The way to Carnegie Hall

I know this is long but most of it contains so many unexamined assumptions I felt it was a good example of what makes it so hard to discuss methods of teaching. What reception would I get if I were to inject any pertinent questions, to appear the least bit skeptical about the value of practice? Is there any room to ask for evidence that this works? I read Gladwell’s book; was he talking about practicing fl or practicing the violin, hockey, and so forth. Can we really acquire a language through repetition? This is my qualm (only one) about tprs: the premise that hearing an element of language many times (80 is the figure used) is necessary before it is acquired. I would sure like to see evidence of that. I think tomorrow I’ll grab Gladwell’s book at the library and see if he mentions any language-like faculty that can be affected by practice. I define practice as repetition. Certainly reading the language and hearing it in a contextualized communicative setting has been cited as a great way to acquire a language. I might mention here that John DeMado, in his presentation at AZLA (which see), said oral input is what is effective, not so much reading. I’d like to get more info on that. Krashen elevates reading to the primary mode of input.

Anyway, here are the posts, most recent first:

Practice, repetition, and relevance: the keys to success. The smartest
students I know are the ones who devour books. Reading widely is important,

—– Original Message —–
From: “Susie Scoppa” <>
To: “The teaching of the Latin Language” <>
Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2010 5:54 PM
Subject: Re: [Latinteach] Article about practice

> The Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell tells about
> successful people who practiced for 10, 000 hours; it was a best seller.
> To me, it means keep students practicing and tell them it is important.
> Then teach application of skills and more practice.  The book also says
> that opportunity counts in success; we offer opportunities!
> Susie
> On Oct 3, 2010, at 3:55 PM, Laura Higley wrote:
>> Salvete optimi.
>> I have been thinking about my students, and how to best help them
>> succeed. I
>> read this article about practice.
>> The article makes the point that those who are the best performers in a
>> given field practice on their own for more than 10,000 hours before the
>> age
>> of 20. If the best in their field practice 7 hours a day, they can reach
>> 10
>> 000 hours in just under 4 years, with the occasional day off. For my
>> students, who have, at most ,120 hours a school year for 4 years in high
>> school, after about 70 hours a school year for 2 years in middle
>> school…
>> how can I help them approach that best? I certainly can’t provide them
>> enough hours, even if none of the time were spent in the teacher-student
>> role, and all of it were spent by students in individual practice.
>> Accounting for 8 hours of sleep a day, there are about 5800 hours
>> available
>> in a year. If a student were to spend 1/10 of that time for Latin outside
>> of
>> school, every day for the 365 days of a year, at the end of a 4-year high
>> school career, that student would reach a little more than 25 percent of
>> the
>> distance that “the best” cover. That’s about an hour and a half a day of
>> practice outside of class, even during vacations.
>> I’ve never expected my students to practice that much. And there just
>> aren’t
>> enough hours in the day for all students to get this much practice in
>> every
>> arena, or even several.
>> Good performers, according to the same article, practice about 1/5 as
>> long
>> as the best performers do. That would break down to a little over 80
>> minutes
>> a day.
>> What do you make of all this?
>> How much practice do you expect of your students?

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