School-Caused ER Visits

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Crux of The Danger of Back to School by Peter Gray:

  • The number of children’s psychiatric ER visits falls drastically during the summer vacation.
  • In Connecticut Children’s Mental Center in Hartford, it falls from an average of about 140 visits per month to about 70.

Deliberate Practice Doesn’t Matter Much

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Crux of Actually, practice doesn’t always make perfect – new study by Alfie Kohn:

  • The popular idea of 10,000 hours is disproved by research: “the amount of deliberate practice in which someone engages explains only 12 percent of the variance in the quality of performance.”
  • The effect of practice depends on the domain: “Practice explained 26 percent of the variance in achievement for games, 21 percent in musical accomplishment, 18 percent in sports, 4 percent in college grades, and less than 1 percent in professional success.”
  • Other factors that do, in fact, contribute to performance: “how early in life you were introduced to the activity […] how open you are to collaborating and learning from others, and how much you enjoy the activity.”
  • It is possible that the amount of practice is a result of intrinsic motivation, and that it is this motivation that affects the performance more than the practice.

Durable Learning Requires Taking Breaks

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Crux of Ditch the 10,000 hour rule! Why Malcolm Gladwell’s famous advice falls short by Katie Mcdonough:

  • “Rapid fire practice leans on short-term memory. Durable learning, however, requires time for mental rehearsal and the other processes of consolidation. Hence, spaced practice works better. The increased effort required to retrieve the learning after a little forgetting has the effect of retriggering consolidation, further strengthening memory.”
  • “The learning from interleaved practice feels slower than learning from massed practice. (…) But the research shows unequivocally that mastery and long-term retention are much better if you interleave practice than if you mass it.”
  • “learning gained through the less challenging, massed form of practice is encoded in a simpler or comparatively impoverished representation than the learning gained from the varied and more challenging practice which demands more brain power and encodes the learning in a more flexible representation that can be applied more broadly.”

Online Universities Will Kill Mediocre Colleges

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Crux of Napster, Udacity, and the Academy by Clay Shirky:

  • College education is expensive, leaving students in debt.
  • Though online courses may not be able to compete with elite universities, they will improve with time and become better than mediocre colleges.