In this article, you will get to know the tips and tricks for helping children learn how to code. Until recently, we were going about our everyday life in a fairly conventional way. But things have changed now. Everything around us is gradually becoming technology-oriented. Be it shopping, communication, entertainment, or conducting business operations, nearly all our personal and professional activities; need machines’ help.
Whatever software we use, encompasses a code. So in a world where software continues to get created rampantly, someone who knows coding would have an edge. As projected, coding will soon become as important as other subjects such as mathematics, spelling, or grammar. However, teaching kids how to code could be a daunting task. This is because coding is a relatively new advent. Teachers or parents are not well-versed in the practices that could ensure the best learning of this skill.
What are the Tips for Helping Children Learn How to Code?
Well, you can utilize the following tried and trusted tips to help children master the trade:
1. Motivate kids
It all starts with motivation. If you can convey the benefits of coding to children, they will start paying more attention. But make sure to keep things as specific as possible because they are too young to understand the “scope” of coding.
One way to highlight the importance of programming for kids is to let them know how it can serve their interests. For example, since most children like to play games, you can encourage them to create games by coding. Or, if your kid possesses an artistic mind, tell him that he can map out eye-catching website designs by learning this skill.
Children tend to lose all motivation when they feel that there is no worth in their opinion. It is pertinent to entertain your kids’ viewpoint regardless of how lackluster it may be to sustain a high motivation level.
2. Tap into their ideas
As a tutor, it could be tempting to outline the course upfront and stick to it. The tactic might have proved fruitful in many other subjects out there. But, when it comes to coding, this strategy is unlikely to show up with beneficial results. The best approach would be to allow full freedom to children. If they do not feel like continuing with the same project and want to jump to another assignment midway, let them do that.
In all likelihood, their ideas may appear dull at first, and you would ideally want to browbeat them. But it would help if you held back. As time goes by, it will dawn upon you that what looks absurd at the onset could turn out to be a creative concept in the coding world.
Coding involves creativity. Having a predetermined course means you have prevented children from strolling down the paths that fall outside the premises of your syllabus. That is how creativity is doomed. Hence, it is highly advisable to follow your children’s lead to capitalize on their innovative thinking.
3. Make sure you do not touch the mouse and keyboard
It is natural for a teacher to help students when they are straying down the path. But coding is a different deal altogether. You have to take the backseat and give children freehand even if they commit a plethora of mistakes. For instance, children typically indulge in typing errors. And you would want to reach out to the keyboard to demonstrate how it is to get done. But you should avoid intervening by all means.
Hands-on experience is critical for a programmer. If you keep meddling over and over again, children will lose the opportunity to get exposure. Another problem with constant interference is that children will turn to you for their tiny issues. They will gradually become dependent on you. Coding is a game of continuous attempts. The sooner children realize this, the better.
4. Keep the usage of jargon at a minimum
Like every other subject, coding also contains jargon. Using jargon is a good practice when you teach at an advanced level because it reflects your in-depth coding grip. But kids are not going to create any such notion about you. If anything, jargon will only hinder their understanding. It has been a well-established fact that technical language ends up making life difficult for children. Hence, it will be best if you keep the wording as simple as possible.
There are going to be times when incorporating jargon would be inevitable. In that case, you must take time to explain it. Better still, you can utilize visuals to communicate the respective theories. Some children do not directly echo concerns when you throw pompous vocabulary at them. So how would you come to know what words are bothering them? Well, asking for feedback in a casual fashion might help to figure out their pain point.
5. Leverage the right tools
We have no shortage of free online resources that align with children’s requirements. Depending on the age, you can easily find the best tools without paying a dime. First, you must engage kids in making an animated video or interactive story requiring little to no effort. Once children get the grasp of one platform, take them to another.
Lately, using an Application Programming Interface (API) is also gaining traction among young kids. API allows children to sketch out their language instead of working on an existing one.
6. Be patient
It takes a lot to learn to code. More so, if the learners happen to be young kids. That is why you have to practice patience. Feeding too much information at a time could take a toll on children, and, consequently, their concentration will come crashing down. Before commencing the teaching session, remind yourself that they have all the time in the world to learn this trade, so there is no point in rushing whatsoever.
Every child has optimal learning hours. For example, some children are on top of their learning capacity in the evening. At the same time, others prefer the morning time to learn something. You have to identify your child’s peak focus time and schedule classes accordingly.
Coding for kids has become a new normal. Parents have realized that teaching this skill could unlock several career opportunities for their children. Hopefully, the tips mentioned above will come in handy to create a stable learning space and subsequently enable children to develop an interest in coding.