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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Practice works for football -- and math

How do you get to Carnegie Hall -- or a football championship? Practice, right? The same applies to learning math, writes Holly Korbey on The Bell Ringer. "The lack of practice in academic skills is one of the biggest obstacles to academic achievement, and maybe one of the easiest things to fix."


Korbey spoke to many parents, teachers, and researchers who agreed lack of practice is a huge problem, she said this on the Centering the Pendulum podcast. But she got pushback from educators said “practice wouldn’t help” get more kids to higher math.


Our culture values grit and hard work for some activities, she writes. Working hard to master football fundamentals is considered character building. Working hard in academics is seen as stressful and perhaps harmful.


Many fear that practice -- diagram 20 sentences, solve 20 math problems -- will turn off students, she writes. "Learning should be fun, this thinking goes." Students should be "engaged."


. . . when students don’t know the nuts and bolts of whatever subject they’re working on, the basic building blocks, it’s much harder to become successful at it . . . Building a store of background knowledge in any subject is the basic building block for developing innovative or creative ideas in that subject. And building those blocks can sometimes mean some un-fun practice. 

"There’s also fascinating research suggesting that kids are more motivated when they are successful at the material, not the other way around," writes Korbey.


"Productive struggle" has been fashionable for years. But a lot of struggle isn't productive. It's frustrating. And not fun.

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7 comentários


Darren Miller
Darren Miller
02 de abr.

But but but, football is important, and fun, not like math at all.

(the sarcasm light is now /off)

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superdestroyer
01 de abr.

I always dislike the "practice will get one success or one just needs to spend 10,000 hours:. Does anyone really believe that Missy Franklin or Katie Ledecky were successful because they spent more hours in the pool than anyone else or because they were very talented and that practice provided positive feedback due to their success. In any field, there are many non-successes who spent just as many hours as the champions practicing but were not very successful.


However, there is a huge difference between practicing arithmetic and being good at math. And those talented in math will get more benefit from the practice that those who are have little talent in math.

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buy
03 de abr.
Respondendo a

There are a couple hundred, maybe 1000, truly accomplished concert pianists in the world.


The Fields Medal is won by four people every year.


On the other hand, almost 16% of high school students pass calculus each year.


https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d22/tables/dt22_225.40.asp


Ann in L.A.

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buy
01 de abr.

I'm taking a class on the digital revolution in health, and we recently covered AI language skills. It sure looks a lot like the programmers need to diagram a lot of sentences before the AI learns how English works.


Of course, no one thinks of diagramming sentences as something high tech, and yet is has been essential to AI programming.

Which goes to Greg Ashman's point that you can't know what skills will be necessary in the future, so the best thing to do is build strong foundations in the classic skills of reading, writing, math, with lots of knowledge in a large number of domains.


Ann in L.A.

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