Thursday, April 28, 2011

Deliberate practice

There was an acknowledgement on kitchen table math yesterday of the huge importance of deliberate practice in teaching.  
As I wrote in my reply to the posting:
'I've been banging on about Ericsson's work for ages. Ericsson, Charness, Feltovich and Hoffman produced The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance in 2006, since which time Malcolm Gladwell, Matthew Syed, Geoff Colvin and others have produced books on the enormous value of deliberate practice.
To be successful at any activity more complex than sucking a lollipop, you need lots of practice if you want to achieve proficiency.
The other essential element is expert tuition - a requirement that should be music to the ears of kitchen table math fans, of which of course I am one!
However, in order to be able to provide expert tuition, the tutor needs to be an expert (!) and know how to teach from simple to complex. This means teachers having an excellent knowledge of their subject, how to break it down into discrete parts, recombine the parts into a coherent whole and apply it. Which, it seems to me, is pretty much what Singapore maths does.
Would that we applied the same principles to other areas of the curriculum, starting with the teaching of reading and spelling.'
What I didn't also add is that if you are looking for a programme that incorporates all the the elements essential to learning to read and spell - lots of deliberate daily practice, teaching from simple to more complex in carefully sequenced, incremental steps, and expert tuition through the medium of apprenticeship, guided participation, and appropriation - you need look no further than Sounds-Write.

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