Practice or Drill?

This fits in with a model of fluency in basic skills well; even if it is presented in more cognitive psychology terms:-)

Filling the pail

There are a couple of terms that are often used pejoratively in education discussions and yet possess an interesting relationship with reality. “Drill” and “Memorisation” are generally considered to be bad things; the kind of stuff that puts children off education. However, if we replace the term “drill” with “practice” then it is trivially true that it is a desirable thing. Who ever mastered anything without sufficient and sustained practice? Similarly, would we not also want our students to remember what they have learnt? If they do not, then can we even say that they have learnt anything at all? So, “memorization” is perhaps not all that bad.

Of course, deployment of these terms is part of the romantic education-as-an-awakening-from-within narrative that sets itself against attempts to transmit knowledge and skills from experts (teachers) to novices. And yet, as we have seen, the logic is hard to sustain.

It therefore sparked my…

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