15 March 2008

Freakonomic Insight Into Elementary Education

The author of Freakonomics the book and blog has this to say about elementary education in a post about what a psychologist is learning about what makes people great at what they do:

"Students should be taught to follow their interests earlier in their schooling, the better to build up their skills and acquire meaningful feedback."

In this later post he explains more precisely what the psychologist, Anders Ericsson of Florida State University, calls "deliberate practice":

1. Focus on technique as opposed to outcome.
2. Set specific goals.
3. Get good, prompt feedback, and use it.

This is exactly what every citizen in a democracy needs to become good at being a democratic citizen. Early practice that is deliberately focused on planning, decision making and empathy for those who will be effected by the decisions that are made.

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