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4  Being a helper 🤝

Many of the tips in the Teaching In Class section also apply to being a helper, but the helpers job is much much simpler and easier. The tasks are to help troubleshoot and resolve issues that learners encounter. The vast majority of issues that you would encounter would be:

As you can see, most issues are around simply having a second pair of eyes looking at the screen and comparing with what is presented on the projector.

4.1 Before the course

You realistically don’t need to prepare at all as a helper. However, to best help out, here are some things that you could do to prepare for being a helper.

  • Reviewing or at least scanning the sessions that you will be helping with.

  • Since we teach R largely through the use of the tidyverse set of packages and follow the tidyverse way of writing and styling R code, it helps to have an idea of what that looks like by briefly reviewing the links above as well as some of the cheatsheets for the tidyverse packages like dplyr, ggplot2, or rmarkdown.

4.2 During the course

  • When helping during a code-along, keep your voice down and be quiet so as not to distract other learners.

  • As much as possible when helping, do not touch their keyboard or fix the problem yourself. Use your words to tell them how to fix it. As a helper, you are the “navigator”, but they are the “driver”. They should be typing, not you.

  • Be kind, and remember, your words and how you help matter a lot. They can make participants feel better or worse. So be kind, considerate, and understanding! Avoid words like “just” or “simply” or “easy” as they can be demotivating to the learner.

  • For those learners with more complex and persistent technical/computer issues, move them over to an area off to the side (e.g. at the instructor table) to work on fixing the problem so as not to disrupt the session for everyone else.