Friday, January 18, 2013

Harder not Smarter

After typing the title of this post it occurred to be that it might be taken as a dirty title. You ever observe people doing a task and it seems from your perspective that there is a much easier way to do this and just want to go over and bud in. Seems senseless to watch someone work so much harder to accomplish a task that can be done easier and it seems wrong to not offer friendly advice to this person who seems to be overworking.

Some time ago, there was a student who was working on a Microsoft Word document and needed help with something and as I was observing them do something, I realized they were really taking the long way around. As someone who teaches Word, I always encourage my students that there really isn't a wrong way to accomplish a task as long as you get the job done. However, I always teach several ways to accomplish the task so they have something to choose from and considering what I was observing with this student, it just didn't seem that they knew of all the options.

I said, "I know this isn't what you called me over to help you with but I was wondering if you knew there was an easier way to do that (me pointing to the screen)?" The student almost went into slow motion and their facial expression looked as if they were having a stroke. "You know...Oh, well, thanks, I'd love to see another method if it's easier, anything to make things easier.

I demonstrated the alternate method and as he observed he replied, "Oh yeah! I've seen that, in fact, I've tried that but I have dexterity problems, mostly from arthiritis and I just can't make it happen that way."

I could go on with what happened next but I'd rather leave it here - it's a far more contemplative moment than you might first think.

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