Expert Practice

What is Expert Practice?

It’s often assumed that world-class performers have a gift or talent the rest of us lack. Experts do share something that sets them apart, but it’s not just “natural ability”—it’s ability they developed through a special type of practice.

Expert Practice has three steps that maximize learning. First, a student and teacher identify a specific sub-skill that incrementally challenges the student. Second, the student practices that skill with full effort. Third, the teacher gives feedback.

By repeating this cycle, students will learn to replace “going through the motions” with the kind of purposeful effort that leads to true learning.


60 minutes, plus building a classroom mindset overtime
Middle and high school

Watch the 1-minute overview

video Block
Double-click here to add a video by URL or embed code. Learn more

View the Playbook:

04 Social Intelligence.jpg

Teach Expert Practice

02.1 Playbooks.png

Incorporate Expert Practice in your class

“The Playbook helped my class have a candid conversation about Expert Practice and Grit and the students were able to understand how they could apply it to real life.”
— Paige, Special Education Teacher, Latham, New York

View individual Playbook elements:

“Expert Practice will be very helpful for teachers who are sometimes overwhelmed by the idea of this framework and don’t know what it looks like.”
— Megan, STEM Teacher, Middletown, Connecticut

Using Expert Practice with your class?

More about Expert Practice


What's the science?

Professor Anders Ericsson is the world expert on world experts. By studying elite violinists, athletes, chess players, and more, he has revealed that what sets experts apart is not just the amount of practice—it’s also the quality of their practice. Anyone can do it. It’s a hallmark of those with grit.


About the researcher

Anders Ericsson is internationally known for his research about expert performance and deliberate practice, professional development, and long-term working memory, among others. He consults with professional sports teams, ESPN, and Google. He's Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University.

Thank you to the following educators for their help with Expert Practice

Carl Ackerman, Casey Bardin, Michael Del Raso, Caroline Lee, Jennifer Gilbert Manly, Paige Goldberg, David Greene, Megan Hanley, Matthew Lutinski, Rebecca Nyquist Baelen, Michael Sheehan, Leslie Schwegler, Liz Spangler, Charlie Shyrock, Kimberly Tan, and Jillian Varner.