One thing it doesn’t mean, or it really shouldn’t mean, is that we replace any existing teachers with engineers or computer science specialists. "Learning how to code is certainly not an easy task, but it pales in comparison to learning how to teach," says Adam Enbar, cofounder of the Flatiron School, a coding academy in New York.
Indeed, it doesn’t matter how well you know your way around a line of code if you can’t impart that information clearly to a pupil, a lesson Gina Sipley, a former English and social studies teacher, experienced firsthand when she herself was learning to code through a General Assembly course. "The teacher we had was a brilliant programmer, that was clear, but had never taught before," she explains. "So as the course went on, people sought out the teachers in the room and said, ‘This doesn’t make sense. How would you present the information?’ I don’t have a deep content knowledge at all, but I know how people learn best and how to structure lessons so people are going to get the most out of it."
So, what’s the smartest, most effective way to go about teaching our 3.1 million existing public school teachers to code, so they’re prepared to teach our students?