Teaching teachers to teach Python: what have I learned?

Friday, May 26

15:25 - 15:55
Audience levelBeginner
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Python code is a superb problem solving tool! Learning coding in school can help pupils tackle realistic problems earlier in a fun way. But this requires teachers that know code and how to use it effectively in the classroom. How can we help teachers with little coding experience reach this goal?


Coding has become a vital and enriching part of science. Consequently, more and more educational institutions recognize that science education should not just be about writing down equations by hand and memorizing formulas but also about algorithmic thinking, numerical strategies and data analysis. In some places, like Norway, programming has even entered the national curriculum, and teachers are tasked with using Python code in the classroom.

However, for the teachers that need to learn a whole new skill and fit coding into their already jam-packed lesson plans, this can feel like an overwhelming nightmare. Therefore, they need courses that both teach introductory Python and how to use it in an engaging way. When creating such courses, how do we demonstrate that Python is a powerful tool for solving curriculum-relevant mathematics problems without overlooking the boundless potential of code as an instrument for creative and joyful exploration?

I don’t have all the answers, but after working five years as an educator, developing and teaching courses for grade school, middle school and high school teachers, I have learned some lessons. In this talk, I want to share my experience, discuss the biggest challenges I have encountered, and give some helpful tips about teaching Python to beginners.

I will cover:

  • Communicating the entire journey of coding, not just the finished code
  • Teaching the skill of “talking code” not just writing code
  • Getting beginners started early with fun and engaging problems despite little or no coding experience

This talk is for anyone interested in spreading the joy of Python both inside and outside the classroom!

TagsCommunication, Education, Teaching
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Marie Roald

Marie works as a PhD student and educator. For the past years, she has developed and taught Python programming courses with the goal of empowering teachers to apply programming in their classrooms and has taught courses both digitally and physically at major cities all across Norway.