10,000 Plus


Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
 Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 5, 2016

In Peak, the authors delve deeply into how people develop expertise and provide readers with tools to become experts themselves. Improvement is not simply a matter of trying hard or putting in 10,000 hours of practice, though both are part of the equation. Rather, deliberate practice, during which one sets a goal at the upper margin of one’s current ability, focuses intensely on achieving that goal, and receives feedback on performance, is the critical factor in achieving expertise in any area. The authors make a great case for the idea that improvement in any realm is possible for any individual with the right practice techniques and the motivation to push through difficulties. In the final chapter, the authors turn to the use of deliberate practice in an educational setting, describing what by one measure was “the largest effect ever seen in an educational intervention.” They argue that, as educators, we must teach our students how to use deliberate practice as they study and provide them with clear goals and consistent feedback; additionally and ideally, administrators seeking to nurture faculty development should train and mentor teachers in the same way. The quality of our practice is essential.  

Submitted By: Olivia Tandon, Ed.M. Candidate, Klingenstein Center, New York, NY

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