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Re: [seul-edu] [Fwd: thoughts on teaching programming]

On Fri, Jan 04, 2002 at 01:05:03PM -0500, Doug Loss wrote:
> owner-seul-edu@seul.org wrote:
> > From: Aaron Malone <aaron@semo.net>
> > To: seul-edu@seul.org
> > Subject: thoughts on teaching programming
> >
> > I wrote a (short) essay the other day about teaching programming, and
> > why languages like C++ and Java are bad places ot start.  I'd appreciate
> > if some seul-edu people could take a look and give me their impressions.
> >
> > http://munge.net/thoughts/helloworld.shtml

I think Python is one excellent choice (certainly simpler than C++ or
Java to start with).  IMHO, I also think that it has a few features
which might be frustrating to absolute beginners.  In particular, the
enforcement of indentation. (and to a lesser extent, the use of self
in class definitions) Of course I'm a little biased because the
indentation feature of Python irritates me to no end.  It is a love-it
or hate-it feature. There is also some basis in saying that requiring
indentation might help beginners.

Ruby is an alternate scripting language which you might also consider.
It doesn't require indentation, and explicitly closes blocks with an "end"
statement. (I believe this is generally easier for a beginner to grasp.)

-- alan