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This time, we have this question. I'll save you the trouble of clicking the link and tell you that the question is about teaching parents what code is.

The question is not like others we have had here. It is not the classical teacher (or student) asking for analogies or designing a curriculum. This question deals with teaching one's parents the basics of a CS course (to answer the parents' question "what is coding?").

Is this considered in the site's scope?

Is teaching these things to one's parents considered to being in the fields of computer science education?

EDIT: After some thought, I'll refine this refinement question. The linked question is asking about teaching cs, without any purpose or intention for the students (in this case, parents) to do any coding or programming themselves. That's how this is different (Yes! I finally managed to put it into words).

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    $\begingroup$ Ram Dass said: "If you think you are enlightened, go spend a weekend with your parents." $\endgroup$ – user737 Jun 29 '17 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ @nocomprende This is the most incredible coincidence ever; I read that quote last night XD $\endgroup$ – ItamarG3 Jun 29 '17 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ Glad to be of service. Coincidences, 50% off today. $\endgroup$ – user737 Jun 29 '17 at 13:48
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Teaching about the field of computer science is also a part of teaching computer science, so I have no problem with it. It is also not that dissimilar from this question, so I think that we've already demonstrated some community acceptance of this kind of coverage on the site.

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  • $\begingroup$ So you're saying that anything that goes by "teaching a group, myself or anyone" is in the site's scope? So where would we draw the line? I ask this because this is a new type of question. $\endgroup$ – ItamarG3 Jun 20 '17 at 14:31
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    $\begingroup$ I would hold that anyone teaching computer science is a computer science teacher. I don't care if the duration of time of teaching is short, or whether or not they are paid to do it. If it's about teaching computer science, I would consider it in bounds. $\endgroup$ – Ben I. Jun 20 '17 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ Ok. I see what you mean. There was that question about the history of CS. That is teaching about CS, but I think the close reason was off topic. I guess we'll wait and see to what the question and its potential answers develop. $\endgroup$ – ItamarG3 Jun 20 '17 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ I think the instinct at that time was that history for its own sake is not really CS at all, even if it is the history of CS. Using CS history as a way to get at current CS ideas (such as why Java enforces certain norms, etc) would be fine, though. $\endgroup$ – Ben I. Jun 20 '17 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ We don't need no stinkin' boat history. $\endgroup$ – user737 Jun 29 '17 at 13:40
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Teachers and administrators frequently have to explain to parents exactly what it is they're teaching or want to teach and in some cases are forced to justify their in class choices to parents. Likewise I know plenty of students who've had to explain to parents what it is I was teaching so that the parents saw it of equal or greater value than alternatives (why take my advanced course instead of AP Chem).

So, answers to a question such as this could be very useful to CS teachers.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's a very good point. Thanks $\endgroup$ – ItamarG3 Jun 20 '17 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ My parents stubbornly wanted me to go in to Electrical Engineering instead of CS. The reason? EE was around when they grew up, so they had some concept what it was. CS was not. I never much talked with them about what I did for a living, and now they are dead and I am no longer a programmer, but I teach programming. I have to communicate with prospective students about what they are getting themselves in to: one of the must infuriating and frustrating things it is possible for a human being to get paid to do. Low tolerance for frustration? Try something else. $\endgroup$ – user737 Jun 29 '17 at 13:43
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Teaching the purpose/value of CS is fundamental to getting more parents to appreciate the value of a CS background. That is an important step to getting the right students involved in CS early (and in improving diversity). So although the context of the quoted question is a little off (student to parent), the question of normalising CS so everyone understands it's a normal, modern skilled profession is very much on topic.

Not many parents are likely to ask what a lawyer does, but that's just as complicated as asking what a programmer does.

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The question goes beyond parents. Some people here teach short courses, often to adults in, say, the local library. The techniques needed may be different from those of teaching a typical class in secondary or undergraduate.

So, I'd say yes to scope, but rephrased to elicit the pedagogy that works.

Of course parents are a bit different since you have an emotional link to them. That makes it harder. The hardest person to teach, imo, is someone you love. Maybe not true for everyone, but I've found it hard to separate the emotion from the job. One issue is that if they "don't get it" and you think they should - that it should be easy, bad things can happen to the relationship. That isn't likely true for adult ed classes at the library, but an alternative for your parents is to have a colleague fill in for you with your parents if you find it to be an issue.

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  • $\begingroup$ yeah the question is slightly obsolete, since the introduction of layperson $\endgroup$ – ItamarG3 Jul 3 '17 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ Whoa. Didn't look at the dates, It was HotMeta that brought me here. $\endgroup$ – Buffy Jul 3 '17 at 18:09

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