TITLE: Whom Should We Bore?
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: October 08, 2009 5:33 PM
Alfred Thompson says that we should
beware boring the smart kids
in our classes, as part of a wider discussion about
losing potential CS majors because of what they
experience in CS1. I agree with many people that
we need to work hard to bore neither our brightest
students nor our average students. And it is hard
work, indeed. It's hard enough sometimes even when
we have only one of these groups of students in
class, say, when we teach an honors section.
However, what struck me most as I read through several
blog entries and comments in this conversation was
It is sad that we have created an educational system
in which it's possible to think that this is a
legitimate choice: risk losing great students
OR risk losing average students.
We have created a system of schools and universities
that are organized more for administrative convenience
and high throughput than for learning. Actually, our
system dates to a time when schools and classes were
smaller, and it just doesn't scale very well as either
Our regimented curricula and university systems are
the real problem, not the teachers or the students.