And this evening one of them asked me how one calls a method and writes a print statement. ::blinks:: WTF? These are the very first, very simplest things we did in this class. I'm pretty sure this guy was actually present for all the same classes I was. He's been writing code for his assignments.
I'm left with the impression that none of the careful incremental explanations of how this stuff works have made any impression on this guy. He's been doing his assignments by taking every bit of code from the book that looks relevant and flinging it at the wall to see what sticks. Flailing away at the underbrush with his machete, hoping to uncover the hidden temple by blind luck.
Wow. It's not the first time I've been astonished by an acute failure to generalize, but it still has the ability to amaze me.