We all know the old saying, “Practice makes perfect.”, don’t we? I’ve reminded many struggling students that success on the basketball court, for example, involves shooting free throws over and over again until the motions become automatic. So it is, I counsel students, with academics. You have to work at it!
Now, I have a husband who plays a great deal of golf and subscribes to several golf magazines. When I get the chance, I try to cull his considerable collection. Recently, I was looking for older issues to recycle and I came across an intriguing cover from Golf Digest, September 2015: “Train Your Brain with Jordan’s Coach.” Hmmm. I’m very interested in the idea of brain training, so I took a break and read Cameron McCormick’s article titled “Raise Your Game by Doing Nothing”.
How can you improve without working at it? McCormick writes about the science of mirror neurons. He explains that whenever you watch someone do something “the same sequence of neurons in your brain lights up as if you were doing the motion.” Referring to champion golfer Jordan Spieth, McCormick points out that it’s “no substitute for practice but watching and imagining with a purpose gave him a helping hand along the way.”
What does this mean for teaching and learning? Do we value “watching and imagining with a purpose”? How might we utilize/incorporate the science of mirror neurons to help our students improve their “games”?
McCormick, C. “Raise Your Game by Doing Nothing”, Golf Digest, Sept. 2015, 66:9, p. 82.