3 Ways Coding Enhances Communication Skills

3 Ways Coding Enhances Communication Skills

3 Ways Coding Enhances Communication Skills

Communication is the focus of the third (and final) installment of our “soft skills” series. The connections between coding, language, and writing help kids learn to express their ideas clearly, a great skill to develop for school and beyond. We took a look at exactly how kids build communication skills when they learn to code.

1. They use logical communication

The process of breaking down problems into communicable parts is a skill that translates to interactions with people, too. When communicating with computers through coding, kids must first carefully consider what needs to be expressed, brainstorm the clearest way to say it, then carefully execute with well organized, intuitive code. Computers can’t fill in any gaps – they need everything spelled out quite literally.

Logical communication is helpful when communicating with people in personal or business settings; it allows us to convey our points concisely and accurately. Effective communication is one of the most important skills anyone can have, and coding can help get kids there.

Communicating through code doesn’t begin and end with the literal act of coding. As eloquently stated by Beth Austin, a Blue Ribbon educator who works in an ESL classroom, “Coding is a universal language. It breaks barriers in cultures and allows the students to interact with one another in a common area.” In her classroom, coding is a collaborative endeavor and a way for kids to share their different ideas using the same platform.

2. They learn a new language

Programming and communication through language are closely related – enough that Florida has pushed to consider coding a foreign language in public schools. Classifying coding as a new language is an interesting approach to consider!

Just as learning a foreign language helps kids better understand the grammar of their native tongue, programming helps them recognize and organize communication and thought patterns. In fact, psychologist Janet Siegmund and her colleagues studied brain activity in programmers, finding that programming had more to do with language than mathematics.

Because computers are so literal, programming requires that kids think carefully about what, why, and how they communicate. In doing so, they become more deliberate in their communication.

3. They improve their writing

It’s not a new idea that coding develops writing skills – there are dozens of articles (including one on our blog) about how learning to code makes kids better writers. Coding encourages them to organize and synthesize information in order to produce something, a skill that is also the basis of good writing.

When writing code, kids must express complex ideas in the simplest way. Great writers do the same! In fact, there is a correlation between concise writing and programming. 

With kids, the biggest challenge can be engaging them in a way that makes learning enjoyable. Coding gives kids a fun, motivating way to learn the skills that create successful programmers and writers alike.

Looking to the Future

Communication skills are a necessary part of life – and because these skills are required both in the workplace and in personal interactions, their relevance won’t dwindle in the future. Learning to code can be an exciting, educational way for kids to develop their communication skills – from learning to improve verbal and written communication to gaining a better understanding of conversation structure.

Parents and educators – when you encourage your children or students to code, you are providing a way for them to gain not only technical skills, but life skills as well. Thank you for giving the kids in your life the gift of learning to code and the opportunity to develop the skills that accompany it!

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