Computer Science Training A Must For TeachersBy: Zach Walton - April 2, 2012
We reported last week that there’s a movement among adults to learn programming languages. It would seem that people from every profession was interesting in learning programming, because they’re not content in just knowing how to use computers.
While it’s important for adults to learn a bit of programming, it’s even more important that we begin teaching our children these various languages.Their young minds are much more flexible to taking in the absurd amount of knowledge required with some programming languages. The problem, of course, comes in the forms of the teachers not knowing enough to effectively convey this knowledge to students.
The Guardian reported on this very same situation Saturday with a call to arms for teachers to begin training in computer science. Teachers can’t pass this knowledge off to students if they don’t know it themselves to begin with.
John Stout, a teacher at King George V Sixth Form College in Southport, Merseyside, said that most students who come to him with an ICT background only know how to use Microsoft Word. It’s an unfortunate situation that most schools’, including my own high school, computer programs consist of learning how to use the Microsoft suite of business tools like Word and Excel.
It’s good news then that at least one school has begun changing its curriculum to have an increased focus on computer science. Amy Desmond-Williams, director of ICT studies at Sidney Stringer Academy, says that “there is only so much Powerpoint and Word can teach.” While she doesn’t discredit the value that learning business applications has for students, she feels that there needs to be more emphasis placed on programming skills for those students who want to go into those fields.
All of this comes back to the major problem at hand – none of the computer science teachers in schools know to program. People in education agree that they need to step up the training of teachers first before they attempt to teach children programming.
While this story is obviously from the UK, the same can be said of the U.S. as well. Considering that app development is now one of the fastest growing economies in the U.S., it only makes sense that we start teaching our children how to code.
Programming is no longer a job that only “nerds” do or whatever applicable stereotype you want to use. No matter the field, programming is now a part of it. Having some basic knowledge of how computers work will make our future workers that much more desirable in the job market.