kitchen table math, the sequel: 7/10/11 - 7/17/11

Saturday, July 16, 2011

practice in school

Hey everyone - I'm back from IL (didn't get to see Susan S - darn!) - and have just read a brilliant comment left by Lynne Dilligent on Joanne Jacobs' blog. Lynne's comment sums up a core frustration I've felt with the schools forever, re: the need for the school, not the parents, to be in charge of providing and overseeing the practice children need to learn what they're supposed to be learning.

Must go do "SAT work" with C. -- back in a little bit.

(Thanks to Barry for sending the link.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Competing Memory Issue

Six months into this SAT project, and I've repeatedly experienced that learning something new only sticks, until I learn something else new. Very frustrating.

Reminds me of my daughter who tells me that it's very hard for her to get good grades in every subject at the same time. (I get it now, deeply.)

There's a new study from Beth Israel researchers about this competing memory issue:

For the last 100 years, it has been appreciated that trying to learn facts and skills in quick succession can be a frustrating exercise,” explains Edwin Robertson, MD, DPhil, an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and BIDMC. “Because no sooner has a new memory been acquired than its retention is jeopardized by learning another fact or skill.

....and a possible new solution:

TMS is a noninvasive technique that uses a magnetic simulator to generate a magnetic field that can create a flow of current in the brain......They discovered that by applying TMS to specific brain areas, they were able to reduce the interference and competition between the motor skill and word-list tasks and both memories remained intact.

On a related note, I have started working with a Cognitive Psychologist on my working memory. Yesterday's appointment: IQ test.

(Cross Posted on Perfect Score Project)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect (But only Briefly)

Sustained practice makes the kind of perfect I'm looking for.

More inspiration from Daniel Willingham:

When we refer to "practice," it is important to be clear that it differs from play (which is done purely for one's own pleasure), performance (which is done for the pleasure of others), and work (which is done for compensation). Practice is done for the sake of improvement. Practice, therefore, requires concentration and requires feedback about whether or not progress is being made. Plainly put, practice is not easy. It requires a student's time and effort, and it is, therefore, worth considering when it is appropriate.

(cross-posted on Perfect Score Project)