How To Find a Good Coding Tutor for My Child

Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.”

Bill Gates, Co-Chairman, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Co-Founder, Microsoft

Coding. We’ve all heard about it and we all (mostly) have a surface understanding of what it is – writing the language of computers and providing them with instructions so they can function. However, many parents are unable to support their children with this valuable skill. As with any other subject, your child may need enrichment or support with, tutoring is available for computer coding and is a viable option to nurture their coding skills. Continue reading to find out: why you should invest in a coding tutor; which coding goals you want your child to achieve; how to find a coding tutor; and how to get the most out of your child’s tutoring sessions. 

Why Should I Invest in a Coding Tutor for My Child?

According to the ‘Schools of the Future’ whitepaper, produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF), children and young people are learning and preparing for future careers that don’t even exist yet. Among their eight key findings, the WEF recommends that schools foster exceptional creativity, innovation, and technology skills. Content should nurture innovation through complex problem-solving and analytical thinking, as well as the development of digital skills (including coding, digital responsibility, and use of technology).

Over the past few years, public funding for schools, and all areas, has been significantly scaled back. However, many schools still attempt to embrace and maintain pace with the ever-changing technological advancements; poor funding for schools makes this incredibly difficult. Not only do schools need to ensure they have current software and hardware, but they also need to ensure their teachers are well-trained to deliver essential computer science content.

Furthermore, we are currently navigating through a world that is experiencing the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ – sometimes called Industry 4.0; it is considered a blend of technologies, such as AI (artificial intelligence), gene editing and progressive robotics, which are obscuring the lines between the physical, digital and natural worlds. Every industry, in every country, will be affected by this new wave of technological advancements, creating new opportunities, but also challenges, for all. 

Encouraging your child to code (the foundation of computer science, AI and careers of the future) is an incredibly valuable, and arguably essential, endeavor. Not only will you be supporting your child in their learning at school, but you will also be supporting them to have access to a wider range of career opportunities in the future.

What are the goals for your child’s learning?

First and foremost, when searching for a coding tutor for your child, identify what your child is already learning at school in relation to computer science. Ascertaining these goals will either: allow a tutor to steer away from duplication of your child’s learning, or reinforce what your child is learning at school. Unfortunately, funding often interferes with a school’s ability to teach computer science to the degree it deserves. Despite poor funding, most schools still feature an ambitious computer science curriculum. In fact, in 2014, the UK was the first country to mandate the teaching of computer science to primary-aged children. Having recognised the importance of computer science skills for the future, many countries have followed suit to implement this into their own curricula. 

If your child attends school in the UK, the computer science curriculum for primary and secondary are readily available online. For children who attend school in the US, Canada, or other countries, it is best to ask your child’s school for their curriculum (or conduct a quick web search), as each state/province will have differing approaches to teaching computer science. 

You will also want to take into consideration your child’s interests and strengths regarding coding. Your child may be already quite adept at using certain coding languages over others; you may want to foster their existing strengths or encourage them to diversify their abilities by introducing different coding languages. 

In-person or online tutoring?

Given that the nature of coding is computer-based, finding a tutor presents two options: in-person or online. 

In-person tutoring will likely foster a better, more personal, working relationship between the tutor and your child. Body language and facial expressions will allow a tutor to readily identify if your child has grasped a concept, or still needs support to do so; these cues will also provide instant feedback for the tutor. Motivation will likewise be easier when a child is working one-on-one with a tutor. However, in-person tutoring will drastically reduce the pool of talent that can be drawn from, as you will be limited to who is available for tutoring based on physical geography. Furthermore, tutoring sessions will need a suitable location to take place, such as your own home, a coffee shop, a library, or the tutor’s own home. 

Online tutoring can offer a wealth of experience and qualifications to choose from, as a tutor can be based anywhere in the world. Moreover, given that there are no constraints due to physical geography, online tutoring can be more flexible with timings. However, there are drawbacks regarding online tutoring, such as the reliance on stable internet connections, as well as the inevitability of technical difficulties. In addition, children often learn better from in-person tuition, since working relationships are more difficult to nurture via a computer screen.

Where should I look for a tutor?

There are many ways that you can find a coding tutor for your child. A simple web search will provide a plethora of online tutors available for coding from around the world, allowing you to select from a wide variety of talent and experience. A web search, with location parameters included, will also provide coding tutors local to your area. You may also want to consider Facebook groups or recommendations from other parents who may have experience with locally-based coding tutors. 

Another resource to consider is your child’s school. Many teachers offer tutoring services outside of school hours. Teachers will already have the necessary safety checks, as well as knowledge of your child’s computer science curriculum. Furthermore, teachers from your child’s school will likely have some sort of relationship already with your child, allowing for more time to be focused on learning since a relationship already exists. Even if your child’s teacher doesn’t officially offer tutoring services, that doesn’t mean they won’t be open to discussing tutoring your child. Some teachers may offer to tutor your child before or after school, or even during the lunch hour, which would suit both their schedule and yours, while offering a convenient location. 

How do I select the correct tutor?

While it might seem like selecting a tutor based on experience and qualification might be the priority, it is actually most important to ensure the tutor has the suitability to work with children. Most tutors, who work with children, will advertise they possess (and they will readily provide) a criminal record check (US) or a DBS check (UK). Furthermore, tutors who regularly work with children will be open to discussing any safety concerns you may have. These concerns will also influence where your child’s tutoring will take place.

Following your confidence in the suitability of a tutor to work with your child from a safeguarding perspective, next you will need to consider the tutor’s experience and qualifications. While some tutors will possess academic qualifications (e.g. degrees from universities or colleges), some experts in computer coding are self-taught. These tutors should not be discounted, as some of them are the best in their field; consider their work experience too! In this case, ask for references from current/former employers.

If you have identified the goals for your child, based on their computer science curriculum, the tutor should be well-placed to confidently discuss which coding languages and platforms they would use, as well as their methods for teaching and assessing progress. 

How do I assess the quality of a tutor?

To ensure that you are matching the correct tutor to your child’s needs and learning style, it is recommended that you read reviews and testimonials about the tutor you are considering. These reviews will offer insight into the content the tutor can offer, their approach to teaching, ease of communication, and a whole host of other qualities. Keep in mind, that the more experience a tutor has, combined with multiple, glowing reviews will likely be reflected in the cost of the tuition services. 

If a tutor doesn’t have reviews because they’re new to tutoring, ask for some references from previous employers. A candidate, who is an expert in their field, may be branching out from previous work in coding into tutoring. It’s worth considering this type of tutor as their fees will be more affordable while the tutor develops their experience and builds up their client base. 

How do I know if the tutor will work well with my child?

Once you have found a suitable coding tutor, who fulfils all of the safety requirements and possesses the experience and knowledge you are looking for, it’s best to have a trial session – in person or online. A trial session will allow your child and the tutor to confirm whether will work well together. Primarily, your child will need to feel comfortable and enjoy the teaching style of the chosen coding tutor. For the trial session, it would be highly beneficial for you, as the parent, to sit in and observe the way the tutor interacts with your child, as well as their teaching methods. You will also be able to gauge your child’s level of comfort and how engaged they are with the tutor’s content.

Remember, not every tutor will be the perfect match, so be prepared to trial a few before finding the right one. However, you may also luck out and find a brilliant tutor (hopefully) right away! 

How can I ensure the tutor is teaching what I want my child to learn?

So you have finally found the right tutor for your child – yay! Since you will be paying for the tutoring service, you must now establish clear expectations and objectives for your child to learn. This will apply regardless of whether the tutoring is in person or online. 

If you feel you are knowledgeable enough to create your own learning objectives and expectations based on what you want your child to learn and/or based on your child’s computing curriculum, then create a list of objectives you want to be covered and provide these for the tutor. 

If you don’t feel you are knowledgeable in this area, have the tutor assess your child in one of the first sessions to see where your child’s gaps in learning are and where they should aim to progress. It would be also worthwhile to consult your child’s teacher to determine their current level of attainment in computer science. The school will likely be happy to provide what your child has previously been taught, allowing the tutor to revise previous content, as well as prepare for future learning. 

Consider doing further research on what you want your child to learn; many resources and blog posts detail important computer science principles that children should learn. You may even want to investigate a specific coding language.

How will I know if the sessions my child attends are worthwhile?

Throughout the tutoring that your child receives, it’s important to maintain open communication with the tutor. Since you are paying for the tutoring service, the tutor should expect to provide feedback for each session. The feedback can be something as simple as what your child covered during their session, any skills for them to practice between sessions, and what your child did well with (and conversely, what they needed support with).

Following a pre-determined number of sessions, it would be worth having the tutor re-assess your child against some of the learning objectives they have covered. This will provide evidence of what your child has learned, and what they have retained, as well as give insight into how you want your child to develop and progress. 

As a parent, particularly if you are not an expert in the field of computer science, it will be difficult to determine whether your child is making progress. That being said, your child’s computer science curriculum should give sufficient detail of what your child should be learning.

Another way to see how your child is progressing is by having them show off a small project that they have been working on. For instance, if your child is learning a specific coding language, why not have the tutor prepare a program/game for your child to code and have your child explain to you the process they went through to complete their outcome. Not only does this enable you to see a finished product, but allows your child to be celebrated for the learning they have achieved. 

Given that coding will be a significant part of future careers – careers that don’t even exist yet – it’s definitely an area of learning in which to support your child. Use our tips and tricks to find the perfect coding tutor for your child; you will be providing your child with opportunities to master skills that will be essential for their future.

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Meet the Teacher 2024_Brian Selke

Meet The Teacher: Brian Selke

Computer Immersion Instructional Coach | Redding, CA | Redding School District | Grades: 2nd – 8th Tell us a little bit about your

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