Forget Foreign Languages and Music. Teach Our Kids to Code | Wired Opinion |

Young minds understand coding and logical deduction easily.

The fact that young children can manage such elaborate tasks should be no great surprise, given what we know about their knack for acquiring languages. Five-year-olds trump their elders at learning Spanish or Mandarin because young brains are better (so the theory goes) at formulating “procedural” memories—that is, memories that become so deeply embedded in a person’s psyche that recalling them is a natural reflex rather than a conscious task.

Forget Foreign Languages and Music. Teach Our Kids to Code | Wired Opinion |

However, I don’t like the title of the article. I don’t want to reduce the importance of foreign languages or music. There should be exposure and mentoring in all of these areas for our children.

One response to “Forget Foreign Languages and Music. Teach Our Kids to Code | Wired Opinion |”

  1. Just another educational fad. Education is full of fads. Everyone who wants to be an “educator” comes up with an old idea disguised in new jargon goes around flogging their idea as the greatest thing in education until they are rewarded with a school superintendentship at some large school district. At the expense of the victims – i mean students and parents.

    In the 1970’s and ’80’s this idea floated around as “computer literacy.” Nicholas Negroponte, of “One Laptop Per Child” fame, promoted teaching children how to push a small graphic image called a turtle around a screen with the Logo scripting language. This was going to make children smart and computer literate. Somehow. All a school needed was a million dollar mainframe, although by the ’80’s it was a quarter million worth of PC’s.

    About the same time other promoters of “computer literacy” seized on Pascal as The Solution. Pascal is a highly structured programming language Nicklaus Wirth created to force his students to write more structured code (this was before objects). He was later known to complain that he couldn’t believe how much bad – and badly structured – code could be written in Pascal as he had seen written by “computer literates.” Pascal and Logo were Big Deals in education, even if you have to google them to find out what they are nowadays. Sic transit gloria mundi. Which, by the way, educators would do well to teach children how to read, because latin is a foundation of so many modern languages. More than programming, they need communication skills – languages and literature, arithmetic skills – they really do need to memorize the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tables. They need to learn to do proofs in geometry because that teaches thinking skills applicable everywhere, and they need historical, demographical, geographical, and physical facts. Teachers excuse failing to teach these by claiming to emphasize “teaching thinking skills.” Without facts to build arguments upon, children will think only empty thoughts.

    A different approach, and one more likely to produce successful citizens can be found here:

    but too many teachers simply aren’t able to distinguish between simply being mean and actually expecting their pupils to do well.

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