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A few things I’ve learned while teaching programming

People on the internet can usually teach better than me

I wasn’t using HTML,CSS & JS at work so it was tough to create a good enough lecture. Luckily other people on the internet had explained those concepts much better than I could. On the other hand, when a student runs into a problem it’s much easier for me to help them rather than them figuring it out on their own.

Concepts take time and practice to sink in

I’ve observed that information overload is a very real thing. Students need to be introduced to one idea at a time. Teaching just one kind of loop and letting them get comfortable seems to be better than introducing all three ( or are there more? ).

Of course, practice helps. The more practice students can do for it, the more comfortable they are with a concept. The trouble is that most tutorials/course out there usually provide one practice question if that. CS text books usually have plenty of exercises but I’ve personally found it intimidating to pick an exercise from there and adapt it to my curriculum. I’ll keep working on it though!

Students make progress at different speeds

Not everyone makes progress at the same pace. Salman Khan, the creator of khan academy, confirmed this in his second ted talk. The learning curve of students is usually full of temporary plateaus. The trickly thing is that two students may struggle with different progress but if they’re able to progress independantly they might finishing the curriculum in the same time. Therefore, self paced courses are really nice! Students can work on their pace and ask for help when they need it.

It’s important to share the big picture with students

I suppose when someone in a student in a school classroom they are far more willing to follow instruction than when they are an adult and can just choose not to attend. Since I mostly teach adults I’ve found it really effective to give them a bigger picture.


I thought I could just design a curriculum on paper and would work perfectly. Boy was I wrong. While changing the curriculum every week is most probably a bad idea, incorporating new ideas as you go can be really nice. My fellow mentors suggested comptetions, every week we would have a 15 minute challenge. Students would pair up and try to solve a problem. The best solutions got a choclate. This worked so well! I’m glad I was open to it.