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Being a better mentor


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Shared experience, tips and learning models to help you being a better mentor.
Presented by Marc van Gend and Erik Stielstra at DrupalCon Vienna 2017

Published in: Education
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Being a better mentor

  1. 1. BEING A BETTER MENTOR Erik Stielstra (sutharsan) Marc van Gend (marcvangend)
  2. 2. Erik Stielstra Sr Drupal Developer and Mentor Contrib and Drupal 8 core development Drupal trainer since 2009 Mentor at local and DC Friday sprints Sutharsan
  3. 3. Marc van Gend All-round Drupalista Mentor at various code-sprints Top 1% on Drupal Answers
  4. 4. Why we mentor To see people grow. To start a snowball effect.
  5. 5. Personas in slides are not real mentees. Composed of our experience with real people. Suzanne Fabio Tobias
  6. 6. Subjects Learning plan Learning materials Give feedback Psychological models: Learning cycle, Learning loop
  7. 7. Suzanne Colleague, 8 years Drupal experience, excellent site builder. Writes basic D7 modules. Wants to learn to write complex D8 modules.
  8. 8. Learning plan • Makes learning goals explicit. • To set and keep focus. • For medium-term goals, e.g. 3 months. • Choose realistic targets. • Include milestones and concrete actions (for both Suzanne and mentor).
  9. 9. Learning plan • Sit down and discuss Suzanne’s ambitions and goals. • Suzanne is eager to learn. • Has no private time to invest. 1. Learn Drupal 8 basics. 2. Improve skills to get clear specs from customer.
  10. 10. Learning plan 1. Learn Drupal 8 basics. • Course or video on D8 concepts. • Code review of colleague's work. • Examine company modules or simple contrib modules. 2. Improve skills to get clear specs from customer. • Analyse a recent event. What can you improve? • Observe others doing this task. • Mentor is present at meeting and gives feedback.
  11. 11. Learning plan • Suzanne is owner of the plan. • Mentor facilitates. • Regularly check progress. • Evaluate and renew the plan. • Celebrate success.
  12. 12. Give feedback
  13. 13. Give feedback • Mention positive points and improvements. • Limit the number of feedback items. • Identify problem and options. • It does not have to be perfect. Positive feedback works
  14. 14. Learning styles Kolb Honey & Mumford
  15. 15. Learning styles: Kolb, Honey & Mumford How do you perceive things? • Feel: Concrete experience • Think: Abstract conceptualisation
  16. 16. Learning styles: Kolb, Honey & Mumford How do you perceive things? • Feel: Concrete experience • Think: Abstract conceptualisation How do you process things? • Watch: Reflective observation • Do: Active experimentation
  17. 17. Feel Think WatchDo Learning Cycle
  18. 18. Assimilator Theorist Reflector Diverger Converger Pragmatist Activist Accommodator Learning Cycle Feel Think WatchDo
  19. 19. Reflect U nderstand Plan D o it! Learning Cycle Assimilator Theorist Reflector Diverger Converger Pragmatist Activist Accommodator Feel Think WatchDo
  20. 20. Reflect U nderstand PlanD o it! Suzanne Learning Cycle: Suzanne Start with: • Read and edit working code • E.g. add another block plugin Next step: • Look up documentation • E.g. read about the plugin pattern Feel Think WatchDo
  21. 21. Fabio New colleague. 15 years Flash/Actionscript programmer. No Drupal skills. Wants to become a Drupal Developer.
  22. 22. Prepare Fabio to work on projects • Learning path depending on situation. • Offer structure. • Tech and soft skills. • Limited work on projects.
  23. 23. Learning materials for Fabio Exercises • Introduction: Purpose of the exercise. • Tasks: Tasks broken down in steps. • Sources of knowledge: Leverage online sources. • Notes/questions: Self-check and/or mentor-check.
  24. 24. Learning materials Questions and mini-tasks • Code exercises. e.g. work with D8 entities, CSS layout. • Interview colleagues. e.g. favorite Drush command..
  25. 25. Help the brain • Association: Connect to existing knowledge. • Upload is bottleneck: Model and reduce to essence. • Repetition: Practise, repeat. • Curious: Variation in activities, use motivation.
  26. 26. When helping Fabio
  27. 27. When helping Fabio • Be careful with giving complete solutions. • Think out loud. It helps to follow the thought process. • Summarise the decisions, the process, the concepts. Don’t just give the fish, teach to fish
  28. 28. Reflect U nderstand PlanD o it! Fabio Learning Cycle: Fabio Start with: • Watching a video • E.g. entities and entity reference Next step: • Apply in a concrete plan • E.g. work out a content model Feel Think WatchDo
  29. 29. How does learning work? Action - Reaction
  30. 30. Single-, double-, triple-loop learning How does learning work? Mentees have... • Short-term tasks • Medium-term goals • Long-term beliefs
  31. 31. Single-loop Learning rules action result feedback What does feedback do?
  32. 32. Single-loop Learning mental model rules action result feedback Feedback changes what we do.
  33. 33. Double-loop Learning mental model rules action result feedback Feedback changes why we do it.
  34. 34. Triple-loop Learning mental model rules action result feedback Feedback changes who we are. beliefs
  35. 35. Single-, double-, triple-loop learning mental model rules action result feedback beliefs mental model rules action result Choose the right level • Do explain Suzanne why we submit patches • Don’t teach a content editor why hacking core is bad
  36. 36. Tobias Attends the First time sprinter workshop at DrupalCon Vienna.
  37. 37. Meet Tobias • Have a social chat. • Introduce yourself and Tobias to others at the table. • Ask questions about experience and what he likes.
  38. 38. Work on task • Easy tasks. Easy tasks are hard, he has a lot on his hands (tools, procedures, etiquettes, etc.). • Core is intimidating. The big thing, very complex, very large.
  39. 39. When helping Tobias • Hands off. Use your eyes, ears and heart. • Give compliments, have fun. • Acknowledge you don’t know everything. • Introduce him to people. Be the swimming instructor, let him swim, keep an eye on him.
  40. 40. Change behaviour Tobias likes to start coding immediately, skips reading, makes assumptions about the problem. • Praise him for his enthusiasm. • Check your observation of him making assumptions. • Make him aware of the risk. • Ask for his solution. • Explain how you would approach it. • Rework the issue.
  41. 41. Reflect U nderstand PlanD o it! Feel Think WatchDo Tobias Learning Cycle: Tobias Start with: • Testing a patch in the queue • E.g. a test that was added Next step: • Do you understand the solution?
  42. 42. Wrap up No two mentorships are the same. • Get to know the mentee. • Adapt to skills, time, learning style. • Keep observing. • Use their motivation.
  43. 43. JOIN US FOR CONTRIBUTION SPRINT Friday, 29 September, 2017 First time Sprinter Workshop Mentored Core Sprint General Sprint 9:00-12:00 Room: Lehar 1 - Lehar 2 9:00-18:00 Room: Stolz 2 9:00-18:00 Room: Mall #drupalsprints
  44. 44. Questions? Your mentoring experience?
  45. 45. WHAT DID YOU THINK? Evaluate this session Take the DrupalCon survey
  46. 46. Creative Commons sources • Suzanne: • Fabio: • Tobias: • Awesome: • Fisher: • Swimmer: