Learning to code…or not.

There has been a recent trend in education that I think is worth note.  It’s the idea that every young person should learn to write computer code.

The reason for this idea is that young people shouldn’t just be consumers of the culture and media they consume, but that they should also be producers of it.  And the best way to produce that which they consume is to learn coding.

I have no objection to the idea that people should learn to produce what they consume.  My objection is that the way to do that is necessarily by learning to code.  Now if you want to learn code, I totally encourage you to do that.  But the assumption that things requiring programming are the only, or most important, things in life, is incorrect.

Do you eat? Then you should learn to cook.  Do you wear clothing? Then you should learn to sew.  Do you bathe? Then you should learn to make soap. Do you watch television? Then you should learn production and filming.  Do you read? Then you should learn good writing.  And so on.  Of course no one can do all these things perfectly, so you should really figure out your area of interest and work on that.  Anything you can do to produce what you consume makes you more aware of the collective effort it takes to give you your lifestyle.

Personally, I knit, crochet, and sew some of my own clothes.  I make some of my own jewelry.  I make some of my own cleaning and beauty supplies.  I make some of my own decor items.  I cook, bake, can, and ferment.  I’ve dabbled in gardening and foraging.  I can weave (a little) and spin (even less).  And  of course, I create visual art.  So, I’m fairly confident that I can, in fact, produce at least some of what I consume.  And all without writing a single line of code.