Ten Tips For Teaching Technical Topics
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This talk is a crash course in teaching and communicating technical topics better, regardless of your own technical skill. It was originally part of a workshop I delivered for new tutors in my University CS programs, with tips to help students learn programming more effectively both in one-on-one and group environments. It spans topics from psychology, to lesson design and to communication skills, and in the small and the large will help you communicate topics better.
Teaching is hard, and it can be hard to find actionable advice to improve. It can also be very useful to have guidelines in your head on how to think about teaching. On the other hand, the ability to teach effectively helps not only in traditional educational institutions but in how we communicate with one another.
This talk first covers a way of thinking about teaching in general that can help keep you focused while explaining a topic to someone else. It then covers both general and specific techniques to create an environment where teaching is possible. The rest of the talk covers specific places you can focus on improving your teaching, from small
The talk is based on advice given to new programming tutors, but some advice can be used across many situations -- from explaining a concept to a friend, to giving lectures to hundreds of people.
Tom has been teaching programming professionally for 4 years at the University of New South Wales. He is the Course Administrator of COMP1511, the Programming Fundamentals course in UNSW's School of Computer Science. In that course, he has taught more than 200 students of varying programming ability the C language.
Outside teaching, Tom is an avid Python programmer, having worked both professionally as a Python software developer, and using it to make tools for teaching such as a user-friendly debugging system and assignment marking software for UNSW Sydney.