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Customer Review

123 of 135 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but largely for educators, September 11, 2012
This review is from: Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better (Hardcover)
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I ordered this book thinking it would give me insight into better methods of practicing. The type of practicing I had in mind was, for example, how to improve my golf score, learn a foreign language faster or learn to play piano more quickly. Practice Perfect is, however, largely geared to coaching teachers and educators on classroom management. The book has clearly been stretched to try to include a larger audience then it actually addresses. The often used "sales team improvement" anecdote is occasionally added as an attempt to generalize but then the authors quickly return to writing about coaching teachers. The authors really only have educators in mind (they are, in fact, educator coaches themselves). That being said, there is good advice in the early chapters on what everyone can do to improve their practice (however, you won't find specifics on say, how best to learn a new language or what pitfalls to avoid) and what general mistakes are made during practice.

As far as coaching educators is concerned, I would like to have seen data on how the authors methods have led to actual improvements in student performance. By that I mean student grade improvement. It is not enough to say that teacher 'John Doe' uses our technique and is consistently a top teacher (and what actually is a 'top teacher'?). John Doe could be a top teacher for many reasons. There have been many top teachers before this book was published.

Worth a read, but mainly if you are an educator.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 21, 2012 4:41:00 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 21, 2012 4:52:25 AM PST
A. L. W. says:
The take away from this book can be applied to other things outside of being an educator. The gem of practicing until something becomes automatic is applicable to learning a foreign language faster. Every foreign language course, book, program start you off with vocabulary. If you take that vocabulary and immediately use it day in and day out in your activities you are forcing yourself to become fluent and thus you are making your new language automatic which is faster, than just studying with flash cards or games or grammar books. For example, in each room of your home take 2-3 minutes to name everything in that room. You walk into the kitchen have your vocabulary list for food. You say out loud Apple, juice, milk, oven... You open your closet, and say the translation for pants, shirts, shoes and you do this for the next few days this is automatic in your mind. and you then go to sentences, this is my pants, this is my shirt, this is my apple, this is your coffee. I am happy, my name is John, it is sunny, this is my car, my car is black.
The faster you force yourself into fluency the faster you learn that language because you automate it to the point that you don't think about it. Yes there will be grammatical errors, but those are much easier to fix then learning grammar first and then trying to speak, because it interferes with your creativity and stops your flow, which is another premise in the book. The book says you are most creative when your on automatic. If you are trying to figure out what grammar rule works here and there it will hinder your speaking. That is how someone becomes a polyglot. It takes them a few months to get language fluency because they automate the vocabulary in day to day life, rather then just sitting with the book to study it alone or rely on course time. They eat, sleep and breath that new language until fluency is automatic, and so you immediately stop relying on translating because you already know the new word after a few days.
Try it out, go to an online sentence translator and put in the 3 phrases you use most often. For example: Can I have a coffee please? What time is it? Thank you. And use it for one week, see the difference. Automate your speaking to the most important words and phrases you use and in a month you will start to feel comfortable with your new language.

Posted on Dec 8, 2012 5:38:07 PM PST
Sherman Dorn says:
Like Ron Wiz, I was struck by the overextension, and also by the fabricated examples in other fields. What a missed opportunity! If the authors had taken the time to look into the research that does exist in different fields, or talked with and observed coaches in a range of fields, this would have been a much different book. Maybe with a little bit of practice (also known as a second edition), that might happen.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 9:57:07 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 9, 2012 10:16:40 AM PST
Ron Wis says:
The actual space this book devotes to new ideas for better practice in general (which is, after all, the title) is actually very small. Like I said, most of it is devoted to classroom management. Sure there's a few pieces of anecdotal information that may prove useful to someone engaging in any type of learning process, but anyone who is not an educator is going to lose interest in this book fast.

If I want to improve the way I learn there are much better books to read. For example books by the researchers Ericsson, Dweck and Halvorson or the books by Geoff Colvin and Daniel Coyle (though Colvin and Coyle draw heavily from Erricson).

Posted on May 6, 2014 8:45:57 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 6, 2014 8:46:18 AM PDT]

Posted on May 6, 2014 8:46:26 AM PDT
Alright then, any alternative suggestions?
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