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比天才更有用的关键学习法

更新时间:2019/4/15 20:21:39 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How to master new skills with 'deliberate practice'
比天才更有用的关键学习法

The amount of time you spend working on something does not equal the quality of the output. Jogging the same routes, for instance, clocking up similar times every weekend will never transform you into a world-class athlete no matter how long you keep at it. Some of us  strive to excel, but for most the thought of committing to even more training is daunting.

你花在某件事情上的时间并不等于产出的质量。比如说,每周在差不多的时间沿着同一条线路慢跑,无论坚持多久,你都不能成为世界级运动员。有些人为了出类拔萃拼尽全力,但大多数人一想到要全身心地投入训练就气馁了。

So what if self-improvement did not require such a huge investment of time? Are there special qualities that people who strive for the top possess that allow them to rise above the rest? BBC Capital asked a gold-medal winning Olympic coach, a record-holding football manager and a super learner.

如果提升自我并不需要投入如此大量的时间,那是不是有捷径呢?那些力争上游的人是否拥有某些特殊品质,使他们能够超越其他人?BBC Capital采访了一位奥运冠军教练、一位创足球联赛纪录的经理人,还有一位超强学习者。

Stop repeating mistakes

不要重复犯错

Sixty minutes spent doing ‘the right thing’ is better than any amount of time spent learning in an unfocussed way, according to professor Anders Ericsson of Florida State University. Identifying areas that need work then devising a purposeful plan to correct them is crucial. Ericsson calls this process ‘deliberate practice’.

佛罗里达州立大学(Florida State University)教授埃里克森(Anders Ericsson)表示,花一个小时做“正确的事情”比长时间心不在焉地学习要有效。确定需要工作的领域,然后制定有目的性的计划予以修正是至关重要的一点。埃里克森称这一过程为“刻意练习”。

Ericsson has spent the best part of three decades analysing how elite performers from musicians to surgeons reach the very top of their field. Developing the right mindset, he says, is more important than raw talent. “There was always this discussion that in order to be good you had to be born with the attributes because it was difficult to produce high-level performers, which is wrong,” he says.

埃里克森花了30年時間分析从音乐家到外科医生等精英人士是如何达到所在领域的顶尖水平。他说,培养正确的心态比天赋更重要。他表示,“有一种说法一直不绝于耳,即你想成为人中龙凤,你必须具备与生俱来的天份,因为培养高精尖人才实在太难了。但这个说法是错的。”

Practitioners of deliberate practice often criticise the way we are taught at school. Music teachers, for example, start pupils off with the basic elements; the notes, the keys, how to read music. If you need to grade students against each other you need to compare them on simple, objective measures. Teaching like this makes grading easier, but it might also turn off beginners who cannot imagine reaching their end goal of playing the music they enjoy because they are doing tasks that have no meaning to them.

“刻意练习”的实践者经常批评学校的教学方式。例如,音乐教师总是从基本元素(音符,琴键)入手教学生如何读懂音乐。因为如果你需要给每个学生打分,你就需要用简单、客观的标准来进行比较。这样的教学方法使评分变得更容易,但也可能会让初学者失去兴趣。他们想象不到自己最终目的是演奏心仪的音乐,因为现在手头上的任务对他们来说毫无意义。

“I think the right way to learn is the reverse,” says Max Deutsch, 26, who has taken rapid learning to the extreme. In 2016, San Francisco-based Deutsch set himself the target of learning 12 ambitious new skills to a very high standard, one each month. The first was memorising a deck of cards in two minutes without a mistake. Accomplishing this task is considered the threshold for a grandmaster of memory. The last was to teach himself how to play chess, from the beginning, and to beat grandmaster Magnus Carlsen in a game.

“我认为正确的学习方法应该是反其道而行之,”26岁的多伊奇(Max Deutsch)说,他把快速学习发挥到了极致。2016年,当时在旧金山的多伊奇给自己定了一个目标,雄心勃勃地要学习12项新技能,每个月学习一项,并且要达到高水平。第一项技能是能够在两分钟内毫无差错地记住一副牌。完成这项任务被可以被称为记忆大师了。最后一个是自学下棋,最终目标是比赛中战胜国际象棋大师卡尔森(Magnus Carlsen)。

“Start with the goal,” says Deutsch. “What is it that I would have to know, or be able to do, to get to my goal? Then create a plan to get there and stick to it. On day one I declared ‘This is what I’m going to be doing each day’. I predefined every task for every single day. This meant I didn’t think ‘Do I have the energy or should I put this off?’ because I had predefined it. It became a non-negotiable part of the day.”

多伊奇说,“设立目标是第一步。为了达到目标,我需要知道什么?或者能做什么?然后制定计划并坚持下去。第一天我会表明,‘这就是我每天要做的事情’。每天要做的每项任务都要提前确定,因此就不用再考虑‘我还有力气吗?还是推迟一下?’由于任务已定,每天就必须完成,没有商量的余地。”

Deutsch says he was able to take on this challenge while holding down a full-time job, commuting for an hour a day and ensuring he had eight hours’ sleep. Forty-five to 60 minutes each day for 30 days was enough to complete each challenge. “The structure did 80% of the hard work,” he says.

多伊奇说,他能在挑战自己的同时,胜任一份全职工作。每天通勤一小时,确保有8小时的睡眠。每天花45到60分钟学习新技能,坚持30天,就足够完成每项挑战了。他说,“这项挑战难就难在规划,占了八成。”

If deliberate practice sounds familiar to you, it formed the basis of the 10,000-hour rule popularised by Malcolm Gladwell. One of Ericsson’s first papers on deliberate practice suggested that elite performers spend 10,000 hours, or approximately 10 years, training in this focused way before they reach the top of their field. But it is misleading to think that anyone who spends 10,000 hours doing anything will somehow become world-class. “You need to be practising with purpose, and it takes a certain type of person, psychologically, to do that,” says Ericsson.

如果你觉得“刻意练习”听起来很熟悉的话,其实这就是美国畅销书作家格拉德威尔(Malcolm Gladwell)所倡导的“1万小时定律”的基础。埃里克森最早发表的一篇关于“刻意练习”的论文指出,优秀人士在达到顶尖水平前,要花1万个小时或大约10年的时间以这种专注的方式进行训练。但是也不是说任何人在任何事情上花1万小时就能成为世界级大师,这是一种误解。埃里克森说,“你需要有目的地去练习,只有某种人能从心理上做到这一点。”

“It’s not about the total time spent practising, it needs to be matched with the commitment of the student,” he says. “Are they correcting, are they changing what they do. It’s not clear why some people think that doing more of making the same mistakes will make you better.”

他表示“这与练习的总时间无关,而与投入程度相匹配。他们是否在纠正错误?是否在寻求改变?不知为什么有些人会认为多犯同样的错误能进步。”

‘Focus on mastery’

集中于高超技艺

The sporting world has adopted many of Ericsson’s lessons. “It’s the players who do the work. They have to be very determined to be a player who reaches the top,” says Roger Gustafsson. A former footballer-turned-coach, Gustafsson managed IFK Goteborg to five league titles in the 1990s – more than any other manager in Swedish league history. Now in his 60s, Gustafsson is still involved in the youth system at the club.

埃里克森的理论在体育界十分受用。古斯塔夫松(Roger Gustafsson)说,“球员是真正的实践者。想要成为顶尖球员,他们必须下定决心。”古斯塔夫松曾是一名足球运动员,后来当了足球教练。上世纪90年代,哥德堡队(IFK Goteborg)在他的带领下获得了5次瑞典超级联赛冠军,创下瑞典联赛纪录。现年60多岁的古斯塔夫松仍然活跃在哥德堡体育俱乐部的青年队。

“We tried to teach 12-year-olds [in the IFK Goteborg youth system] the Barcelona passing triangle through deliberate practice and they developed incredibly [fast] in five weeks. They reached a point where they were doing the same number of triangle passes as Barcelona in competitive games. It’s not quite like saying they were as good as Barcelona, of course, but it was incredible how quickly they could learn.”

“我们尝试教队里12岁的孩子巴萨三角传球,经过5周的刻意练习,他们进步非常神速,在比赛中三角传球的次数达到了巴萨隆纳足球队的水平。当然,并不是说他们传球的质量和巴萨隆纳一样好,但他们能在这么短时间内学会令人惊讶。”

Video has become an essential tool for providing immediate feedback. “If you only tell the player, they might not get the same picture that you have,” says Gustafsson. “They have to see themselves and compare with a player that did it differently. Young players are very comfortable with video feedback. They are used to filming themselves and each other. As a coach it’s difficult to give everyone feedback because you have 20 players in a squad. Deliberate practice is about empowering people to give themselves feedback.”

视频是提供即时反馈的重要工具。古斯塔夫松说:“如果你只是以说的方式给队员讲解,他们可能无法完全理解。他们必须看到自己的表现,并与其他球员进行比较。年轻队员对录制视频这种反馈方式非常满意。他们习惯于拍摄自己和对方。作为一名教练,我很难给每个人都提出建议,因为整个球队有20名球员。‘刻意练习’的宗旨就是让人们学会自我反馈。”

Gustafsson emphasises that the more immediate the coach can make their feedback, the more value it has. By correcting mistakes in training, less time is wasted doing things wrong.

古斯塔夫松强调,教练的反馈建议给的越及时越有价值。通过纠正训练中的错误,他们能少在错误的事情上浪费时间。

“The most important part of this is the intention of the athlete, they have to want to learn,” says Hugh McCutcheon, head coach of volleyball at the University of Minnesota. “The athlete has to feel like they are in a safe space to make it worse. They might get worse to get better. This might turn off casual learners, but technical mastery is hard. It’s the same across any sport; what separates the very best is technical mastery and that requires a big commitment.”

明尼苏达大学(University of Minnesota)排球主教练麦卡琴(Hugh McCutcheon)表示,“运动员的目的是最重要的,他们必须渴望学习。运动员必须意识到应该容许自己有成绩会退化的空间。有时候,退一步才会进三步,但意志不坚定的求学者可能会因此丧失兴趣。想要精通一门技术是很困难的,任何运动都是如此。高超技艺使最优秀的人脱颖而出,而这需要大量的投入。”

McCutcheon was head coach of the USA men’s volleyball team who won gold at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, 20 years after their previous gold medal. He then took over the women’s team and led them to silver at the London 2012 games. “We have a responsibility to teach and they have a responsibility to learn,” says McCutcheon. “This isn’t an input-output thing. The plateau is real, you will struggle. The people who get through are the ones who commit to working on their faults. You don’t have transformative days where you go from being a hack to an expert. There’s a lot of talented people. Talent is not rare. What is rare is talent and motivation and focus on mastery.”

麦卡琴曾是美国男子排球队的主教练,并带领队伍获得了2008年北京奥运会的金牌。随后,他接管了女子排球队,并带领她们在2012年伦敦奥运会上获得了银牌。麦卡琴说,“教学是我们教练的责任,学习是运动员们的责任。这不是一个投入产出的问题。你会因为停滞不前而痛苦不堪,只有努力改正缺点的人才能挺过去。从初学者到行家,你并不会经历翻天覆地的变化。有才华的人太多了,天赋并不罕见,罕见的是集天赋、干劲儿和专注力于一身。”

Why structure matters

为什么计划如此重要

For some of the tasks Deutsch took on, there was already a heavily predefined method of learning, like memorising a deck of cards, where he says 90% of the method is well-established. Deutsch wanted to apply deliberate practice to a more abstract challenge that would require developing his own strategy; solving a Saturday New York Times crossword puzzle. He says these crosswords were seen as too complex to be solved in a systematic way, but he thought that he could apply the techniques he learned in previous challenges to solving them.

在挑战某些任务前,多伊奇已严密制定了学习方法,比如记忆一副纸牌,这其中90%的方法是早已定好。多伊奇想把“刻意练习”应用到更抽象的挑战中,这需要他制定属于自己的一套方法,比如说完成纽约时报周六版上的填字游戏。人们觉得这些纵横字谜过于复杂,无法用系统的方法解决,但他认为自己可以应用之前学到的技巧。

“If I know the 6,000 most common clues, how close would that get me to solving a puzzle? On an easier puzzle it helps to get you a significant way to solving it,” says Deutsch. “On a Saturday puzzle, it doesn’t get you that far, but it is a big leg-up. So that’s what I did; I scraped a website to get the data and based on how I learned a language in a previous challenge I used a programme to memorise them. Over one week I learned those 6,000 answers.”

多伊奇说,“如果我已经掌握了6000个最常见的线索,那我离揭开一个字谜的谜底还有多远?对于简单的字谜游戏,这是一个很重要的解决方法。周六的填字游戏不用如此深入研究,但却是一个巨大的优势。我抓取了一个网站以获取数据,并根据之前学习语言的经验,我使用了一个程序来记忆这些数据。在一个多星期的时间里,我解开了那6000个答案。”

With enough exposure to the answers, he was able to learn all these common clues. Next, Deutsch looked at how the puzzles were constructed. Some letter combinations are more likely to follow others, so if part of the grid is complete, he could narrow down the possibilities for the remaining spaces by ruling out unlikely words. Expanding his vocabulary was the final part to going from crossword novice to master.

充分了解这些答案后,他能够掌握所有这些常见的线索。接下来,多伊奇研究了谜题是如何构建的。某些字母的组合跟随其他字母组合之后的可能性较高,因此,如果字谜的一部分已经完成,他可以通过排除不太可能的单词来缩小范围。扩大词汇量是他从字谜新手到高手的最后一步。

“Typically, we underestimate what we can accomplish in a small amount of time and overestimate what it will take to do a thing,” says Deutsch, who succeeded in 11 of his 12 tasks (the chess win eluded him). “By creating a structure, you remove the mental noise. Deliberating practising things for an hour for a month is not a lot of time but when was the last time you spent 30 hours deliberately working on one specific thing?”

多伊奇给自己设定的12个挑战,他完成了11个,只有象棋比赛他未能打败棋王卡尔森。他说,“我们总是低估了自己在短时间内能完成的事情,而高估了完成一件事情所需要的时间。你设定计划,去除了精神上的杂音,心无旁骛。每天花一个小时‘刻意练习’并坚持一个月其实所耗时间并不多。但你什么时候曾花上30个小时特意去认真做某一件事?”

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