+37

If a Sololearner sends you a private message and asks you to teach them programming what do you do?

When I gave them a link to the html tutorial on SL, they said they didn't understand it. Then I discovered that they are a 14 year old from Myanmar with a smart phone but no computer. I tried to explain that the internet is made up of many connected computers around the world and that they sometimes contain information that can be accessed by others. I explained that HTML was a way of structuring this information. It's not like I have a lot of free time to be giving them a private lesson but wanted to get your opinion on what you would say to an absolute beginner who asks you to teach them programming.

4/12/2019 11:58:17 AM

Sonic

31 Answers

New Answer

+39

First I would make sure that the person really needs my help and is not only looking for a simpler, quicker, lazier way to learn than Sololearn already provides. Let's agree on one thing: When someone has a smartphone and internet access (they are on Sololearn after all) they likely also have a browser and can google stuff. The web is filled with any imaginable information, and so it's perfectly possible to learn about how the internet works when you're 14 (not 6) years old. This is not meant to be mean, just realistic. Kids have to learn to put in the necessary effort if they really want something. And I would assist exactly that: I would recommend them online places, tasks, good reads... and in extreme cases maybe offer some suggestions how to google stuff. If they learn and practice and write code and *then* get into trouble with something, I'm ready and very happy to help if I can. (And I clicked 5 times to post this - that's how much I love you. 😂)

+17

THE TRUMP, I think many of these posters are children or early teens. Don't be too hard on them. ;-) I believe I have gotten one message a while ago that only contained a large block of code and *maybe* a question "what's wrong". No hello, nothing. Well, that's a bit too little, right? Besides, I seriously believe people should learn to debug their own codes and only ask a 'debug this' question after they've fought and googled and logged for three days and still haven't found it. Because you need to learn it. And do it, too. Writing code that doesn't run, then ask others to debug it, seriously will get you nowhere.

+12

//Yes, i do also get lots of messages about there doubts, specially because they don't understand answer on forum, So i take time to answer them, This is because they feel nervous to ask again after we answer there questions on forum so they feel secure on private messages

+11

Sonic it's quite difficult when you want to help someone like this. because he/she has to put in the effort to try on their own to learn. when you try to understand a concept and you make your own research but still didn't understand if someone explains it to you then you'll get it. if you don't put in the effort and just wait for explanation there's a big chance that you won't understand. with this in mind i encourage those who come with similar requests to search on their own and come back with a more explicit question. i remember how difficult it was for me to learn some topics, but when i studied all day long, even when i ate i was reading or watching content about programming, then i got to good results. i hope you understand what i wanted to say in these lines, have a good day.

+10

That's exactly what I would do: point them toward the HTML course here. If you want to be nice, you can ask them what exactly they don't understand. If they can't even begin to understand it, then well...maybe programming isn't for them. There is helping someone and then there is handing them candy...

+9

Shudarshan Rai 👑, yeah, these are usually honest questions. But if they found courage and asked again in the thread, other beginners would maybe find the courage as well. And more people could profit from the answer.

+9

//HonFu exactly but i am too kind of nervous person, i fear to ask instead i do research over my doubts 😂😂But it feels awesome to help other in need ✌️✌️

+8

Tbh, I'd probably just ignore it, even though it's not a nice thing to do. I like to answer specific questions and help with specific problems, but I don't really understand the "please teach me everything about xyz" mentality.

+7

Helping others helps you understand, that the people you ask, just like you, probably won't be annoyed by your questions. As long as you try yourself first, that is. :)

+7

I will give them a few hints to lend a hand to them

+7

Probably again the kids thing. Some askers, funnily, may just not know yet that noone can open their head at the top and pour knowledge in. Tell them once: Here's your tutorial - go to work. If they ask for spoonfeeding again anyway, ignore. Some people are also college age. There it's less forgivable because they probably want you to do their work so they can party harder. 😂 One guy asked me to help him 'finish his code', there was only 'that little problem to solve left, puhlease!' When I asked questions I got the impression he had no clue what his code even did. So probably he asked several people here for some good old object-oriented homework-doing. 😏

+7

Thanks for all your responses everyone. Ema The Programmer if you get many messages like "hey", "hi" etc. I wonder if your avatar has got something to do with it.

+6

Point them to some online course as Decimis † 𝕯𝖊𝖈𝖎𝖒𝖎𝖘 suggests and let them be specific on what they didn't really understand. If you choose to help try to teach them how to learn not what to learn.

+6

If they want me to do their homework or debug code I decline; if they ask a clear question I tell them to google it; and if they don't even understand the question they are having, I try to coax the right questions out of them using the socratic method, which they can then google. I also try to point people to the right documentation. Some people can be really uncooperative in which case I'll stop replying, because you want my help also you don't want my help, make up your mind. I give kids more leeway because I understand that a lot of content online is targeted towards grown-ups (and english speakers!) etc. Also people put up with my crappy questions when I was that age so now I know what that is like. :D

+5

Yes I understand notqueued !

+5

Someone asks me for help. I could see he was really trying to learn and wasn't being lazy so i helped him.

+5

If someone talks like this to you, I think helping them a bit won't hurt anyone. If he/she is telling you to teach them the whole course, you might have to tell them to (maybe) learn English. He/She might not know it! In cases like this it is best to help them calmly a bit and send them on his/her way.

+5

🤔 Maybe it's the moderator in me, but I treat such messages much like I do the Q&A forum. When we run across a thread that says something like "please mentor me", the response tends to be "this is a self-teaching platform" "take heed of the 'Solo' in 'SoloLearn'" etc. If they are stuck on something specific, there is always the Q&A, in case someone can get to it sooner. Then I send them a link to the tips on how to put together a well-formed question (good skill for them to develop). It covers using the search feature and has a link to the CCGs in it. Reference: https://www.sololearn.com/Blog/38/8-simple-rules-to-get-help-from-the-community/ If they are asking something specific, I will answer it like I would in the Q&A (link duplicate threads, offer a brief summarized answer if appropriate, be on the lookout for homework scams, get them going in the right direction if they haven't provided any code, ask questions to test understanding and give a hint or two if debugging is required like HonFu does, etc.).

+5

What about this one Ema The Programmer? https://images.app.goo.gl/ztAnGmsUAvgmDqjV9 Actually maybe that one is subject to copyright.

+3

Try to help