For three years, Bandits have gone rogue by initiating their own acts of kindness, independent of the Bandit Tour for Good. They help us increase the impact of the Bandit Tour by traveling to schools across BC and teaching kids to code. This year, the Bandits Gone Rogue stopped in Crofton and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island to work with eight elementary school classes. Our original Bandit Gone Rogue, Caitlin Tuba, was joined by Braden Ford, Brittany Neale, and Rosie Nathoo.
Simply teaching kids to code wasn’t the primary learning outcome of the half day workshops. “Programming isn’t important because it’s always changing,” explains Caitlin. “Being able to think through a problem and try multiple solutions before getting something to work properly is what’s really important.”
These workshops help students take on a growth mindset and teach them that coding, like many other skills, can be strengthened through practice. It’s not just something you’re born with. This mindset helps children understand that things (in this case, code) won’t always work perfectly the first time and that it’s good to keep trying different solutions. Yes, they may get frustrated and that’s okay, as long they keep trying. By asking “what do you think might work?” the Bandits enabled the kids to come up with their own creative solutions.
The classroom sessions also helped the Bandits develop new skills. Braden explains that he learned how to convey abstract topics in new ways. “We had to ensure that we were keeping the students involved, engaged and participating throughout the entire lesson,” says Braden. But it wasn’t all tough work. “In some ways, I found it easier to explain programming concepts to 10-year-olds than some of my friends who are almost 30.”
While there were a lot of highlights from Bandit Gone Rogue, there were a few moments that stood above the rest. Braden shared the story of one young girl who asked all the right questions. She helped her classmates understand tricky concepts and put together an awesome project.
After the lesson, Braden and Brittany were approached by the teacher who was overjoyed to see this girl taking such a strong interest in coding. “We didn’t know, but the student has autism and difficulty in a traditional classroom setting,” explains Braden. “She only participates in class when she’s presented with something she’s comfortable with. On that day, that thing was coding. We were so excited to see her take everything she had learned and run with it.”
After a few days on the road, these Bandits came home with plenty of stories and a new appreciation for what teachers do every day. “Teaching is tough work,” says Caitlin. “I only taught for two days, but I’ve never slept as well as I did when I got home.”
The Bandits are home for now, but we’re sure they’ll be going rogue again next year to help more kids learn critical thinking and problem solving skills through code.