According to the Collins English dictionary, communication skills are “the ability to convey information and ideas effectively”.1
This ability to communicate well is an essential life skill in the 21st century for children, and the better they are at it, the better their quality of life will be.
The Importance of Communication Skills
Communication skills are necessary in every aspect of life, including academics, sports, career, and other activities. As parents and educators, we must realize the importance of communication skills in children’s developmental phase, and help them gain this key skill in various ways.
One such way through which we can help improve our children’s communication skills is through coding. In this article, we will look at how learning to code can help improve communication. Before that, let’s understand what coding is and how it relates to communication skills.
According to Oxford Languages, coding is “the process or activity of writing computer programs.”2 In simpler terms, coding is the means of communicating with the computer using a language that the computer understands in order to give instructions for it to perform specific tasks and functions.
While coding enhances many other skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, perseverance, and resilience, it also helps in language development, improved communication, and better expression of ideas in children.
So, how does coding help children communicate better?
1. Children Learn a New Language
In light of the above-said things, it’s clear that coding is a language, and learning any language will help with overall communication. When kids learn to code, they practice this new language and learn to communicate their ideas with the computer.
So, just as learning any foreign or new language can help children understand the grammar and nuances of their own language and the languages they use to communicate better, coding can help them recognize and organize their ideas and thought patterns and communicate more effectively.
As children learn to code, they have to ideate, understand the problem, look for viable solutions, and so on. Each of these steps involves communication.
According to psychologist Janet Siegmund and her colleagues, who studied brain activity in programmers, programming had more to do with language than mathematics.3
2. Children Learn Logical Communication
Coding problems must be broken down into smaller parts for children to understand the problem and arrive at a solution, and this requires both logical reasoning and effective communication.
Like human interaction, coding as a language also has its own set of rules, which helps children recognize patterns in logical statements. When children communicate with computers through code, they must consider what they are trying to say, think of the simplest, clearest way to express that, then organize and execute the codes.
3. Children Learn Creative Self-expression
While coding involves logical thinking, it also involves a lot of creativity because it is a creative process that allows children to express their thoughts and ideas.
This creative self-expression is an important component in the development of good communication skills.
4. Children Practice Real-life Communication
While children learn to code together, they go to each other for review, to interpret problems, sort errors, etc. So, coding is not a one-person activity, and it involves communicating with other people as well as the computer.
As programming is a collaborative process and involves teamwork, children will have to communicate their thoughts and ideas clearly with their peers and teachers to be on the same page while trying to resolve doubts and solve problems.
As stated by Beth Austin, “Coding is a universal language. It breaks barriers in cultures and allows the students to interact with one another in a common area.”4
Communication skills are necessary both in personal life and in workplace interactions. Having good communication skills has always been essential and will remain so in the future. While learning to code can be an exciting endeavor in itself, it is also very educational in terms of assisting children in developing essential soft skills such as communication.
At BYJU’S FutureSchool, we have many more interesting topics on coding that you might want to explore.
- Communication skills definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/communication-skills
- The Oxford English Dictionary | Oxford Languages. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://languages.oup.com/research/oxford-english-dictionary/
- 3 Ways Coding Enhances Communication Skills | Tynker Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://www.tynker.com/blog/articles/ideas-and-tips/3-ways-coding-enhances-communication-skills/
- Tynker Teacher Feature: 5 Observations from Educator Beth Austin! | Tynker Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://www.tynker.com/blog/articles/success-stories/tynker-teacher-feature-5-observations-from-educator-beth-austin/