Discovery Based Learning

I recently read an article by Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal a professor from Cal State Poly called "Teaching is not Learning".

In the article Dr. Jawaharlal said the following.

“A child starts with sitting, turning over, crawling, managing to stand with some support, taking the first step, breaking into running, fumbling, balancing and finally, mastering the art of walking. Learning to walk takes a lot of practice, patience and time. Children do not get frustrated by thousands of failed attempts and decide that they are not going to walk anymore. In fact, each failure seems to motivate them to do better next time. Every child is capable of acquiring this skill on its own by trial and error over a period of time. This is how actual learning takes place -- learning by doing. One can't learn swimming without getting into the water. Learning takes place when the learner is personally engaged and allowed to discover”.

This kind of learning is called discovery-based learning and although in golf we need guidance to develop the basic fundamentals of the game. It is this discovery process that fuels our ability to learn the game.  As children we mimic extremely well but as we get older we lose this essential learning skill and I have seen a disturbing trend of over coaching in the game today.  We need to shift our focus back to discovery based learning, providing students with feedback in small doses that guide them to find the solution themselves, then and only then will real learning occur.

Every now and then I pick up Harvey Penicks little Red book, one of the best selling golf books of all time.  This little book is filled with nuggets of wisdom that make you want to go out and discover golf all over again, if you have not read it, pick a copy up, it should be mandatory reading for all golfers, parents and coaches. 


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