Beginners, Speak Out

[From the Creating Passion session]

Beginners to a given topic (TDD, BDD, NHibernate, whatever) should recognize the value of their own voices on that topic.

Brad from University of Phoenix complimented Jean-Paul on the quality of one of his webcasts, but lamented that it was at such a high level. We need a more introductory overview of the concepts. I would suggest to Brad (if I could get a word in edgewise, but that's my own problem) that Brad should make such a webcast.

Those who have just learned a concept, or are exploring and actively learning a new concept, are uniquely qualified to explain it to other beginners. You're close to and you still remember what was challenging about learning it, and what concepts you needed presented to you in what order.

As someone else in the session mentioned, when you are well versed in a philosophy, are a believer in a concept, you followed many steps to reach those conclusions. When you are teaching someone else, you can't present the final synopsis and expect them to ingest it and agree. You need to lead them down the same path.

Those who have most recently walked that path have the best memory of the steps, twists and turns, and points of interest. Beginners have a valuable perspective, and should feel encouraged to toss their voices into the fray. I am reminding myself in this as much as anyone else.

7 comments:

Steven said...

Brava! You're right on the money. When we "know" something, we forget the learning steps. We have to drag ourselves back to the level of "conscious competence", where we have to think about what we do each time, rather than "unconscious competence", where we do it without thinking.

spyderella said...

Yes, "conscious competence," that's the concept. Thanks for tying in that term; that solidifies what I was thinking about.

SlyFly said...

I completely agree with the statement that there needs to be more "Beginner Friendly" information out there for the topics mentioned. I've been trying to teach myself TDD/BDD/Continous Integration for awhile now, but I still trying to find the useful article that helps me wrap my mind around it. Hopefully somebody creates the article(s) that helps with that.

And hopefully I don't miss that article...

Sharon said...

> And hopefully I don't miss that article...

One of my goals is to share 'em when I find 'em.

The book Test Driven Development: By Example by Kent Beck really unlocked TDD for me. Highly recommended.

lukemelia said...

@slyfly: for me, it was Ron Jeffries' book "Adventures in Extreme Programming" that helped me grok TDD. It still took me three major attempts and failures before I successfully adopted TDD as part of my process.

Totally worth it, though!

Cheers from NYC,
Luke

lukemelia said...

P.S. To Sharon: it's hard to subscribe to your blog right now because the auto-discover links in the head of the blog html are redirecting. I guessed what the new atom URL must be and subscribed, but some readers may not be so brilliant. ;-) -Luke

Sharon said...

lukemelia, thanks very much for pointing out the rss error; I had overlooked an old setting in Blogger.

And when changing that setting caused the entire blog to republish, all seven gory years of it, I was suddenly struck by the irrational fear that the feed would interpret all of those old posts as 'new', and flood the rss reader of the nice person who both subscribed and helped me fix an issue. I'm very sorry if it did.