Experiences/guidance on teaching Python as a first programming language

Mark Lawrence breamoreboy at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Dec 17 18:44:55 CET 2013


On 17/12/2013 16:59, Grant Edwards wrote:
>
> I've always thought C was a great language for low-level, bare-metal,
> embedded stuff -- but teaching it to first or second year computer
> science students is just insane.  C has a certain minimalist
> orthogonality that I have always found pleasing.  [People who smile
> wistfully when they think about the PDP-11 instruction word layouts
> probably know what I mean.]

I agree with you here, but wasn't there a tie-in between C and the rise 
of Unix via universities, or am I barking in the wrong forest?

>
> But, exposure to C should wait until you have a firm grasp of basic
> algorithms and data structures and are proficient in assembly language
> for a couple different architectures.  Ideally, you should also have
> written at least one functioning compiler before learning C as well.
>

I never had a problem with C as I'd written assembler for RCA 1802, 
Ferranti F110L and DEC/VAX, plus CORAL 66.  Hum, a bit of a fib there, I 
recall vainly struggling with a C for loop before I finally realised I'd 
effectively written a CORAL 66 one, page 50 here 
http://www.xgc.com/manuals/pdf/xgc-c66-rm.pdf for (ouch!!!) anyone who's 
interested.  Using a Whitesmith's pre-ANSI C compiler didn't exactly 
help me either.   IIRC printf was spelt format and all the formatting 
codes were different to what became standard C.

-- 
My fellow Pythonistas, ask not what our language can do for you, ask 
what you can do for our language.

Mark Lawrence




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