Practice Makes Perfect

preschool math, primary school maths, secondary school maths

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect – The Science Behind This Adage

This age old adage is something that my parents used to tell me all the time, and I’m sure you must have heard of this as well. But does it really work? Or are people just fated to be bad at math?

Malcolm Gladwell, author of many best-sellers such as The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference, mentioned that in order to become an expert in anything, one needs to put in an average of 10,000 hours of practice. I can vouch for this, after many years of teaching in schools and doing private math tutoring.

Many experiments were conducted throughout the years on how practice does allow one to achieve mastery in something. Ben Larcombe, a table tennis coach, conducted one such experiment. He hypothesized that one could achieve mastery in the sport by practice, not innate talent. He then put his childhood friend who had what seemed like no sign of sporting talent through private coaching for over 500 hours. As a result, his friend made huge progress, though insufficient to be a top-notched table tennis player.

I have encountered many students who gave up on math due to their lack in confidence. Many children have the mentality that they are not good at math. That it is something that one either can or cannot do. This has to do with having a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, which I will elaborate more on in another post. However, once a child experiences how practice can improve their math, it is a tremendous breakthrough in their confidence. This Ted-Ed video also illustrates, in the most scientific manner, how practising effectively can create progress:

Practise more math today, and your perseverance will pay off!

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