If Practice makes perfect I expect a 1st! Thanks Peps

Posted by Stephen on Feb 22, 2016

Maybe I m being overly critical, and maybe I should offer both Willingham and Syed more respect. However I found both the video and article a “how to” in doing well at passing exams. Willinghams article reads as a self-help study guide for those students who just don’t know what to do when revision time comes around. While Syed would have me believe that talent is of such minimal importance it is hardly worth mentioning.

Talent, read genetics, is a fact of day to day life and in the book the “Sports Gene” many of the points raised by Syed are countered. Clearly practice plays its part but I do wonder whether if all the most talented people had the right mindset they could eclipse the greatest accomplishments we have seen so far.

Both willinghams and Syed do skirt on topics of interest. Willingham suggests that relating what one is reading and thinking about and how it connects to other topics helps consolidate memory. Yet this does seem to be a point of little focus. While perhaps the most interesting point in Syeds talk is how the elite players recognise patterns. this should scream out to all Jo Boaler and “The Maths Gene” fans as the essence of maths. However the mention of it is so brief that the message is almost lost.

I guess what irks me is that willingham, and Skemp, have previously encouraged conceptual style understanding yet in this piece Willingham seems to have forgetten that.

These tactics of memory are surely applicable for numeracy, yet why limit ourselves to that when so much of maths is interrelated.

Hopefully with practise writing these essays my final one shall easily receive a first.

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