[Haskell-cafe] functional languages - pretty good for students!

Dennis Raddle dennis.raddle at gmail.com
Mon Jun 17 20:55:30 UTC 2019

I've been doing computer science tutoring for a few years in languages like
Java and Python.

I started teaching a 10th grade student Elm recently. I'd like to use
Haskell at some point, but because he likes websites and games, Elm seemed
more apropos. What I'm discovering is that a functional language like Elm
is fairly natural to him and he's learning quickly!

Our lessons prior to Elm (including Python, Java, and JavaScript at this
point) are extracurricular and he hasn't put much study in-between lessons,
so his progress has been slow. I don't think he's developed many
"programming muscles."

But now, his progress in Elm is faster.

One factor, I think, is how concise functional code is. He hasn't developed
much "programmer's eye" up to now (by which I mean scanning a lot of code
quickly) but Elm, being much shorter, is easier for him to grasp at a

He also thinks the algebraic data model is cool. He sees how it's related
to classes and subclasses, but he appreciates how relatively simple it is.

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