TITLE: Some Lessons from the Ruby Iteration
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: May 01, 2008 7:11 PM
I am not a web guy. If I intend to teach languages (PHP)
or frameworks (Rails) with the web as their natural home,
I need to do a lot more practice myself. It's too easy
to know how to do something and still not know it well
enough to teach it well. Unexpected results under time
pressure create too much trouble.
yes. This, twenty years after cutting my database teeth
Ruby's dynamic features are so, so nice. Still, I occasionally
find myself wishing for Smalltalk. First love never dies.
Fifteen hours of instruction --
5 weeks at 3 hours per week
-- is plenty of time to teach most or all of the ideas in a
language like bash, PHP, or Ruby. But the instructor still
needs to select specific examples and parts of the class
library carefully. It's too easy to start down a path of
"Now look at this [class, method, primitive]..."
When I succeeded in selecting carefully, I suffered from
persistent omitter's resource. "But I wish I could have
Sometimes that is what students wanted to see. But
most of the time they can figure that out. What they
want is some insight. What insight could I have shared had
I covered that instead of this?
If you want to know what students want, ask them. Easy to
say, hard to do unless I slow down occasionally to reflect.
Practice, practice, practice.
That's where students learn. It's also where students who
don't learn don't learn.
Oh, and professor: That "Practice,
practice" thing -- it applies to you, too. You'll remember
just how much fun programming can be.