Computer Science in Science PD: Dispositions and Classroom Culture - Discussion

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Reflect on the classroom culture you would like to promote in your classroom. Describe it and then reflect on some barriers you anticipate running into?

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I strive to create a classroom culture where mistakes are OK and there truly are no ‘stupid’ questions. When a student doesn’t get something completely correct, I like to ask them questions (sometimes more guiding then others) to think about their work and then send them back to figure it out for themselves. As a general rule, students don’t like when I do this. They want to know if they are ‘right’ and if they are not, they want ‘the’ right answer. They tend to lack the perseverance needed for continual modification/improvement of their work. I see this as a barrier. This is a hard quality to foster in some students. The flip side though, is the look of pride on their faces when they do work their way through a tough challenge. In an ideal world, I would teach using Problem Based Learning everyday - where their really isn’t only one way to approach the problem or one right solution.


I worry about management. I will be new to incorporating code in the classroom curriculum.

I have had to change my teaching style now that I am the PLTW teacher (engineering) in my middle school. There is much more student learning by trial and error and pure experimentation, I find that it is just as hard on the students to have my role changed. They get upset that I just won’t GIVE them the right answer and I make them figure it out for themselves.

In my classroom, I like to promote an atmosphere of respect and belief that students can do anything they set their minds to. Some of the barriers that I have ran into is teaching students what it means to be respectful. Also, students tend to make fun of each other, so I really have to remind them that their words impact others. I want their words to be encouraging and positive.

I aim to have a classroom atmosphere that empowers students. I am concerned about using computers more frequently because often times when I have computers, the internet is down or something with our districts server and the technology is slow. We have about 49 min class periods and checking in and out the computers and starting them putting them away all takes so much time.

I already believe that my role in the classroom is to guide, so this will not be an obstacle.

My role is to act as a facilitator and coach the learning is student centered, they take the lead, I’m there to assist.

I want my classroom to be a safe place to make mistakes and try again. I am certain that some of my students are going to be better than I am at coding. I enjoy learning from them as much as they enjoy teaching others. I forsee a problem with pushing some students beyond the basic into really exploring what they can do.

I believe I am already a “guide on the side” much of the time. I strive to build a classroom culture where students are empowered to learn independently and not just “wait” for the answer. When students are stuck or need clarification I can probe the students with questions to guide or redirect their thinking. Sometimes, another student is already helping the student who is struggling. The only barrier I can think of is what to do with the students who master the coding and want enrichment.

I agree reliability of service is a challenge. Though with each year, my school system’s internet service improves. I teach 47min classes. As students get use to the routine in my classroom, getting a device and login in takes less and less time. :smile:

I think the most important aspect of classroom culture that I want to implement is a feeling of safety and respect amongst all learners and myself. If students feel safe to make a mistake then they will more likely break free of needing to be told how to do things and will more readily discover it on their own.

I believe next year is going to be one of my most exciting teaching experiences. My student are going to teach me their computer skills and I am going to empower their learning.


I agree with you on what you said about the students are not very persistent and that it is a barrier in their learning. I too am starting to become a better project based teacher with my students and I am learning to continue to push through their own persistence and force them to make decisions with a culture of making mistakes. Don’t give up because the reward that you mentioned is what we are striving for and those that get that pride and see the satisfaction of learning will talk to their friends and recruit them to persevere and persist through problems. You sound like a great teacher and you are on the right track! Keep it up.

The classroom culture that I would like to continue to promote is an environment where mistakes are encouraged and present. I would also like to see my students learning how to persevere through problems and challenges that are set out before them. I would like to give them a culture of problem based learning. I also would like to put them into groups where they each can have their own problems to solve and then share their learning after their project is over. One of the barriers in doing this is the planning that would have to take place in order for each group to know what to do and how to go about solving the project/problem. The other barrier is the amount of background knowledge that will need to be shared with the students in order for them to get the vision of what our classroom environment could become.

I can see how my role as a facilitator is the way to proceed with incorporating coding in my classroom. The students are much more comfortable with the idea of coding than I am. My concern is not with their ability to learn coding but of system failure. Often the school infrastructure to support using computers in the classroom is less apt than the abilities of the computers. I worry about systems failing and then having chaos due to idle time waiting for the problems to get fixed. As a teacher this becomes very frustrating and can discourage the use of computers. You must have plan B and C ready to go.

I envision a classroom of engagement that creates a deeper understanding of the materials/content. I worry that some students will “take over” while others are left, sometimes willingly, sitting by doing very little.

I prefer to promote autonomy in my classroom while I am there to guide and ask leading questions. However, there is still the need for direct instruction on occasion. I also like to flip my classrooms so that may help some of my slower learners although pairing them with stronger learners may be beneficial to both students. I anticipate some frustration and the want to give up as the students I taught last year severely lacked motivation and also ‘stick-to-it-ness.’ Encouragement and a caring attitude by the teacher is super important as is maintained high expectations.

Many students are used to “canned” experiments with a predictable outcome. I like to incorporate labs that deliberately do not work. The students are always baffled by this idea. This is when I tell them that real science is 99% failures in which a scientist learns from the mistake and perseveres onward. Coding sounds like a wonderful way for students to learn to review their work, collaborate with others and persevere when the code does not work. It may take time to teach students to persevere in this age of instance gratification, but once they success, I believe they will be hooked. However, I do share the concern of infrasystem issues that result in slow computers. We also have the issue of random power outages at my school which results in entire pieces of work being lost on occasion.

I believe in creating an environment where students feel comfortable taking risks. Although I feel strongly that I am there as a guide in their learning, I sometimes feel as though I should know all the answers to the questions my students ask. I was encouraged to hear on the video that the teacher isn’t expected to be the expert at coding, but s/he can learn from the students.