3 Ways Coding Enhances Communication Skills
Communication is the focus of the third (and final) installment in our “soft skills” series. The connections and similarities 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 Communicate with Computers – and People
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, one must carefully consider first 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 one to convey their 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 was a collaborative endeavor and became a way for kids to share all 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. Many disagree with this approach, but it is an objectively interesting point to consider.
Just as learning a foreign language helps one understand more about the grammar of their native language, programming helps one recognize and reorganize communication and patterns of thought. 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, learning a programming language can help one become more deliberate about communication. Communicating with computers forces one to think carefully about what, why, and how they communicate.
3. They Boost Their Writing Skills
It’s not a new idea that coding improves writing skills – there are dozens of articles (including one on our blog) about how learning coding makes you a better writer. The main arguments center around the way the way coding encourages one to synthesize information and produce something.
For example, this article notes the correlation between concise writing and writing code. When writing code, one must express complex ideas in the simplest way – great writers do the same.
This ability to organize and synthesize is a very valuable skill when writing. Coding can improve your child’s writing skills by giving them a fun, motivating way to learn the skills that constitute successful programmers and writers alike.
Looking to the Future
Communication skills always are (and always will be) necessary. Their relevancy won’t dwindle in the future; these skills are required both in the workplace and in personal interactions.
These skills have endless applications, and learning to code can be an exciting, educational way for kids to subconsciously better their communication. Whether kids improve their verbal and written communication or gain a better understanding of conversation structure as a result, coding is an exceptional way to learn these skills.
Parents and educators – when you encourage your children or students to code, you are providing a way for them to gain not only palpable 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!