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Jan 31

The Power of Practice

“Practice refers to learners repeating a skill over time. It begins with the rehearsal of the new skill in working memory, the motor cortex, and the cerebellum. Later, the skill memory is recalled and additional practice follows. The quality of practice and the learner’s knowledge base will largely determine the outcome of each practice session.

Over the long term, repeated practice causes the brain to assign extra neurons to the task, much as a computer assigns more memory for a complex program. The assignment of these additional neurons is more or less on a permanent basis. Professional keyboard and string musicians, for example, have larger portions of the motor cortex devoted to controlling finger and hand movements. Furthermore, the earlier their training started, the bigger the motor cortex. If practice is stopped altogether, the neurons that are no longer being used are eventually assigned to other tasks and skill mastery will decline. In other words, use it or lose it!” -From, “How The Brain Learns,” By: David A. Sousa

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