The Abstraction Paradigm

Let’s talk a bit about the abstraction paradigm. First, we have to understand that the major difficulty and the paradoxe of this article will be to talk to you about this concept without using it. Therefore, we are going to focus on the academic field and particularly the IT to stay simple and make sense.

Everyone already dealt at least once with the abstraction paradigm during every level of his education. Even if we don’t know or pay attention to it, a lot of professors use it to explain difficult concepts to their students. The purpose is to transform a low-level situation into a higher-level one. Let’s take the most basic example in order to illustrate the paradigm. How do we usually teach kids to count, I believe we can transform the classic “Two plus two equals ?” Into “You got two apples, I give you two more, how many apples do you have now ?”.

My aim is to explain why the abstraction is to me the best way to knowledge and why I use it to teach information technology at all levels.
People have facilities to understand things that are near them, more than trying to think about a conceptual notion. I think that if the best way to teach kids is this one, why it would not be the same for everybody?

As I said earlier, this concept works for low-level to high-level explanation but its application can go from one level to the level just higher if we want to. More precisely, we do not really have to translate the whole explanation as complex as it is into a really basic one because it could lose its sense.

We can easily compare it with programming, for instance, the OOP (Oriented Object Programming). It is a programming paradigm which transforms the way of coding of the entire world. This design pattern allowed developers to transform coding concepts into object that we can compare to more real objects.
This example of really low-level application of the abstraction paradigm is great to understand that there is really no limits using it and that we can use it at all levels with a bit of imagination.

As a teacher or a tutor, it really important to use it and adapt it depending of the students, their life, activities, passions and more.

Low and High level : This is the degree in which a concept is near the human being. Low means far and high means near.

Additional resources:

The Power of Teaching
Why You Should Study the Subject that you Love
Why do We Fail

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