[Haskell-cafe] Haskell for children? Any experience?

Tim Chevalier catamorphism at gmail.com
Mon Jan 31 20:03:49 CET 2011

On Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 7:28 AM, aditya siram <aditya.siram at gmail.com> wrote:
> Ye gods! A B & D [1] language for kids? At least give them a fighting
> chance [2] at becoming future developers.
> Haskell's immutability is good for mathematics but doing anything else
> takes a great deal of up-front patience and perseverance, two very
> rare qualities in that demographic if my own childhood is any
> indication.
> BTW I want to be wrong so if you do succeed with this I will feast on
> crow with gusto.

IMO, the "two very rare qualities" part is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Didn't a lot of us spend endless hours tinkering with Linux
configurations or seeing how many ways there were to use the debugger
to make the computer crash when we were teenagers (if we were lucky
enough to have computers as teenagers, anyway)? Kids -- and other
people -- do amazing things when no one tells them it's hard.

To the OP, I think teaching Haskell to 11-13 year olds should if
anything be easier than teaching it to undergrads. At that age,
they're less likely to have absorbed social "math is hard" messages
and less likely to have absorbed Real-Programmer-ish ideas about what
languages they're supposed to be programming in or what languages are
practical. Sounds like a joy! Also, if you haven't, check out the book
_Mindstorms_ by Seymour Papert -- the particular programming paradigm
he advocates is different, but there should be some good fundamental
ideas to inspire you.


Tim Chevalier * http://cs.pdx.edu/~tjc/ * Often in error, never in doubt
"an intelligent person fights for lost causes,realizing that others
are merely effects" -- E.E. Cummings

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