May 08, 2018 By Team YoungWonks *
How do you pick an after-school coding class for your kid? This is a question that may seem easy enough for parents to answer at first, but closer inspection will tell you that like most things, what you need is good research. After all, you don’t want just any after-school coding class, you want the program to actually translate into good results for your kid. Keeping this in mind, we outline for you the key factors parents need to bear in mind before choosing a coding class for your child.
How do you find the right coding platform for your kid, a coding class that encourages a passion for tech in the student? One of the first things to consider is the profile of the teachers in the coding class. How qualified are they to teach your kid coding? There may be no dearth of coding programs for kids after school but many of them have just college seniors teaching the school kids. This is not recommended; it’s always better to go for a coding class with qualified faculty. At YoungWonks, however, all the teachers are graduates. They are not just familiar with the subject; they are well-qualified to teach your kid.
The student-teacher ratio is often sidelined; in a bid to enroll as many students as possible, coding classes often compromise on individual attention. But parents should take care to opt for a coding class with a healthy student-teacher ratio. Vishal Raina, founder and senior instructor at YoungWonks points out how this factor has been given utmost importance as part of their coding program. “We boast a student-teacher ratio of 4: 1 at our physical classes and for our online classes, the ratio stands at 1: 1. This allows the instructor to focus on the child’s progress and hence, yields much better results than say coding classes where many kids are bundled together,” he says.
Parents looking for a serious after-school coding program for their kids should make the effort to know more about the class’s teaching methodology. What teaching approach do the teachers adopt? At YoungWonks, the faculty subscribes to the growth mindset. People with this mindset are basically the ones who think that a person’s talent is something that can be honed with consistent hard work and the right guidance. This is opposed to the fixed mindset which says that people are born with innate qualities that can’t be changed.
Raina explains how the growth mindset led him to include at YoungWonks a self-paced, enquiry-based learning model that is in fact personalised to suit each student. “Every child is different and can take varying time periods to learn. Often students give up when they can’t keep pace with rest of the class. But at YoungWonks we lay emphasis on getting our basics right. Self-improvement is the key, so students are asked to work on new concepts only when we are sure that they have understood the foundational concepts,” he reveals.
A Well-Defined Curriculum
There’s nothing like a coding class with a well-structured curriculum, for it is, without a doubt, a big differentiator. Especially since most coding classes have no particular curriculum in place. YoungWonks, on the other hand, has a set curriculum, which has been split up into worksheets for its students. This lends the lessons a certain uniformity and parents and students are thus in the know about what will be taught as part of the class. Several worksheets make up a packet and these packets in turn help students move from one level to another. Raina adds, “This ensures that the lessons are not dependent on anybody’s whim and fancy. There’s no element of randomness in the lessons.”
Parents should search for coding classes that encourage parental observation and participation. This is an important feature because that’s how you, as a parent, can assess the teaching process and see what the coding program has done for your kid. YoungWonks scores on this front too as here parents can drop in and attend any class - physical or online - to see how their kids are faring.
Coding classes with flexible schedules are known to have higher attendance. This is because students are often swamped with school programs and other after-school activities, which in turn leads to their skipping some after-school coding classes. At YoungWonks though, this is accounted for as their coding programs offer a more flexible schedule to their students.
Parents should absolutely not overlook the need for coding classes with a positive environment; these are the classes that encourage greater communication between the teacher and student. “YoungWonks teachers are very easy to reach out to. Moreover, the group assignments are aimed at fostering a sense of community,” says Raina.
Selecting an after-school coding program with an impressive track record is a rather obvious point. Parents should ideally enquire about how well the coding program’s students are currently faring. Their participation and performance at several competitions too can be looked into. “This concern too has been addressed well at YoungWonks. For instance, our students won the first prize at the 2017 RoboRave US National, the first and second prizes at the 2016 RoboRave California and two out of four prizes at the 2016 Synopsys Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair (ACSEF),” Raina says.
The bottom line then is simple: a great after-school coding class will offer quality teaching that will actually yield impressive results for your kid. It will be a class focusing its energies on real progress, instead of being a mere distraction.
*Contributors: Written by: Vidya Prabhu