Teaching Computer Science: Don’t Worry About Spelling and Grammar?

The following is part of the Code.org online curriculum, asking students to write a brief reflection on starting a computer science class.

Reflection prompt

That seems like an oddball thing to say in an educational context.

“Let’s talk about the instructions here for a minute,” I said to the class. “One: it doesn’t make sense to me to compartmentalize education like this. Like spelling and grammar are only important in an English class and this is not an English class so don’t worry about it.

“We’ll be taking a holistic view of education here. I hope you’ll learn some things about computer science but I hope you’ll learn some other things as well.

“On a practical note, you may find yourself competing for a job someday, and if it’s a good job, there are likely to be a lot of applicants.

“No one wants to read a large number of resumes, so the recruiter or the hiring manager will be looking for reasons to reject your resume without actually reading it, one obvious reason being bad spelling and grammar.

“Even if you’re applying for a technology job, no one is going to say, ‘Well, he or she is not an English major so I’ll make allowances for the bad spelling and grammar.’ Your resume is going in the trash, along with your job prospects.

“So where it says ‘Don’t worry about spelling and grammar,’ translate that in your mind to ‘Worry about spelling and grammar.'”

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