A quote about practice for Math 291:01, spring 2003

... There have been many studies of elite performers -- concert violinists, chess grand masters, professional ice-skaters, mathematicians, and so forth -- and the biggest difference researchers find between them and lesser performers is the amount of deliberate practice they've accumulated. Indeed, the most important talent may be the talent for practice itself. K. Anders Ericsson, a cognitive psychologist and an expert on performance, notes that the most important role that innate factors play may be in a person's willingness to engage in sustained training. He has found, for example, that top performers dislike practicing just as much as others do. (That's why, for example, athletes and musicians usually quit practicing when they retire.) But, more than others, they have the will to keep at it anyway.

(From "The Learning Curve" by Atul Gawande, an article on the training of surgeons which appeared on pages 52-61 of The New Yorker, January 28, 2002.)

Some student suggestions

I asked students from the fall 2002 instantiation (?) of Math 291 for advice to give students in this course. (They also gave me some advice, but that's another story!) Here are some suggestions they offered:
  • I believe the homework problems are an important part of the class. ... The workshop problems are an important part of any honors math class.
  • I would definitely advise next semester's students to read the sections before the lectures. Although I was not able to do this before every class, I feel that it was extremely helpful when I did because I had at least looked at the material before even if I didn't completely understand it. Therefore when it was covered in the lecture, the ideas and concepts were clearer to me.
  • I actually did the suggested homework problems following every lecture and I found them useful. I think that as I went along and did the problems, I sort of recognized what wasn't so "clear" in class.

Maintained by greenfie@math.rutgers.edu and last modified 1/15/2003.