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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Deliberative Practice in the Humanities

Deliberative practice is the kind that makes you improve in whatever activity you are engaged in. It is practicing smart, with a self-consciousness of what it will take to improve.

This kind of practice is easier to implement, however, in music or sports. In academic work, the activity itself seems much more diffuse, and it thus seems harder to define what "practice" would even mean. While I sometimes find myself using sports metaphors when thinking about my work, these have their natural limits.

At the same time, the diffuseness and complexity of scholarly writing make deliberateness all the more important. There are more elements to consider than in learning, say, to hit a ball with a stick, but we need to have that same kind of focus and concentration. I would argue even more so.

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