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The Challenge of Teaching Computer Science (in Brazil)

I just got back from a week in Brazil. My Portuguese isn't very good (I need to take a Portuguese word, figure out its Spanish equivalent, and then try to translate that word to French -- any many in Brazil speak quicker than I can do my double translation), so I'm not sure I fully "get" the status of computing teachers in Sao Paulo, the city where I was. Computer science is taught in high school, but it seems primarily limited to the technical high schools, many of which are co-located on college campuses. I had a great deal of sympathy, however, when the teachers complained about the challenges of keeping up to date with technological and pedagogic change as well as the challenges they faced trying to change courses they were teaching.

At both the high school as well as at the college level teachers I spoke with indicated that they typically taught four different classes per semester. That didn't seem so bad until they told me that many/most had a second full-time job (either teaching at another school, or working in industry). The cost of living in Sao Paulo is quite high. Imagine spending more than $30 for a pizza, not to mention the fact that taxation results in electronic equipment costing more than double what it does in the US. And, these teachers are teaching two or more jobs simply to make ends meet.

I recall recently reading an online article describing the plight of adjunct instructors at colleges in the US, and their need to teach at multiple institutions, and thinking that those teachers who teach CS are probably "protected" from such conditions.

Well, I guess in other areas of the world, teaching in CS doesn't afford such protection.

Steve Cooper
Chair, CSTA Board of Directors


Steve, you wrote: "Computer science is taught in high school, but it seems primarily limited to the technical high schools", it would be interesting to hear what they teach? Is it computer science or applications?
And one more thing, despite the Piza in Israel is cheaper than 30$ other elements of the cost of living are relatively high, and since teachers' salary is not very high, the teachers often have to take more than a full time job, sometimes in the same school sometimes somewhere else.
This is not dependent on the subject they are teach.

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