It’s sometimes tough to help people increase their knowledge without making them feel stupid or incompetent, but good teachers do. Phrases like, “My third graders can do that.” “You know it works better when you plug it in.” and “No, the other right arrow.” are not recommended. From the "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Technology Trainers"
Those of us in the technical world are often hired for our technical prowess, not our interpersonal skills (as the old Saturday Night Live sketch above illustrates*) or our teaching skills. What this means is that all of us need to learn about working with "warmware" as well as working with software and hardware.
During the last two bi-weekly meetings of our district technology staff, we have discussed the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset - echoing an initiative begun by our teaching and learning department based on the work of Carol Dweck.
At our first meeting, we introduced the concept by showing the TED Talk by Eduardo Briceño titled "The Power of Belief - Mindset and Success." We then examined our own language that reflected these approaches to challenges.
Given continuous learning nature of technicians, the whole "I don't know - yet" as opposed to "It can't be done" resonated with the group.
During our next meeting, we focus on how should we respond when hearing a "fixed mindset" statement from those we serve. "I've just never been good at technology." "I don't have time to learn this." "It never works." Adding a little humor (and perhaps some venting), we listed a few common fixed mindset statements we often hear, then composed a "inappropriate" response and an "appropriate" response.
For example, a common fixed mindset statement we often hear from others in our schools is "I'm just not good with technology!" An inappropriate response (plus those in the opening quote), might be "Then just what ARE you good at?" An appropriate response might be, "Technology can be confusing, but perhaps I can show you how to fix this problem in the future. I know you can do it!"
Being a teacher is not a part of most technicians' formal job description, but I would guess that not a day goes by that techs don't try to help those they serve become more self-sufficient and competent tech users by teaching simple processes and solutions.
And like all teachers, a personal growth mindset is imperative if we want others to exhibit it as well.
And we all plan to strike "MOOOOOVE!" from our vocabularies.