Leave that mouse alone

Do you have a problem keeping your hands off a student's mouse? Too many trainers wrest control of the mouse when a student is slow, behind, or lost. Here are some tips to help keep your student in the navigation seat.

As trainers, sometimes we can’t help ourselves. We see a student struggling with the point-and-click concept and, boom, we want to swoop in and grab the mouse. Resist the temptation, and keep your hands away from your student's mouse. Instead of becoming Super Navigator, teach your students how to use the mouse.

Rule #1
Always remember the “Mouse Golden Rule”: Never, ever take the mouse from your student without first asking permission. It’s like drinking from his or her soda without asking. It’s rude! Show your effective communication skills and professionalism by always asking for permission first.

Dealing with a slow user
We’ve all had mouse novices. They’ve either never navigated with a mouse or haven’t used it enough to get the hang of it. What does this mean to you as a trainer? Frustration! Well, what good are you doing your student by navigating the mouse yourself? Your students learn nothing if you do all the work.

I wanna hold your hand
Whenever I see a student who is not adept with the mouse, I ask, “May I hold your hand to help guide your mouse?” I always make a joke and make it clear that I’m not trying to be fresh; so far nobody’s said “no.” In fact, those students have told me it’s actually quite helpful.

Let the student drive
Are you reinforcing the computer skills you’ve taught by doing the work for them? Absolutely not. Whether your students are way out in left field or simply behind, have them navigate to catch up. It might take a few minutes, but they need to know how to get to where you are.

I learned this lesson the hard way. Every time I did the navigation for a student, he or she would ask, “Can you show me that again?” After hearing it a few hundred times, I started giving implicit instructions on what to click or which screen to go to. By making the students use the mouse themselves, they are forced to think through and process your instructions for themselves. Reinforcement is the name of the game.
Share your rodent stories with us and let us know what you did to overcome the problem. Post a Comment at the end of this article or write us a note.
Pest control solutions
One of our readers offered a really good tip for breaking the habit. She suggested wearing a jacket or slacks with deep pockets and keeping your hands in them while you’re around the computers—at least until you learn to control yourself.

You can get the class involved by asking students to let you know when you lose your mouse resolve. It makes for a few laughs during class from time to time when they catch you do it. It’s okay to have a little humor in the classroom, as long as your students are learning.

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