Saturday 13 October 2012

No Practice, no Skills


Everything you need to know about the necessary framework for real teaching can briefly be stated. In fact I will briefly state it. Here. Now:

Knowledge and Skills

1. Knowledge divides into Material, Ordering, Explanation.

a) Material - or curriculum - the stuff to be transmitted,

b) The Ordering of this material and the rate at which it is covered, and

c) Explanations.

Teaching is the bit concerned primarily with explanations; and secondarily with the order and pace with which material is presented.

Most teachers follow a curriculum which arises elsewhere; but generally require some leeway in order to achieve the primary and secondary objectives.


2. Skills.

Skills are obtained in two ways:

i) Practice - which is always and absolutely necessary, and takes a certain amount of time.

ii) Apprenticeship to a Master.

Practice and Apprenticeship...


Although Apprenticeship stretches back to the beginnings of human society - apparently we can now no longer afford it. Or something. Anyway, Apprenticeship is virtually never on offer from modern educational systems, but may sometimes be arranged outside the system - if, that is, any space exists outwith the system...


So, Practice is now the only basis for developing skills.


But Practice involves multiple repetitions of the same activity spread out over time, which is boring and time-consuming; and thus impossible without high motivation or coercion (or both).

And modern mass education is 1. Filled mostly with people of low motivation, and 2. Not allowed to/ does not want to use coercion.

No motivation + no coercion =  no Practice = no skills

Therefore, Practice has been eliminated from modern education.

Thus modern education offers zero training in skills.


Any real skill needs Practice (repetition over time): learning the piano, learning maths (doing problems), learning to be a doctor ('taking a history' - I did this hundreds of times during my training), learning a sport (in cricket, the best batsmen spend hours per day 'in the nets' repeating particular ways of playing particular shots), learning a foreign language (drill, repetition etc)...

There are no exceptions.


If there is no Practice, no skills are being developed.

Therefore, if a course of study  does not require the student to go through multiple repetitions of the same activity spread out over time - then there are no skills being developed.

No Practice, no skills: none at all.


And it does not matter what the course 'aims and objectives might be', it does not matter what 'skills' may be 'certified' or listed or accredited, it does not matter how long the student was in attendance; the rule always applies: if there was no Practice, then there are no skills. 



ajb said...

My suspicion is that even knowledge is not truly knowledge without a context of implementation or use, and that in turn usually involves know-how or practice.

James Higham said...

Oh, as I might soon be back in the game, I'm going to have to download and save this list, Bruce.