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As one of the very few experienced, dual certified teachers and computer experts here on Oahu, I want to share some tips with you if you decide to take it upon yourself to teach your mother or grandmother how to use a computer instead of hiring me :-).
Horror phrases senior citizens have told me during computer lessons
Everyone knows that
I can think of very few things worse to say to a senior citizen computer student trying to learn something new.
I just showed that to you
Getting frustrated with mom or grandpa, dad or grandma does not help them learn any faster nor feel better about trying to learn how to use a computer.
You just can't learn this
You just called your grandma stupid.
Phrases I’ve Actually Used When Giving Senior Citizens Computer Lessons
Right mouse click for a menu. Left mouse click for an action.
A simple way to remember how to use the mouse.
Double click to open the folder just like when you pick up the folder and open it. That’s where the files are.
Relate what seniors already know. A good teacher explains a new lesson based on knowledge the student already has learned during his/her life.
I’m glad you did that while I was here. Now I can show you how to get out of it.
Every little slip of the keyboard or mouse is an opportunity to learn something different.
A Few More Tips to Giving Senior Citizens Computer Lessons
People are not born with computer knowledge nor did senior citizens use computers during elementary school. We all learn things for the first time at some point in our lives. You want to feel humble? Think of the vast life experience inside the senior citizen in front of you. Imagine the stories and the lessons you could learn from him/her.
“You’re in the drivers seat.” or “captains chair”.
I’ve used both. Even if it’s a new computer to set up. Let grandma do it. It will help the senior citizen computer learner to get over the fear of a computer.
“What does this do?”
Click it and find out is usually my answer. Then let them spend time undoing what they did. Giving hints every now and then.
A good teacher knows when to be quiet.
For example, when you’re giving the senior citizen a computer lesson and you want to find out what he/she has learned. Ask him/her to do it. Let your student make mistakes. Do not correct every misstep along the way.
Use terminology on the screen
For example. If you’ve had your senior citizen student setup a Gmail account. Yes he/she does it not you. You’re next statement will be,
“Okay, now we’re going to compose an email. Where do you think we should start?”
Why does the computer tutor say that? Because when you’re student places the mouse over the plus sign to “add a new email” the button expands out and states “Compose”. By the way, clicking on the three bars, which we are automatically supposed to know means menu, in the upper left hand corner keeps the menu from collapsing so it always states “Compose” not just the + sign.
Just a Few Examples Off The Top of My Head
Remember to smile and stay positive. There are no mistakes on the way to knowledge. Only detours where you gain even more knowledge.
Enjoy your computer and help others to enjoy theirs,