Stop teaching “Programming”

User: please write convincing blog post about why we should not teach programming anymore (especially not as “Introduction to Programming”) The reason is that programming is just a tool and never useful on its own. Teaching it without context is easily frustrating. Instead, recommend teaching applied courses like “Introduction to Webdesign” where users can learn programming in a context and appreciate its usefulness

ChatGPT: Programming has been a hot topic in education for the past few decades, with many schools and universities adding programming courses to their curricula. However, I’m here to argue that we should stop teaching programming as a standalone subject, especially as an “Introduction to Programming.” Programming is just a tool and teaching it without context can be frustrating and unfulfilling for students. Instead, we should focus on applied courses like “Introduction to Web Design” where programming is taught in a context that students can appreciate and understand.

The biggest problem with teaching programming as a standalone subject is that it can be extremely frustrating for students. Programming languages are complex, and even the simplest programs can require a lot of attention to detail. Without a clear understanding of why programming is important or how it can be used, many students find themselves struggling to grasp the concepts. [As a personal anecdote: I often get asked by novices why on earth they should care about sorting a list of integers and often struggle myself to give a satisfying answer. ]

Moreover, programming on its own is not useful. Yes, being able to program is a valuable skill, but it’s only valuable when you can apply it to a real-world problem. This is why it’s important to teach programming in a context that students can appreciate and understand. For example, if you teach programming in the context of web design, students can see how their code directly affects the appearance and functionality of a website. [My personal motivation to start programming was nielstron.de ]

Teaching programming in a context also helps students appreciate the usefulness of programming. When students see how programming can be used to solve real-world problems, they become more engaged and interested in learning. This can lead to more motivated students who are more likely to pursue programming in the future.

Moreover, teaching programming in a context like web design also provides students with a practical skill that they can use in the real world. The ability to create a website is a valuable skill in today’s digital age, and learning programming in the context of web design provides students with a tangible and practical outcome.

In conclusion, we should stop teaching programming as a standalone subject and instead focus on teaching programming in a context that students can appreciate and understand. Applied courses like “Introduction to Web Design” provide students with a practical skill and help them appreciate the usefulness of programming. By doing so, we can create more engaged and motivated students who are more likely to pursue programming in the future.

Notice by the author: This blog post was conveniently written by ChatGPT. I have made editorial changes and want to point out here that it aligns with my personal opinion. The prompt is given in the initial paragraph. I am personally a proponent of publishing the prompt alongside ChatGPT(-ish) produced text, both as a natural TL;DR and along the nature of “open-source”. One could likely write another full article on this topic.

1 thought on “Stop teaching “Programming”

  1. Jan

    And maybe we should start with a language that, unlike Java, doesn’t require 10 lines of Boilerplate and a weird System.out. prefix for a simple Hello World! In my opinion this makes the whole thing frustrating too: “don’t worry, you will learn these keywords later” – “Thanks Professor *starts crying*”

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