CHALLENGES OF TEACHING AND LEARNING COMPUTER PROGRAMMING IN A DEVELOPING COUNTRY: LESSONS FROM TANZANIA
Tumaini University (TANZANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Computer programming is a difficult course to teach and learn. It is even more difficult to novices in a developing country like Tanzania that is faced with additional challenges in the learning, socioeconomic and natural environment. In the learning environment there are factors such as pedagogical methods, poor facilities, lack of up to date books, inadequately trained personnel, poor learning styles, and educational background of the learners and the natural environment contributes factors such as limited and unstable electricity, cultural diversity, and socio-economic factors such as poor living conditions, low income, inability to acquire computers for home use and personal practices. The difficulties in the computer programming course are notably reflected in the general poor performance and the high failure rate.
This research focuses to investigate the reasons why this basic skill of learning to program is so difficult to acquire. The study used questionnaires, interview and observations to get data that is necessary in analysis and understanding of this trend of problem. The understanding will help the researcher in trying to adopt solutions that will help increase motivation, improve learning and performance.
The results indicates that the students are not motivated to learn programming due to the following reasons; computer in general is a new field of study in Tanzania therefore they have not seen many computer professionals and hence they fails to make a connection of the future career to the programming they are studying, there is a difficulty inherent in the language itself, the students usually apply learning styles that does not favor cognitive and meta-cognitive abilities; they put so much energy in rote memorization of codes but not in understanding the concepts, their educational background varies greatly, others are from government schools while others are from private schools, others have a foundation in arts while others in science studies
In conclusion therefore, the researcher says that computer programming is not as difficult as it is made to appear to be to the new students and beginners. If teaching methodologies, learning styles, facilities, and access to facilities are improved then students will be motivated to study programming with minimal problems. This research is also a way to help both the students and the lecturers to find out what works out best in the context of a developing country.
Keywords: Challenges, teaching, learning, computer programming, developing country, lessons, Tanzania.