Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Handing out Crutches

I started teaching my second session of Web Design at the Genesee Community Darkroom this past Thursday. I had five students, all women, all between the age of thirty and forty five. A good class, they all seemed interested, engaged, and the feedback after the first class was positive. However, one of the women I could tell was going to be a problem. She knew enough of the material I was covering to want to skip ahead, yet the other students all had no previous experience, so I resisted the urge to go faster then I had planned. Maybe, in hindsight, that was a bad choice.

She called the Darkroom, dropped the class, asked for a refund, and pitched a fit.

So, I got called, and had a rather heated discussion with the Darkroom coordinator. What was said is irrelevant, what does matter is that I feel I'm doing the right thing, and I refuse to change the way I teach web design. My reasons are simple.

I refuse to hand my students a crutch. Period.

Let me say that again, I REFUSE to hand my students a crutch.

I teach web design, I don't teach Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver is a tool, it is not an end to itself. If you can only design a web page in Dreamweaver then you CAN NOT design a web page. You have become overly dependent on the tool, and the tool then becomes a crutch. Remove the crutch and you fall.

I teach my students to design web pages. I give them the skill, and then with the skill I give them the tools. When I'm done I want to know that any student of mine could sit down with Notepad and write a website. I want to know that if you remove the tool from my students hands that the SKILL remains. Skill matters, the tool does not. I simply refuse to teach a class on a tool and not impart the underlying skill. It does my students no good and I would be hard pressed to live with myself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

woot! woot!