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Ed Webb

Why hard work and specialising early is not a recipe for success - The Correspondent - 0 views

  • dispelling nonsense is much harder than spreading nonsense.
  • a worldwide cult of the head start – a fetish for precociousness. The intuitive opinion that dedicated, focused specialists are superior to doubting, daydreaming Jacks-of-all-trades is winning
  • astonishing sacrifices made in the quest for efficiency, specialisation and excellence
  • ...20 more annotations...
  • Most things that people want to learn do not resemble language, golf or chess, but rather a game in which the generalist has an advantage. A hostile learning environment
  • Seemingly inefficient things are productive: expanding your horizons, giving yourself time, switching professions. 
  • early specialisation is a good idea if you want to become successful in certain fields, sports or professions. In fact, in some cases, it’s the only option. Take chess, for example: if you don’t start early, you won’t stand a chance at glory.
  • learning chess is not a good model for learning other things. Epstein explains this using the work of psychologist Robin Hogarth, who makes the distinction between friendly (kind) and unfriendly or hostile (wicked) learning environments.
  • In a friendly learning environment, such as chess, the rules are clear, the information is complete (all pieces are visible on the board), and you can (ultimately) determine the quality of every move. In other words, the feedback loop
  • friendly learning environments are the exception. The world is not as clear-cut as golf or chess. So early specialisation is often a bad idea. 
  • In hostile learning environments without repetitive patterns, mastery is much harder to achieve. The feedback loop is insidious. Unlike chess, experience does not necessarily make you better. You may stick with the wrong approach because you’re convinced it’s the right one. 
  • The better a teacher scored on their own subject (i.e., the higher the grades their students got in that subject), the more mediocre students’ scores were across the complete programme (all modules). The explanation? Those teachers gave their students rigidly defined education, purely focused on passing exams. The students passed their tests with high marks – and rated their teachers highly in surveys – but would fail later on. 
  • In learning environments without repetitive patterns, where cause and effect are not always clear, early specialisation and spending countless hours does not guarantee success. Quite the opposite, Epstein argues. Generalists have the advantage: they have a wider range of experiences and a greater ability to associate and improvise. (The world has more in common with jazz than classical music, Epstein explains in a chapter on music.)
  • Many modern professions aren’t so much about applying specific solutions than they are about recognising the nature of a problem, and only then coming up with an approach. That becomes possible when you learn to see analogies with other fields, according to psychologist Dedre Gentner, who has made this subject her life’s work.
  • Another advantage generalists and late specialists have is more concrete: you are more likely to pick a suitable study, sport or profession if you first orient yourself broadly before you make a choice.
  • Greater enjoyment of the game is one of the benefits associated with late specialisation, along with fewer injuries and more creativity.
  • which child, teenager or person in their 20s knows what they will be doing for the rest of their lives?
  • Persevering along a chosen path can also lead to other problems: frustrations about failure. If practice makes perfect, why am I not a genius? In a critical review,
  • The tricky thing about generalist long-term thinking versus specialist short-term thinking is that the latter produces faster and more visible results.
  • specialising in short-term success gets in the way of long-term success. This also applies to education.
  • (Another example: the on-going worry about whether or not students’ degree choices are "labour market relevant".)
  • Teachers who taught more broadly – who did not teach students readymade "prescribed lessons” but instilled "principles" – were not rated as highly in their own subject, but had the most sustainable effect on learning. However, this was not reflected in the results. These teachers were awarded – logically but tragically – lower ratings by their students.
  • the 10,000 hour gang has considerable power with their message "quitters never win, winners never quit".Epstein’s more wholesome message seems weak and boring in comparison. Some things are simply not meant for everyone, doubt is understandable and even meaningful, you can give up and change your choice of work, sports or hobby, and an early lead can actually be a structural disadvantage. 
  • "Don’t feel behind." Don’t worry if others seem to be moving faster, harder or better. Winners often quit.
Ed Webb

Calling Bull. - 8 views

  •  
    Sounds Interesting! What is the course? Syllabus? Links?
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