Classroom management/working independently

I’m teaching CSD for the first time, and will be wrapping the course up in December and getting a new group of students in January. I’m trying to figure out how to better enforce an expectation of independent problem solving in my students next go around. We are nearing the end of chapter 1 in Unit 3. I have 29 students in my class, and the students need sooooo much help! I understand that the material is challenging. In fact, I keep a notebook with me of the coding I completed myself before the students do the lesson because I have a hard time keeping all the code straight in my head, but I just feel that they are relying on me far too much the second they run into a wall. I don’t give them the answers and only point them in right direction, but if I were teaching more than one section of this I would lose my mind!

To those of you have been teaching this for awhile, I’d appreciate any management tips you have that would foster the problem-solving/troubleshooting mindset that’s required for this material. Half of my students would rather shut down the minute things get challenging.

I now realize I need to make them keep notes when learning new tags or code because they don’t seem to be using the help and tips built into the activities.

I just need my next group of students to be more independent. I eventually want to take on more sections of this class, but I need to figure out the management before I can do that,

Mrs. Hickman,

Interested to hear others ideas on this - but I would start by really teaching into the Problem Solving Process and instilling a sense of grit in your students. I’m guessing most of the students are struggling/raising hands because there is an error that they can’t find - an old saying: “Computer Science is 20% Programming and 80% debugging” which I’m sure you’ve experienced by now. Also focus on pairing students together that can encourage each other and help find the bugs. This way students are more independent.

Looking forward to hearing more from the forum!

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Thanks for your reply, Brad. We did spend time on the problem solving process at the beginning of the course, and I also tried the pair programming early on. However, I wish I could get the students to help each other without actually doing the work for someone else. I stopped using the pair programming because I was seeing too much of one student completely taking over and the other letting them do it. Even on occasion when I see students trying to help each other, I continuously have to remind them that they can point each other in the right direction, but shouldn’t actually be doing the work for their classmates.

You’re so right about 80% debugging! I keep telling the students that when I’m doing the exercises ahead of them, I get stuck too but I just keep at it. And when I do get things to work, it’s more satisfying because I figured it out myself. :slight_smile:

I guess maybe I’ll have to hit the problem solving process harder the next go around. Thank you again for your suggestions!