Today, we meet Evan, one of our educators at Coding Lab! Since he was in secondary school, Evan has honed his expertise in coding. He is patient, focused and loving, constantly encouraging his students and shining a spotlight on them. Like all our educators, he finds purpose and passion in teaching coding to children.
Hi Evan, could you share a bit about yourself and how you embarked on your coding journey?
In secondary school, I had to select an elective, and that was when I found out that I could take up Computing as a GCE O-Level subject. I gave it a shot, and that was when I discovered that it was so interesting to learn about technology and the different things that I could create.
This led me to choose a related course in polytechnic, which then led to my posting at the Ministry of Home Affairs for my National Service. I was tasked with creating different technological solutions for people in different Home Team departments, and I was fascinated at how technology could benefit people in so many various ways. Hence, I decided to major in Business Information Systems in university to learn even more about technology – and it is ever-changing, so I am still always learning!
What inspired you to teach coding?
While I was doing my internship in my polytechnic days and serving my National Service, I realised that a lot of people were still handling typical work tasks manually in very traditional methods when automation could easily be performed to make it more efficient. Many people still do not know about it and think of coding as something that is very complicated, something that can only be done by programmers. This inspired me to share my knowledge with others to help them understand that coding isn’t something that is complicated, and that anyone can learn to code.
I then chanced upon an opportunity to teach at Coding Lab in November 2018, and I thought, why not? Seeing my students come in with no knowledge of coding in their first lesson and watching them grow as they start to passionately show me what they have coded at home brought me immense joy.
From there, I discovered my own passion for teaching. I decided to continue my journey with Coding Lab as an Adjunct Educator throughout my education and upon graduation, where I can continue doing what I love.
“It’s great seeing them grow from making minor errors in codes to creating big projects on their own without much help!”
Why is it important that children learn how to code?
In today’s digital age, technology is an integral part of most of our lives. Coding allows us to train our computational thinking skills, applying it to areas like math, improving logical thinking and problem-solving for creative solutions. Even if students do not become programmers in the future, it would still be beneficial to learn to code. These computational thinking skills can be applied in school and in their daily lives as well. Today, it’s great that more parents and students are witnessing the digital transformation in our world and are valuing the importance of learning to code too.
What motivates you to keep teaching?
One of my favourite moments that keep me going would be seeing my students grasp the concepts taught in class and they are then able to apply them on their own. There is no one answer when it comes to coding and it’s always interesting to see how they independently code with their new knowledge. Some of them can get really creative and have unique ideas of their own!
What is your most memorable class experience thus far?
My most memorable class experience would be seeing some of my Python 1 students advancing on to Python 2 and 3, and eventually to our Advanced Application and Electives programme. It’s great seeing them grow from making minor errors in codes to creating big projects on their own without much help!
In particular, I used to teach a few students in my Python Perfect classes who were initially not that strong in their Python coding. Through their lessons, they slowly made improvements, and gradually grew their interest in coding. Some have progressed to the more advanced courses, and even taking the initiative to create their own personal projects at home!
What advice would you give other teachers on how to manage a class?
Keep calm and cope with the situation! Often different situations could arise in classes, so it’s important to observe the students and adapt accordingly.
Thank you, Evan, for taking the time to share your experiences with us. We know you will continue to care for and inspire our future leaders in technology, both as their teacher and role model!
(Written by Amanda Soh)
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