by: Cindy Farmer
GRAHAM, N.C. (WGHP) — It’s not something you typically hear a technology teacher tell his students.
But each semester it is something Southern Alamance Middle School’s Ryan Miller says to his class: “I just tell them, Hey, here’s the computer, let’s open it up and start doing, taking it apart.”
He says that’s when he gets looks of fear from his students.
“They are terrified of getting something wrong or breaking it. When I ask them ‘what are you guys nervous about in here?’ They think I’m gonna yell at them if they break the computer. “
But it’s all an exercise to teach them about the inner workings of the machine they depend on so much.
He encourages them to explore the parts and then, reassemble their computers. But there’s one thing Mr. Miller has noticed that he wants to change. The students are afraid to fail.
“I’m trying to teach them that failure is okay, as long as you learn how to fix it or what you did wrong,” Miller says.
He often uses his own experience as an example.
“I give them examples of the first time I rebuilt a computer. It actually caught on fire. You know, it didn’t explode, it started smoking. And so then I learned, I tell them, well, I learned not to do that again,” he says.
He likes to teach the students if at first you don’t succeed try and try again. And he says, it’s working through those troubling times with his kids that may be his favorite part of teaching.
“After they fail, they tried over and over again, they finally get it to see that confidence light up in their face and to see them know, ‘Hey!, I can do this!’ You know, is a cool thing to see with the students.”
This is an introductory course for the students. But they learn a lot. All the parts and safety aspects. The hardware and software; even how viruses are loaded and how to get rid of them. It opens their eyes to possibilities in the future.
“You know, they love gaming,” says Miller. “So, I tell them, well, this is how you can build a gaming computer for in the future.” And he says he “tries to give them reasons like this is something you can apply later and get a career in and make lots of money doing this.”
Pamela Smith knows that that well. She’s Career Development Coordinator for Southern High School and helps guide students to their career choice.
“it sets the stage for anything that they want to do in the future with that career. And even if they don’t go into computers as a career, per se, it helps them in other career choices they may make because everything involves computers. So that gives them a rich background in preparation for anything they choose to do,” Pamela says.
“It’s great motivation for them. And its great confidence that it gives them, and it shows them that, Hey, you know, if you try hard enough, you can do it,” Mr. Miller said.
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