Congratulations, your child is taking a course with Tekkie Uni!
Now what? Parents often don’t know what to expect when their child takes their first course with Tekkie Uni. After all, our program isn’t like many other after school activities; it’s an online class that runs twice a week for nine months. We often get questions from parents about their role in the learning process; how they can support their children during class, and if some things — like finding their child walking around the room instead of sitting at the computer during the lesson — are normal. (Spoiler: it is.)
So, what do you need to know about supporting your kids as they take their first Tekkie Uni course? In this blog post, we have put together some of the most frequently asked questions. The following guide will give you an idea of what to expect and how to help your child as they enter the exciting world of coding with us.
How to support your child before class starts
Your child’s journey with Tekkie Uni starts well before the first session. Here’s how you can help your child get ready for their first Tekkie Uni class.
Let your child choose their class. We want motivated students. Nothing motivates a kid more than picking what they’ll be studying for the next few months. So, no matter what you think your child will like, try not to direct them too much when it comes to choosing a class. Let them pick out a course based on their interests.
Understand your own expectations. It’s so tempting to think of your child going into a tech career when they take a coding class. However, it’s important to understand that not every kid who takes a coding course is destined to become a programmer. At Tekkie Uni, we believe it’s important for kids to understand coding so they can become digitally literate. Think of it like this: not every kid who participates in sports will play professionally, but they’ll grow up understanding the game. It’s the same with coding. Our world is filled with technology; by learning to code, kids become better able to understand the technology they use every day, even if they never write a piece of software.
When (and when not) to sit with your child during class
Maybe this is your child’s first online class, or even their first class outside of school. As such, you may have some questions about how you should be participating. Should you be in the room? Should you leave your child to their own devices? Both are good questions.
Our recommendations are, for the most part, age-based:
For children aged 8-12: We suggest that if your child is young, sit with them during the first 2 or 3 sessions. (Don’t worry. The camera is off. We can’t see you!) The reason we want parents to be present for the first couple of classes, is just to make sure things go smoothly at your end: you can help your child understand how to participate, give them confidence because they know you’re nearby, and — if there’s a technical problem — you can call Customer Support. After the first three sessions, you’re free to go. We’ll take it from there.
For children aged 13-17: When your child is older, we ask that you let them be responsible for coming to class by themselves from the very beginning. We ask parents of older kids not to sit with their children, not to tell them to go to class, or remind them to work on their projects. You probably don’t like having to bother your kid about all these things; nagging makes class a burden for both you and your child. We don’t want that. It’s your kid’s job to remember to come to class and it’s our job to get them interested enough in the subject matter that they will want to be on time for class. And just so you know, we do want you to be involved in your kid’s Tekkie Uni education — but only for the fun stuff.
Open Classes: Open classes are the exception to the rule! Tekkie Uni offers two one-hour classes a week. In the first class, the teacher has a lesson plan and students learn new material and do exercises. The second class is more of a Q&A; students come and ask questions about their projects and programming in general. The good news is that Open Classes aren’t just for kids! You’re welcome to come and ask questions as well and to see how your child and the teacher interact.
How to support your child during their course
Although we want your child to be responsible for their own learning and attendance, there are plenty of ways you can get involved and help them learn.
Let them play with their phone during class. (Yes, really.) You may see that your child isn’t paying attention during class. They may get up and wander around. They may play with their phone or fidget. That’s common with our students at Tekkie Uni, so please don’t feel any pressure to tell your child to sit down and pay attention to the teacher. Some children simply concentrate better if they’re drawing, pacing, or fidgeting. Our class environment makes it okay for students to do these things; the webcam isn’t on. If your child is up and moving around, they’re not distracting their classmates.
Ask your child about class! Show an interest in how class is going and after class, ask what your child is learning and how they like the class. We want parents to be less like enforcers (“Did you do your homework?”) and more like peers (“Tell me about what you’re learning!”). Kids are often excited to share their interests with their families, so if you show interest, they are likely to feel encouraged… even if you don’t get enthusiastic answers at first.
Encourage kids to participate in class. After class, when you’re talking to your child, encourage them to speak up and talk to the teacher — especially if they’re confused about something, or shy. Learning with their peers is important, so it’s crucial that your child participates in class. Our model makes it easy for shy children to participate. They can send a chat to the whole class, or just to the teacher or another student, if they don’t feel comfortable using the microphone.
Understand that sometimes coding doesn’t look like coding. Sometimes, your child’s assignment will simply be to sit and think about how to solve a problem. This is important, because periods of reflection help build problem-solving skills. So if your child is just sitting alone, not doing anything, they may just be doing their homework.
Don’t be afraid to speak to the teacher. If you have any concerns whatsoever, please email your child’s teacher. We have small classes, so the teacher knows your child well and also knows what is challenging for your child. Teachers will also send periodic emails to update parents. Some classes also offer a parent-teacher meeting after the third class so you can learn more about what your child will be learning.
Don’t be afraid to contact Tekkie Uni. If anything made your child feel uncomfortable in class, please let Tekkie Uni know immediately, so we can address the problem.