[plt-scheme] HTDP - evidently not for everyone.

From: Robby Findler (robby at eecs.northwestern.edu)
Date: Wed Feb 10 09:30:00 EST 2010

At least one member of this list found my message offensive, so let me
say it again without the loaded words/tone.

IMO, we should teach any that have the interest and the desire and the
work ethic and we should take delight in any successes they achieve,
no matter how small those success may be when stacked up against the
(so-called) giants of the field.


On Wednesday, February 10, 2010, Robby Findler
<robby at eecs.northwestern.edu> wrote:
> You know we can probably tell who has the programming gene if we spend
> a little time correlating physical features to programming ability.
> IMHO, we should probably start by measuring head shape: things like
> the ratio of the circumference to the bridge of the nose's length and
> the like.
> Robby
> On Wednesday, February 10, 2010, wooks <wookiz at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> On Feb 10, 1:49 am, Shriram Krishnamurthi <s... at cs.brown.edu> wrote:
>>> Finally, it is unclear what the point is.
>>> Should we administer the
>>> exam and toss out all the students who fail it?
>> I took the point to be the last sentence in the abstract
>> "We point out that programming teaching is useless for those who are
>> bound to fail and pointless for those who are certain to succeed"
>> It suggests the existence of a "programming gene" which determines
>> which camp a person falls into.
>> I absolutely agree that there are people for whom trying to teach
>> programming is futile.  but the idea of not teaching those who have
>> seems somewhat ridiculous.
>>> That would certainly
>>> be a good idea.  For that matter, we can clearly administer this exam
>>> earlier (say at age 14 or 15, when students are old enough to clearly
>>> understand the problem statement).  Should we suggest that students
>>> who fail this (or a similar test) skip algebra entirely?  That way we
>>> can save them from wasting their time in a technical discipline.  But
>>> maybe one could find similar "predictive" tests for writing; maybe
>>> those students should be excused from writing courses.  Even better:
>>> it ought to be possible to find such a test for reading (after all,
>>> natural languages are also meaningless formal systems with arbitrary
>>> and inconsistent rules).  We could keep such students out of school
>>> entirely, to save everyone's time!
>> I share skepticism on the efficacy of the test they claim, but not on
>> their conclusion that some people will never be able to program no
>> matter how much effort you devote to teaching them. The biggest
>> obstacle that I have observed is an inability to see that the problem
>> you have presented them is an instance of one you've shown them before
>> and hence how then to exploit this knowledge.
>> In essence it is an inability to abstract - at least in the domain of
>> programming problems.
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