Hogwarts is a Terrible Learning Environment: Discuss

*
Accepted Session
Short Form
Beginner
Scheduled: Thursday, June 23, 2016 from 2:30 – 3:15pm in B202/203

Excerpt

Like many young Muggles of the early 00's, I dreamed of receiving my Hogwarts letter. But re-reading the series with an eye toward learning lessons about creating a positive learning environment, it's clear that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry contains some unfortunate lessons in what NOT to do. When it comes to crafting an environment that encourages asking questions, fosters cooperation, and ensuring the success of its developers -- I mean, wizards -- we can learn a lot from the mistakes of the Hogwarts faculty. In this magical talk, you'll learn how to be a better mentor and help your workplace become a place where your junior developers can flourish.

Description

Although Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is both fictional and utterly magical, it’s not a great place for a young witch or wizard to learn their trade. For starters, the trust between junior wizards and more senior staff is virtually nonexistent. Juniors don’t feel comfortable or safe going to senior staff with questions and problems, and this results in misunderstandings, dangerous events, and even the death of a beloved character.

The competitive nature of Hogwarts and other wizarding schools virtually guarantees that cooperation between junior witches and wizards will be essentially nonexistent, and the outsized emphasis on testing discourages experimentation and encourages dangerous work habits that threaten the health of junior developers.

There are many specific examples from the books that I’ll dive into, and I’ll point out how these serve as fantastic metaphors for the toxic environments we thrust junior developers into. There’s a better way than what we were taught at Hogwarts!

Even though Hogwarts offers many examples we shouldn’t follow, it also provides some wonderful stories of junior witches and wizards coming together to find ways around the systemic problems that they’re faced with. The journey to find the Sorcerer’s Stone is a really great bit of pair programming, and Dumbledore’s Army offers us an excellent example of a safe and supportive meetup space!

This talk will use Hogwarts as a way to discuss how we can make our professional environments more welcoming to and supportive of junior developers, how we can be better mentors to them, and what it means for a space to be safe for learning.

Tags

mentor, apprentice, junior devs, mentorship

Speaking experience

Hermione Granger and the Wizard Information System. DjangoCon Europe, March 2016.
Slides: https://speakerdeck.com/williln/hermione-granger-and-the-wizard-information-system
Video: https://opbeat.com/events/djangocon-eu-2016/#hermione-granger-and-the-wizard-information-system

Your First Conference Proposal. PyLadies Remote, January 2016.
Slides: https://speakerdeck.com/williln/your-first-conference-proposal
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAQAXVU1jIo

A Newcomer's Guide to Open Source Contribution. PyDX, October 2015.
Slides: https://speakerdeck.com/williln/a-newcomers-guide-to-open-source-contribution
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QaezVWLydM

Open Source and Higher Education. PostgresOpen, September 2015.
Slides: https://speakerdeck.com/williln/open-source-and-higher-education

Jane Austen on PEP8: An English Major's Tips on Writing Better Code. DjangoCon US, September 2015.
Slides: https://speakerdeck.com/williln/jane-austen-on-pep8-an-english-majors-tips-on-writing-better-code.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55gXwFviOuQ

A More Accessible Django Girls. Django Birthday, July 2015.
Slides: https://speakerdeck.com/williln/a-more-accessible-django-girls
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTXt4dRa6Jc

Speaker

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    Biography

    Lacey is a developer for the University of Texas at Austin and works remotely from Portland, OR. She’s organized several Django Girls workshops to teach women to code, and is the conference co-chair for DjangoCon US.

    Sessions

      • Title: Hogwarts is a Terrible Learning Environment: Discuss
      • Track: Culture
      • Room: B202/203
      • Time: 2:303:15pm
      • Excerpt:

        Like many young Muggles of the early 00’s, I dreamed of receiving my Hogwarts letter. But re-reading the series with an eye toward learning lessons about creating a positive learning environment, it’s clear that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry contains some unfortunate lessons in what NOT to do. When it comes to crafting an environment that encourages asking questions, fosters cooperation, and ensuring the success of its developers — I mean, wizards — we can learn a lot from the mistakes of the Hogwarts faculty. In this magical talk, you’ll learn how to be a better mentor and help your workplace become a place where your junior developers can flourish.

      • Speakers: Lacey Williams Henschel

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