RE: teaching technical writing to engineers [Long]

Subject: RE: teaching technical writing to engineers [Long]
From: "John Posada" <JPosada -at- isogon -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 13:00:23 -0500


>Mariners used to play baseball). He got
>a bunch of tiockets to a game, and several
>people from the class went with several
>of the Chinese immigrants. We were paired
>off and each attempted to explain the game
>of baseball to someone who had never
>learned the game. For someone who can watch
>and play almost without thinking, I
>found it a very difficult task.

Three stories along this line:

1) When I first started dating my girlfriend, she used to either watch
sports games (baseball, football, etc.) on TV with me or come with me to
events. I'd always assumed that every American understood what a shotgun
was as it applies to football.

When I found out that this was not true! :-), I started explaining all
the nuances of the games, why players do what they do, what they are
reacting to, etc.

It WAS difficult to start explaining what a middle linebacker is doing
when it starts from a perceived belief that football is simply 11 guys
are all running around on the field in circles simply chasing the ball.

It made me think at a whole different level.

2) About 8 years ago, I was a contractor at an agency owned by a guy
from China. As a side business, he taught basic computer skills to
Chinese immigrants while they were also training for citizenship. Once
day, he asked if I would conduct a 1-day per week, 4 week course on
basic MS office apps; Word, Excel, PPT.

Think it's easy to tell someone to select Copy from the Edit menu when
they don't know what the word "select" means?

3) I met a girl some years ago from Quebec and she was in NY for the
weekend....very little English, lots of French. She asked if I would
take her into the "City" sightseeing (New York for this in the
mid-west). We're driving down the West Side Highway and she blurts out
while pointing out the front window "How do you say that?" What? The
sign? The building? The car in front? That's when she'd tap on the
glass. "AH! Windshield!"

These last two events were the most mentally fatiguing things I've ever
gone through...I'm just not used to thinking along those lines, but it
did teach me something about what I do now.

John Posada
Senior Technical Writer
Isogon Corporation
http://www.isogon.com
"Realizing Your Business Goals
Through Software Asset Management"


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