I'm a student in the UK, and I have a computer science lesson every two weeks. Most people would think computer science is my favourite subject, as I started coding from a very young age, but the computing teacher cannot teach it properly.

Firstly, she teaches things like copyright and made me spent a lesson researching a lawsuit between Ed Sheeran and Matt Cardle. She hasn't taught us a single programming language except a few lessons on small basic once, which there is obviously no need for, and she could have taught a modern language like python or JavaScript. We spend a month or so making magazine covers in Adobie's photoshop. We were recently doing “Should the internet be a human right?”, which isn't remotely useful. I have shown her the wikipedia page on computer science, and she says stuff like “Wikipedia is not credible” and “I know the syllabus better than you”.

Secondly, we had a test recently, and I answered all the questions correctly (to the best of my knowledge, and checked after), yet she marked many questions wrong, for example, one question was “Why may someone not be able to access the sites on the internet (Give 3 reasons)”, and 2 of mine were “Legal Restrictions (eg, article 13)” and “ISP may be blocking/slowing down the website (Due to the removal of net neutrality)”, and she marked both answers wrong. She also gives incorrect answers marks.

She also teaches things which are incorrect, like “This spam email is a spam email because it recommends using Firefox, which is an insecure browser”, and when I say it is not, she says it is because she doesn't like using it.

Is there anything I can do about this?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ This seems more of a rant that a question about how to teach CS. I'm guessing that you have a misconception about the purpose of this specific course. $\endgroup$
    – Buffy
    May 24, 2019 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ Well I'm more asking is this allowed and what am I supposed to do? The subject is apparently computer science, but the contents are not. Since when are schools allowed to say they're teaching something when they're not? Does this not give false impressions to employers? Why is it okay that my computing grade will be determined by how much I know about Ed Sheeran? $\endgroup$
    – user8090
    May 24, 2019 at 21:02
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    $\begingroup$ They are computer science. Don't confuse that with computer programming. $\endgroup$
    – Buffy
    May 24, 2019 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_science does not mention copyright once. Maybe it would come under something like ICT. But since when do people get jobs at companies like Google because they learnt a lot about Ed Sheeran's songs? $\endgroup$
    – user8090
    May 24, 2019 at 21:46
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    $\begingroup$ I understand your frustration, but saying there is "no need for" a particular language or that a discussion on ethics in computer science is "not remotely useful" is really dismissive, IMHO. Learning a language, even if you'll never "use" that language, is a useful process. Ethics in computer science are extremely important. My advice is to not be so quick to dismiss potential learning opportunities. $\endgroup$ Jun 4, 2019 at 0:49

4 Answers 4


Make the best with what you got.

As Onorio pointed out in his answer, you'll inevitably come across educators with superficial or even outdated understanding in some topics. In fact you may come across senior devs in enterprises with the same profile.

However, this doesn't mean there is nothing that you can learn from them.

  • Don't lock yourself into thinking that they are always wrong, or that you are always right.

    This is vital as it will not only make you insufferable to work with from their perspective, it could also shut down your own personal development. You want to learn, not prove a point.

  • Learn to filter that which is obviously wrong but entertain why some things are being brought up

    Refine your current understanding of things by discussing it with others (like how you are doing here). This is important even if you have no concerns about the person teaching.

    To start off in your case, Copyright has a lot of relevance for code which can be understood as creative work. For instance, do you know what Code Licenses are and how/why they are attributed? At my job we were basically stuck for 3 months because of this, since advancing further without paying mind to that could cost us thousands!

    Your teacher may have utterly failed in effectively bridging the context since you are here, but understanding a "line by line copy" lawsuit makes sense because talking copyright makes sense.

    Wikipedia is not actually credible as citation since it can change at any time, so if you ever wanna source it look for, well, the citations at the bottom of the page. You'll find out CS is not exactly a standardized course so such reference is indeed shut down easily after you look!

  • Understand other perspectives, and how to work with them.

    What is this teacher's background and experience?

    They believe the things they say for a reason:

    • Maybe they are from a more design/pedagogy oriented background and don't teach much programming because they barely use it nowadays;
    • Maybe their cultural background influences their relationship with you regarding hierarchy so there is no point in discussion with them specifically;
    • Maybe they took another professor's notes and "answers sheet" as they legitimately don't care because they need to fill hours in their spreadsheet.

Since you are an enthusiast, such syllabus would serve only as a way to introduce you to some concepts in either case even if perfectly administered. You'll always have to go out and work them on your own if you want to grow; in Software Development you'll be constantly disappointed for the most part if you believe otherwise!

TL;DR: You won't have to deal with this person forever, be humble and learn what you can even if it indeed is only "what common misconceptions people are being taught" or "top 10 signs to look out for when interacting with superiors".


All of that is in the key-stage 3 syllabus (it is not all programming). However it may be that the teacher is over focused on one bit.

What is in the new computing syllabus

The new computing syllabus (post ICT), consists of three parts: Computer science, IT, and digital literacy. The timetabling people often make up name, so not wise to get to hung up about it.

You can download the syllabuses, here are some resources:

Where does copyright fit in

Within digital literacy there is a small section on, aspects of the law and ethics: copyright, patent, trademark, computer misuse, privacy, plagiarism sharing is caring, free software, etc; internet safety; evaluating resources (e.g. Wikipedia articles).

Copyright is a small part of the syllabus. Here is where copyright is mentioned (indirectly):

“They need to be aware of their legal and ethical responsibilities” — page 15 of https://www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/uploads/cas_secondary.pdf and “Explains and justifies how the use of technology impacts on society, from the perspective of social, economical, political, legal, ethical and moral issues” — last column grey section of https://www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/quick_start_secondary/progression_path.pdf

What to do next

Check to see if you teacher is only teaching part of the syllabus, then consider helping by sharing some of the resources below.

There are also a lot of teaching resources, here are a few.

  • $\begingroup$ "The new computing syllabus (post ICT), consists of 3 parts: Computer science, IT, and digital literacy." The lesson is computer science. She has stated it's computer science. The subject code on our timetable is CS. $\endgroup$
    – user8090
    May 25, 2019 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ Also, even if she is teaching the right thing (which seems quite unlikely, as copyright really isn't CS, we were doing general copyright, not digital copyright), then I still doubt that she's supposed to accept incorrect answers and not give me marks for ones that are correct. $\endgroup$
    – user8090
    May 25, 2019 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ Have you found out what you will do latter in the year? Have you been doing copyright since September? $\endgroup$ May 25, 2019 at 16:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You may just have to accept that your teacher is not teaching computer science, and that you teacher makes mistakes. Then ask what can I learn in these lessons. $\endgroup$ May 26, 2019 at 13:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I accept that, but what can you do? This is not the place to complain/report a bad teacher. We can only help you. What can you change? The only think that you can change is yourself. So what will you change? Have you reported to the head of department? Have you tried to see what else you can learn in the class? $\endgroup$ May 27, 2019 at 8:51

So it sounds as if you've got a teacher that you're not thrilled with. While I can't make concrete recommendations, I have got a few thoughts:

If you stay with CS/Software Development you're going to run into people you consider incompetent or foolish or plainly out of their depth. Sadly you'll find those people are in charge every now and again. I'd suggest rather than grousing about how clueless this teacher is about CS, you look upon this as an opportunity to learn how to work with people who don't have the same level of expertise as yourself. It's a valuable skill to cultivate.

I don't know you at all so I'm taking a big liberty here but the tone of your question (and some of your comments) sounds as if you're already starting down the path of the stereotypical arrogant-jerk nerd. Lest I be misunderstood I say that as someone who was (and still sometimes is) an arrogant-jerk nerd. Fight that tendency. If you do go down that path (and, as I say, I'm assuming a lot from the tone of your question) you'll find that it's simply counterproductive for most of life.

  • $\begingroup$ It seems to be that the only way I can get by in her lessons is deliberately agreeing with her and saying the wrong answers. $\endgroup$
    – user8090
    May 30, 2019 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ @ArchieBaer I sometimes have to tell my pupils two truths: The real truth, and the exam truth. $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2019 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ Sadly @ArchieBaer you're starting to sound like this: xkcd.com/386 $\endgroup$ Jun 3, 2019 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ @OnorioCatenacci I don't get it. $\endgroup$
    – user8090
    Jun 3, 2019 at 21:27

You could go and research and read the course on your own. That's what I always do when I don't understand lectures in school or when a subject is treated poorly. You can do that by visiting educational online platforms such as pluralsight and even watching videos on youtube and you can also read books on the subject in which you face difficulties.

You can also hire a home teacher for that subject too.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Computer Science Educators! Could you expand on what you wrote? as it stands, your answer doesn't explain how one could do what you suggest. $\endgroup$
    – ItamarG3
    Jun 2, 2019 at 8:05

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