My two cents...

Use whatever route to Java proficiency the instructor happens to feel most
passionately about. If they really believe the argument that
<INSERT_LANGUAGE_HERE> first works well, then let them do it that way. If
they feel strongly that they can teach Java first, let them do it that way.

The primary component of a curriculum is the instructor and their belief and
excitement for what they are doing. Someone who believes in teaching Java
first and is excited about doing it that way (and slightly skeptical of
Python) will have much greater success teaching Java first as opposed to
Python then Java.

If the instructor is apathetic about the approach, then fire the instructor
and hire another who cares enough about the topic to have opinions (even if
those opinions are tenuous).

No matter the route to learning Java, the final learning objectives are the
same for this company. They know what they think they want employees to
know. The various routes to getting there each have positive and negative
trade-offs. But, they are a moot point without a decent instructor who
believes in the students, the learning objectives, and the route to which
the learning objectives are accomplished within the context of the

There are countless papers over decades on why one approach is better than
another. Their utility isn't in actually finding the "right" method, but
instead as a mechanism for instructors to find the method that works for
them given their interests, strengths, abilities, and experience.

As a simple example, one instructor may be fantastic at the Socratic method
while another cannot do it at all. Likewise, one may be really good at
explaining the relevance and utility and history of the Java syntax as a
teaching instrument in itself, while another hates it so much that they
cannot make themselves be excited about it.

John Daughtry

On Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 3:07 PM, Russel Winder <> wrote:

> On Fri, 2011-06-10 at 19:47 +0100, Stasha Lauria wrote:
> > I fully agree on both:
> >
> > 1-  Don't teach Java.
> >
> > 2-  before learning _Java_, it pays to learn something about
> _programming_, and that's definitely easier using Python than using Java.
> >
> > This is based on my personal experience of teaching programming to First
> year undergraduate students.
> Graham Roberts at UCL is using Groovy and Sarah Mount at Wolverhampton
> and James Shuttleworth at Coventry are using Python to great effect.
> The folk at Leeds are using Python also I believe.
> The big problem though is the the issue of type.   Believers in static
> strong typing will object to the use of languages that work with dynamic
> typing even though learners seem to find it easier to do things without
> having to worry about types in the first instance.  I guess someone
> somewhere needs to do some experimentation rather than there just be
> anecdotal evidence and advocacy research?
> --
> Russel.
> =============================================================================
> Dr Russel Winder      t: +44 20 7585 2200   voip:
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> --
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