I live in a great place. Little Sebastopol in Sonoma County, home to a lot of conscientious and smart people, and among them the good folks at O'Reillys.
Today, I came a across a discussion on the value of practice, which culminated in the following lines that I would like to share:
My point this morning was in large part that repetition and drill matter, and that once you've figured out that they're actually helping you, they 'suck' a lot less.
It's not just a matter of Calvinist ethics (sorry, Kurt) - it's an opportunity for learners to move forward by doing things a lot, shifting ahead a bit at a time. The great leaps are fun as well, but build on smaller steps.
My concern with this is that while letting kids figure out what works for them is a good idea and that different kids will figure out different things, actually becoming good at things is about a lot more than discovering them or creating them.
Reading sheet music is one thing - learning to play an instrument is another. And I figured out what integration and differentiation were about long before I got to calculus, but I probably should have flunked my second semester of calculus because I just couldn't wrap my head around how to actually make it work. (Which shocked me, because math up to then had just flowed naturally for me.)
Ideally I'd love to have discovery and creativity motivate learners' actions - but they still need to motivate learners into a tremendous amount of repetition to get there.
Kurt said 'Computers and the internet can be used to scale the learning by discovery paradigm.' Yes, and they can also be used to manage, moderate, and fine-tune repetition. Hopefully we can combine all of that into something that gives people instruction at a pace they can maintain, thrilled by their progress, but also in a way that sticks with them."