TITLE: Choosing the Right Languages for Early CS Instruction is Important
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: June 05, 2014 2:45 PM
today's ACM interview,
Donald Knuth identifies one of the problems he has with
computer science instruction:
Similarly, the most common fault in computer classes is to
emphasize the rules of specific programming languages,
instead of to emphasize the algorithms that are being
expressed in those languages. It's bad to dwell on form
I agree. The challenges are at least two in number:
Choosing the right languages can greatly help in conquering
Challenges 1 and 2. Choosing the wrong languages can make
overcoming them almost impossible, if only because we lose
students before they cross the divide.
I guess that makes choosing the right languages Challenge 3.
- ... finding the right level of support for the student
learning his or her first language. It is harder for
students to learn their first language than many people
realize until after they've tried to teach them.
- ... helping students develop the habit and necessary
skills to learn new languages on their own with some
facility. For many, this involves overcoming the fear
they feel until they have done it on their own a time