My daughter wasn't sure about actually sitting down at the machine and sewing. She didn't trust the needle and speed. So I decided the best way to get her accustomed to controlling the speed was to start with following lines on paper without the needle threaded. This is probably one of the best ways to get accustomed to using the foot pedal and understanding a bit about the feed dogs.
She was surprised initially by the fact the paper would move without her forcing it. Now as to following the lines that was another matter. At first she just let the machine do all the work but then realized she needed to do a bit of guiding.
Then it became a challenge to keep the speed consistent. If you have never used a foot pedal of any sort this can be a little tricky at first. I personally like sewing in my bare feet so thus this is what she was trying. Which meant she wasn't getting a consistent pressure at first. But eventually she started getting the feel of it. Next time I will get her to try it with some shoes on and see if there is a difference.
After a few sheets she was feeling much more confident that the machine doesn't bite. I know part of her fear is the fact that I have had a few sewing mishaps over the years that she is aware of. I strongly recommend not sewing when you are tired even if you are on a deadline for an order. And definitely pay complete attention when using the rotary cuter when slicing a felted wool sweater for stuffing.
Tho she also remembers this...