Millers’s Thesis


After some emails, I came to read John Alexander Miller’s Phd Thesis at Univ Chicago. It is very interesting and talks specifically about using Python for teaching. Although this might not be in the title, the thesis is about it.

Although in the beginning I would disagree, since I used other languages to start teaching kids and young adults to learn how to program, after some time I came to the conclusion that Python might be the best approach to teach how to program.

[Why I changed my mind]

One day I was talking with a collegue and he was describing his new endevour that was learning how to program. He was recently hired in a school and he was suppose to show for the students some programming schemes. But he did not know how to properly program! So he started learning!!

I was very surprised in a good way and asked him to show his first codes.

He showed me with some exitation but also with some excitement. At the same time he was excited the first programs worked, now his codes were not compiling anymore. His conditionals basically were not properly developed.

He highlighted that his teaching choose JavaScript as his first language and the it was not that difficult.

But after seeing the codes below I realized that the syntax of JavaScript was limitating factor in his path to learn!!!

JavaScript vs Python

In JavaScript he was using a combination of conditionals as below, but he was forgetting the {}!! So although the conditions were nicely done and worked, the syntax made huge impact on his path!

if (condition1) {
      if (condition2) {
block of code to be executed if the condition is true



So I suggested him to see some conditionals in Python and see how it is suitable for first time learners:

if condition1:

      if condition2:
block of code to be executed if the condition is true


Although JS might be very simple, I tend to suggest the use of Python as a first building block of code.  Miller’s right!



W3Schools is the best site for learning a new language – personally opinio.




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