being a teacher, being me

Not Every Kid Wants to Learn How to Code

It seems more and more initiatives are coming out proclaiming that all kids need to code.  Tech companies like Google are joining forces with other influencers to ask for money so that all students will have the opportunity to learn computer science.  Coding is the new black in our schools it seems, the one thing that school districts tout is keeping them innovative and cutting edge,  Well isn’t that just nice…

But here’s the thing; not every kid wants to be a computer scientist.  Not every kid wants to work with a computer.  Not every kid wants to stare at a screen, nor do something with technology.  Did we forget that in our eagerness to jump on the coding wagon?

What about the kid that wants to play music?  Or the kid who wants to be an artist?  How about those who want to be chefs?  Or clothing designers?  Or even just readers or writers?  Where is the outcry for funding for all of those classes that are being cut and slashed across our public school system?  Where are all of the companies urging congress to make sure that every child has access to a full-time librarian in their schools?  That every child can take an art class?  That every child can play an instrument?  Will that not make the biggest difference to some of our children?

So while coding may be great for some kids, may be the one thing that keeps them coming to school, that offers them a future they never realized they could have, it will never be that for every kid.  It will never fulfill the dreams of every child.  I wish that reading, playing music, creating, or anything else that seems to be so often on the chopping block was just as worthy as coding.  Perhaps then people would start to notice just how many programs are being cut.  Just how many opportunities our children no longer have.  So as Rafranz Davis pointed out; yes, all students should have the opportunity to code, but they certainly should also have the opportunity for all of the other classess too.

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14 thoughts on “Not Every Kid Wants to Learn How to Code”

  1. I totally hear your point and I wholeheartedly agree that music, art, cooking, sewing, reading, writing and any huge number of experiences are very important – especially to the individual students for which those things may be a passion. I think we should empower all students to follow their individuality and we certainly need to not be singularly focused. But I would hope that the current push for coding and computer science is not an either/or situation. If adding coding means that something else is being cut than absolutely, I am with you, that is not right.

    Coding is one piece of computer science. Computer science is as much about computational thinking, critical thinking, mathematics, collaboration, among other thinking skills that are transferable to so many contexts, not only beneficial for future computer scientists. Coding can integrate language, art, music, storytelling and so many of students’ other interests.

    Consider also that students learn about science not because they’re all going to become future scientists, and learn about government not because they’re all going to become future politicians, and we don’t all learn to write because we’re all going to become professional authors – so why do we do it? We want students to understand how the world impacts them and how they can impact it. Computer Science is a huge part of our world and it’s only growing. Students may not all be creating technology but they will all be using it and they should have a basis of understanding of the workings of it.

    I’m a teacher, not a computer scientist, but I use code – I was able to create my own learning management system that meet my exact needs because I had a basic exposure to a computer science in high school. I didn’t take it in university or since but what I picked up in K-12 was enough to give me the power to use it in my chosen career to impact my students for the better.

    ALL students deserve a basic exposure to computer science. No, it won’t be every kid’s cup of tea, but it is important and meaningful regardless of whether its in their future – and how will they know if they want it to be in their future unless they are exposed to it.

  2. I agree …. ALL students deserve a basic exposure to computer science. Like reading, writing, math, and science, students need a basic understanding of computer code.

  3. I love that you posted this. You challenged me but I still think we are giving our learners a real advantage by teaching them to code…..sadly, not every kid wants to learn maths either but it is our job as teachers to help them develop skills in that area so that they have a greater chance of success in the big, wide world. Being literate in code will help our learners immensely; they say that 40% of 5 year olds now will one day be running their own business. Yes, there will be web developers to create their sites for them but imagine how helpful it will be to know just the basics of code so you can tweak your website; change opening hours or whatever. This is just the very beginning of being able to code; there’s so much more that can be done with a basic understanding of computer science.
    The biggest thing for me is that for some of our learners, learning to code is the first time they’ve really been challenged. Sad but true.
    But I do strongly agree that The Arts, Physical Education etc are also a fundamental part of a balanced programme of learning. A broad curriculum is essential to giving our learners the best “leg up” that we can to have a happy and fulfilling life.

    Love your blog and love that you are prepared to be provocative and challenge the status quo.

  4. Thanks for writing this post. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. To be honest, I would extend this same logic to all things TECH. Why do all students need a 1:1 device? They already have cellphones that are capable of as much or more than a Chromebook or an iPad. Sadly, the focus in education is not on teaching and learning; it is on stuff. I am not my stuff. Neither are my students.

  5. Amen!!

    *Renee DeHoyos, MLIS* *Librarian Taylor Middle School* *304 Carlos Parker Blvd. NW* *Taylor, TX 76574* *512-352-2815*

  6. I just need to type up somewhere, “Thank you, Pernille, for putting my thoughts into words so well,” and copy and paste it into your blog every day.

    While I agree with the above posters that a certain amount of computer skills as well as the kind of logic that goes into coding are both important, it makes me very sad that my middle school’s electives courses are choir, band, Spanish, and STEM based classes. When I started teaching, we had cooking and sewing classes, a full time fine arts teacher AND a full time woods/architecture/crafting teacher, German, Spanish, and French, band, orchestra, and choir. (And a full-time certified librarian.) When I was a student myself, even longer ago, we did a “wheel” of electives as sixth graders, experiencing a little bit of everything before we started choosing our preferences in 7th-12th grades. Kids need time to both discover their interests and to pursue them. The emphasis on science and technology shuts as many doors as it opens.

    Our STEM electives are great classes; don’t get me wrong. From 3D modeling to aquabotics to forensics, they have been developed as engaging and exciting courses. I just disagree with limiting the choices to one particular area.

  7. Finally! Although I have nothing against technology, I taught Consumer Science (the old Home Ec). And indeed, not everyone is a tech nerd. I cannot tell you how many discussions I had with administrators regarding the use of technology in my classroom. I gave my students PLENTY of hands-on learning, be it sewing, serging, pattern cutting and layout, ironing, pressing, Pattern fitting, the various aspects of cooking,etc. My response to my administrator was always… “you know, frosting and keyboards don’t really work well together”….At that point, my administrator would admit that not EVERY class needed to be all tech, all of the time. I love technology…. but I also like knowing that kids today can 1) Iron a shirt 2) sew on a button and 3) make a grilled cheese sandwich (at a minimum). Parents today are far too busy and many times lack the knowledge themselves to pass these skills on to their children.
    Thank you for your post!

  8. I thinks this goes right along with my thoughts on free college. Not every kids wants to (or should) go to college. What about those that want to learn a trade, those that want work their way up to management.

    Bigger point is sometimes in our “initiatives” we forget those that we are really trying to help

  9. While I agree that all students should be technology literate, and that coding might spark a great career path for many students, it may be an unnecessary hurdle for the rest. It is as if educators in the 1920s decided that “Well, since everyone in the future will be driving cars, let’s make sure everyone knows how to fix a transmission.” And speaking of the necessity of learning math, 45 years of learning how to do them, I am still waiting for an opportunity to use square roots.

  10. I think the point is that funding should exist for coding and other areas. All are essential for cultivating well-rounded young people.

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