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Teach Me: SQLAlchemy and Future "Teach Me:" Sessions

From: John C.
Sent on: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:48 PM
Many thanks to Mike Bayer for putting up with a bunch of us asking questions about SQLAlchemy last night at the NYC Python Teach Me: SQLAlchemy session. And to Robert LaMarca for making the space available so that we all could meet.

The feedback received from those at the session was positive across the board - enough so to indicate that there might be interest in other sessions of this same "Teach Me:" format for future meetings.

So for any who didn't attend last night, you might be asking "What's a Teach Me: session?" - I'm going to paraphrase something that Cathryn Devlin of the Python Ohio users group wrote about a Teach Me: Twisted session that was given at PyCon '08:

  • When you think about it, the standard classroom arrangement gives all the power to the teacher, which is precisely where it doesn't belong, because the teacher is distanced from the learners' needs. By the time you're an expert, you've forgotten what it was like to be ignorant. Bad teachers even forget how to pity the ignorant, using the podium to demonstrate their mastery of the subject to an imaginary audience of fellow masters. Good teachers try to be responsive to the learners' needs, but the arrangement conspires against them. They're like a blindfolded chauffeur, trying to find the road by the verbal instructions of their passengers, who may be too shy to even speak up. It's very hard for a learner to muster the courage to tell a teacher, "I still don't understand what you're saying, and your tangents aren't helping."

  • By [giving control of the session to] the ultimate, empowered learner, [the Teach Me: Twisted session] turned all that on its head, and made for a session that really was all about the learners' needs to learn. Yet even the experts said afterward that they, too, had learned from it. Perhaps that's because it harnessed the multi-directional, easygoing, collaborative spirit of a good Open Space session, while remaining technical and specific, not wandering into vague chitchat.

To gauge interest in future topics I've setup a website where we as a community can submit and vote on topics. The website can be found here:

If you have any problems getting access to that site, please let me know.

-John Clark

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