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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • For this, some chastised me, saying all people make language errors, and we shouldn't judge people based on their cultural writing styles.

    At some point in the last 20 years, "how a person feels" overtook "whether or not the work is effective" in our school system. Not sure how, or precisely when. But this is the result. We've got a bunch of people who temporarily feel happy, but then go on to lead miserable lives because they aren't told that some things work and other things don't, and that life isn

    • Randal L. Schwartz
    • Stonehenge
    • Short-term vs. long-term. Put on the game-theory hat. If you're a third-grade teacher, what are your options and payoffs?

      It's much less of an investment to teach kids to write however they want, restricting spelling/grammar correction to limited times during the year. You don't have to be the ogre, so there's less friction with the kids. You also get more output from them, so it looks more impressive to parents.

      The major advantage of teaching kids that grammar and spelling are always important is that, twenty years later, those students will be more-respected.

      But you don't see that. Parents don't see that and don't give you credit for it. And you have to do the hard work: explaining why these abstracts are important to young children, enforcing discipline, giving critical feedback. These are all very hard to do. If you're a typical teacher, where's the benefit in this?

      Some teachers, sadly very few, believe in the ideals: that teaching is for life, that you teach properly regardless of the immediate rewards or difficulties. I was lucky enough to have some. I can count them on one hand. They changed my life.

      Teachers' payoffs will change once everyone realizes that there is no glory in having successfully encouraged a child to be creative. Children are creative. You can do your damndest to suppress their creativity, beat it out of them with a paddle, and they will still secretly write their thoughts and feelings in journals when you're not looking.

      If I'm a parent, I don't need a teacher to encourage my kids to write. The teacher is there to help them know how to write -- use of metaphor, story arc, character development, paragraph structure, grammar, and yes, spelling.

      As for this particular case, much of writing is knowing a proper degree of formality. I'm not writing this use.perl comment with the same language I'd use for a line in IRC, nor for a paper I'm submitting for peer-review. If you don't have the range across the whole spectrum of formality and correctness, or if you lack the wisdom to pick correctly, you are not as good a writer as you could be.