Frontiers Research Foundation
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
The study of expertise tends to focus on humans who can perform extraordinary feats. Although the way in which expertise is acquired is often characterized as similar to everyday skill acquisition, the attainment of basic numeracy skills is rarely considered in the same context as the attainment of expertise. It is clear, though, that average numeracy skills possess all the hallmarks of expert performance. In this paper I argue that the traditional classroom of Western education systems pays insufficient attention to the idea that effective numeracy skills represent a level of expertise that requires a particular form of training. Using the five principles of skill acquisition identified by Speelman and Kirsner (2005), I argue that the modern classroom is not the most appropriate environment for acquiring important cognitive skills, and that computer programs, such as games and tailored training tasks, should be considered a valuable adjunct to traditional didactic instruction.
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