Teaching Regular Expressions / regexp in lessons

RegExp are great fun if you’re an Abstract Mathematician, or mildly masochistic.

For the rest of us, it’s silly to work on them without using something like this:


Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 10.16.55

When we teach regexps, are we aiming for students to:

  1. Become experts in typing?
  2. Have 20/20 eyesight?
  3. Be non-dyslexic – dyslexia is for failures, who’ll never get a job anyway?

…or do we want them:

  1. Learning the effect of each different rule in regexp?
  2. Experimenting with regexps?
  3. Discovering how regexp rules combine, and which take precedence?
  4. Improving their debugging skills?
  5. Using computers realistically to do the things computers are great at, while students focus on the planning, process, and implementation that humans excel at?

Not that I have any strong opinions here, or anything…

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