“A new educational institution, the coding boot camp, is quietly emerging as the vocational school for the digital age, devoted to creating software developers.These boot camps reflect the start-up ethic: small for-profit enterprises that are fast (classes are two to four months), nimble (revising curriculum to meet industry needs) and unconcerned with SAT scores or diplomas. Most are expensive, but some accept a share of the graduates’ first-year earnings or a finder’s fee from employers as payment.” T. Lewin, NYT
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.
Excerpt: Web-Era Trade Schools, Feeding a Need for Code By Tamar Lewin, The NewYork Times
“Most important, at a time when so many young people are underemployed, most graduates, especially those from highly selective boot camps, quickly find well-paying jobs. In a recent survey of 48 boot camps, Course Report, an online boot camp directory, found that three-quarters of graduates were employed, with raises averaging 44 percent from their pre-boot camp pay and an average salary of $76,000.
Enrolling 20 to 40 students at a time, many boot camps have venture capital backing; in May, Dev Bootcamp, which started here and expanded to New York and Chicago, was bought by Kaplan, the educational services company…On one recent evening at Dev Bootcamp, where class officially ended at 6 p.m. and faculty members were long gone, a sixth-floor classroom was still humming at 9, filled with students sitting in pairs, working on their projects…Most boot camps charge $1,000 a week or more, and attract a mix of career changers — lawyers, consultants, artists — and students who left college to learn to code, looking for a fast track to a well-paying career…
The schools’ revenue models differ substantially. App Academy, in San Francisco and New York, charges no tuition, but takes 18 percent of graduates’ first-year salaries, with a $5,000 discount for those who take a job with a partner employer. At the Flatiron School, in New York, tuition is $12,000, with a $4,000 refund for students who take a job with a partner employer. (Employers are also asked to pay the school 15 percent of the students’ first-year salaries.) Many schools offer discounts for women and minorities. Some accept fewer than 10 percent of applicants, culled through Skype interviews and coding exercises. The most selective boot camps claim job-placement rates of nearly 100 percent and average salaries of $85,000 to $100,000 (lower in New York than in San Francisco).”
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a
topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.
Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about coding classes. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.
II. While Reading Tasks
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- In a recent survey of 48 boot camps, it was found that three-quarters of graduates were employed.
- Many boot camps have venture capital backing.
- The rise of boot camps over the past two years is challenging assumptions about higher education.
- Many smart and highly motivated people enter boot camps.
- In the old industrial economy such training took place on the job.
- The schools’ revenue models differ substantially.
- At the Flatiron School, in New York, tuition is $12,000.
- At some point, the market will be saturated for skilled programmers .
- Dev Bootcamp’s students must spend nine weeks mastering fundamentals.
- Some skeptics say a few weeks at boot camp is not enough to produce a functioning developer.
Directions: Review the following statements from the reading. If a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they mark it F and provide the correct answer.
- The boot camps are creating software for computers.
- Most graduates find it hard to find well-paying jobs.
- Many boot camps are enrolling 200 to 400 students at a time.
- Many camps have venture capital backing.
- Dev Bootcamp was bought by the educational services company KNEWTON.
- The article describes for-profit colleges as expensive dropout factories.
- Working 10 hours a day, boot camp students cover a semester’s worth of material in seven days.
- The most selective boot camps claim job-placement rates of nearly 100 percent.
- There is a low demand for skilled programmers now.
- Many schools offer discounts for women and minorities.
Structure and Usage
Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
Selective boot camps, quickly find well-paying jobs.
Many boot camp have venture capital backing.
Most coding boot camps attract people interested in making a career change.
It’s so exciting to be able to build your own app.
Most boot camp charge $1,000 a week or more.
The schools’ revenue models differ substantially.
It’s a more engaging way to learn.
Some boot camps students have already taken college computer classes.
It’s a talent war for people with a few years of experience.
Post Reading Tasks
Reading Comprehension Check
Directions: Have students fill in the last column of the KWL chart if they used one in the pre-reading segment of this lesson.
Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics. Review Review ESL Voices Modes of Writing
1. The following three statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each one, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.
“With trade schools out of fashion, for-profit colleges often dismissed as expensive dropout factories, and community college students failing to graduate a majority of their students, the rise of boot camps over the past two years is challenging assumptions about higher education, at least for some smart, highly motivated people.”
“The schools’ revenue models differ substantially. App Academy, in San Francisco and New York, charges no tuition, but takes 18 percent of graduates’ first-year salaries, with a $5,000 discount for those who take a job with a partner employer. Many schools offer discounts for women and minorities. Some accept fewer than 10 percent of applicants, culled through Skype interviews and coding exercises.”
“While skeptics say a few weeks at boot camp is not enough to produce a functioning developer, some employers disagree. Indiegogo, a San Francisco-based crowdfunding site, has hired six people straight from boot camps.”
2. Would you consider going to a computer boot camp? Explain why or why not.
Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about computer boot camps from the reading, two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.