Monday, August 20, 2012

Practice Perfect by Doug Lemov

Everyone knows that practice makes perfect. But, practicing the correct way is as, if not more, important. That, at least, is the premise of the book and I really believe it's true.

What this book does is to distill the tenets of effective practicing into 42 rules, explaining each rule in it's own chapter. What I want to do for this review is to looking at the rules that struck me the most (and there are quite a bit) and explore why. Warning: The "why" is going to be all about Kendo <3 (On a completely unrelated note, I will be going to Kendo camp from tomorrow onwards ;) )

Rule 3: Stress learning skills all the way to automaticity so that participants can use them automatically - and before they consciously decide to.

Definitely! Even in things like piano, it's only when you have memorised things like fingering that you can work on timing and expression (not that I ever mastered expression). In kendo, it's things like practicing your footwork so you can work on your stroke. Or practicing the stroke so you can work on more advanced footwork (I cannot do fumi-komi, a kind of footstamp).

Rule 15: Use modeling to help learners replicate, and use description to help them understand.

Modeling is when you watch someone and learn from what I do. I think it's self-explanatory as to why it's effective, but really, the best way for me to see how to do the stroke correctly is if my seniors show me how to do it before making me do it.

Rule 20: Model complex skills one step at a time and repeat when necessary.

Case in point: Kiri-kaeshi, a sequence of hits. If we started with it straight away, I would not have been able to do it. But since we first practiced the feet, then the stroke, it became a matter of putting it together rather than trying to do everything at one go.

Rule 25: Speed of consequence beats strength of consequence pretty much every time. Give feedback right away, even if it's imperfect.

I get feedback right away. ^^ And if I don't, I ask for feedback.

Rule 27: Limit the amount of feedback you give; people can focus and use only a few things at a time.

I never really noticed this, but upon reflection, my seniors only tell me to work on one thing at a time. While I was worrying about my feet, they told me to focus on my stroke, and that the feet could be improved later.

Ok, I should stop here. Basically, I believe the things in this book because I can see that they are effective. As for the things that I've not tried, I really want to try. It's definitely something to keep in mind during Kendo camp at least :D

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

See you all after Kendo camp (in a week)!

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