Practice, Practice, Practice

People have always asked me: “why are you so smart?”. Well, the truth is: my intelligence and my memory are a result of the same process that leads to world-famous athletes – we practice, practice, practice. I study academically during my semesters, and I study recreationally during my vacations; a true thirst for knowledge always welcomes a refill to the chalice.

This constant flow of acquiring knowledge comes with a cost though; more often than not, I have been incorrect over and over again. However, such is life within the field of science – experimentation is the process of challenging what we know to falsehood, and seeing if its truth still holds.

Connecting this ramble to Apprenticeship Patterns, I am pleased to tell you that the pattern for this week is “Practice, Practice, Practice”. The product within is just how it’s advertised; this pattern emphasizes that beginners learn best through “doing”, by performing actions under the guidance of professionals.

I find it interesting that the idea of “practice making perfect” is challenged; the new idea becomes “practice makes permanent”. Upon further analysis, I do have to say that I agree with this confrontation of the old adage – learning techniques improperly can lead to code smells. Proper, constant feedback while learning will prevent the coding landfill from becoming overwhelmed.

Personally, I would have to slightly disagree with the idea that apprentices must rely on their own resources to practice. I understand that this self-reliance can develop an independent learning process for the apprentice; however, a true leader reduces their aid for an adept apprentice (instead of completely removing it). Sure, beginners need more attention, but lifelong guidance builds relationships and motivates crafters; it’s easier to experiment when you feel tethered to a base.

While I have always stuck to the idea of constant practice, I will consider the idea of getting more constant feedback for my future professional habits. Personally, I have always had a fear of being judged for my shortcomings (and have only confronted this fear recently). In order to become the best of the best, we must practice our katas, within a dojo of coding professionals. As seen with other patterns in the book, we must assume that we are the worst (in a positive way), and confront our ignorance. Through practice, practice, practice with breakable toys, we achieve the proficiency that we strive for.

Published by Mike Morley (mpekim)

Current student at WSU. Knowledgeable of C/C++, Java and Python. Always interested in learning the basics of as many languages as possible.

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