String != [Char]

Edward Kmett ekmett at
Sun Mar 25 21:08:44 CEST 2012

On Sun, Mar 25, 2012 at 11:42 AM, Gabriel Dos Reis <
gdr at> wrote:

> Perhaps we are underestimating their competences  and are
> complicating their lives unnecessarily...

Have you ever actually taught an introductory languages course?

If anything we delude ourselves by overestimating the ability of kids just
shortly out of highschool to assimilate an entire new worldview in a couple
of weeks while they are distracted by other things. Any additional
distraction that makes this harder is a serious pain point.

Consequently, in my experience, most instructors don't even go outside of
the Prelude, except perhaps to introduce simple custom data types that
their students define. The goal in that period is to get the students
accustomed to non-strictness, do some list processing, and hope that an
understanding of well-founded recursion vs. productive corecursion sticks,
because these are the things that you can't teach well in another language
and which are useful to the student no matter what tools they wind up using
in the future.

I would rather extra time be spent trying to get the users up to speed on
the really interesting and novel parts of the language, such as typeclasses
and monads in particular, than lose at least a quarter of my time fiddling
about with text processing, a special case API and qualified imports,
because those couple of weeks are going to shape many of those students'
opinion of the language forever.

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