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

  I would just like to say I disagree. I think C/C++ (I suppose maybe
Java) is a great place to start. Their seems to be an attitude that
everything needs to be extremely dumbed down in order for students to
understand. Despite what you may believe, not everyone in school is a
retard :) Put some faith in your students, they may not be geniuses, but
it doesnt take one to learn C/C++ if its taught right. I think you could
teach some concepts of calculus to 3rd graders if you explained it
properly (see John Paulos, on how some supposed upped level math is in
fact more intuitive then basic algebra to most people).
  If students are having extreme difficulties learning the language,
perhaps its because your teach method is wrong (teacing certain concepts
before others, when others should of been introduced first, etc.). I
have seen many not so good students, no so bright students (I have seen
cheerleaders and popular girls learn as well :P no disrespect intended),
learn C/C++/Java.
  Their is a project by a graduate student at University of Washington
that is studying how new programmers learn a language. The student is
interview Computer PRogramming I students who have never been exposed to
programming before,and asking them questions about the teaching method,
etc. etc. I hope something usefull comes out of that project. 

Jeff Knox

PS. I do like Python though :) Although I havent took the time to read
the entire tutorial yet.

On Sat, 2002-01-05 at 07:28, jeff williams wrote:
> On Friday 04 January 2002 16:10, you wrote:
> > I teach a small module in an "information processing" course that
> > introduces programming concepts of variables, control structures, and
> > simple I/O, so that kids get the basic idea of it. Who cares about the
> > language. Something simple that doesn't require too much setup is good for
> > this class (everyone has to take it in our school).
> Greetings,
> First, I agree with the article that began this thread.  Both C++ and Java 
> are horrid first programming languages.  (This from one who first learned 
> Fortran II with IOCS on an IBM 1130.)
> I teach a university class on advanced software applications.  Because of the 
> requirements of the department, the students are exposed to Visual Basic and 
> Java (as well as the "sacred three" PC applications, plus web authoring) 
> during a 15 week class.  Frankly, I would be very, very happy to delete these 
> two languages from the course, but my department chair insists.
> I'd like to start the class with Perl because it works well with the database 
> and CGI portions of the class.  I'd also like to teach it strictly Linux / 
> Unix, but that won't happen either.
> This is an interesting discussion.  Thanks for your ideas.
> -- 
> jeff williams - cfiaime@nconnect.net
> 		jeff.williams@cuw.edu
> 		jbw9586@ksu.edu