There are two approaches to teaching. Mass Practice and Distributed Practice. Mass Practice means long practice periods. Distributed Practice means a succession of shorter practice periods twith rest or other forms of activity spaced between.
An example of Mass practice would be a math lesson with an assignment aftwerwards of problems specific to that lesson, completed in one sitting with no other activity in between.
With Distributed Practice, the student would be given an opportunity to practice skills previously learned with mass practice over a longer period of time.
The Program for Effective Teaching (PET) recommends Distributed Practice as a means of aiding retention with prior learnings.
What are experts saying about Distributed Practice?
The following statements were made by William Bennett, former US Secretaty Of Education
"Regular practice, in moderation, is not what drives children away from math. What really makes them dislike and fear math is not understanding it.....The antidote to such anxiety is greater familiarity with Math. And such familiarity comes from repeated exposure."
"Keeping skills current by using them on a daily basis is essential to a higher math process."
"Regular daily practice is essential. It takes a long time- days, weeks, even months- for some math concepts and applications to sink in."
"Through regular exposure, terms and rules gradually become second nature."
"Practice in frequent, shorter doses is generally more effective than fewer, longer sessions.
"Since each lesson builds on those that came before, students must retain a solid understanding of what was taught previously. Even as new operations and principles are being introduced, children spend time practicing old ones.....Assignments may consist of three problems like those worked last week, three like the ones worked yesterday, and six problems dealing with the concept the teacher introduced today."
The following statements were made by Madeline Hunter (associated with S.C.'s PET program-Program For Effective Teaching)- Found on Page 42 in her book called "Retention".
"Several short practice periods are usually better than one long one."
"At the beginning of any learning, practice periods should be close together......Material that is not well learned is forgotten rapidly....It will need to be reviewed frequently to prevent forgetting....A new learning should be reviewed several times the first few days"
"Once something has been learned, we begin to extend the time between practice periods....This kind of schedule, where the time between practice periods is increased is called distributed practice. It refers to the fact that we are distributing our practice periods over a long period of time."
"Once something has been learned, distributing practice ususally ensure longer retention."
Where does Easy Math fit in?
Easy Math is system of supplementary math instruction , the heart of which is three basic skills math manuals, accompanied by management suggestions. Easy Math, together with teachers, give students a continues year-long restructuring and maintenance of math curriculum. Used Properly, Easy Math is the instrument to dramatically improve learning, retention, and transfer.