I agree with much of what has already been said, as some things are easier to learn on film cameras and some on digital. I would certainly endorse keeping things simple and start my students off on simple darkroom imagery before moving onto film/digital and get them to record their progress in an A3 journal. A good early project in helping to develop a way of seeing is “Alphabet Shapes”, where students are asked to record as many letters of the alphabet from shapes they find when walking around. This helps them look more objectively at things (those on this site new to photography may wish to try it). I believe Robert Doisneau applied this technique to some of his general photography.