Talking to machines

But read

I'm a language teacher. Teaching and learning languages is frustrating and very difficult. No-one understands what I am talking about, and I cannot get them to do what I want.

Writing computer programs, on the other hand, is rewarding and enjoyable.

I CAN get my learners to do what I want by writing classroom applications and life is great.

If I am not teaching, I am at the computer.

Teaching is similar to computer programming. Can I get the machine or the person to do what I want, when they don't want to do what I want? One is an exercise in EQ (teaching) and the other in IQ (programming).

Often I fail. This is discouraging. Sometimes I succeed. This is encouraging. Now to fail this time is a sign that I may succeed next time. This is very exciting.

For this reason, I put programing together with teaching. My programs are all about my teaching activities.

It would be terrible to be a professional programmer. Not just because the programmer is not really interested in the real world tasks that the program is supposed to be achieving. But also because, programming is not an exercise in personal relationships. (Although personal relationships are important in software engineering, because most big software is constructed by teams. Ironically, programmers get to work more in teams than teachers in schools, where the teacher goes in Rambo-like to win the war as an individual.)

So I combine the best of both worlds. Programming is an avocation.

Programming is also about language. You use a computer language to talk to the computer.

Some programmers are better than others, but all programmers speak computer languages as second languages, even if they were the creators of those languages.

So I think it is important to study software engineering (the development of computer programs) to understand the teaching and learning of second languages.

Since my losing of interest in the academic disciplines of applied linguistics and TESOL and the activities of teacher associations, this has been my main source of inspiration for my own teaching.

Me at

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