Give teachers ownership to make computer science a success


Well-intended computer science initiatives are often met with reluctance and resistance before they even get off the ground. Teachers may see the new initiative as “just another thing” on their plate or may feel ill-prepared to tackle an entirely new discipline.

To ensure a smooth transition to teaching computer science, campus and district leaders will need to empower teachers with ownership of the change, versus simply asking them to comply with it.

Here are a few tips to ensure that your teachers are provided with space, support, and resources that will help them confidently assume ownership over the implementation of computer science initiatives.

Finding Time Through an Interdisciplinary Approach

Time. It’s the first thing to roll off the tongues of educators when asked what they need to be successful. It may even sound cliche to mention it, but in the specific case of computer science integration, time is more than a conceptual constraint on teachers. When it comes to computer science integration, time presents an actual structural constraint that must be overcome.

The structure of the school day is already set. We start our day at 8:00 in the morning, and we leave at 3:30 in the afternoon. In between, an hour is spent on math, on reading, on science, and on all the other things that are important and necessary to attend to students’ learning and other needs.

When there are only so many hours in the day, it becomes nearly impossible to find time for computer science—despite its potential to inspire, motivate, and meaningfully engage students in really cool things.

Most schools already have some kind of specials rotation in which students spend some time each week on art or music or some other subject. Computer science could become another spoke in that rotation fairly easily, and many schools are already doing this.

The problem with this solution is that it doesn’t provide much time for computer science, and it also takes away time from the other areas studied during rotations.

Related:
How to implement a districtwide K-12 computer science program
How we created a computer science curriculum in 5 steps

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