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Busting Curricular Myths of Teaching Python

Busting Curricular Myths of Teaching Python

As teachers of Python, we constantly strive to engage as many learners as possible with meaningful projects and examples to hook and help students make connections with coding. We carefully hone our lesson plans and activities to make them more exciting and effective each time we teach them. We measure our successes based on how many learners engage out of the entire group. But are we collecting the right data to measure success? What happens when we only reach the same type of learners with each project or example? How many potential Python programmers are we missing because they don’t connect with the material we are presenting?

Python is one of the most versatile programming languages, beloved by the most diverse and welcoming communities. How can we broaden the beginners’ learning platform to develop examples and projects to meet the needs of every student? Let’s bust some myths about the perfect curriculum!

Sean Tibor

April 28, 2022

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  1. 4 www.teachingpython.f m All kids love games, so every student

    should build games to start learning Python. Myth 1: Everyone Loves Games
  2. 5 www.teachingpython.f m Our Experience: • Games • Word Puzzles

    • Math Problems • CircuitPython • micro:bits • Turtle() • YouTube makeup artists • Interactive storytelling • “Cheating” on middle school physics homework • Computer vision • Machine Learning • Web scraping • Twilio API • Codebreaking • Ethical Hacking • Finance and Bitcoin • Robotics • Data analysis • Graphing and visualization • Social Entrepreneurship • Treasure Hunts • Language Translation • Telecommunications • Home automation • Music composition
  3. 6 www.teachingpython.f m Student projects should be directly comparable to

    one another for fairness in grading. Myth 2: Producing Products
  4. 7 www.teachingpython.f m Our Experience: • Process Art versus Product

    Art • The best learning comes from student agency and choice • Embrace the chaos of student-selected projects • Make your rubrics reflect real learning (they’re subjective anyway) • Process produces creativity; product produces only one “right” way. • The final work product matters more to the student than it does to the teacher
  5. 10 www.teachingpython.f m Our Experience: • Metaphors help create connections;

    hard to connect to “non” words. • Students spend more mentally energy deciphering words than deciphering concept. • The amount and quality of prior knowledge influence new knowledge acquisition and the ability to apply higher order thinking to solve problems. • Language can be exclusive or inclusive, focus on teaching for all children. • Support PEP8
  6. 11 www.teachingpython.f m Jaime Escalante Ask, ‘How will they learn

    best?’ not ‘Can they learn?’ 11 www.teachingpython.fm