ASK AN EDUCATOR! “How do you teach a subject that you are not an “expert” in?”
How can you teach in an area that you are not an expert in? For instance, if you have high school students who are interested in programming this semester, but don’t know everything about it. If you wait until you gain the expertise, those students might be in college studying English by then.
This is an awesome question! And it turns out to be one of the things that makes teaching so much fun. Trust me, very few teachers know EVERYTHING about their subject. One of the most important lessons I have learned over my teaching career is that students are people too, just with more attitude. If you try to teach a subject, and come across like you don’t know what you are talking about, they will take advantage of you and the experience becomes a mess. Instead you can try letting the kids know that you are learning the material as well. This allows you to spin your lack of knowledge into an opportunity for the students to help you out. Most of the problems in the classroom stem from the students wanting attention and having the desire to be engaged in the lesson. By giving them responsibility, say in the form of teaching a short lesson to the class, not only do you learn as well, but the kids get a sense of ownership over the lesson and will respect you for it.
With regards to your programming example. You can try assigning different programming languages to small groups of students (no more then 2 per group). Their task is to educate themselves enough to produce a small example program, then present their language to the class and distribute a worksheet that instructs the class to complete the same example program. The neat thing about students is their desire to impress you and their peers. If you can be successful at taking that desire and directing it toward them educating the class, you will have officially rocked as a teacher.
Good luck. Learning is fun!
Next up is Brad with a question about inspiring middle/high school girls to get involved in STEM courses!
Don’t forget, everyone is invited to ask a question!
“Ask an Educator” questions are answered by Adam Kemp, a high school teacher who has been teaching courses in Energy Systems, Systems Engineering, Robotics and Prototyping since 2005.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.