It’s a cliche, long since proven wrong, that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Of course you can…it’s just not easy.
The other day I wrote about teaching computer programming to elementary students. We use a few different programming languages, but all of them are what is known as block-based programming. This form of programming relies very little on keyboarding, rather, you simply drag blocks of code into your program, eliminating the need for keyboarding (have you ever watched a 7-year-old kid type?). Wow.
I am, I can say, a fairly proficient programmer…at the elementary school level.
Now, I’ve dabbled with “real” programming before, but it’s not been easy for me. Today, though, I started to take another shot at it using a language developed by those folks with Apple. I’m finding some success, but, as with previous times, it’s not easy.
I’m learning, but it’s hard.
I listened to a teacher the other day who was complaining about a student who just wasn’t getting it. (I know I’ve complained the same way more than once over the years.) For so many of us in the education world, when was the last time we learned something that was hard to do? I don’t mean read a new book and implement a new strategy; I mean learned something that’s hard. Like multiplication is to some third-graders. I know it’s been a long time for me, but my eyes have been re-opened.
Patience. Scaffolding. More patience. We can do this.