Working with young people
One rule: be cool!You heard about it last week, and this is a reminder to pass on this oldest of CoderDojo principles to the young people attending your Dojo.
“Helping, sharing, supporting, encouraging, cooperating, and being kind are all very cool. Bullying, lying, time wasting and disrupting the Dojo are all considered uncool.”
Bill Liao, CoderDojo co-founder
Show you’re still learning too
How to do this
- Let the Ninjas see that when you realise you don’t know something, you react with curiosity and enthusiasm about learning, rather than with frustration.
- Try things, even if you’re not sure they’ll work.
- If you do always have the right answer, consider occasionally making a deliberate mistake so they can see how you go about identifying and correcting it.
- If you have a technology-related side project in progress, bring it to the Dojo and do a quick showcase, just like the Ninjas do at the end of a Dojo!
“Even though my involvement so far has been as a mentor, I feel like I’m the one who learns the most after each event. Whether the audience is young or old, male or female, each of their unique perspectives continues to inspire and influence my professional and personal life.”
Michelle Tuason, Dojo mentor, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Quality connection trumps expertise
How to do this
- Introduce yourself to new Ninjas by name. Have a conversation with them. Learn a little about them and what they’re interested in. Really listen to them and engage with them — their interests may lead to some awesome projects in time!
- When working with a Ninja on their project, don’t stand over them. Get on their level by sitting next to them or crouching down.
- Be yourself, and share relevant and appropriate information about yourself in conversation.
- Be visibly interested in and enthused by the progress Ninjas make with their projects and skills.
- Keep coming back! Reliability will help you build up trust with the Ninjas.
“You can imagine the excited faces of the young coders… Trust me: you always get more than what you give.”
Ignacio Calvo, Dojo mentor, Dublin, Ireland
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