07 July 2014

Items to Share: 6 July 2014

Education Focus
  • What’s the harm in knowing your times-tables? | Webs of Substance 'Of course, you can get by without being able to quickly recall all of the times-tables. You can work them out if you have to. But this doesn’t represent a gain. It simply reduces the number of tools you have to think with and possibly wastes a bit of time whilst you have to work some of these things out. Given that such facts are stored largely subconsciously in the long term memory, they don’t get in the way of the process of conscious reasoning; they are merely called upon when required. Of course, if the facts are wrong then you do have a problem.' 
  • What the grammar gurus don’t get about how we learn [theconversation.com] '...what some grammar gurus forget is that the vast majority of language is not written, but spoken. Talk to a researcher who studies grammar in its natural habitat, and they will tell you that by just two years of age, children already have a deep understanding of grammar, far exceeding anything that our most powerful supercomputers can currently achieve.' 
  • BPS Research Digest: Exploding the 10,000 hours myth - it's no guarantee for greatness '"The bottom line," write Hambrick and his colleagues, "is that deliberate practice is necessary to account for why some people become experts in these domains and others fail to do so, but not even close to sufficient." What else matters? Another relevant factor, they say, is starting age. This correlates with amount of completed practice, but crucially, it remains a predictive factor even after subtracting the influence of practice.
Other Business
  • Future English: Johnson: Simpler and more foreign | The Economist'...whatever the long run might look like, the next few decades are set. No language has anything like a chance of displacing English. [] Interestingly, about two-thirds of English-speakers are not first-language speakers of English. To put it another way: English no longer belongs to England, to superpower America, or even to the English-speaking countries generally. Rather, English is the world’s language. What happens to a language when it becomes everybody’s? Shaped by the mouths of billions of non-native speakers, what will the English of the future look like?
  • The Role of a Critic [farnamstreetblog.com] '“In many ways, the work of a critic is very easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment.”'

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