Meaningful Mentoring Moments

/ @treyhunner

Python Morsels
Truthful Technology
Django Girls

Show of hands

What we're talking about

  • You're helping someone with their code coding abilities
  • This helping relationship might be temporary
  • Python
  • Teaching and pedagogy
  • Mentoring
  • Being helpful in the moment (coaching)

Be a Learning Ally

You're not the star of the show

Teach, don't tell

"You learn by doing"

Encourage making mistakes

  • "I don't know, give it a try."
  • "What have you tried so far?"

Don't answer questions

Teach, don't tell

Make the answers sticky

Delegate to the documentation

Delegate to Google

Rubber duck debugging

  • "My code doesn't work"
  • "What do you expect it to do?"
  • "What does it do instead?"
  • "What approach are you taking?"

Be a Learning Ally

  • Teach, don't tell
  • Encourage making mistakes
  • Be a rubber duck
  • Delegate to the docs Google
  • You're not the star of the show

Build Trust

Be Vulnerable

  • Telling bad jokes
  • Making mistakes
  • Saying "I don't know"

Speak Deliberately

  1. "What does this do?"
  2. "What will happen when we run this?"
  3. "What do you think will happen when we run this?"
  4. "What do you think might happen when we run this? What's your guess?"

Encourage, don't alienate

  • "So obviously, ..."
  • "Of course, ..."
  • "Oh it's easy, you just... "

You must believe in your learners

Build Trust

  • Be vulnerable
  • Speak deliberately
  • Encourage, don't alienate
  • Believe in your learners

Slow Down

Take things one step at a time

  1. A non-existent (misspelled) function being called
  2. Some code that's poorly styled, but syntactically valid
  3. An error in understanding of the technical requirements
  4. A syntax error that's stopping the code from running


Learn About Learning

Fake it until you make it

Adopt a growth mindset

Slow Down

  • Slow your thinking, speaking, and acting
  • Take things one step at a time
  • Learn about learning
  • Adopt a growth mindset

Be a Learning Ally

Build Trust

Slow Down

Recommended resources at

Trey Hunner
Python Team Trainer