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Towards the end of her life, my Nan never used to buy news papers: "Its all just too depressing!"; but she loved it if I collected pairs (or runs) of a particular daily newspaper by picking up discarded ones from the train during my evening commute. (I once offered to buy her a subscription; but she lived through two world wars and was all about thrift. :)

The reason was that she loved doing cryptic cross words in that particular paper. She wasn't well educated, taken out of school at twelve, and didn't have a particularly vast vocabulary; but for years she'd picked up her boss's discarded copy of this paper and read it during her lunch break; and had become expert at understanding the mind of the cross-word compiler of this particular puzzle. She'd done it for so long that she had acquired an almost 6th sense about the patterns he used to construct his clues; which meant that most times she could complete the puzzle even when she didn't actually know what half the words meant.

My point is that I think expertise comes in many forms; and from my observation, if you enjoy what you do, it can allow you to achieve a far higher level of competence, and far more quickly, than if you do not.

I also observe that with programming, one of the most important basic skills is pattern recognition. And it is one of those abilities that is either innate in your nature, or not; it is very difficult to either teach or learn. I put most of my own abilities as a programmer down to an innate ability to see patterns in stuff that others don't see; even when you try to point it out to them. (Just as well, because I have little by way of other innate abilities :)

I think one of the biggest lies in modern politics is the idea that everyone is born with equal potential; and that if we could only get the education system right; then any kid could become whatever they choose to be. Even among kids with ostensibly the same IQ, some will excel at some subjects and skills and be complete duffers at others.

And I think programming is a particularly polarising skill. Some kids will just take to it like a duck to water; and others will never get it no matter how much time is expended trying to teach them.

It used to be that the skill of the best teachers was to recognise what innate skills and talents each particular child had and to guide them in developing their best potentials in those directions. The modern dogma is that you have an entirely fix curriculum and force every child to work through every part of it.

Forcing a kid destined to become an artist or media designer or musician to sit through hours of Math, Physics and Chemistry that they have no interest in or use for; is equally as useless as forcing those who's only hanker is to be a mathematician or physicist or chemist or programmer to endure art or music or history or sport.

And that, to me, is perhaps the most wide spread and greatest collective sin of modern societies.


With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
"Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority". I knew I was on the right track :)
In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

In reply to Re^4: When does programming become automatic (if ever)? by BrowserUk
in thread When does programming become automatic (if ever)? by nysus

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