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Learning and Teaching J

This article "Teaching Other Teachers How to Teach CS Better" outlines what the author looks for as best practices supported by research on teaching and learning. A summary of these:

I read computer science teaching records actively looking for evidence of seeking and using research-based teaching practices.

  • Any mention of peer instruction, POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry learning), or even "think-pair-share" counts as active learning for me. I'm looking for activities that engage all students (not just those who volunteer) in reflection and collaboration.
  • Use of live coding in class is a good sign. Asking students to make predictions before executing code is a great sign.
  • Talking about research-based measures of student success and retention, like self-efficacy, belonging, and intent-to-persist tells me that this is a researcher who is keeping themselves informed about what matters in CS education.
  • I appreciate teachers who recognize how computing education can go wrong, and offer ways to avoid that. Computing classes often have a defensive climate (, and students get messages that they don't belong ( I look for practices that aim to increase student's sense of belonging, such as strategies for preventing "show-off" questions in class. Sometimes, it's the student letters that say things like, "Teacher X asks us a question, and if we don't get it right, explains it over again." Use of formative evaluation is a huge positive indicator. (Formative evaluation is hot in the research literature, with a new paper on formative assessment in K-12 CS ( at SIGCSE 2021 and a new paper in the Computer Science Education journal on effective design of formative feedback (
  • Talking about building tools for students and talking about evaluating them (especially noting what did not work) is another huge positive mark for me. While that might not be using a research-based teaching method, that's treating teaching innovation as action research ( (Any publications in education conferences or journals is similarly a big sign for me in a positive direction.)
  • Citing any papers from ACM SIGCSE conferences or from IEEE RESPECT is an automatic indicator to me of a teacher who looks for better practices and, particularly for RESPECT, is striving to broaden participation in computing.
  • While it's very rare, I like to see teachers in undergraduate courses adapting practices drawn from K-12 CS. I learn a lot of tips and tricks from AP CS A teachers and from my daughter, a 9th grade science teacher. Adaptation from K-12 tells me that the teacher is seeking good practices, and is willing to innovate in their teaching.