Pacing | #2

There’s a problem that I’ve been dealing with ever since I started teaching groups of kids in highschool: What to do about the slowest student in the room? Sometimes it’s behavioral problems: disinterest, rebellious attitude, etc. Other times they’re not intentionally working against you, but there’s some other issue that slows down their pace (autism, very slow typing, missing fingers, ADHD). In any class there always seems to be at least one student who is significantly behind the rest. I can’t split the class into multiple sections, my assistants aren’t programmers and don’t have much more experience with the tasks than the students. They also randomly rotate out each week so they can’t accumulate any experience in the class either. Even if I could, splitting a class into the “slow” and “fast” learners is problematic because the kids will know that they’ve been split up for exactly that reason and even if they were well-behaved before they would likely rebel (not to mention their parents if they ever catch wind of it). The only way I’ve dealt with it thus far is to just give the instructions for the next step and then go over and help the slower students, but even with this I’ve found that if I hover too much;or even just make it too obvious that I deliberately check their progress more often than the other students; I just end up alienating them and causing even worse problems farther down the line. My most recent attempt has been to stack up a bunch of little inessential add-ons as a sort of side task for anyone who finishes coding early, but it still sort of runs into the same problem that comes with splitting the class. Parents will still come into class, check on their child’s progress, and see that their child has far less on their computer than their neighbor and it’s not an easy thing to explain to them why. This is likely an issue that’s plagued every teacher since the history of forever, but it’s no less frustrating to deal with now.

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