PyCon 2016 in Portland, Or
hills next to breadcrumb illustration

Tuesday 5:10 p.m.–5:40 p.m.

Teaching Python: The Hard Parts

Elana Hashman

Audience level:


So you want to share the love and start teaching Python? It's dangerous to go alone! In this talk, I will share some of my experience teaching Python to newcomers of all levels and issues I've encountered. I hope to raise your awareness of some of the pitfalls different beginner Python programmers encounter, giving you some tools to help you build curriculum and answer difficult student questions.


Teaching Python is a joy, but there can be problems. You try your best to be prepared, but you hit the same obstacles the first, second, or even third time. Whether your students are complete beginners or come to you with some existing programming background, each group seems to have their own unique set of issues. These are the Hard Parts. Sharing my experience in teaching Python, I hope to steer you away from some of the problems I have encountered and provide advice for how to address them in the classroom. Some topics I will cover include: - diversity among student development environments, especially related to Windows users - working with the command line for the first time - Python versioning (2 vs. 3) - methods versus functions and how beginners handle object-oriented programming concepts - beyond ``: putting together Python modules - Python scoping troubles - packaging and deployment of Python code