The naïve reality of coding and what kids should really learn
Its tempting to chase something that everyone is after, especially when we are convinced by others of how lucrative this thing is. We are often motivated by the feeling of losing out in the race where others are going to win.
The human mind is built with psychological loopholes and several businesses have feasted on these loopholes for decades to push ideas such that it seems profitable for the people, but is often only profitable to businesses. One such idea that has been trending from a long time is “Coding for Kids”.
I wouldn’t beat around the bush anymore. Let’s jump straight into reality.
If we wanted a computer to look through some tiles with numbers and tell us if the number “7” existed:
- We would need a language that the computer understands. Some of the most famous languages are Python, Java, Swift, Kotlin, and the list goes on.
- We would need a logic to search for “7” in the tile of numbers.
In my opinion, the effort required to learn a language that a computer speaks is quite lesser than human languages. Because once we understand English, it is not that straightforward to understand Chinese. But it is quite normal that if one understands a modern computer language, they could quickly grasp other languages too, and sometimes even understand a little bit of any computer language without having learnt them ever.
While you immediately found the number “7” in the second tile, what your brain essentially did is:
Looked through the tiles one by one in the first row (1–5) from left to right. Knowing that number “7” is not here, switched to the second row and found the number in the second tile.
Understood that the tiles have numbers in ascending order and ignored the first row to directly look for the number “7” in the second row of tiles (Quicker!).
Both the approaches are correct, but the second approach would hugely win if the number was being searched among hundreds of tiles. What if Person A with the first approach wrote the code? And what if Person B with the second approach wrote the code. Who would win?
This is the takeaway of this article.
“It is not the language or the code itself that matters. What matters is the art of the human mind to look at things differently, yet smartly”
If a child is passionately curious about things in the real world, inherently looks at things in a smart perspective, that is a genius in making. There is a reason that a child first learns numbers in the 1st grade before solving complex math problems in the 10th grade.
There must be a lot of time spent in sharpening the axe before cutting the tree to ease the cutting. Let the learnings continue to happen in the real world and when the time is right, learning to code will be a piece of cake!
Don’t teach someone to build a house if they don’t yet understand why a typical chair needs 4 legs.
A child would never want to look at math in his life if he/she was forcefully asked to solve a 10th grade math problem being in 1st grade. Learning something long before understanding the essence of it in the real world will probably shatter their confidence instead of them benefitting from it.