Teaching Philosophy

In my first lecture I ask if everyone knew how to use Microsoft Word. Of course everyone in the class knows how to use Word, and then I get a little deeper and ask if they know how to right justify, bold text, add a table etc. The students are quite confident because they can all do that. Then I hit them with the question: Is there anyone in the room that believes they could write to a standard that would get them published in a major magazine.

The students aren't as confident now because they realize that while they can play around with Microsoft Word, none of them have have the necessary skills to get published. It is the same with programming. Far too many people jump in wanting to do the fluffy stuff without understanding the core fundamentals, and in my class it is the core fundamentals that we focus on.

Right justify, bold text, adding a table are easily repeatable tasks in Microsoft Word. The art of writing not so, as is mastering basic programming principles. It takes time and it takes practice. It can be a tough slog, but by the end of the semester my students are enriched by the experience. There will always be people that are happy to just fluff around, but they'll never be writers or accomplished programmers.

That is my philosophy when it comes to programming. Master the fundamentals, and everything else should fall into place.

If you enjoyed this article, then you may also be interested in my related articles on Traits of Failure and Why the Poor performance.


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