NOTICE: Schools should not force students to take basic coding lessons | Opinion
It is proposed to make introductory programming courses a basic requirement in high school, according to Time magazine. As useful as the programming may be, it is not required for the general student body.
Advocates of mandatory coding argue that the abilities learned through coding are excellent life skills, especially critical thinking and problem-solving skills acquired through coding. Although these are great skills, young students are already learning them through math.
Additionally, much of the basic coding involves math skills. Coding can certainly improve numeracy skills, but only as much as practicing math could. A coding course would become redundant rather than providing new skills.
Another skill allegedly acquired through coding is language acquisition. According to US News, some lawmakers in some school districts are hoping the coding will meet foreign language requirements. While this is a nice metaphor, programming languages and verbal languages are very different. In fact, the syntax is generally the simplest part of the coding language.
The syntax uses English keywords such as “if” and “while”, so they are generally easy to remember. In addition, programmers have the Internet as a reference if they forget the syntax. The coding language does not have the same verbal and cognitive advantages as foreign languages.
Moreover, coding is surprisingly not useful after a introductory course. The skill set is limited to the syntax and logic of the language, and with this skill set one cannot create programs that will help them. The best way to use programming is to take other computer science courses such as algorithms, data structures, or software programming.
Another common argument is that learning to code can also provide a better understanding of technology in our increasingly tech-savvy society. Basic coding provides a superficial knowledge of how programs are created, but that’s it.
On Tuesday, January 8 at 1:15 p.m., the Tate Student Center unveiled a new play center, located in the space previously occupied by Dawg Snacks across from the Tate Theater. Students and staff gathered in the playroom, recalling carefree memories of their childhood.
Learning to code won’t teach you how to use computers better. People who do not know how to code can still use the computer without problems. Understanding technology takes time and experience rather than the ability to code.
Coding has many theoretical advantages. Learn to code could save money in your future job. Instead of hiring someone to design a website, for example, you can design your own website.
In reality, you don’t have the experience or skills to build a well-designed website from an introductory coding course alone. The people hired for website design already have years of experience and can design a much more professional website.
Jobs outside of STEM will not use the ability to code. Similar to the website example, using a professional’s skills would be more effective in a non-STEM field
However, the arguments against coding shouldn’t put you off learning to code. If you want to take an introductory college course out of interest, it will definitely be fun and interesting. Best of all, you don’t need to take a course to learn to code. Self-taught code still comes in handy with resources such as Codecademy or Code.org.
High schools should be offering coding rather than requiring it. Interested students will take the course, which will eventually lead them to a career in IT. At present, many secondary schools already offer AP Informatique A and Computer Science Principles of PA, which is a great step in the right direction for numeracy skills.
Ultimately, computer science has many of the same benefits as math. For students who don’t like STEM, being forced to take another math-type course can be frustrating. Instead, students should tailor their learning to their skills. Analyzing a complex text with many interpretations can be just as powerful as problem solving through programming.