Maybe you are already an awesome computer science teacher and need some new ideas. Or maybe you are new to teaching computer science and want some inside tips and tricks. With over 20 years’ experience in computer science and teaching, let me share my experiences with you.
An awesome computer science teacher motivates their students, provides personalized feedback on tasks, and prioritizes learning over grades. An awesome computer science teacher focuses on each individual student’s needs and understands that each student may need help at different levels and meets them where they are in their understanding.
In order to become an awesome computer science teacher, you need to diversify your teaching styles, be aware of the different challenges students may be facing, and teach the learning material in a creative way that makes it easy for your students to understand and practice on their own.
Tips on how to be an awesome computer science teacher
Here are some tips you can implement to become an awesome computer science teacher.
Incorporate Different Learning Styles
When teaching your students, use a combination of learning styles to ensure each student is able to understand the work according to their learning style. The three main learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.
Try to convey the learning material in a way that incorporates all three learning styles. In doing so, you are meeting each student’s needs and providing them with different ways of remembering what is taught.
Along with incorporating different learning styles, it’s important to be inclusive and meet any special needs students may have. Find out from your learners if they have any special needs, and be open to suggestions regarding how you can best accommodate their needs.
Prioritize Understanding Over Grades
Reward understanding rather than praising grades. Your students’ grades will increase as their understanding of the work increases. Placing pressure on your students to achieve good grades without giving them the support needed to achieve those grades will only leave them feeling overwhelmed.
Instead, build your student’s self-esteem, motivating them as you go through the learning material. Showing your students that you believe in their capabilities will go a long way in boosting morale.
A positive shift in your student’s approach to computer science will not only make you an awesome computer science teacher but also increase their enthusiasm toward computer science as a whole.
Clearly Display Your Love for Computer Science
Your students feed off your energy. If it is clear that computer science is your passion, your students will feed off your enthusiasm and be encouraged by your love for computer science.
Continuously displaying your love for computer science while empathizing with students and recognizing the challenges they may face as computer science students makes your students feel that they can relate to you while also being inspired by you.
Provide feedback to Your Students
Aim to provide feedback to your students as soon as possible. Explain each student’s mistakes to them individually while also providing general feedback to the class.
Once you have provided feedback to your students, ask your students questions based on the feedback given to see if they understand the feedback to determine whether there is anything that requires further clarification.
Give your students time to practice activities till they master them. Students have busy lives and often do not have the opportunity to practice exercises outside of the classroom.
Ensuring that repetition exercises form part of class time rather than leaving repetition exercises as homework affords each student the opportunity to revise the work in a conducive learning environment.
Including repetition exercises as part of your lesson plan is a great way to show your students you place value on their understanding of the learning material rather than their grades.
Having your student’s practice exercises in class will also afford them the opportunity to practice in your presence so that you can assist them if they encounter any challenges. This will make their learning experience a bit more pleasant as they may become demotivated if they encounter challenges at home that seem insurmountable to them.
Group Exercises and Projects
Offer opportunities for students to teach their peers and learn from one another through group exercises and group projects.
Create Classroom Games
Creating games like coding races will incentivize participation and generate excitement within the classroom.
Create incentives for students to practice computer science outside of the classroom by having show and tell opportunities where they can present their work to their peers.
Discuss the Relevance of the Content
During lessons, remind your students why computer science is important, emphasizing the different career opportunities it will open for them.
Encourage Students to Engage With Professionals in Their Fields on LinkedIn
Using LinkedIn can open many doors for your students. Guiding your students in their professional social media presence can go a long way. Encourage your students to be active on LinkedIn and reach out to professionals in their fields of interest.
By showing interest in your students’ professional development, you are displaying a genuine interest in their future in computer science which will set you apart from their other teachers.
Invite Special Guests
Invite guest speakers whose careers involve computer science to facilitate classes with your students. Guest speakers will inspire students and inform them of the different opportunities available to them through computer science.
Inviting guest speakers is also a great way to allow your students to network with people who can open doors for them in the future. In doing so, you are providing your students with not only the knowledge for opportunities in computer science but also the connections to open the right doors for them in computer science related fields.
Taking students on virtual tours or field trips to see computer science in practice is a great way of ensuring your students understand the relevance of their learning material.
By doing this, your students will not only learn more about potential future employers but also have the chance to get advice from industry experts and build connections.
Incorporate Real-World Projects and Assignments
Incorporating real-world projects and assignments into the course framework is a great way to get your students to grapple with the learning material while ensuring they can link the learning material to real-life scenarios.
Consider putting students in teams and asking them to come up with solutions to a challenge in the field. Alternatively, you could team up your students to start an Open-Source Project. Additionally, you could ask your students to recreate an existing technology to understand it better.
Another creative way to get your students to engage with the learning material is by approaching a small business in the community and offering to have your students automate something for them as a project. This is a brilliant learning opportunity that enables students to make a difference in the community while also challenging themselves.
Having your students participate in real-world projects will help them see the relevance of the work they are doing, which is likely to make them feel more passionate about the learning material and eager to engage with you as a teacher.
Encourage Student to Compete in Online Competitions
Encouraging your students to compete in online competitions is a great way to broaden their horizons while displaying your confidence in their abilities.
The following resources provide more information on computer science competitions:
Encourage Students to Undertake Vendor Certification Training
Encouraging your students to undertake vendor certification training is a great way to open them up to more opportunities and show that you care about more than just their grades.
Students can undertake vendor certification training through the following companies:
Share Free Online Training Resources
Sharing free online training resources with your students is a great way to encourage learning beyond the classroom. Sharing training resources shows your students that you genuinely care about their education and want to help them understand computer science.
Excellent free online training resources include:
- Khan Academy
Understanding that each of your computer science students are different and have a different learning style is crucial in ensuring you diversify your teaching methods. An awesome computer science teacher finds creative ways to relay the learning material to students in a manner that is inclusive for each student regardless of their learning style.