2018-05-24 12:38:33 2018-05-24 12:38:32 2018-05-24 12:38:32 1660912
English as a Second Language and Computer Science Language: Getting Started
Seeking hints for an efficient approach to education, I've looking at computer language books from the nineties. The need for a terminology or notation to talk about my teaching method is driving me into computer science education. Even books by the founders of languages that I would not consider for a general education/liberal arts program provide useful insights. Other than 'joke'(Whitespace) or intentionally obfuscatory(Unlambda) languages just about any computer language, approached in a thoughtful way, could serve a general education program. But which language is most conducive to the liberal arts? Right now I think languages in the Lisp family like Scheme or Racket are the best candidates. Scheme and Racket were designed with education in mind.
And Scheme's design brings to mind a view of Reason itself:Reason is the dependence of all knowledge on one principle. — I.A. Richards in How to Read a Page p. 210
One of the conclusions that we reached was that the "object" need not be a primitive notion in a programming language; one can build objects and their behaviour from little more than assignable value cells and good old lambda expressions.
— Guy Steele on Scheme's design quoted in Doug Hoyt's Let Over Lambda: 50 Years of Lisp [DHLOL]
And Reason is the model for the free human being, and for solving problems:Reason is … the movement of a thought that doesn't recognize any authority other than its own activity. — Cornelius Castoriadis in Rising Tide of Insignificancy
I'm hoping that learning with Scheme provides a way to experience healthy simplification with reason. I imagine it's possible to sequence experiences for education with any language used for jobs.Of course, if your job is programming, you can get your job done with any "complete" computer language, theoretically speaking. But we know from experience that computer languages differ not so much in what they make possible but in what they make easy. At one extreme, the so-called fourth-generation languages make it easy to do some things, but nearly impossible to do other things. At the other extreme, so-called industrial-strength languages make it equally difficult to do almost everything. — Larry Wall in Programming Perl: Third Edition pxv
But, how can we simplify the approach so that, with less wasted effort dealing with unnecessary burdens, we can get deep in the field through "threshold concepts"? What would be the quickest way to see the core ideas and appreciate them, grow with them? While I'm leaning towards Scheme/Racket I hope to experience the Oz "kernel" language and it's facilities for exploring different paradigms. The metaphor of kernel or germ fits in well with the metaphors from embryology for learning….
In the meantime I've been impressed with insights from Bjarne Stroustup's book about the "industrial-strength" langauge C++.… to use the language well, you need a perspective that brings order to the set of features and techniques. — Bjarne Stroustrup in The C++ Programming Language: Third Edition p14
Stroustrup makes me think of Neil Postman, we need a coherent view outside of computer languages too.When there is too much information to sustain any theory, information becomes essentially meaningless. — Neil Postman in Technopoly p77
Unless you can conceive of some easily stated relationships between the basic concepts, the program is likely to become unmanageable. — Bjarne Stroustrup p15
Detailed understanding of language features — even of all features of a language — cannot compensate for lack of an overall view of the language and the fundamental techniques for using it. — The C++ Programming Language p21
Modern secular education is failing not because it doesn't teach who Ginger Rogers, Norman Mailer, and a thousand toerh people are but because it has no moral, social, or intellectual center. There is no set of ideas or attitudes that permeates the entire curriculum. — Neil Postman in Technopoly p186
In beginner-level classrooms we have to provide the limits that will permint creative, exploratory use of language. The classroom has to provide protections that allow early learning to grow.A family that does not or cannot control the information environment of its children is barely a family at all… That the family can no longer do this is, I believe, obvious to everyone.
Courts of law, the school, and the family are only three of the several control institutions that serve as part of a culture's information immune system. — Neil Postman in Techonopoly p76
Going from C++ to Neil Postman has me thinking of the commandments in The Little Schemer.
The people who use the machines we are most conscious of in this day an age seem well aware of the perspectivess we need to learn and control our tools.Having no no expectation of a pattern, no basis for assuming a given order, yo have no reason to react with incredulity or even surprise to whatever card turns up.
The belief system of a tool-using culture is rather like a brand-new deck of cards. Whether it is a culture of technological simplicity or sophistication, there always exists a more or less comprehensive, ordered world-view, resting on a set of metaphysical or theological assumptions. Ordinary men and women might not clearly grasp how the harsh realities of their lives fit into the grand and benevolent design of the universe, but they have no doubt that there is such a design, and their priests and shamans are well able, by deduction from a handful of principles, to make it, if not wholly rational, at least coherent. … — Neil Postman in Technopoly p59
I'd like to see a series of examples in Scheme that, without explanation or jargon, would let learners discover systematic apporaches to working with complex processes. I think I.A. Richards's English Through Pictures provides a model for such a series. Maybe searching for a graded sequence into computer science insights will make the language learning process a bit more clear too.
The Minimalist Program and Recursion come to mind. …
#ESL #computerlanguages #C++ #NeilPostman #BjarneStroustrup
\#Scheme #Racket #Lisp #IaRichards #IaR #Castoriadis #Reason #education
2018-05-17 12:32:38 2018-05-17 12:32:38 2018-05-17 12:32:38 1603241
Japanese School English
A Japanese high school student had trouble with two textbook sentences. After seeing these sentences she no longer understood the difference between `what` and `how`:
I imagine she got through junior high school and first-year high school English with a simple translation rule for what and how. The rule is probably something like, for `what` use Nan何: 何に,何の and for `how` use Douどう: どの, どんな etc. These rule probably works well for some basic sentences on the level of plain `sense` that is not the level where these sentences are used. Where might these sentences be used? While visiting a middle class home in the USA? Why would such a sentence be taught in a Japanese high school's English class? What percentage of the world's English Speaker population lives the USA ( 1. ), and how big is the USA population with middle class homes? Resisting an urge to read Gavan McCormack's Client State: Japan in the American Embrace I want to think about second language education for a while.
- How beautiful is this house!
- What a beautiful house this is!
The textbook offers the offending sentences up as 感嘆文 for which `Tagaini Jisho`(Free Software!) offers `Admiration, wonder, astonishment.` I.A. Richards might call it an `emotive` statement, but even the straightforward form of these sentences are `emotive.`
I think the simpler structures said with feeling should be enough. I spend hours helping university students sort out the use of `This, That, These, Those` along with `is, are' and `~s`. Maybe the students would lose less and remain less confused if the English hours were spent working with basic sentence structures at the level of sense. My feeling is that the ESL classroom and the textbook are media that can provide experience with working out the sense of language. The other levels of language should probably be left for other situations and other media, real life and literature.
- This house is very beautiful.
- How beautiful this house is!
- This is a very beautiful house.
- What a beautiful house this is!
This sort of grammar might be useful in a computer science course using Scheme or Racket.
<How + 形容詞[副詞](+ 主語 + 動 詞)!> <What + (a / an + ) 形容詞 + 名詞 (+ 主語 + 動詞)!>
My experience makes me think the Japanese textbook approach makes students helpless when they try to say something in English. Someday I hope to use the English Through Pictures books with people that have not been damaged by classrooms based on this sort of textbook.
I'm not the only one to get the feeling that English classrooms and textbooks in Japan do more harm than good. While looking for on-line materials about Katsuichi Honda's (本多勝一)book on clear Japanese writing style I stumbled on the page quoted below. An English teacher (Yousuke Yanase, 柳瀬陽介) had his seminar students read and report on Honda's book. While putting the results of discussing Honda's book with his students on-line Yanase interested me in books by translators. I haven't looked into the books yet but translators warn that Japanese school English is not harmful to competencies in Japanese as well as English.
Students from Italy came to Miyazaki for 10-day home-stays. After visiting a local high school's English language class they said it felt more like a Japanese language class than an English class.
Japanese schools probably need to work with Alfie Kohn more than anything else. I showed student worksheets to a hard-working sincere teacher from Nagoya. He had just put a lot of effort into a model class for a challenging Graded Direct Method seminar. After seeing worksheets from my class, where students just write sentences next to line drawings, he had trouble with them. Teachers in Japan are usually impressed that students can write correct sentences when faced with only a line drawing. The worksheets have a list of words at the top too but not many students look at the list. The hard part of a second language is the structure not the vocabulary. The high school teachers trouble was that these worksheets that encourage and exhibit an understanding of English sentence structure were not conducive to grading. Japanese school students have to be graded in a way that a one point difference can get them into "better" (high status?) school. I have to find an old Iwanami Shinsho book about education where the great old writer talks about schools as colanders that serve to sieves that separate out students. I don't think I read far enough into the book to see if he rejected the school-as-sieve view as a form of decent education. A lot of the convoluted English material may just be a series of hoops to jump through in order to reach a coveted position in some sort of bureaucracy: academic, governmental, or corporate.
I don't know if the creators of this commercial intended it as social criticism, but it is a direct translation of Japanese term that can be used like `wage slave` ChinGinDoRei賃金奴隷: company cow, corporate livestock, ShaChiku社畜 … I think it's a sad view of school, and society. It has be going back to Paul Goodman's Growing Up Absurd.
- Japanese TV Commercial
\#JapaneseSchool #ESL #JapaneseTV #EnglishClass #EFL #JapaneseEnglish