Teaching python (programming) to children

Arthur Siegel ajs at ix.netcom.com
Sun Nov 11 14:55:33 CET 2001

Laura writes - 

>The _policy_ itself is evil.  What other evils do you
>have, and how do you get them, and why can't responsible teachers such
>as yourself get rid of evil damaging policies?  If that is not worth
>getting angry about, I don't know what is.

Your post does illuminate the bind.  You want conformity to 
standards, but then realize that the standard setting bodies are
likely, in practice, to be misinformed, out-of-touch and just
plain wrong.

You and I might agree, for example, that Python is a sensible choice
for a first programming language in an educational setting, and C++
an absurd choice.

The chances of a standard setting body coming to that conclusion at this
point in the game, are slim to none.

It is not inconceivable that they will get there.  But  it can only
happen if the system is flexible enough to allow pilot type projects
like those being undertaken by folks like Sheila  and a number of others.

If we insist on conformity to standards to an extent that will cut off the
possibility of this kind of informed and responsible "experimentation",
isn't all hope gone?

The other point you make is the difficulty of teaching as a profession.

I agree. I would love to be a teacher.  A rich and famous one.  In other
words, the profession requires a kind of selflessness beyond the scope
of folks like myself - and I ain't that bad.

But I do see the Open Source movement in general as leading the way
toward an ethic  that will ultimately have a great beneficial impact on
education - and am in that sense an optimist. But it won't be smooth and
quiet.  I, for one, will make sure of that.


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