date_rangeNov 07, 2020
Am not an Academician or a child psychologist. Am an engineer by qualification, I teach speech and drama and take up 'coding for kids' course classes. The below are my views entirely based on my experiences and understanding about kids.
I have been a coding instructor for over a year now. I have been working from home, teaching kids even during pre covid times. A lot has been going on about whether it's required for kids to learn coding from a tender age. Being a teacher who always keeps her child's interest first here are my two cents on it.
Let's start by addressing the elephant in the room. The argument "but kids are too young to learn coding" as far as this is concerned no kid is too young to learn anything. Let us look at any skill that a child is good at and the dedication it demands.
A child starts doing his riyaaz from a tender age if he wishes to be a singer or a musician.
Kids give their Kathak exams and participate in inter state competitions if they are passionate about dancing.
Most of us know about the legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and how he managed both long hours at the field as well as his school.
We see children participate in cooking shows like master chef junior and are amazed by the food they cook and their presentation skills.
Why is it then that when the same children want to do something that requires them to use a gadget we look at it negative light? Aren't we behaving like individuals who refuse to evolve with time? Shouldn't we encourage and hone the skills of our children if we see the curiosity and to know more about technology?
Shouldn't we as adults allow them to think differently, think innovatively and amaze us?
The Gen Z as we call them are quicker, smarter and have more exposure. They have been born in an era that has witnessed a revolution in how people work. I mean did any one of us ever take Zoom classes while growing up? The best part, they are also very adaptable and comfortable around technology. They use emojis and short forms to express how they feel! They are super tech savvy. Not giving them access to technology fearing it's negative impact is no longer an option because it's just because of the technology they are able to attend school in the middle of a Pandemic.
Right from childhood we are encouraged to take part in lot of extra curricular activities. I remember in my school we had karate, dance, singing, sports and what not. I was a lazy and introvert child growing and hence I didn't participate much in any of these activities. I however had a bend towards watching television and acting. This was noticed by my grade 4 class teacher who compelled I participate in a drama. I was the lead actress and we bagged the first price. My grade 5 teacher noticed my inclination towards the English language but saw that I lacked confidence. So she always asked me to give answers even if I didn't raise my hands. She enrolled me for debates and elocution competitions.
I've worked at multiple organizations and every role I've taken up involves good communication skills. Had it not been for the teachers, had they not pushed me, encouraged I highly doubt I'd be teaching today.
When it comes to teaching coding it is as systematic as any other subject. When a kid is taught English we don't start with Shakespeare. He's taught alphabets, sentences, rhymes and then is moved to passages, stories and poetry.
Similarly coding has a foundation. Mathematics and logical thinking being the key pillars of the foundation. A kid is taught about positions, angles, dimensions, shapes, colors, events, functions, loops and then taught how to make an app. If you are promised your kid is going to do anything over and above learning logic and problem solving, feel free to consider it as an exaggerated assumption.
Furthermore, the last leg of doing any online coding class i.e. making and app, should not be considered as the only reward for the kid. The process needs to be cherished. This should be the case in whatever the child does. Results are not important, the growth and development is.
Coding crops seeds of imagination, curiosity and logical reasoning. It helps kids understand a problem and logically solve it. It may take a few classes for some children to learn, a few more for the rest and a few children may just not learn at all. And that's where the interest level of the child comes into the picture.
Be it speech, drama, dance, karate, music or coding your child shouldn't be involved in any activity only because it's the need of the hour or it's something that will help in his/her brain development/growth. Kids these days are self learners and extremely talented. They don't need to be introduced to anything, they learn it on their own! But for that they need to have the hunger to know more about it. They need to be inquisitive. Eager to experiment.
So the answer to whether your child should be taught coding at a young age should be given by your child! Expose them, introduce them to technology, guide them through and if they enjoy it encourage them to learn more! If they don't let them do something else:)
Author - Varsha Rohra
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