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Bad teachers

Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:38 pm
by Zamaster
Ive seen a couple posts lately about bad programming teachers. I have a theory that these problems posted have nothing to do with the teacher, they have to do with the method of learning. When you get spoon fed informaion, do you really retain all of it? In my opinion, the way to learn how to program is to teach yourself. Read other's examples, study other's code. This way you learn techniques and other things from...(bell rings, to be continued)

Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 1:38 pm
by Seb McClouth
I never learned programming in Basic at school. I kinda started on my own. And soonly after that, that perticular bell rang (self-study). There was ofcourse a time that I prefered to lean-code-and-not-give-back/not-giving-credit. Ofcourse I had to give that up due the fact that programming it myself was so much more fun... and if I use code, I try to credit it.


Re: Bad teachers

Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:16 pm
by moneo
Zamaster wrote:Ive seen a couple posts lately about bad programming teachers. I have a theory that these problems posted have nothing to do with the teacher, they have to do with the method of learning. When you get spoon fed informaion, do you really retain all of it? In my opinion, the way to learn how to program is to teach yourself. Read other's examples, study other's code. This way you learn techniques and other things from...(bell rings, to be continued)
I have to agree with you about "study other's code". Back in the 1960's and 1970's when I was coding in assember, I was on many different projects which had different computers and assembly languages. When I was put on a new project, I did the following:
1) Find a good programmer on that machine and ask him for a copy of one of his working programs.
2) Then I would ask him for a basic explanation of what the program did.
3) Then I would get a hold of the machine manual and the assembler manual.
4) Next I would walk through the program trying to understand the code and what was going on. If I got stuck, I would ask the programmer.

In the matter of a week or so, I was ready to code for this machine.

Posted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 6:32 am
by matt2jones
I'm a self-taught coder as well, and over the years have tried to teach other people how to program, and it never really worked. IMO there are certain concepts that need to be grasped, and if they aren't, everything falls down.

I'm doing a computer coarse in college at the moment, and I was looking forward to seeing how people are taught to program. The fork of it is, they aren't. The people who come in knowing how pass, the rest fail.

Programming is extreemly dissimilar to every other subject that has been traditionally taught in schools, so the normal methods do not apply.

I can think of three ways to do it:

Programming by example: Given source code and taking it apart


Programming from first principles: Learning everything about how a computer physically works, and working up from there...


Programming by Projects: Given a large project (write a First Person Shooter) and reverse enginneering it into abstract structures, and then learning the code for it.

Non of these will yeild fast results, however, non of these can be easily examined or graded, and most of the populations of the human race aren't interested in anything with those two properties.

The main problem is people are taugth programming from a problem solving point of view (write a program to add three numbers), and the only problems they're able to solve at the start are so pityfully abstract that most people can't think easily at that low a level.


Posted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 9:08 am
by Pete
I agree 100%. Programming is all about problem solving, and that's an inate skill in my opinion.

Programming teachers can teach you syntax and conventions, but when it comes down to it, you've got to be able to figure out your problems on your own or you're never gonna get anywhere.

Posted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 4:12 am
by kalc
I taught myself how to program a lot like Nathan 1993 did (as in QB Express #14).
When I was in grade 4 or 5 my mum, brother and I went to our school fair. The library was selling old books dirt cheap and my brother bought one called Computer BattleGames, for ZX Spectrum, ZX81, BBC, TRS-80, Apple, VIC & Pet. It was published in 1982! I didn't understand the concept very well but punched in some of the code into QBASIC (which I had only just discovered on my computer) and some of them worked. But now that I think about it, it was one shit book. For delays it used:
FOR I = 1 TO 20!
On these old computer back then it took a few seconds to pass through that loop! I've sort of forgotten how I managed to get to where I am now in programming, but I know that the first QB sites I was into were Jocke The Beast and Delta Code (Joe King). I have gone through several different languages and BASIC deriatives but QB and FB have stuck on me.

As for teachers, well my IT teacher thinks he's pretty cool. He also teaches my in a shortcourse called Power Technology (yeh dat's cool! :wink: ) and currently we are learning VB. He doesn't know much about programming so we just follow these old VB4 tutorial books. Knowing QB doesn't help me much there though because most of it's done in GUI and tiny snippets in the subs, so not much BASIC coding.

Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:56 am
by woodhead
I'm studying to datanomi (i don't know what it is in english, but if i be completed this school then i can work as a programmer, website maker, system maintenance or else) and we don't study C or C++, but java, html/xhtml, css and javascript.

I think that's stupid....

Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:44 am
by Nodtveidt
I'm entirely self-taught. I took a BASIC course in 9th grade and ending up teaching the teacher how to code, since she was a maths teacher and didn't really understand computers very well. Needless to say though, I won the school's math award for that. :)

Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:46 pm
by {Nathan}
I'm self taught too... just got a book, saw something about writing your own computer games in it... but I just didn't get how the FOR... NEXT loop worked, so my dad went and got his old QB book... and didn't put it down all summer... got my old 133mhz laptop out, read the 600 some pages and memorized it all, then went online and realized how dumb I was not to look online, then petes site opened and i realized how dumb i was never to even check to see if anyone was on any of these forums. thats why im always here and no where else, this was the very first forum i ever posted on.

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:05 am
by marzec
i guessas all of us here i'm selftaught too. but looking back i really only started real "coding" when i started with univ. even though i laughed at the courses i had ( 1st structured programming (C) then object oriented programming ( c++ ) ) they implicitely taught some concepts that are a must if you ever happen to code larger projects. i don't say that you can't come up with that yourself, but things like design patterns, projectmanagment, knowledgemanagment etc. have their uses. the methods used at my univ. for teaching programming are mostly like this:

+ lectures where the principles are taught verbally, lots of ppt files shown via the projector, diving through small codes.
+ practical part of the course where small teams ( 2-4 ppl ) have to work on a couple of assignments over the semester. the difficulty increases with each assignment and is build upon the former assignments ( also the codebase )

altough those methods aren't perfect either most of the ppl that didn't know how to program were able to get a positive mark and grasp the basics pretty fast. but the basics are not enough, what one really needs is a lot of practice.
Ford tempo history

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 4:00 pm
by Zamaster
This actual idea of "bad teaching" gave me the insentive to try and teach other kids how to program in a totaly different way. Obviously, I cant teach a class, but I can start a club. I figure that I should try things such as give out a piece of bugged or really crappy code that people need to fix. This way, they would be forced to figure out how everything else works before tackling the main problem. Another theory might be to yammer on about a paticular topic and have everybody try and write the code out as if they were speaking normal english. This might be followed up by them incorporating the code into one of their own projects. Good ideas?

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 4:18 pm
by {Nathan}
Hey I think you said this but it would be cool if when they started, like ya no how in languege classes make you have (insert languege name here) conversations? Well why not have some in qb? EG

Code: Select all

Person 1: PRINT Hello
Person 2: PRINT Hello to you too!
1: INPUT How is the weather, Answertoweatherquestion$
2: PRINT Very cloudy...
Haha... it makes me laugh!

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 4:44 pm
by Deleter
self taught as well

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 4:48 pm
by Kyle
Same here, it's the best way IMO.

Teaching Programming

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:47 pm
by Guest
I'm self taught; well, kinda...

First I learned how to program a programmable calculator. Anyone remember the TI-59?

Next, I took an evening class at a tech college--Programming in BASIC, and then a College course in Fortran. But how I really (I mean REALLY) learned was by coding the stuff I needed!

I taught my son everything I knew about BASIC, plus a little HTML. What did he do with it? He taught himself JavaScript, CSS, VB, C++, and he's working on Assembler. He taught himself how to use Adobe PhotoShop, the GIMP, and he's taking college classes in graphics editing for Web design.

Why? because he likes it and he needs to.

Necessity is the mother of invention!

Posted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 1:59 am
by Anonymous
Self taught also, I started with learning a GCS object orientated lang(ZZT), I taught myself everything that was possible to do with it, all from others code. Noting that this was the first time I looked at a lang, when I was about 13. Picked up enough langs after finding QB and teaching myself. All the langs I know are self taught, without anyone to help me along. Desire and interest needs to be there to be a coder, maybe.

Self-Taught ... Trial and error all the way!

Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 1:40 pm
by Guest
First computer lesson:
Helping Dad Keypunch Lace cards in Fortran class (IN computer lab) in 1973

Then I promptly forgot everything.

Next lesson:
Hand punching lace cards for BASIC to run on the time-share machine that our High School tel-connected (cardrreader- modem-teletype) to with Franklin Institute 1978

Remembered line numbers and REM (heheh).

Next lesson:
"Intro to Programming" in Comm. College on C/PM machines with BasicA

Learned some stuff but was always ahead of the rest of the class. Got into trouble for finding a few games left on the machine's harddisk (and playing them) - couldn't afford a computer so typed up my programs with an electric typewriter (told the instructor I had a daisy wheel printer) - got an A+

Real lesson:
Acquired first computer; a hand-me-down Tandy Laptop 10Mg HDD with an NEC v20 10.4 mHz processor and reverse CGA graphics. woohoo!

Loaded DOS 6.0 and QB and started with trial and error.

Last lessons
Got America Online ver 2.0 in 1995 - downloaded QB programs from the developers forum. Learned from example. Improved. Learned more - and uploaded!

Now I'm old.
I'll still tinker.
Probably won't have time to learn much more.