Experiences/guidance on teaching Python as a first programming language

bob gailer bgailer at gmail.com
Wed Dec 11 17:01:42 CET 2013


On 12/11/2013 3:43 AM, Chris Angelico wrote:
> When you tell a story, it's important to engage the reader from the
> start...explain "This is how to print Hello World to the
> console" and worry about what exactly the console is (and how
> redirection affects it)
Highly agree. I was once given FORTRAN course materials and an 
assignment to teach this course. The first morning was spent on how to 
construct expressions! No context as to what a program was or what it 
might do or how to run it.

As soon as that class was over I rewrote the materials so the first 
morning was how to write and run(batch job submission) a program that 
read a record, did a simple  calculation and wrote the results.

I certainly felt better about teaching this way.

Asides:

One student (PhD in Physics) looked at X = X + 1 and said "no it doesn't".

Another wrote his first program. I took one look at it and saw the 
mistakes. I explained how to walk thru the program step by step. He 
exclaimed "In that much detail?".



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