Computing – How Can You Teach Pupils That Know More Than You?

A subject where the kids are catching up, head to head with or exceeding teachers’ knowledge and skills. Computing and its technology has a continuous use in our everyday lives, which has developed an obsessional generation desiring to be online as much as possible, living in a world of gaming, or self-taught coding (often driven by a desire to create their own game).  They catch on quick, and with such fresh open minds possibilities are endless, knowing no boundaries, their future is bright.

Pupils have an advantage over teachers though, which is probably the endless amount of time they spend on various devices.  Their minds let’s not forget are like sponges and when genuinely interested in something the sponge just absorbs more and grows bigger.  They’re growing up in this computing revolution, and its second nature to them.

According to research carried out by Microsoft and CAS (Computing at School) released this month, almost three quarters of teachers feel confident in teaching the new computing curriculum, there are however two thirds that are worried their pupils know more than them.  It’s no shock considering that nearly a quarter of teachers before this term had never before had any experience in computing!  There is clearly a need for more training as 8 out of 10 teachers are requesting this to enable development.

As a teacher traditionally you need to be ahead of the game, or at least ahead of your pupils – this is a tricky subject seeing as so many youngsters favourite past-time is playing with and pushing the boundaries of what they can do with technology today. We increasingly see teachers using the ‘flipped learning’ model where students watch video lessons at home then discuss and do the work at school. Video lessons are the way forward at home today, whether it’s a school task or just a subject you want to know more about in your spare time. It’s not necessarily a negative that some students may be more knowledgeable than their teachers, it should be celebrated that they’re taking lead.

However from a parents’ point of view, teachers are there to give as much information to the children as they can – like the fountain of all knowledge in the subject that they teach.  Otherwise they could use the internet to teach them all that they need in life, could they not..?  Surely there needs to be a bigger injection of training and development in this subject to make it the big success it has the potential to be.  If the teachers have the skills then they can enable even those who know more than them, by developing students’ talents to higher levels of achievement.

My own children have fully embraced using all forms of technology, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly they work out how to do things and then extend on that.  There is no fear, just pure excitement at their fingertips!  If one of my children developed noticeably good levels of computing knowledge, I would like them to have a teacher that has the tools to help them reach and exceed their potential.  Otherwise there could be a danger of boredom, and computer lessons may end up being far too easy for them, which in turn may result in disruption and such new subjects on the curriculum never really being quite the success they were intended to be.

So if the government want Britain to truly be world leaders in this industry then the people teaching need to be fully equipped.  It doesn’t matter if the kids know more, but the teachers need to know enough to coach and allow them their growth.  Almost half the children surveyed said they had to regularly help their teachers and thought they needed more training.  That I would say speaks for itself.

In my blog Computing at Home – Start to Learn Code the Fun Way I talked about where you can go online to have some fun with a bit of coding and getting create with it.  If you’re teaching computing then you’ll need something a little more highbrow!  Try Stuck for Schools Computing and Training CPD DVD for Primary via Rising Stars by Miles Berry, or Compute-IT CPD Video Lessons Teaching and Learning Resources for Key Stage 3 via Hodder Education by Peter Kemp. Maybe it’s the key to becoming the ‘fountain of all knowledge’…

 

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