Category: Varied Practice

Learners Need to Focus on Errors

Let’s move on to the excellent article It’s Not How Much; It’s How: Characteristics of Practice Behavior and Retention of Performance Skills, by Duke et al. (2009), which is another dive into analyzing what leads to good retention of learning in music education.  Just to be different, I’ll start with the conclusion, and then circle around to the study construction. “The results showed that the strategies employed during practice were more determinative of performance quality at retention than was how much or how long the pianists practiced” 17 students (advanced piano performance students) were given a 3-measure passage from a difficult Concerto to...

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Learning Math is Not a Spectator Sport

In November, I gave the keynote at the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) Conference in Denver. I have given versions of this talk that are not specific for mathematics, but I don’t have recordings of those. I promise that the math in this talk is not inaccessible and is used more for examples than a framework for the talk. In other words, don’t let the word “math” scare you away. The alternate version of the talk is “Learning is Not a Spectator Sport.” The first half of the video is the awards ceremony, so I’ve directed the...

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Why high contextual interference?

This week I followed a hunch and, with the help of a friend who is a music educator, dug into some additional research around this idea of blocked and random practice. In music there are a few goals to achieve with any passage of music: can you play a passage accurately by itself? can you play the passage in the larger context of the piece? can you play the passage to tempo? can you play the passage with the right expression? Think about these goals in your own subject area and see if you can find a similar set...

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Algebra is Weightlifting for the Brain

This was my presentation on Friday in Austin, Texas at the Developmental Education TeamUp Conference. The process of learning algebra should ideally teach students good logic skills, the ability to compare and contrast circumstances, and to recognize patterns and make predictions. In a world with free CAS at our fingertips, the focus on these underlying skills is even more important than it used to be. Learn how to focus on thinking skills and incorporate more active learning in algebra classes, without losing ground on topic coverage. Algebra Is Weightlifting For The Brain from Maria Andersen   I’ve loaded the uncut, unedited video that I took of the presentation to YouTube.  I’m not going to claim the video recording is great (recorded with a Flip Video Camera sitting on a table), but you’ll get to hear the audio and more of the details.  View “Algebra is Weightlifting for the Brain” here. Possibly Related Posts: Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM Better to be Frustrated than Bored Video of AMATYC Keynote Celebrate the Errors in Math Practice The Deliberate Practice...

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