[racket-dev] P4P: A Syntax Proposal

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Sat Jul 31 09:04:45 EDT 2010

On Jul 31, 2010, at 12:38 AM, Guillaume Marceau wrote:

1. Shriram never clarified that this proposal is for attracting students only. If so, I'd like to see a path from P4P to full Racket syntax included in the proposal. 


> I also don't think "I hate parentheses" comes from familiarity with
> some other syntax,

I have not run into a "I hate parentheses" attitude in my time of teaching this material -- except in teacher workshops, usually stated as "my students will hate all these parentheses when I will teach this stuff in the fall". Even though you are entirely focused on watching students and interviewing them, I am sure that in my 18 years of watching freshmen at two colleges and N high schools over the first few weeks I should have encountered this problem. 

I have encountered the "I hate Scheme" attitude a lot in college. To counter that, I have developed a simple and easy trick. I invite the people who say this or a variation on it ("I can solve these problems in any other language than Scheme" or such) to solve the problem in their favorite language; if they can I promise an A for the semester. I do this two or three times a semester and all of these kids leave my office with the admission that they are having a problem and it is NOT Scheme. 

If you and Shriram think that this is a problem that pervades the semester -- more than the first two weeks in a regular semester (NEU, Brown NOT WPI) -- the proposal presentation should include statistical evidence. 

-- Matthias

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