Novice Students and Computer Programming: Toward Constructivist Pedagogy


  • Jacqui Chetty
  • Glenda Barlow-Jones


In order to develop computer programmings skills: critical thought, problem solving, attention to detail, accuracy and abstract thinking are required. Unfortunately, many novice students at universities within South Africa have not developed such skills in their formative years. This is often due to the fact that many of them have been part of a schooling system that does not teach students how to think critically or how to solve problems. Consequently, they find it difficult to acquire these skills at a post-secondary level and they are often at risk of failing computer programming modules. Furthermore, traditional pedagogies used at post-secondary level often do not provide an opportunity for students to develop the skills needed to write programs. Such pedagogies are often teacher-centric, which do not encourage students to develop critical thinking. This paper aims to demonstrate that adopting an alternative pedagogy, namely social constructivism, can assist students in cultivating the skills needed for computer programming. The pedagogy was applied only to students who were at risk of failing a computer programming module. It encouraged a student-centred environment, where active learning, student collaboration and metacognition were promoted. The data clearly indicates that adopting such pedagogy provides an opportunity for students to improve their computer programing skills.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n14p240


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How to Cite

Chetty, J., & Barlow-Jones, G. (2014). Novice Students and Computer Programming: Toward Constructivist Pedagogy. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(14), 240. Retrieved from