If you were gonna teach...?

Subject: If you were gonna teach...?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 11:54:57 -0500

Tom Murrell wondered: <<If you were going to teach a writing course to your
Subject Matter Experts, what would you stress?>>

Apart from stressing myself, you mean? <g> What to stress depends on why
your boss asked you to teach the course; if you don't know his goals, you
can't meet them, whereas once you know those goals, you're probably 3/4 of
the way to knowing what topics to cover.

If, for example, you're the staff editor, and the goal is to reduce the
amount of editing you must do, then obviously you need to start tracking
your editing tasks and find out which ones are taking up most of your time.
Then teach the SMEs not to make those mistakes. That gives both you and the
writers immediate payback.

<<most of the people with whom I work (Business Analysts, Database Analysts,
and Software Developers) (A) write about as well as they care to, and (B)
aren't going to improve with one hour of instruction/discussion, which is
about as much as I can hope to cram in around here (and I will have to lure
them with pizza even for that.>>

Learning is always most effective when the students are interested and
motivated to pay attention. One way to accomplish that would be to find out
what the _SMEs_ want to learn about writing, then focus on that. This may
not achieve the boss' higher goal of improving their overall writing skills,
but it does an awfully good job of convincing them that you're on their
side, and can teach them something useful that they want to learn. With that
precedent established, you can start holding regular (monthly?) hour-long
sessions to teach them other skills they find useful, and gradually, start
teaching them skills that you and the boss find useful.

--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
FERIC, 580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Quebec
H9R 3J9
"Writing, in a way, is listening to the others' language and reading with
the others' eyes."--Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Woman native other

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