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Re: [seul-edu] Language to teach 10 year olds

Chris Hedemark <chris@yonderway.com> said:
>I occaisionally hire high school students for some programming work.  Nobody
>is going to get a job with smalltalk or some other classroom-only language
>as their core competency.  Show me strength in perl, python, C, tcl, etc. if
>you want to actually have an after-school job, summer job, or half-day
>mentorship during the school year.
..and then send the Smalltalkers to me - contrary to what you seem to believe,
it's everything but a classroom-only language. 

But still, I'm appalled at the point that many seem to be making here: a
school is there to teach kids practical stuff so they can go out and earn
money as quickly as possible. I think that a school needs to teach kids
learning, not knowledge (apart from some basic knowledge). If they learn
how to learn and how things work and relate, they'll get the knowledge
together when they need it. Teaching programming should be done in the
same fashion - help them understand what a computer is about, what you
can do with it, what sort of ways there are to tell a computer to do its
job, etcetera. If they are fed the basis (hands-on, yes, so they don't
get bored) they'll have the material on-board to expand their knowledge
and the languages they understand all by themselves.

But if you just want to make sure that they land an easy summer job, hey,
tech them Visual Basic or Java. 

For me, the primary discussion should be what educational value a language
posesses (I've made my point - Squeak Smalltalk). If this happens to be a
popular industry language so that kids can have summer jobs with it - great!
But that should *never* be an a-priori decision factor.

Cees de Groot               http://www.cdegroot.com     <cg@cdegroot.com>
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