Use the playful phrasing “bracket thief” when students get a common Java error for forgetting to use a closing bracket to remind students of this error in a non-threatening way.

  • When students frequently forget to add a closing bracket and ask for help with the subsequent error messages in Java, tell them they are a bracket thief.
    • Tell students that they created an open bracket for an if statement and since methods close only if the if statements close, the missing closing bracket is assumed to be stolen by a bracket thief.
    • Once students realize they’ve become a bracket thief, they will search for the missing bracket without any further assistance.
  • This tactic results in students laughing, so they think it is great.
    • This is great way to make programming fun in the classroom.

More about this tip

External Source
Interview with Stephanie Hoeppner