Python, transference of skills and beyond!


When I started my learning journey in Python ten months ago, I did it with reluctance and dread. Although I tend to take on learning challenges with zest and hope, something about learning Python kept my joy at bay.


However, as I thumbed through the 6 books, a multitude of videos and websites and the online
Tynker activities, my drive to learn it began to increase. Studying Python began to open up a whole
new world for me. Instead of thinking about it as a programming language, I began to imagine it as a
new way to speak, like a foreign language.



Like my passion to practice and speak Spanish, python's intricacies began to become synonymous
with the benefits of being bilingual. I began to see how this new language can help me understand the
context within the world around me, especially the world of computer science and technology.


A great example of this is was when I was prepping a lesson on power searching for an 8th-grade
history class. This lesson was not a new lesson, but as I was revamping an old lesson, a connection
happened. It suddenly dawned on me that the Boolean language that I've been using for many years in
my searches is derived from code. Code that I just learned while studying Python!


Boolean search is a type of search allowing users to combine keywords with operators (or modifiers) such as AND, NOT and OR to further produce more relevant results.”


Yes! I am sure some of you are surprised that I just realized this, but hear me out.


I knew that Boolean logic and code were connected, but I did not fully comprehend it. A bigger picture
and understanding suddenly opened up for me. It makes common sense and I almost feel silly for not
catching it earlier but as I hacked my way through the Python operators, I realize that I did not make
the same “transfer” or connection.


This new insight brought me to a bigger connection of another passion I have with teaching: skill-focused
teaching. One of the skills, in particular, teaching transfer skills to students is something I am very passionate
about.  


We expect our students to transfer skills between classes and concepts daily; to make connections to
the outside world, or apply what they learned in a new context.  But this is a large and complex skill that
requires knowing many aspects and it is a lot to expect from our students.


The intricacies and complexities involved with transfer skills are beyond a 13-year-old mind sometimes.
And expecting them to make connections without guidance is a lot to ask of them.


As I was working with strings and boolean conditional operators, I did not make the connection to Power
searching; however, while working with something that I knew and was familiar with, I connected it with
Python. It made me realize, how can I use my knowledge, understanding, and skills across subjects?


"How can I use my knowledge, understanding, and skills across subjects?"


Being able to inquire things in a different context can help a student gain various perspectives to their
world around them. It is what we strive for our students on a daily basis. But I feel to do this when you
are an adult it is often few and far between.


This "awakening" gave me a zest to 'really' learn Python. It is an amazing world out there. And when you
live in it and embrace the culture of a lifelong learner, your eagerness to take on new information
regardless of the struggles becomes greater.
As a lifelong learner, you embrace the difficult learning opportunities, in the hopes that you too will
encounter some of those new "a-ha moments" that you hope your students get in the classroom.
The things that seem so simple or the things that you probably have always known how to do, begin
to connect with other topics.

Learning new skills is hard, regardless of your age. In the beginning, I was apprehensive about
learning a new “language” but through persistence and pure stubborn determination,  I am beginning
to make some progress in Python. Hopefully, I will continue to find more connections with information
and experiences to the world but especially in how I can help my students learn better.

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