[Tutor] Thanks for all your comments regarding how we communicate.

bob gailer bgailer at gmail.com
Tue Oct 2 17:10:04 CEST 2012

Thanks for all your comments regarding how we communicate.

I appreciate your support  when someone responds negatively to my 
offerings of help. It is true that I can be "brusque" (which is an 
embarrassment  for me as a teacher of Nonviolent Communication).

Your encouragement to be welcoming and supportive is important to me and 
I will strive to be more so.

I am often puzzled when I see folk asking for help with homework when it 
seems that the student is not in a class designed to help him learn 
Python (either by being in the wrong class, not meeting the 
prerequisites or having an instructor who cannot communicate clearly or 
give assignments that will get good results. I have taught in industry 
and in fast-path-masters )FPM) programs. I once had 5evenings to teach 
Pascal to FPM students. Their prerequisite class failed to do what it 
was supposed to do, and I got the blame for not being able to deliver 
fully my 5 5evenings' worth.

I also find it frustrating when presented with a program that is a 
hodge-podge of things (e.g. functions) that came from various sources 
with no indication of who wrote what, and no sense that the programmer 
understands the various pieces.

A couple of years ago a local graduate found me by searching and finding 
references to my participation on these lists. We negotiated a private 
tutoring agreement. On his first visit he presented a Python program 
which I assumed he had written. I could see that it was doing things the 
hard and inefficient way, so I coached him on how to make it better. 
Eventually I discovered that (1) he knew almost noting about Python; (2) 
the original program had been written by his advisor. (3) His advisor 
did not even know enough about Python to understand how inefficient the 
program was; (4) his advisor kept aiming at a moving target. Very 
frustrating for all of us. Once i understood his position I created a 
series of exercises to help me evaluate his knowledge and to help him 
learn. These exercises turned out to be at a beginner's tutorial level.

Let us be compassionate; put our effort where it does the best; but 
continue asking for cooperation from the questioner.

If I had more time I probably could make the above shorter.

Bob Gailer
Chapel Hill NC

More information about the Tutor mailing list