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C'est la Z

Hunter's CS Teacher Certification program Week 2

Time for some thoughts after week 2.

Since this is the inaugural edition of our program and there was no way to really know what the cohort would be like we've been adjusting on the fly. This was expected but we're finally starting to settle in. We're still finding more zoom heavy days but as we move towards the end of our data structures segment there should be fewer of those.

The cohort is progressing nicely. They're working hard - we've got some members who are former CS majors or otherwise came in with a strong CS background but many were relative beginners. They're all coming along. We have to remind them that some topics just take time. I've taught these subjects for years at Stuy but also at Hunter College and NYU and recursion just takes time. So do Linked Lists and dynamic data structures. It's typical for CS majors not to be really comfortable with them for a couple of years. I think I was near the end of my college days before I'd roll out a pointer based solution to a problem with the same comfort as with an array. So, the long and short is that they're doing great.

When we started, we tried to integrate a discussion of pedagogy with the CS but found that we were expecting too much as the CS was new to a large portion of the group. We decided instead to model assorted teaching techniques but keep the analysis and discussion mostly to the CS. Last Friday though we spent most of the morning looking back at the pedagogy. It was a rich discussion. We loved that many of the teachers commented on "when we modeled" one technique or another. We ended up spending a good amount of time talking about scaffolding and code skeletons, code reading and tracing, live coding and a bunch of others. What was also cool was that some of the techniques we modeled didn't come up in our discussion originally (we had to interject them) and some things we did unintentionally were also highlighted by the cohort.

It was a fun and productive morning.

Another thing that came out of the discussion was our use of technology but I'm saving that for another post.

Finally, I'm remembering that a month long summer intensive is, well, intensive. It's really draining. After Friday's session was done and JonAlf, Topher and I debriefed, I just crashed for the night and pretty much took Saturday off save making one video that we'll need on Monday. It's also hard on the students - 12 credits in one month.

That said, we're chugging along and they're doing great. More confident than ever that we're going to have a 21 new leaders in CS Ed in NY come the program's conclusion.

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