This week, the subject of our class was teaching. So besides the readings, we had to prepare something to teach each other in five minutes. Additionally, our teacher Joëlle gave a presentation about teaching.

Why designers are also teachers

In her presentation, Joëlle showed us an example of a project she did in Vienna were her team taught random people in an exhibition about electronic circuits. We all have experienced teaching in schools but we also constantly doing it in everyday life. However, teaching is hard and needs a lot of practice. The job “designer” requires the skill teaching quite often. We need to explain or teach our concepts to clients, co-workers, engineers and so on. But what I personally think the most important is to share knowledge. As a designer but also as a human being it’s very important to constantly learn. It is a very basic need of people and in my opinion, it keeps your mind fresh. Therefore it’s necessary to have teachers of course. Or at least people who share their knowledge. But not only the pupils can learn, also the teacher themselves can learn a lot by re-question things but also to break things down. Some people also say that teaching is one of the best ways to learn.

Experts are not always the best teachers

We often times think that experts are good teachers. But they not necessarily are. Teaching requires a lot of empathy and I think this is going to be lost the more you become an expert, the more the subject feels natural to the teacher. I also noticed this in the exercise we had to prepare and I will explain in a few lines. So again, the best teachers are often not the experts but the ones that fit their expertise to one of the students.

What a good teacher should be

So, what is a good teacher? This was a question Joëlle asked the class. Following things were said:

  • Respectful
  • Being open to learn
  • Set goals
  • Inspiring
  • Supporting
  • Open and honest

Exercise

Then we also did the exercises we prepared to teach. Our group included Alessa, Carlo, Manuel and me.

Manuel

Manuel was first and taught us how to use chopsticks. So, he brought a few chopsticks and rice with him. First, he showed us how to grab them and how we can pick up the rice. I was already experienced with chopsticks but for the rest of the group, this was quite exciting. After a few trials, they quickly learned how to pick up the rice.

Alessa

She taught us how to fold an origami wallet in just a few minutes. This was fun and also suited very well to teach in five minutes. And it’s actually useful. Folding like crazy This is what you do as an interaction designer

Carlo

He taught us juggling and it suited very well as well. Alessa and I already were a bit experienced in juggling although my juggling is very bad. I lost a bit of control while I failed a couple of times but fortunately, nothing got damaged. For Manuel, it was very new and so it was interesting to watch him. Carlo did a good job teaching Manuel. He was very patient and had a good plan how to teach him. He first started with two balls and learned very quick. Carlo managed to motivate push him further while introducing him to techniques. Manuel in extrem action

Me

I wanted to teach my classmates Sass. The last few weeks, they started to learn HTML and CSS, so I thought it would be a good idea to introduce them to the CSS preprocessor Sass. I wanted to set the barrier very low. And I also had to because I only had five minutes. So I decided to just show a quick overview and to not go into details. No complicated stuff, only the very basics. Additionally, I found a solution that we nobody had to install anything to compile Sass to CSS. In my opinion, I managed this quite well. Everybody understood the basic concept and most of them very excited about the new possibilities. After the teaching was finished, I also had to answer some more detailed questions what I count as success because I woke some interest and inspired them to think about solutions.