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UCLA's "Teaching Methodologies in Computer Science" Course

This month, in UCLA's Teacher Education Program, 27 pre-service secondary mathematics and science teachers are enrolled in a new course: "Teaching Methodologies for Computer Science". This new course provides teachers with practical instructional strategies that lead to rich computer science learning communities in middle school and high school classrooms. As is true with the mission of the teacher education program, equity-based teaching practices for effectively teaching culturally diverse learners are focused on throughout the course.

I find this new course to be exciting on many fronts. First, though some of these pre-service teachers may eventually teach Exploring Computer Science or a similar foundational course, most will have teaching assignments that initially include only mathematics or science courses. Through this class, prospective teachers now have an opportunity to experience how computational practices to solving problems can be integrated within science and mathematics subject areas. Also, having this additional group of educators with computer science pedagogical content knowledge at schools can help build more robust computer science programs.

I'm also excited because our collaboration with the Teacher Education program led to a strategy of replacing the traditional "Educational Technology" course that is disconnected from subject area methodologies with this academic methodology course. I think this might be a model for other teacher education programs looking for ways to integrate more computer science methodology content into the curriculum. Simoly replace the general educational technology course.

And lastly, I'm excited about this course because of the ways that pre-service courses can help shape the knowledge and skills of our future teaching colleagues. Traditionally, the computer science education community has relied on in-service professional development programs to build teachers' repertoires of teaching methodologies particular to computer science. This "catching-up" of knowledge about teaching computing is often too little, too late. In contrast, providing pre-service curricular space to consider the issues of teaching, learning, and assessment in computer science as educators simultaneously develops general pedagogical approaches and culturally responsive teaching practices is an ideal place to begin developing high quality computer science teachers.

The best part of any methodology course is the close relationship to classroom practices.

So, if you could impart some "wisdom of practice" to pre-service computer science teachers, what advice would you give them? What was the most powerful learning experience for you about teaching computer science?

Joanna Goode
CSTA Equity Chair

Comments

Where can I get more info on the course? Including the topics etc.?

Thanx and LPA

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