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Re: Can a non-programmer teach Perl?

by digiryde (Pilgrim)
on Aug 17, 2002 at 10:45 UTC ( #190844=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Can a non-programmer teach Perl?

Ovid - I wish your friend luck. He is in a tough spot. I have taught many years of programming and computer usage to gradeschool through high school level students. The younger students are normally far easier.

Remember that teaching Perl is also teaching programming skills. I would assert that SQL and HTML do not provide as wide a learning experience in programming skills as do C, C++, Perl, etc. If his classes are as mixed as mine were, then he will have everything from the neophite to the script-kiddie to the programmer.

He will need help. Being a teacher with experience, he already has the hardest classroom skill, dealing with the children. The recommendation to work with him to build the syllabus prior to the beginnning of the school year is good. With that, it would be good to have some projects pre-designed covering the potential range of the class. He will need something to keep the kids occupied while he deals with the kids needing the most help (and his own learning curve).

Classroom handouts would be good also. The more handouts available to him to explain the subject, the easier it is going to be. An internal website for the class with explanations (think kids programming tutorial), problems and answers to those problems is always very helpful. I normally cut my work in the classroom by more than 3/4 by having easy digital documents for the kids.

An example of concepts from one of my classes:

  1. Introduction
    • How to turn the computer on. 10 mins
      • Will deal with any prolems with the computers in the classroom.
      • Will need to walk around to one or two students normally to help
    • Using a text editor. 25 mins
    • Saving and loading file. 5 mins
    • Running a premade program. 10 mins
  2. The first programs.
    • Display a message (Whatever the student decides within reason to get them interested)
      • Typing (copying) the program into the text editor and saving the program.20 mins
      • Running the program and debugging. 10 mins
    • Ask for input and print it out.
      • Modify the program to accept input. 10 mins
      • Run the program. 5 mins
  3. ...

As you can see, the concepts anyone can think of. The hard part is getting the timing tuned to the classroom time available (bell rings, kids settle down, start teaching, ..., kids start eyeing clock, bell rings, kids gone) 50 minutes of classroom time is normally 45 minutes of teaching time with few or no interruptions. Kids without keyboarding skills will take longer, those who already dabble in programming will get bored. The projects will help here. I would normally allow the projects to take the place of homework if the projects were completed in class in their spare time.

What I found in my classes is the advanced kids sat doing nothing for 40 minutes per class unless I had other projects available.

This is already getting long. If you want me to post more of the syllabus from my intro class, or just ask questions, msg me here. Good luck.

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