[Tutor] help with homework

Alan Gauld alan.gauld at btinternet.com
Mon Oct 29 09:58:59 CET 2012

On 29/10/12 08:37, Asokan Pichai wrote:

>> teachers put stupid artificial constraints on your code,
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>> such as banning the use of len().
> There may be legitimate learning outcomes for a teacher
> to specify such conditions.

In that case they should think up a scenario that requires the use of 
the construct that is most appropriate. Teachers should never encourage 
bad practice(*) and that's what this example does.

It's valid to put constraints such as "do not use any external
modules" or to use a specific construct if that's what's being taught.
But it's never right to leave the student the freedom to use any 
solution *except* the one that is most logical and readily available.

> In this case, learning to use a counter that is incremented
> under certain conditions.

But there are many better cases where that solution is needed rather 
than using len(). This one just sounds like lazy teaching.

(*) Actually enforcing bad practice one to demonstrate the problems
can be valid provided its followed immediately by the best practice 

Alan G
Author of the Learn to Program web site

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