At Code Naturally Academy, we love to push our students towards adopting a growth mindset. The idea of “growth mindset” implies that intelligence can always be improved upon and that there is always more to learn and space to grow. Growth mindset fits so perfectly with our mission at Code Naturally Academy because it fosters a love for learning and an acceptance of challenges. When a student is coding, they are not only learning to give directions to the computer, they are learning how to fix their mistakes in a way the computer would understand. Identifying these “bugs” and figuring out how to fix them allows our students to recognize that failure is a chance to learn.
During our Spring Break Camp, we saw firsthand how the growth mindset exhibited by our students who have been coding with us for longer reflected positively on the students who were new to coding with us. As a student who was new to coding, Jake was quick to become discouraged when the inevitable error message popped up on his screen.
When one of our more experienced students, Robert, saw the disappointed look on Jake’s face, he was quick to assure them that no matter how advanced you are, you will always have errors in your code that need to be fixed. Even now, after three years of coding, Robert still faces the same challenges as before while coding, except his projects now are far more advanced than those he worked on before. Once Jake recognized that he was not alone in facing these obstacles, he instead focused on how to fix the issue. The growth mindset that he exhibited will allow him to not only become a better programmer, but also a better student overall.
Seeing Robert step up to the challenge of helping his classmates was inspiring to all of us educators, and when I thanked him for stepping up to help other students he remarked that “…it was cool to see these kids try to figure it out on their own instead of getting upset when problems happened”. Even though Robert is an advanced student programmer, he admits that he still faces challenges while programming, however he feels that he has “…more confidence in my skills and this allows me to not give up as easily and instead try to find the problem”. Growth mindset is contagious when you put together a mixed classroom of students who collaborate and grow with each other. Keeping our advanced and developing students together allows them to be inspired by each others progress and get their creativity flowing.
Learning how to code is like learning how to speak a new language, it is not without its challenges and even when you are fluent, you occasionally still stumble on your words. When students learn how to code with us, they adopt an approach to programming that encourages them to not sweat the small stuff. Obstacles become opportunities for growth at Code Naturally Academy!
Code Naturally Academy