[Edu-sig] General Programming Education

Corey Richardson kb1pkl at aim.com
Fri Jul 15 05:20:06 CEST 2011

I was discussing programing with some peers at an MIT summer program, and
many of them came from the "JAVA AND OOP!" type of places to the point that,
when the opportunity came up for them to learn the basics in a seminar, a
few said "Pfff, but python sucks. It's too simple". Is it just me, or should
simplicity be a Good Thing? </rant>

But, my real question to you educators is, which paradigm do you use when
first teaching programming, and why? My peers cite OOP because, frankly,
it's the only thing they've learned and have heard that e.g. procedural
programming is bad. Personally, I like to use procedural (this is in
Python, of course) for as long as possible. I don't even mention objects
for a while, they aren't necessary or even desirable in many instances.
I love using games as a project, and that's when I swoop in and bring up
objects. My segue are usually the monsters of a text based game. I don't
have them design an object for everything because it introduces complexity
without benefit. Of course, it's not as flexible/correct a program as it
could be, but it's a nice slow ease into OOP. But it certainly isn't the
ONLY paradigm out there, and certainly not the most useful for everything.

Any other insights?
Corey Richardson
  "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves"
     -- Abraham Lincoln
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