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耶鲁史上最受欢迎课程:快乐

更新时间:2018-1-31 21:31:16 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Yale’s Most Popular Class Ever: Happiness
耶鲁史上最受欢迎课程:快乐

NEW HAVEN — On Jan. 12, a few days after registration opened at Yale for Psyc 157, Psychology and the Good Life, roughly 300 people had signed up. Within three days, the figure had more than doubled. After three more days, about 1,200 students, or nearly one-fourth of Yale undergraduates, were enrolled.

纽黑文——1月12日,在耶鲁大学(Yale)的Psyc 157课程——全称为心理学与美好生活(Psychology and the Good Life)——开放注册几天后,注册人数达到了300人左右。三天之内,这个数字翻了一番多。又过了三天,约有1200名学生,也就是近四分之一的耶鲁本科生选了这门课。

The course, taught by Laurie Santos, 42, a psychology professor and the head of one of Yale’s residential colleges, tries to teach students how to lead a happier, more satisfying life in twice-weekly lectures.

这门课程由42岁的心理学教授、耶鲁大学一所寄宿学院的院长劳丽·桑托斯(Laurie Santos)教授。该课程试图通过每周两次的课程指导学生们如何过上更快乐、更满意的生活。

“Students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus,” Dr. Santos said in an interview. “With one in four students at Yale taking it, if we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture.”

“学生们想要改变,想让自己更快乐,想改变校园文化,”桑托斯博士在接受采访时说。“因为有四分之一的耶鲁学生选了这门课,如果学生们能因此养成好习惯,比如更懂得感恩、减少拖延、增加社交联系,那么我们实际上是在为改变校园文化播下希望的种子。”

Dr. Santos speculated that Yale students are interested in the class because, in high school, they had to deprioritize their happiness to gain admission to the school, adopting harmful life habits that have led to what she called “the mental health crises we’re seeing at places like Yale.” A 2013 report by the Yale College Council found that more than half of undergraduates sought mental health care from the university during their time there.

桑托斯博士推测,耶鲁学子对这门课感兴趣是因为,他们在高中时必须把快乐放在次要地位,一门心思只想拿到这所大学的录取通知书,并养成了有害的生活习惯,导致了她所说的“我们在耶鲁这样的地方经常看到的精神健康危机”。耶鲁大学理事会(Yale College Council)在2013年的一份报告中发现,超过半数的本科生在大学期间寻求过精神健康支持。

“In reality, a lot of us are anxious, stressed, unhappy, numb,” said Alannah Maynez, 19, a freshman taking the course. “The fact that a class like this has such large interest speaks to how tired students are of numbing their emotions — both positive and negative — so they can focus on their work, the next step, the next accomplishment.”

“事实上,我们很多人都焦虑、紧张、不开心、麻木,”选修这门课程的19岁大一新生阿兰娜·梅尼兹(Alannah Maynez)说。“这样的课程引起了学生们这么大的兴趣,说明学生们非常厌倦为了把注意力放在学业上、放在下一个任务和下一个成就上而麻木自己的情绪——无论是积极的还是消极的。”

Students have long requested that Yale offer a course on positive psychology, according to Woo-Kyoung Ahn, director of undergraduate studies in psychology, who said she was “blown away” by Dr. Santos’s proposal for the class.

本科生心理研究主任安宇晶(Woo-Kyoung Ahn,音)表示,长期以来,学生们一直要求耶鲁开设一门积极心理学课程。她说,桑托斯博士提出开设这门课程时,她“特别高兴”。

Administrators like Dr. Ahn expected significant enrollment for the class, but none anticipated it to be quite so large. Psychology and the Good Life, with 1,182 undergraduates currently enrolled, stands as the most popular course in Yale’s 316-year history. The previous record-holder — Psychology and the Law — was offered in 1992 and had about 1,050 students, according to Marvin Chun, the Yale College dean. Most large lectures at Yale don’t exceed 600.

安博士等管理人员预计这门课的选修人数会很多,但谁也没预料到会这么多。“心理学与美好生活”这门课目前有1182名本科生选修,成为耶鲁大学316年历史上最受欢迎的课程。耶鲁学院的院长马文·全(Marvin Chun)表示,此前的纪录保持者是1992年推出的“心理学和法律”(Psychology and the Law)课程,约有1050名学生选修。耶鲁的大多数大型课程的选修人数都不超过600人。

Offering such a large class has come with challenges, from assembling lecture halls to hiring the 24 teaching fellows required. Because the psychology department lacked the resources to staff it fully, the fellows had to be drawn from places like Yale’s School of Public Health and law school. And with so many undergraduates enrolled in a single lecture, Yale’s hundreds of other classes — particularly those that conflict with Dr. Santos’s — may have seen decreased enrollment.

管理如此庞大的班级带来了挑战,包括安排授课大厅和聘请24名助教等。由于心理学系无法提供所有的师资,所以不得不从耶鲁大学公共卫生学院和法学院等处借调助教。由于这么多本科生选修了这门课,所以耶鲁的其他数百门课程——尤其是那些与桑托斯博士的课程时间冲突的课程——选修人数可能会减少。

At the start of the semester the class was divided between a live lecture in the 844-seat Battell Chapel, a historic place of worship on campus, converted to a lecture hall, and one or two smaller auditoriums where several hundred more students watched a live stream of Dr. Santos. After several weeks, the decision was made to move the lectures to Woolsey Hall, usually the site of events like symphony performances, which can accommodate the entire class.

学期开始时,这个班级被分成了几个部分:一部分学生在可容纳844人的巴特尔教堂(Battell Chapel)听现场演讲——该教堂曾是耶鲁校园里的一个历史悠久的礼拜场所,后来被改造成了一个演讲厅——其他数百名学生在另外的一个或两个较小的礼堂里观看桑托斯博士的现场直播。几周后,校方决定将讲座搬到可容纳整个班级的伍尔西音乐厅(Woolsey Hall),它通常是举行交响音乐会等活动的场地。

The course focuses both on positive psychology — the characteristics that allow humans to flourish, according to Dr. Santos — and behavioral change, or how to live by those lessons in real life. Students must take quizzes, complete a midterm exam and, as their final assessment, conduct what Dr. Santos calls a “Hack Yo’Self Project,” a personal self-improvement project.

这门课程既关注积极心理学——据桑托斯博士称,它指的是能让人蓬勃发展的特征——也关注行为改变,也就是如何在现实生活中应用这门课的知识。学生们必须参加小测验,完成期中考试,以及最终的自我改善评估项目,桑托斯博士称之为“Hack Yo’self Project”(自我改进项目)。

Some students admit that they see the course as an opportunity to take a relaxed lecture with few requirements.

一些学生承认,他们认为这是一个机会,可以上一门几乎没什么要求的轻松课程。

“I wouldn’t have known about the course if not for word of mouth, but it’s low-pressure, and maybe I’ll learn a few tricks to having a less stressful life,” said Riley Richmond, 22, a senior who enrolled in the class with several of his friends.

“如果不是口口相传,我都不知道这门课,但它压力小,并且我也许会学到一些技巧,让生活压力不那么大,”22岁的毕业班学生赖利·里士满(Riley Richmond)说。他和几个朋友一起报名学习这门课。

Charlotte Emerson, 18, a freshman in the course, says she worries some students will take advantage of the lack of accountability that comes with a lecture of this size. For example, Dr. Santos is not monitoring whether students complete weekly “rewirement” assignments, like performing acts of kindness and forming new social connections, Ms. Emerson said.

18岁的大一新生夏洛特·埃默森(Charlotte Emerson)也选了这门课。她担心一些学生会利用这种规模的课程缺乏问责制这一点。比如,埃默森说,桑托斯不监督学生是否完成了每周的“更换”作业,如做出友善的行为和建立新的社交关系。

But while others might see easy credits, Dr. Santos refers to her course as the “hardest class at Yale”: To see real change in their life habits, students have to hold themselves accountable each day, she said.

尽管其他人可能认为这门课学分好拿,但桑托斯博士称它是“耶鲁最难的课”。她说,要想看到生活习惯发生真正的改变,学生必须每天都要对自己负责。

She hopes that the social pressures associated with taking a lecture with friends will push students to work hard without provoking anxiety about grades. Dr. Santos has encouraged all students to enroll in the course on a pass-fail basis, tying into her argument that the things Yale undergraduates often connect with life satisfaction — a high grade, a prestigious internship, a good-paying job — do not increase happiness at all.

她希望,和朋友一起上课带来的社交压力会促使学生努力学习,又不会引起对成绩的焦虑。桑托斯鼓励所有学生上这门成绩只分及格和不及格的课程,并大力宣传自己的观点,即耶鲁本科生往往把高分、宝贵的实习机会和高薪工作与生活满意度联系在一起,但它们根本不会增加幸福。

“Scientists didn’t realize this in the same way 10 or so years ago, that our intuitions about what will make us happy, like winning the lottery and getting a good grade — are totally wrong,” Dr. Santos said.

“大约10年前,科学家并没有意识到,我们以为可以让自己感到快乐的那些个直觉,比如彩票中奖和获得好成绩,其实是大错特错,”桑托斯说。

College courses on positive psychology have a track record of attracting scores of students. At Harvard, about 900 students enrolled in a lecture titled Positive Psychology in 2006. What distinguishes Dr. Santos’s course from the one at Harvard in 2006, she said, is that it also focuses on behavioral change.

大学里的积极心理学课程向来会吸引大量学生。2006年,哈佛大约900名学生报名学习一门名为积极心理学的课程。桑托斯说,有别于哈佛2006年开设的那门课的是,她这门课还重视行为改变。

Still, Dr. Santos says she does not plan to offer the course again. Dr. Ahn, of the psychology department, said, “Large courses can be amazing every once in a while, but it wouldn’t be fair to other courses and departments to take all of their students away.”

但桑托斯说,她不打算再开这门课了。心理学院的阿恩说,“偶尔出现一门大课挺不错的,但这对其他课程和院系不公平,它们的学生都流失了。”

She added, “It causes conflict, and we can’t afford to offer this every year in terms of teaching fellows and resources.”

她接着说,“这会造成冲突,并且就助教和资源而言我们也做不到年年都开设这门课。”

Dr. Santos said a multipart seminar-style series on the course material — filmed last year in her home and titled the Science of Well-Being — will soon be available for free on Coursera, an online education platform. For now, she is eager to see whether her teachings alter campus life.

桑托斯说,去年她按照课程教材在家中拍摄了一个研讨班风格的课程系列,名为《幸福的科学》(Science of Well-Being)”。该系列由几个部分组成,很快就可在网络教育平台Coursera上免费观看。现在,她迫切地想知道自己的教导是否改变了校园生活。

“We have this moment where we can make a difference in Yale’s culture, where students feel like they are part of a movement and fighting the good fight,” she said.

“我们迎来了可能会改变耶鲁文化的这一刻,学生们觉得自己是一场运动的一部分,正在为正义而战。”

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