Attention Programming Lecturers: Let The Boys Play!

Coach Carter

Do you remember your first week of woodwork in school? It was pretty fun right? You probably made some ugly piece of nothing that had cracked joints and, despite being smothered in woodglue, you made your mother put it on the mantelpiece right next to her Twin Aynsley Swans. My masterpiece of a spicerack (with eyecatching clockface artistically installed just off centre) stood tall in our kitchen for many months. Its disappearance, still a mystery.

Can you remember your first week of programming lectures? I don’t, and I’d be surprised if you did.

Programming lectures for budding coders in their first two years are pointless. Its like taking a bunch of 13 and 14 year old woodworkers and talking to them about the benefits of a dovetail joint versus a tongue and groove.

Okay, so practical subjects (even sports training) have a level of theory involved but in my college experience, the theory outweighed the practical by a long way.

I love coding but it took me a while to realise I did. I can forgive students for having doubts about a career in programming when they’re stuck in a room with a lecturer going through some mind-numbingly boring progam, line by line by line. Add x to y. Now create a pointer to x. Deallocate memory from y. What happens to y? Where is y? Why is y?

This is not programming in The Real World.

There is no information, no technique or theory that a lecture can transfer more efficiently than a practical lab.

Programming can be discussed (and is fun to discuss!) when those involved have a good understanding of the subject and have their own views, and experiences, to speak of.

Coders want to code, let them. Or, in the words of Coach Carter, let the boys play!