2014-03-22

Strategies for Teaching Programming: Holistic

Strategies for Teaching Programming to beginners

In Wanted: a strategy for teaching programming to newbies? Henrik Sandeklef asked "can you recommend/propose a strategy when teaching programming?" I thought an answer to that question would be a good start to this education/learning/information blog. Though i prepared a long answer based on a text i wrote before the text need some more work. My time is shopped up in to small parts between taking care of my kids and projects. So i decided to give the answer in parts giving me an possibility to complete a little bit at a time . This is my first part.

Holistic

In my opinion the most important part of teaching programming to beginners is to present a holistic view of the subject. I find it useful to try to prepare the students for what's coming in an introductory lecture, trying to squeeze in as much of the course at once that can be presented in a clear way. Students have told me that this helps them to grasp the content of the course and be more prepared when reading up on the subject and starting with tasks. Though other students find such introduction overwhelming and have to be calmed in advance with the knowledge that everything will be repeated in a slower fashion and much more thorough.

This holistic aproach can and should(imo) be repeated through out the course. By giving the holistic overview again and/or provide documents, images and lectures with a holistic presentation of the subject. Then each course part should be introduced in the same manner if the are big enough to merit such introduction.