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Topic: Computer School's Language of Instruction: English Only?
Replies: 8   Last Post: Jun 3, 2014 8:35 AM

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kirby urner

Posts: 1,725
Registered: 11/29/05
Computer School's Language of Instruction: English Only?
Posted: Jun 1, 2014 2:01 PM
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So here's a topic for math teachers.

Our booth at OSCON this year will likely feature "i18n" as a theme, which
means "internationalization" (a numeronym it's called -- check Wikipedia).

Our school is hoping to offer courses in the native languages of
other-than-Anglo speakers eventually, though for the moment we're an
English-only shop, in terms of language of instruction (our students are
from all walks of life and from all over the world).

What we teach though is polyglot: PHP, Perl, Python (the original P
languages in LAMP-stack), Java, C#, JavaScript, Calculus, Ruby on Rails,
HTML/CSS and Android, also some overview courses.

So the English could be swapped out for Portuguese or Russian or
Kyrgyzstani or whatever.

I think some of schools make it their goal to teach a low level "for
dummies" kind of bastardized "business English" and then make that the
bedrock upon which computer languages are learned. The language of
instruction is "bad English" one might say.

On the contrary, whereas Python is a great ESL "project language "(learn
Python via English as a technical application), the goal could just as well
be to use the "high culture" most literary form of each native language
(e.g Portuguese) such that each student gets a fully loaded culturally
sophisticated language of instruction.

If you're a native Chinese speaker, you deserve your course-ware in
Chinese, and so on.

On the other hand, Business English (BE) is indeed a useful and important
tool around the world.

Esperanto went nowhere.

So BE might also be one of our courses.

It's just I don't think we're likely to force BE as the language of
instruction for something as nuanced and technical as a computer language
or calculus.

You need to use your native language more likely.

Plus, with unicode, you can write the source code in your own language but
for a few keywords, as I'm showing of in the exhibit / trial over on
edu-sig (Python discussion list):

https://mail.python.org/pipermail/edu-sig/2014-May/011026.html

Note that our company has an office in Beijing and is based near the
Russian River in Sebastopol, so it's in your genes i.e. memes to wanna get
into i18n in a big way.

Most big publishing companies are into it too, pretty standard in our
industry.

Kirby



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