Sunday, May 22, 2022

deliberate practice

My readers will find this article from Forbes to be interesting, and perhaps this quote also from Louis Pasteur, leading it, "that chance favors the prepared mind."

At the gym on Saturday, my weight lifting partners were discussing K. Anders Erickson's 10,000 hour rule, and that so many hours are expended by all of us in frivolous fashion.

An example is that by the time a student graduates from high school, well in excess of 10,000 hours will have been spent in dispassionate time, sitting at desks, when in an alternate approach they might have become fully engaged in pursuit of passional interests.

What does it take as far as a general investment of time to arrive at a high point in valuable engagement and contribution in life? There are three steps toward that level of investment. The first is to awaken possible passion and identify interests. For that to happen, kids have to be exposed to various alternatives and the actual folks performing a wide variety of services and tasks. 

Froebel’s book Mother Play comes to mind, as he illustrated various roles within community through visual images, song and finger play, celebrating the importance of various roles and folks. Even the lowly charcoal maker was celebrated as shown. Kids need some way to grasp a variety of options for finding passionate potentials for engagement. Schools, by focusing primarily on reading and math and only things that can be easily tested, don’t provide that.

The second thing that has to happen is that kids be enabled to see themselves as having a pathway to the next level by being connected with folks who are on the same journey, developing skills in various areas of passionate engagement.

The third thing is that we need to develop systems that reward and support "passionate engagement,"over nearly all else.

It interests me that in years past it was noted that many of the career opportunities in one generation didn’t exist in previous ones, so a focus on CTE may be a bit more narrow than what I have in mind. How about PE, not meaning physical education (though not to exclude that) but "passionate engagement" as being one of the factors aspired toward in education. By the time kids graduate from high school they will have spent in excess of 10,000 hours sitting at desks. Passionate engagement of the type required to raise one’s level of performance to a high standard, one of service to society, will not happen as a result of sitting at desks. It requires deliberate practice.

What the focus on CTE does is expand the range of options. But to get those 1 ,000 hours to mean more than boredom, and getting good at that, we need to respond to student’s natural passions, and also break down the artificial walls between CTE and college prep.

I have a quote in the book from David Henry Feldman that discusses a new standard from his essay the Child As Craftsman, calling for diversity of interests and passionate engagement in diverse interests as being a more useful goal in public education. So it’s really a bit beyond supporting CTE as an alternative to College Prep.

Of course, the hands play a role at center stage.

Make, fix and create...

No comments:

Post a Comment