[Newbies] Smalltalk is a Mystery to Me

Jerry Muelver jmuelver at gmail.com
Sat Aug 23 18:20:17 UTC 2008

Randal has been right, more often than wrong, time after time since
about 1994, according to my Schwartz-tracking records. But this time,
I have to side with Todd. LEARNING how to do something is a different
operation entirely from KNOWING how to do something. Even allowing for
different "styles of learning", the best approach is helical rather
than straight-line: (a) Learn a new small piece, (b)integrate it with
what you already know, (c)use it, (d) go to (a). While it's good to
have an ultimate perfect goal, it is essential to have a productive
path to get to the goal.

---- Jerry Muelver

On 8/23/08, Todd Blanchard <tblanchard at mac.com> wrote:
> On Aug 23, 2008, at 4:44 AM, Randal L. Schwartz wrote:
>> I'm of the belief that you don't show people bad style, no matter
>> what their
>> level, and especially newbies, because they tend to fall back on
>> what they
>> learn first.
> My experience teaching for ten years at university is help beginners
> get something working fast (early success), then help them refine it
> as needed.  That's more like real development anyhow.  For instance,
> you represented each hand as a Set.  It won't be long before that
> turns out to be inadequate and they want a BridgePlayer to keep track
> not only of unplayed cards, but tricks they've won, their bid, etc...
> Also I hinted at the value of collection when using the hands
> temporary to do the deal.  That was also intentional.
> People improve over time and there is value in teaching them how to
> recognize when things need improvement (or refactoring as the
> buzzworders like to say).  It would not be long before the individual
> would recognize that he was doing too much boilerplate and start
> looking to reduce the work.
> So there's my philosophy for teaching programming.  Stuff I post on
> newbies is often intentionally naive/simple/concept limited.
> -Todd Blanchard
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