WhiteHat Jr, Campk12, Captaincoder, Coding Ninjas and the list goes on. I’ve recently penned an article about why there’s a sudden surge in classes on coding for kids and why parents are falling for it. It is not like any other wave or trend in education style and it is unprecedented. The evolution in the e-Learning arena quicked its pace in 2020, especially ed-tech companies harnessing the COVID-19 impact on the conventional schools.
In the last sentence, I said “e-Learning arena” purposely. As every school is giving education online as like any other ed-tech companies, these companies are now forced to move their strategy. They have to offer what the schools couldn’t. These companies competing with each other for quality content delivery, but now it’s not the case. The quality of the course content is comparatively similar, so they have to do something different to capture the market share. That’s why you could see hyped-up advertisements coding classes for kids.
Definitely, there’s no harm for anyone to teach anything and no harm to the kids learning at their own pace of understanding, choosing, and liking. Most of these ed-training companies focus on giving courses, training, 1:1 (one on one) sessions for the children at and around the age of 12. This is where the problem arises. Most kids don’t have the privilege of choosing for themselves, especially in cultures like India, South Korea, and other East Asian countries.
Few parents approached me for the suggestion to enroll their wards in one of these courses. Sadly, they were pre-determined to put their kids in these courses, all they need is help in choosing a good company that gives the best course and training. As pricing varies from 6K to a few lakhs (approx. 90 to 4000 USD), this question seems so logical, if you see it from the parents’ point of view.
But there’s some more point of view to consider before deciding. Mostly myths and false claims about coding.
I have to disclaim one thing very strongly here. I am not against any online ‘coding class’ company, in fact, I am happier to see the transformation in the education field. I am not reviewing their course or the company. Right now we are discussing only the topic of whether your children need a coding class or not.
At the age of 12, there’s no doubt the brain is almost matured to learn new things and prepared for inferential thinking. So they can choose a decision or conclude on the basis of logic, evidence, and reasoning.
So, age 12 is a good age to learn to code?
Yes, it is. Actually, it is an optimal age to learn anything. The critical part of this answer is, coding is not the best thing you want your kid to learn at this age when your brain is in its full potential to grasp anything like a sponge.
Coding is logic. Logic, the worst enemy of imagination and creativity. Creativity with the pint of working logic that solves problems and if you can monetize that creation, then it becomes innovation.
If you’re good at logic, it is hard for you to be good at creativity. But, If you’re good at creativity then there’s a high chance of being logical when you want to be.
Coding is a skill. Not a life skill. Coding is an overlay skill, but not a knowledge. It is a skill to implement your ideas. Coding will not wire your brain to think differently or in cliche terms, you can never do anything ‘out of the box’ in the future. I’ve seen this pattern in my students.
Coding will not help your children to think. Coding is a tool to apply your thinking. I’ve seen no one turning into a smart person by learning coding. (I’ve 8 experience in teaching Computer Science when I write this article)
Coding makes your children smart? Damn wrong. It is similar to that of claiming “if your handwriting is beautiful and if you learn to write without grammar mistakes, then you can become Shakespeare”. Words are tools to share your thoughts, and how you handle them is a “skill”. Likewise codes, it is the language you use to communicate with computers, it will not measure your brilliance.
Coding will improve your problem solving ability? Yes, it is correct to certain extent. But no, when it comes to anything outside logic. Not all the problems need to be solved logically or through linear thinking. Spending hours in coding and becoming veteran in it will never improve real life problem solving ability in the kids. If you want to know more on this, use the comment section to post your doubts. I will answer without fail.
Coding never encourages teamwork, i.e. no ailment in inter-personal skills, social skills, and other practical skills. Instead, coding spoils your eyesight, alters your posture, weakens your body, etc, etc (if not done right).
Should I or Shouldn’t I enroll my kid to a coding class?
As already I said, learning anything is good, so coding too is good. But never expect your child to show extraordinary changes and to become silicon valley entrepreneur and a whopping success in the early age. Too much of exceptions and pressure on the child is not what I would recommend. Let’m learn coding like they learnt cycling, swimming, drawing. Nothing more than that.
No fuss, No hypes, No urges. Learning happens at the speed of learner’s pace.
Few reasons why learning coding has less chance in future than any other job
- The market will be saturated. There’s plenty of experienced programmers are jobless now, who learnt coding after the age of 24. If today’s generation is learning coding at 15, I am pretty sure there will be more people who know coding in near future. Abundance and universal availability makes the resource cheap.
- AI assistance (Artificial Intelligence is an umbrella term I am using here for ML:Machine Learning, NLP, etc) will quicken and ease up the coding process multiple times in the industry very soon and we are already in the path.
- Silicon Valley is not build with coders and programmers, it is built by ideators, innovators, investors and business men. Take a moment and try to reflect on this point. I made this point here, because some ed-companies advertise with an USP of sending your kid to Silicon Valley if they take their course well.
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