Lessons in Mentorship: Teaching High School Girls to Code
One way to combat the imbalance between men and women in technology fields is to specifically focus on mentoring young women in technology. One organization that does this is Girls Who Code, which has chapters at many different schools. At San Marino High School, we have been running a Girls Who Code chapter for four years. From this experience we have derived many lessons learned useful for both encouraging Women to pursue technology, and useful to encourage all students to learn more effectively. In this talk we will cover: methods for inspiring passion, handling varying skill levels, methods for teaching women, and general teaching advice. These topics will help any mentor, teacher, parent, or friend encourage students to learn and love technology.
Inspiring passion is key to connecting with students. Without connecting to students’ passions, technology appears flat and boring. Connecting to their passions shows students how expansive technology can be, and allows them to dream about all the ways they can improve the world. We will cover methods for inspiring passions and examples to drive these topics home.
Students often come into mentorship with a variety of skill levels. This presents a problem to mentors as one size does not fit all while teaching. We will show how to compensate for these varying skills and ensure that students of all levels grow from the experience. Examples will be used to illustrate these points.
Female students often approach technology from different backgrounds from stereotypical technology students. Thus, female students benefit from specific mentoring methods to encourage them to learn effectively. We will cover some effective methods used to inspire female students and point out things mentors may try. Specific note will be made on how to extrapolate these ideas for use with general student groups.
Finally, we will cover some general takeaways to encourage all mentors in teaching technology effectively. These points will focus on the mentor as a person and how these mentors may use their unique skills to better help students learn. Questions will be posed to help mentors reflect.
Everyone who attends should expect to come away with new ideas in how to mentor students. This is applicable to mentors, teachers, family, and friends of those who wish to learn technology. Attendees should also expect to come away with new creative lesson ideas to inspire more students, and concrete takeaways for immediate improvement.