What’s Next For Parent Book Club?

Practice Perfect

Ask Santa for Parent Book Club’s first pick for 2013!

First there was Halloween, then Hurricane Sandy. Then, the election, and soon after, Thanksgiving. And somehow, through all these internet-disrupting, life-altering events, Parent Book Club got understandably pushed to the side and other matters beckoned. But now… but now, Book Club is back! If you are interested in finishing up the wonderful Teach Your Children Well, Parent Book Club will tie up all the disparate parts and wrap up the discussion on the rest of the book – Parts Three and Four – in a live, real-time session next Tuesday night at 8:30 PM CST. It’s our last PBC of the year, and we don’t want you to miss it!

And now, assuming the Mayans were wrong, on to the very exciting 2013! An education colleague and Starbucks buddy pointed me toward Doug Lemov’s new book, Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better, as a gratifying read for any parent, teacher, or coach who wants to help their kids (or themselves) get better at something. Doug Lemov’s previous bestselling book, Teach Like a Champion, has many devoted fans, like the outstanding learning journalist and author Annie Murphy Paul.  While Teach Like a Champion describes in detail the “new teaching methods transforming education,” Practice Perfect outlines the importance and the key techniques of practicing that leads to getting better. Lemov writes, “Our purpose for writing this book is to engage the dream of ‘better,’ both in fields where participants know they should practice, but could do it more effectively, and also in endeavors where most people do not yet recognize the transformative power of practice. Deliberately engineered and designed, practice can revolutionize our most important endeavors; in that, we speak from at least a little experience.”

I read through the first couple of chapters to get a feel for the book, and while the language is snappy and conversational, I think there is some real wisdom to be gleaned here. When I saw my son struggling to get better at baseball this fall, I told him about the “focused practice” method Lemov describes in the book – he really took to it, used it, and his practice improved. And this excerpt on how to get better at receiving and implementing feedback – in essence, “being coachable” – is invaluable for anyone doing anything, ever. I think this is a worthwhile read, and I think you will, too.

I started Parent Book Club to make myself useful – I found reading up on the latest learning and education information helpful in making decisions for my kids’ educations. Now is a good time to find out – is it working? I want to hear – right here, in the comments section – what you think is working with PBC, what you’d like to see more (or less) of, what kinds of books you’d like to read next year.

One thought on “What’s Next For Parent Book Club?

  1. Looking forward to hearing about the book. ‘ Teach like a champion ‘ would help teachers handle kids who did not want to be there and get the best test scores out of them . For progressive teachers who prefer a constructivist educational approach Lemov is behaviorist.

    practice makes perfect when we equate learning to ‘behaviors’. So as the psychologist Ellen Langer has shown, “When we drill ourselves in a certain skill so that it becomes second nature,” we may come to perform that skill “mindlessly.” Practicing some things until you can practically do them in your sleep often interferes with flexibility and innovation. What can be done without thinking usually is done without thinking, and that may lock people into patterns and procedures that are less than ideal. Practice often leads to habit – which is, by definition, a mindless repetition of behavior — but not to understanding. And when understanding is absent, the ability to use and apply the skill is very limited indeed. – Alfie Kohn

    If practice makes perfect helps to make practice a new thinking experience rather than just reinforcing skills as in taking feedback to promote learning practice becomes intellectually challenging and new learning takes place.

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