bike pirates is doing the same workshop we did in bike bike 2010 in two weeks time. please remind me then and ill send out a document entailing all workshop logistics.

On 2011-08-07 12:33 PM, "Clifford McCarten [B!KE]" <> wrote:

Hi Geoff,
I wasn't at that workshop but I have one phrase that has always really helped to remind myself and my volunteers about hands off teaching.
Since people come with such a vast difference in skill levels, mechanical abilities/comprehension/strength, and cognitive abilities, it's been nearly impossible in my experience to say to the volunteers, universally, "this is how you teach X".
Instead, our mandate is to ensure that all users of the space leave B!KE having:
a) Done something, and
b) Learned something.
This changes a lot depending on who we are working with, but if it's adhered to, it ensures that there will be some worthwhile experiences for even the most reticent/challenged user of the service.

A further way that I try to encourage this (especially among some of the volunteers who tend to be more hands-on) is to suggest that, in situations where the volunteer is working one-on-one with someone, or where there's a two-person job going on, the volunteers should always take the less "active" role (i.e., steadying the bike will the other person takes off a pedal; holding brakes in the correct position while the other person fiddles with the cable).

The other challenge of mitigating volunteer efforts (esp. older men) is to stop them from jumping in on every bit of heavy lifting / torquing required. This problem is compounded by the fact that some folks will give up far too early if they know someone will do it for them, so we have a tongue-in-cheek rule that we need to see your biceps shaking with effort a bit before jumping in. This has the two-fold benefit of showing some of the members (often middle aged women, in our space) that they can be way stronger than they think they are and are able to be rougher with things than they think they can, while holding back some of the over eager volunteers.

A practical suggestion is to get a chalkboard or large poster drawing out exploded parts and abstract concepts (BBs, hubs, brake toe-in, etc). A good drawing of how a hub works has made a huge difference in our ability to teach it hands off.

Hope these points help. It's something we don't talk a lot about, but is, I think, probably one of the most important features of a good shop. I've heard too many stories from people coming into our shop about other experiences they've had where it was primarily a "let me show you how to use that wrench, little girl" situation. A quality hands-off teaching technique goes a huge way to supporting the general accessibility and cross-demographic interest from the community, not to mention encouraging the volunteers to become better teachers and mechanics as they get better at explaining abstract concepts.


B!KE: The Peterborough Community Bike Shop
336 Rubidge St, Peterborough ON
(705) 775-7227

On 07/08/2011 12:08 PM, Geoff Heath wrote:

> I think I put this request out 6 months ago but I figure I'll try again;
> Anyone have notes fr...

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