One of the things I’ve loved most about getting involved with Code Club Pro is that I’ve learned a lot about schools and classroom teaching of children. It’s a totally new world to me – I’ve never had any teacher training and I’ve never taught children before Code Club. So one of the problems I encountered in my first year was that some children will ask for help for every little thing while others will keep quiet. This means you end up spending all your time on certain more vocal children and that’s just not fair to the others.
One of my very good friends happens to be a school teacher and she told me about a technique she uses that I think would work great. She suggests giving the children 2 help tokens. They can ask the teacher for help twice and give up a token each time. After that – no more help. So they are encouraged, before asking for help, to try and solve the problem for themselves. That might be by reading, asking a friend or checking the board. If after trying to solve it themselves they still can’t progress then they use a help token and the teacher helps them. It’s a simple system that just might work. And it dovetails nicely with one of the key messages taught by Code Club Pro, namely that copying from a friend is not cheating when it comes to programming. That’s how programmers do things. They build on each other’s work. Pair programming is way that programmers share ideas. Shared code is another. And there are endless books and published articles explaining how complex problems can be solved in code. This is a key part of the programming world and we should encourage it.