exactly, and then I can create a nice booklet with tutorials. When I taught Fenix in high school I had also created a small booklet with a Fenix tutorial in it.
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Personal website: http://www.loijson.com
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April 6, 2013, 22:30
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641 posts
Fenix. <3<3<3
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April 9, 2013, 11:03
Dennis
どこかにいる
2050 posts

The DIV tutorial made me walk through the first grade without actually studying for some courses.

The annoying courses that had nothing to do with Computer Science, however, made my grade drop drastically. But those had lower impact on the end results, so i still passed, but never got a distinction, thanks to courses like ethics, philosophy and law.
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Kwakkel
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April 9, 2013, 11:58
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641 posts
Oh yeah.. those. Those annoying courses.. yes.. I am having to deal with them. Namely: Cost Accounting and Management Accounting.. yuck. I am paying a private professor 35 euros an hour just to get a 10/20 or 11/20 (if I'm lucky!) on those courses. I would also like to share with you the beautiful factual number that came out of our class. Out of 300 students, an average of 26 students pass the course. That is.. sad. I don't blame them. Those 26 are the ones who had the hardest math and economical courses in high school, so these courses are a joke to them now.

The shitty thing is that I am not allowed to fail any courses anymore and I must pass at least 60% of my courses this year or next subscription will be rejected (=new addendum in the college's rule system). I got one grade that is 9/20 and now I must pass everything else if I want to pass this year. The tolerance is 1 pt.. so I already used up that point. This will be hard to accomplish.

I am still curious (and very nervous actually) about my grade for the ethics and philosophy course (I actually loved that course and it made me passionate me very much). I had the bad luck of working with some odd people that added me on Facebook for the work group assignment and promptly deleted and blocked me afterwards without me doing anything wrong. Very odd stuff, you know. But hey, if that's what they wanted to do then that's their choice.

I would like to say that I got 18/20 on a course called Commercial Skills (it's a new course since 2006 and it's about Marketing). Studied 25 consecutive hours for that course. I hope I will pass for ethics and philosophy.
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April 9, 2013, 12:12
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641 posts
By the way Dennis, this math professor of mine showed us a fictional chart about the 'normal' grades a 'normal' student would have.

The chart was like this:

15/20
16/20
14/20
15/20
11/20
15/20

and I was like.. wtf?! How could a normal person possibly get those grades? I study really hard to get 11/20. And I mean really hard. Remember PL/SQL? I nagged you for two months on that course, studying it every day in detail. What did I get? An 11/20: 22/30 for PL/SQL multiple choice and 5/20 for database knowledge (ERD shit). Granted, I know, I just don't know very much about ERD stuff. Still, I am to this day very thankful for your help. =)

I dunno, do you think these would be normal grades? If so, I guess the person has to study an average of 63 hours per week for a fulltime student with a full program.. like the college psychologist said to me. That is some harsh stuff.
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April 9, 2013, 12:38
Dennis
どこかにいる
2050 posts

I had 10~11 all over the line.

ERDs will disappear in the future, because so called "noSQL" is becoming a trend.

The most frustrating part is that after 6 years of employment I realize I learned almost nothing at school.

I must say something about those hours of study. I believe the quantity of study time does not actually say something about whether that person works hard or not. Not saying you don't but it's like saying civil servants work harder than firemen, because they do more hours. (firemen, however, work at night and can be summoned at all times when standby)

I think a parameter such as fatigueness, stress, pain in your stomach, fear are more objective parameters than #hours.

Then again, some things just can't be measured. You can only do your best and not better. It does not have any use studying 40 hours on something you don't grasp fully. With better explanations, regular classes, preventing being late, a full 8 hours of sleep, you'll lack some time, but you'll learn more in 10 hours of structure than 40 hours in chaos and panic.

Hence, DTM's statement about tactically failing courses so you can have better grades on others is not a bad idea at all, since parameters such as enough sleep, nutrition, meditation are more efficient than "study time". Sacrifice 2 hours of the 40 for a walk in the park, in the breeze, a run around the block, and you will have better grades, despite having less hours of study time.
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Kwakkel
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April 9, 2013, 12:45
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641 posts
Thank you very much for that insight, Dennis. =)
I am starting to see the truths in it.

Come to think of it.. maybe I should do regular ju jitsu/gym again.
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April 9, 2013, 15:29
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641 posts
I have not been doing gym/ju jitsu for a year or more now.. I think it is time I get back into the rhythm.

It is a big step however.. I lost 6 kg already and I feel weak as ever. Right now I am going through my gym and food program.. then time to buy a stopwatch.. etc. Hehehe.
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April 10, 2013, 10:43
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641 posts
I just bought this sports watch for gym exercises:
http://www.decathlon.be/ironma … id_6557079.html

It has a repeating alarm timer so I can work on my sets. Woohoow! =D
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Message Board > Malarkey > Teaching people

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