Unfortunately these days practice seems to take a back seat, at least in reference to academics.
Almost no student has issues practising basketball or Fortnite or hockey skills. They will practice the same drills or game play for hours and hours – day after day – and start over again the next week.
When reading, writing, or math skills are involved, practice is often no longer front of mind! As a matter of fact, practising seems to have a very bad reputation in some circles.
Instead many people look for a “fix,” something external that can solve the problem. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many tools and accommodations that can be exceptionally helpful. I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. (As with most expressions, this one is quite odd when you think about it literally.)
In fact, that is my point. Just because there are new programs or devices, we should not toss out all of the tried and true methods of the past.
Nothing beats practice.
If you want to learn to ride a bike, ride a bike and practise as often as you can.
If you want to read better, read more!
If you want to write better, write every day!
If you want better math skills, give yourself questions and relearn past units.
In other words, practise. There is nothing wrong – in fact everything right – about practising something over and over and over. I do it all the time. I don’t expect myself to remember everything on the first run through a new text or concept. I need to review, re-read, do some questions, check or take new notes, and so on.
You need to be engaged with the material or the action repeatedly to make it almost second nature.
If you are struggling with math concepts or completing various operations, there are many helpful tools including calculators, online videos, math games, and math programs. They can be fun, informative, and get you on the right track. Still, you want to go back to your text or questions that will be asked at school to see if you can complete them without all the bells and whistles.
By the way, you can watch videos on how to ride a bike. You can play video games in which you are biking through various landscapes. These might help you learn some of the rules or give you some tips, but they won’t do much to actually get you balanced and writing the bike! You need to do that in the real world, and your stability and skills will improve as you keep doing it.
If you are a struggling writer, there are many helpful online tools that can lead you into improving your skill set. Again, I strongly recommend that you use them to help but then work toward becoming a better writer without many of these external aides most of the time. There is nothing wrong with having another set of eyes look at your work, or a program for that matter, but you will want to be able to do most of the project on your own at some point.
To go back to my biking example, you will want to take the training wheels off if possible.
Oh, by the way, practice does not make perfect. It will, however, make improvement.
Note: You might be wondering about the different spellings of the words practice and practise throughout this blog. I generally use Canadian spelling, so practice is used as a noun and practise is used as a verb. Americans use practice both as noun and a verb.
This week's video: Practise to Succeed.