Everything is becoming connected, and the future belongs to those that can program. It’s no secret that learning how to code is a skill that will bolster your career options. This article will explore ten effective tips for teaching programming to help fuel your student’s understanding and motivation level toward real-world coding skills.
1. Focus on Applicability Over Abstraction
The best way for students to get excited about their newfound knowledge is by seeing it in action. Students should be writing actual code that improves productivity rather than indulging in theoretical concepts that are only accessible during chemistry class. Programming is all about solving problems. If students learn the basics of programming and solve problems differently, they will likely learn more powerful skills. Success in the real world comes from applying your knowledge rather than memorizing theory.
2. Use Multiple Languages
Learning how to program is one thing; learning to code for a particular job is another. It’s not always a good idea to teach students something they don’t have the skillset for, which applies even more to programming. It’s important to know different languages and how they are used in different fields, but it’s often not the most practical. There is a lot of one-on-one time devoted to teaching programming in school, which is where students should be learning their new skills instead.
3. Use Visualization
“Wizard of Oz” style textbooks or overly simplistic examples are not the best way to teach programming. Visualization can help students make sense of the complex subject matter. Students can see how code works together to make different variables work in different situations and form code that solves a problem. They can visualize how complex systems work together to solve more complex problems, which they need to know for the real world.
4. Make It Real
Students should be learning real-world skills when they are learning how to code. Programming is a powerful tool, but without real-world applications, it can be rather useless. For example, many developers don’t have the skillset to build an app for a video game. By learning how to code for various apps in different fields, developers will have more applications to solve problems and have the skills necessary to become a true developer in any field.
5. Make It Fun
Students need to get excited about learning. This is why it’s important to make learning fun, too. Having a computer teacher who is approachable and friendly will make your students want to learn more. If your students have fun learning how to code, they are more likely to continue their journey, ensuring they take the right lessons and get distracted.
6. Sentence Structure
It’s important to teach programming in an easy way for students to understand. Too many syntax rules and excessive jargon can be discouraging and confusing to students. If your students are trying to follow along and figure out what they are doing, teach them simple sentences and not complicated syntax.
Students need to see how programming relates to their everyday lives. Programming is not a passive skill, and you need to introduce students to the same concepts that they will use every day. This will help them understand how programming techniques work in different fields. When the time comes for them to take a test, they won’t be confused after studying real-world software applications.
Creating and studying flashcards can greatly improve the speed of learning for students. Students need to understand the different functions and syntaxes of various programming languages. Flashcards make this process much more efficient because they allow for quick study and learning of new skills.
9. One-On-One Time
It’s important to ensure that your students are getting the one-on-one time they need with you when learning how to code. It’s easy for students to get confused or hop onto the wrong track. When they have a teacher who breaks down difficult concepts into easy-to-understand pieces, it is easier for them to become a better developer.
10. Practice, Practice, Practice
There’s no way around it – practice makes perfect. Students need to do projects and exercises that apply the skills they just learned in the classroom. Even if they don’t get it right the first time, they will learn to troubleshoot their code when projects break. Practice problems are opportunities for students to ask questions and clarify confusing concepts.
Programming has many applications and can be applied to many different jobs in the real world. Students need to learn useful skills applicable to their future careers and abstract programming concepts with limited outside value.