When it comes to languages, some might say that we actually teach three of them here at Lainer School. Most everyone knows that our students study both English and Hebrew, but did you know that our students also study coding?
“Coding instruction begins in kindergarten and is incorporated in various ways throughout each grade level and is taught through the eighth grade,” said Doug Hinko, Director of Innovation and Curriculum Integration. Considered a language of its own, coding helps students learn how to better communicate and master logical thinking and sequencing skills. These skills can easily and purposefully be transferred to developing math skills. The language of coding is a formula of 0s and 1s that represent the letters of the alphabet, and when used properly, provides directions to a piece of technology, like a robot for example, on how to perform a specified action.
The benefits of coding for students are vast and go well beyond simply preparing them for careers in coding. “When learning to code, students are using the left hemisphere of the brain which is the language control center,” said Mr. Hinko. “Developing coding language skills at the optimal time for brain development can help students better acquire other languages, as well.” Coding also fosters a variety of skills, including problem-solving and a sense of creativity due to the logical decision making that is required.
“Learning to code even develops perseverance. Often times coding requires many attempts and students ability to look at problems in multiple ways to arrive at the right solution.” The concept of embracing failure and learning from mistakes to try again until you achieve success is a hallmark of the learning process at Lainer School. When one attempt to code an action doesn’t work, students have to go back and try to come up with another solution, sometimes, multiple times. “My favorite part of participating in coding activities around campus with our students is when students eyes light up when the code they have written is working the way they want,” added Mr. Hinko.
“Teaching our students to code does not mean our expectation is that everyone will end up at MIT in the future, however, it is our responsibility to teach our students this skill alongside countless other that we want our students to be introduced to through their time at Lainer School,” he said. “It is our hope in teaching these important skills, they will transfer them to other content areas as well.”