Teaching Children To Program (Programming) at St Teresa’s Primary School (Merton, London)

There’s a great article on the Times online edition (behind the Paywall unfortunately but here’s the link) that looks at the incredible work being done at St. Teresa’s Primary School. The teachers and ICT staff decided to just roll their sleeves up and dive in – there was no ‘professional ICT person there’ which is just brilliant. On that, I think everyone can learn to use this technology and you don’t necessarily need computer scientists – but I think having them can help greatly!

I’ve read the article and the outcome reported is overwhelming positive. What interested me most was an observation that it had positive side-effects not obviously connected to programming, but as someone with 16 odd years in development they’re things I’ve seen plenty of time in “adults”:

  • The “one problem many solutions” nature of problem solving taught them resilience and persistance
  • Girls were particularly engaged
  • It encouraged a trial and error philosophy through learning
  • They were more engaged and creative when they worked in groups
  • Respectful peer working emerged naturally
  • Children with usually challenging behaviour were totally engaged and absorbed in what they were doing
  • It levelled the playing field so even teachers were mucking in

The three I’ve bolded are the ones that I thought were really interesting, although the part about girls is brilliant, I already knew this having the good fortune to be surrounded by smart and strong women 😉

The part I am excited about is that we work better and are more respectful when in groups – think us grown ups could learn some things here!

Here’s the link to the St. Teresa Primary School Blog.

I’ve dropped them a line and hopefully I can delve into their methods and findings a bit more soon.