Teaching python (programming) to children

Arthur Siegel ajs at ix.netcom.com
Fri Nov 9 07:50:00 CET 2001

Paul writes -

>I think a big goal of the Mindstorms crowd is teaching the concept of
>debugging.  Most skills are taught with the idea that you master
>something by learning it well enough to do it perfectly, so if you
>make a mistake at it you haven't learned the skill yet.  Teaching
>programming to young kids is supposed to develop the cognitive skill
>of diagnosing and correcting errors.  That's more fundamental than
>"applications" like cataloging mp3's or even understanding math

Again, IMO - the acceptance of programming instruction incorporated
somehow into core curricula is up against enough - without making
its acceptance dependent on the acceptance of some particular educational 

Let's accept that learning math, for example, is a good thing, and 
demonstrate an enhanced curricula incorporating some programming
that will accelerate and deepen that process. "The cognitive skill of
diagnosing and correcting errors" might in fact be more fundamental
(and important) than understanding math concepts - who am I to 
argue with the MindStorms crowd. I will tell you that to the untrained
ear, it sounds like horeshit. Which is the point, because those of us
serious about seeing some progress made are not willing to wait
until the rest of the educational world happens to see the light 
on this and similar points.


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