Computer science education as a cultural encounter: A socio-cultural framework for articulating teaching difficulties

Yifat Ben-David Kolikant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study demonstrates the power of the cultural encounter metaphor in explaining learning and teaching difficulties, using as an example computer science education (CSE). CSE is envisioned as an encounter between veterans of two computer-oriented cultures, that of the teachers and that of the students. Forty questionnaires administered to CS teachers, as well as in-depth interviews with four leading CS teachers, revealed those teachers perceived their students as having a different perspective on the domain, on what constitutes a beneficial approach to problem-solving and on the nature of satisfactory solutions. In fact, the teachers portrayed their teaching as a continual battle in which their success is limited. Yet, their instruction was characterized as a composite of enforcement and compromise, with few and isolated attempts at building on students' cultural capital. The cultural encounter metaphor, while still viewing students as novices to the professional CS culture represented by their teachers, emphasizes that good teaching requires building upon students' cultural capital to create zones of fertile cultural encounter.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)543-559
Number of pages17
JournalInstructional Science
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Keywords

  • Computer science education
  • Cultural encounter
  • Students' cultural capital
  • Teaching difficulties

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