Nicholas Evans <OwlManAtt / OwlManAtt.com> writes:

> If I end up teaching it, I think it would be cool to cover Ruby
> instead of Scheme. I'd have to develop my own curriculum, but
> whatever.

I know this sounds heretic and probably is not what you expect from
this list, *but why*?

> The goal of the course is to teach programming concepts in half of a
> school year. The things that were covered during this year's course
> were writing functions to do a simple calculation, using variables,
> and using cond/booleans. Many students struggled during the beginning
> of the year with writing basic functions. Our teacher kind of blamed
> herself for that, because this was her first year teaching
> programming, and she had never been trained on Scheme.

Do you think an untrained teacher better teaches Ruby instead of Scheme?

> I think that teaching students Ruby might be a bit less...arcane. It
> looks friendlier, for one.

That's a matter of taste; people that never saw code didn't yet
develop a taste for it.

> It would also open the course up to more concepts than Scheme
> offers, like automagic testing, manipulating files, object
> orientation, etc. Teaching OO during this course would probably also
> benefit the kids later on for Java during Programming II...

I'd say, due to the small core of Scheme, it's even easier to explain
these topics.  You have everything: write a few macros for
unit-testing, files can be done with ports (they are in the spec),
object orientation can be done with closures.  Once they did all this,
they know what they are talking about.

Of course, teaching this is not that easy.  Did you ever read SICP?
Have a look into it and rethink your choice.

(Despite all of this, I prefer Ruby for *coding*, of course.  But
Scheme is the better choice for teaching.  YMMV.)

> Regards,
> Nick Evans
-- 
Christian Neukirchen  <chneukirchen / gmail.com>  http://chneukirchen.org