After reading the book The Smartest Kids in the World: and How They got that Way, I started wondering how much can pedagogy be taught, and how much of it is just having a good personality. And by “good personality” I was thinking of the charismatic “hail fellow well met type”. I should have remembered that people with “hail fellow well met” type of personalities, usually get more credit than they deserve see the book Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Should teachers be required to get a good education or does getting a degree in physical education, qualify you to teach math in high school. How much can training benefit a teacher?
Well, given that I learned several ways to study better, to learn faster, and retain more, from this book, I think getting a good education is necessary for teachers as well. Some of the methods I learned seemed intuitively correct, but I didn’t know why, I was unaware of other things. I did know that studying for two hours all at once was less effective than studying 1 hour on one day, and then another hour, a couple of days later. Why does this work better? because the deeper we have to dig to retrieve a piece of information, the more likely it is to stick. That is why Comprehensive Exams are better for you, though less popular, because you have to study more. It also helps explain why pop quizzes are good for students, its Not that they tell you so much about what the student knows, its that it is a good tool to help students learn. Trying to find the answer in your brain is helpful. Students dislike pop quizzes, yet maybe if they didn’t count for lots of points, student’s wouldn’t object to them as much. I did know that when you reach an impasse, you should stop, take a break, then go back to the problem. I advise my husband to do this all the time, now I have evidence to back me up.
I also didn’t realize how important it is to mix things up, Carey call interleavement. Drills are fine, but you don’t want to spend a long period of time on the same one, or same type, do some scales, then some etudes, then play a piece through, then work on tone, then back to scales, etc. This is really critical in math, because you need to be able to figure out which type of formula to apply to different problems. Often in school, a student does fine on an individual section, but then fails the comprehensive test, because, now they have to select a given formula. Another way to mix things up, is to study in different places, under different conditions, though if you can study in the room where you will take the test, that can benefit you for the test, but Not for the long run. part of it boils down to, do you want to just pass the class, or do you really want to learn, do you want to challenge yourself.
I enjoyed this book a lot, and wish more of my professors had imparted this type of knowledge.