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只要努力,就能成功?

只要努力,就能成功?

我们翻译这篇文章的理由

爱迪生说:“天才是百分之一的灵感加百分之九十九的努力。”如何成就一个天才,成长型思维教育告诉孩子智力是可以通过努力被塑造的,而不是被先天决定的。最常见的方式是激励孩子“失败不是因为能力差,而是因为不够努力”。但这样的成长型思维教育真的有用吗?

——苏乐

?

只要努力,就能成功?

作者:Carl Hendrick

译者:苏乐 & 李静轩 & 王宇琪

校对:黄倩霞 & 郭嘉宁 & 伍豪

策划:苏乐 & 伍豪

A generation of schoolchildren is being exhorted to believe in their brain’s elas-ticity. Does it really help them learn?

新一代学生的成长思维教育:要相信大脑是可以塑造的。这种思维模式真的能帮助他们学习吗?

Over the past century, a powerful idea has taken root in the educational landscape. The notion of intelligence as something innate and fixed has been supplanted by the idea that intelligence is instead something malleable; that we are not prisoners of immutable characteristics and that, with the right training, we can be the authors of our own cognitive capabilities.

在过去的一个世纪里,一种强有力的理念已经在教育领域生根发芽。智力是一种固有的、固定的东西,这一概念已被智力是可塑的这种想法所取代;我们不是囚徒,性格一成不变,通过正确的训练,我们可以成为自己认知能力的创造者。

immutable /ɪˈmjuːtəbll/ adj.that cannot be changed; that will never change 永恒不变的

Nineteenth-century scientists including Francis Galton and Alfred Binet devoted their own considerable intelligence to a quest to classify and understand human cognitive ability. If we could codify the anatomy of intelligence, they believed, we could place individuals into their correct niche in society. Binet would go on to develop the first IQ tests, laying the foundations for a method of ranking the intelligence of job applicants, army recruits or schoolchildren that continues today.

19世纪的科学家们,包括弗朗西斯·高尔顿和阿尔弗雷德·比奈,他们投入相当多的智力,探索对人类认知能力的分类和理解。他们相信,如果我们能剖析每个人的智力,并编纂成法典,我们就能将个人置于社会中正确的位置。比奈接着开发第一版智商测试,这给求职者、新兵或学童的智力排名方法奠定了基础,这种智商测试方法一直延续到今天。

anatomy /əˈnætəmi/ n. (formal) an examination of what sth is like or why it happens 剖析;解析

niche /niːʃ/ n.a comfortable or suitable role, job, way of life, etc;an opportunity to sell a particular product to a particular group of people 舒适或称心的工作(或生活等);(产品的)商机;市场定位

In the early 20th century, progressive thinkers revolted against this idea that inherent ability is destiny. Instead, educators such as John Dewey argued that every child’s intelligence could be developed, given the right environment. The self, according to Dewey, is not something ‘ready made’ but rather ‘in continuous formation through choice of action’. In the 1960s and ’70s, psychologists such as Albert Bandura bridged some of the gap between the innate and the learned models of intelligence with his idea of social cognitive theory, self-efficacy and motivation. One can recognise that there are individual differences in ability, Bandura argued, but still emphasise the potential for growth for each individual, wherever one’s starting point.

20世纪初,进步思想家们反对“天赋决定命运”的观点。相反,约翰•杜威(John Dewey)等教育家认为,只要有合适的环境,每个孩子的智力都可以得到发展。按照杜威的观点,自我不是“现成的”,而是“通过行动的选择而不断形成的”。在20世纪60年代和70年代,阿尔伯特·班杜拉(Albert Bandura)等心理学家用社会认知理论、自我信心和动机的观点,在先天智力模型和后天智力模型之间架起了桥梁。班杜拉认为,人们可以认识到能力存在个体差异,但无论起点在哪里,仍要强调每个个体的成长潜力。

Growth mindset theory is a relatively new – and wildly popular – iteration of this belief in the malleability of intelligence, but with a twist. In many schools today you will see hallways festooned with motivational posters, and hear speeches on the mindset of great sporting heroes who simply believed their way to the top. These are all attempts to put growth mindset theory into practice through motivation. However a growth mindset is not really about motivation, but rather about the way in which individuals understand their own intelligence.

成长思维理论是一种相对较新的、而且广受欢迎的智力可塑性理论的翻版,但它曾经历过一次转折。如今,在许多学校,你会看到走廊上挂满了励志海报,听到关于伟大体育英雄的演讲,他们只是简单地相信自己能达到顶峰。这些都是通过激励将成长思维理论付诸实践的尝试。然而,成长型思维模式实际上与激励无关,而是与个体理解自身智力的方式有关。

iteration /ˌɪtəˈreɪʃn/ n. the process of repeating a mathematical or computing process or set of instructions again and again, each time applying it to the result of the previous stage 迭代

According to the theory, if students believe that their ability is fixed, they will not want to do anything to reveal that, so a major focus of the growth mindset in schools is shifting students away from seeing failure as an indication of their ability, to seeing failure as a chance to improve that ability. As Jeff Howard noted almost 30 years ago: ‘Smart is not something that you just are, smart is something that you can get.’

根据成长型思维理论,如果学生相信自己的能力是固定的,他们不会想做任何事情来显示这一点,所以成长思维模式的一个主要关注点在于转变学生认为失败是自己能力不足的观点,引导他们将失败看作一次提升能力的机会。正如杰夫•霍华德(Jeff Howard)近30年前所指出的:“聪明不是天生的,而是后天你能得到的。”

Despite extraordinary claims for the efficacy of a growth mindset, however, it’s increasingly unclear whether attempts to change students’ mindsets about their abilities have any positive effect on their learning at all. And the story of the growth mindset is a cautionary tale about what happens when psychological theories are translated into the reality of the classroom, no matter how well-intentioned.

尽管有关于成长思维效果的特别声明,然而,越来越不清楚的是,试图改变学生对自己能力的思维方式是否对他们的学习有任何积极的影响。成长思维的故事是一个警示性的故事,它告诉我们,无论动机有多好,当心理理论被转化为课堂的现实时,会发生什么。

The idea of the growth mindset is based on the work of the psychologist Carol Dweck at Stanford University in California. Dweck’s findings suggest that beliefs about ourselves can have a profound effect on academic achievement and beyond. Her seminal work stems from a paper 20 years ago that reported on a research project with schoolchildren that probed the relationship between their understanding of their own abilities and their actual performance.

“成长思维”的概念是基于加州斯坦福大学心理学家卡罗尔·德韦克的研究。德韦克的研究结果表明,对自己的信念可能会对学业成绩以及其他方面产生深远的影响。她的开创性工作源于20年前的一篇论文,该论文是一篇针对小学生对自身能力的理解与实际表现之间的关系的报告。

In the experiment, a group of 10- to 12-year-olds were divided into two groups. All were told that they had achieved a high score on a test but members of the first group were praised for their intelligence in achieving this, while the others were praised for their effort. The second group were subsequently far more likely to put effort into future tasks while the former took on only those tasks that would not risk their initial sense of worth. Praising ability actually made the students perform worse, while praising effort emphasised that change was possible.

在实验中,一组10到12岁的孩子被分成两组。所有人都被告知他们在一次测试中取得了高分,但是第一组的孩子被表扬因为聪明才智获得了高分,而第二组的孩子被表扬是因为努力。随后,第二组人更有可能把精力放在未来的任务上,而前者只承担那些不会危及他们最初价值感的任务。表扬能力实际上会让学生表现得更差,而表扬努力则强调改变是可能的。

Dweck’s work suggests that when people believe that failure is not a barometer of innate characteristics but rather view it as a step to success (a growth mindset), they are far more likely to put in the kinds of effort that will eventually lead to that success. By contrast, those who believe that success or failure is due to innate ability (a fixed mindset) can find that this leads to a fear of failure and a lack of effort.

德韦克的研究表明,当人们相信失败不是天生性格的晴雨表,而是将其视为通往成功的一步(一种成长思维)时,他们更有可能投入各种努力,最终走向成功。相反,那些认为成功或失败是天生能力(一种固定的心态)的人会发现,这导致他们恐惧失败,不想努力。

barometer /bəˈrɒmɪtə(r); bəˈrɑːmɪtər/ n. something that shows the changes that are happening in an economic, social or political situation(显示经济、社会、政治变化的)晴雨表,标志,指标

Imagine two children who are faced with taking a test on a tricky maths problem. The first child completes the first few steps but then hits a wall, and instantly feels demotivated. For this child, the small failure is incontrovertible evidence of simply not being good at maths. By contrast, for the second child, this small failure is merely a barrier to eventual success, and confers an opportunity to improve overall maths ability. The second child relishes the challenge, and works to improve – that child is displaying a growth mindset. According to the theory, the key to encouraging this disposition is to praise the effort and not the ability. By telling children that they are smart or intelligent, you are merely confirming the idea of innate ability, fostering a fixed mindset, and actually undermining their development. Dweck’s claims are supported by a lot of evidence, indeed she and her associates have spent more than 30 years exploring this phenomenon, including taking the time to respond to criticism in an open and transparent way.

想象两个孩子面临着一道棘手的数学题。第一个孩子完成了最初的几步,但接着就遇到了难关失去动力。对这个孩子来说,小小的失败是不擅长数学的确凿证据。相比之下,对于第二个孩子来说,这个小小的失败只是最终成功的一个障碍,并提供了一个提高整体数学能力的机会。第二个孩子享受挑战,并努力提高——这个孩子表现出一种成长思维。根据这个理论,鼓励这种性格的关键是表扬努力,而不是能力。通过告诉孩子们他们很聪明或很机智,你只是在强调先天能力,培养一种固定的心态,实际上是在破坏他们的发展。德韦克的说法得到了很多证据的支持,事实上,她和她的同事花了30多年的时间来探索这一现象,包括用易懂的方式公开回应评论。

Growth mindset theory has had a profound impact on the ground. It is difficult to think of a school today that is not in thrall to the idea that beliefs about one’s ability affect subsequent performance, and that it’s crucial to teach students that failure is merely a stepping stone to success. Implementing these ideas has been much harder, however, and attempts to replicate the original findings have not been smooth, to say the least. A recent national survey in the United States showed that 98 per cent of teachers feel that growth mindset approaches should be adopted in schools, but only 50 per cent said that they knew of strategies to effectively change a pupil’s mindset.

实际上,成长心态理论产生了深刻的影响。如今,很难想象有哪所学校不受这样一种观念的束缚:对个人能力的信念会影响随后的表现,而让学生明白失败只是成功的垫脚石,这一点至关重要。然而,实现这些想法要困难得多,至少可以说,验证最初发现的尝试并不顺利。美国最近进行的一项全国性调查显示,98%的教师认为学校应该采用成长型思维方式,但只有50%的教师表示,他们知道有效改变学生思维方式的策略。

The truth is we simply haven’t been able to translate the research on the benefits of a growth mindset into any sort of effective, consistent practice that makes an appreciable difference in student academic attainment. In many cases, growth mindset theory has been misrepresented and miscast as simply a means of motivating the unmotivated through pithy slogans and posters. A general truth about education is that the more vague and platitudinous the statement, the less practical use it has on the ground. ‘Making a difference’ rarely makes any difference at all.

事实上,我们根本无法将有关成长思维益处的研究转化为任何一种有效、持续且能够显著提高学生学术成就的实践策略。多数情况下,成长思维理论被误认为是一种仅通过简洁的口号和海报来激励那些消极学生的方法。关于教育的一个普遍事实是,任何一种说法越是含糊和陈词滥调,它在实际中的应用就越少。光说“有所作为”几乎不会带来任何改变。

A growing number of recent studies are casting doubt on the efficacy of mindset interventions at scale. A large-scale study of 36 schools in the UK, in which either pupils or teachers were given training, found that the impact on pupils directly receiving the intervention did not have statistical significance, and that the pupils whose teachers were trained made no gains at all. Another study featuring a large sample of university applicants in the Czech Republic used a scholastic aptitude test to explore the relationship between mindset and achievement. They found a slightly negative correlation, with researchers claiming that ‘the results show that the strength of the association between academic achievement and mindset might be weaker than previously thought’. A 2012 review for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in the UK of attitudes to education and participation found ‘no clear evidence of association or sequence between pupils’ attitudes in general and educational outcomes, although there were several studies attempting to provide explanations for the link (if it exists)’. In 2018, two meta-analyses in the US found that claims for the growth mindset might have been overstated, and that there was ‘little to no effect of mindset interventions on academic achievement for typical students’.

近期越来越多的研究使人们对大规模思维干预的有效性产生了怀疑。英国的一项研究覆盖了36所学校,在这36所学校里,学生或老师有一方接受了思维干预。研究发现,对于直接接受了思维干预的学生,此干预对学生的影响并无统计学意义,对于间接接受了思维干预(教授这些学生的老师们接受了思维干预培训)的学生,他们完全没有任何提升。另一项捷克共和国的研究采用一大批大学申请人作为样本,使用了学习能力倾向测试来探索思维和成绩的关系。研究发现,思维和成绩有轻微负相关倾向,研究人员称:“结果表明学习成绩和思维之间的联系并不像先前所说的那样紧密。”英国约瑟夫·朗特里基金会在2012年资助完成了一项关于教育态度和参与态度的报告,结果显示,尽管有一些研究试图解释学生态度和教育成果的联系(如果存在的话),但是并没有明显证据表明这两者有因果或是次序关系。2018年,美国的两个荟萃分析发现,成长型思维的重要性可能被夸大了,对于普通学生来说,思维干预对他们的学习成绩只产生了些许效果,或是甚至没有效果。

efficacy /’efɪkəsɪ/ n. the ability of sth, especially a drug or a medical treatment, to produce the results that are wanted (尤指药物或治疗方法的)功效,效验,效力

A meta-analysis is a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies. 元分析/荟萃分析

One of the greatest impediments to successfully implementing a growth mindset is the education system itself. A key characteristic of a fixed mindset is a focus on performance and an avoidance of any situation where testing might lead to a confirmation of fixed beliefs about ability. Yet we are currently in a school climate obsessed with performance in the form of constant summative testing, analysing and ranking of students. Schools create a certain cognitive dissonance when they proselytise the benefits of a growth mindset in assemblies but then hand out fixed target grades in lessons based on performance.

在成长型思维的应用过程中,最大的阻碍之一是教育系统本身。成长型思维模式的一个关键特征是重视表现,避免让考试证实学生的能力是固定的。然而现今的学校总是青睐通过经常的总结性测验、分析和排名来得出表现结果。学校在集会中极力强调成长型思维的好处,但转身就在课上发给学生固定的目标分数,而这分数是根据上述的表现结果制定出来的,这在一定程度上造成了认知失调。

proselytize /’prɒsələtaɪz/ v. to try to persuade other people to accept your beliefs, especially about religion or politics 使(在宗教、政治等方面)归附

译者注:本段第二句作者将“growth mindset”误写成“fixed mindset”。本段有三个performance,第一个performance的意思为表现,注重过程,英文解释为the act of doing a piece of work, duty, etc.后两个performance的意思为表现结果,注重结果,英文解释为how well or badly a person, company, etc. does a particular job of activity.

Aside from the implementation problem, the original growth mindset research has also received harsh criticism and been difficult to replicate robustly. The statistician Andrew Gelman at Columbia University in New York claims that ‘their research designs have enough degrees of freedom that they could take their data to support just about any theory at all’. Timothy Bates, a professor of psychology at the University of Edinburgh who has been trying to replicate Dweck’s work in a third study in China, is finding that the results are repeatedly null. He notes in a 2017 interview that: ‘People with a growth mindset don’t cope any better with failure. If we give them the mindset intervention, it doesn’t make them behave better. Kids with the growth mindset aren’t getting better grades, either before or after our intervention study.’

除了实践问题之外,最初的成长型思维理论研究也受到了严厉的抨击,很难被稳定地重现出来。纽约哥伦比亚大学统计学家安德鲁·戈尔曼(Andrew Gelman)称,成长型思维的研究设计有很大的自由度,这使得研究人员可以利用他们的数据来支持任何理论。爱丁堡大学心理学教授蒂莫西·贝茨(Timothy Bates)正在中国第三次试图重现德威克的实验结果,但发现结果总是无效的。在2017年的一个采访中,他指出,具有成长型思维的人并不能更好的应对失败。即使我们给予了他们思维干预,他们也并不能做的更好。具有成长型思维的儿童,不管在我们的干预前或干预后,都没能取得更好的成绩。

An enduring criticism of growth mindset theory is that it underestimates the importance of innate ability, specifically intelligence. If one student is playing with a weaker hand, is it fair to tell the student that she is just not making enough effort? Growth mindset – like its educational-psychology cousin ‘grit’ – can have the unintended consequence of making students feel responsible for things that are not under their control: that their lack of success is a failure of moral character. This goes well beyond questions of innate ability to the effects of marginalisation, poverty and other socioeconomic disadvantage. For the US psychiatrist Scott Alexander, if a fixed mindset accounts for underachievement, then ‘poor kids seem to be putting in a heck of a lot less effort in a surprisingly linear way’. He sees growth mindset as a ‘noble lie’, and notes that saying to kids that a growth mindset accounts for success is not exactly denying reality so much as ‘selectively emphasising certain parts of’ it.

成长型思维最受诟病的一方面是这种思维低估了天赋(尤其是智力)的重要性。如果一个学生因天赋不高没有取得好成绩,那么告诉她这只是因为她没有尽力,这真的公平吗?成长型思维——就像它的教育心理学孪生姐妹“毅力”一样——可能会无意间让学生觉得自己应该对他们掌控不了的事情负责,也就是说,他们会觉得自己没有成功是因为没有良好的品德。成长性思维的问题远不止于忽略了先天能力的不同,还忽视了边缘化、贫穷,及其他社会经济劣势的影响。美国精神病学家斯科特·亚历山大(Scott Alexander)认为,如果用成长型思维来解释学习成绩差,那么“穷孩子似乎投入了更少的努力,趋势是惊人的线性关系”。他认为成长型思维模式是一个“高尚的谎言”,告诉孩子们成长型思维可以带来成功,这与其说是在否定现实,不如说是在“有选择性地强调部分现实”而已。

译者注:本段第二句作者又将“growth mindset”误写成“fixed mindset”。 详见心理学家 Scott Alexander 的原文

https://slatestarcodex.com/2015/04/08/no-clarity-around-growth-mindset-yet/

Much of this criticism is not lost on Dweck, and she deserves great credit for responding to it and adapting her work accordingly. In a recent blog, she noted that growth mindset theory ‘is on a firm foundation, but we’re still building the house’. In fact, she argues that her work has been misunderstood and misapplied in a range of ways. She has also expressed concerns that her theories are being misappropriated in schools by being conflated with the self-esteem movement: ‘The thing that keeps me up at night is that some educators are turning mindset into the new self-esteem, which is to make kids feel good about any effort they put in, whether they learn or not. But for me the growth mindset is a tool for learning and improvement. It’s not just a vehicle for making children feel good.’

德威克并不是不了解这些抨击,她回应了这些抨击并且根据这些抨击调整了自己的研究,这点是值得称赞的。在近期的博客中,她指出,成长型思维理论“有着坚实的地基,但是我们还在盖房子的过程中”。她争论道,事实上,她的研究在很多方面被误解并误用了。她还说道,学校将她的理论挪用了,和“自尊运动”混为一谈。“让我夜不能寐的是,有些教育工作者将思维模式转变成了一种新型的自尊心,不管孩子们有没有通过付出努力学到知识,孩子们都会因为努力了而自我感觉良好。但我认为,成长型思维是一种学习和进步的工具,并不仅仅是让孩子们自我感觉良好的手段。”

misappropriate /mɪsə’prəʊprɪeɪt/ v. to take sb else’s money or property for your-self, especially when they have trusted you to take care of it 私吞;挪用

conflate /kən’fleɪt/ v. to put two or more things together to make one new thing 合并;合成;混合

For Dweck, it’s not just about more effort, but rather purposeful and meaningful effort. And it’s not just in the classroom where she feels that the growth mindset is being misunderstood, it seems to be happening in the home too: ‘We’re finding that many parents endorse a growth mindset, but they still respond to their children’s errors, setbacks or failures as though they’re damaging and harmful,’ she said in an interview in 2015. ‘If they show anxiety or overconcern, those kids are going toward a more fixed mindset.’

德威克认为,成长型思维不仅仅是付出努力,更是付出有目的性、有意义的努力。她觉得成长型思维不仅仅在课堂上被误解了,在家庭里也被误解了。在2015年的一个采访中她指出:“我们发现很多家长都很认可成长型思维,但是他们还是会在孩子犯错、退步或失败的时候做出负面回应,将这些视为有害的。如果家长们表现得很焦虑或是过度担心,那孩子们更有可能形成一种固定型思维。”

Dweck might be right that the theory is not always well understood or put into practice. There is always the danger of disappointment in the translation from educational laboratory to classroom, and this is partly due to the Chinese whispers effect, whereby research becomes diluted and distorted as it goes through its journey. But there is another factor at work here. The failure to translate the growth mindset into the classroom might reflect a profound misunderstanding of the elusive nature of teaching and learning itself.

德威克也许是对的,人们并不能总是完全理解并运用她的理论。要想将教育实验室里的成果运用到课堂上,结果总是有可能让人们失望,其中主要原因可能是传话效应,这导致研究结果在被应用于实践的过程中会被曲解或效果变差。但还有一个重要原因,那就是,成长型思维没法成功应用到课堂上,可能反映了人们对教学和学习本身难以捉摸的特质有着很深的误解。

Effective teaching, at its best, defies prescription. The same resources and the same approaches that are successful in one classroom can be completely ineffective in another. In his book Personal Knowledge (1958), Michael Polanyi defined ‘tacit knowledge’ as anything we know how to do but cannot explicitly explain how we do it, such as the complex set of skills needed to ride a bike or the instinctive ability to stay afloat in water. It is the ephemeral, elusive form of knowledge that resists classification or codification, and that can be gleaned only through immersion in the experience itself. In most cases, it’s not even something that can be expressed through language. As Polanyi put it so beautifully in his book The Tacit Dimension (1966), ‘we can know more than we can tell’. As a contrarian colleague once said to me about his frustration with the increasing codification of the classroom: ‘Perhaps we should be brave enough to allow it to remain a mystery.’

要想让教学最有效,遵从既定方法是行不通的。相同的资源和方法在一间教室里能取得成功,在另一间教室里可能就完全没有效果。迈可·博蓝尼(Michael Polanyi)在他的著作《个人知识》(1958)中将“隐性知识”(tacit knowledge)定义为任何我们知道怎么做但却不能明确解释怎么做的事情,比如骑自行车需要的复杂技能或在水上漂浮的本能。由于这种知识是短暂、难以解释的,因此它不能被分类或编纂,只能通过足够的经历和经验才能获得。在多数情况下,它甚至不能通过语言来表达。博蓝尼在他的书《隐性维度》(1966)中优美地写道,我们领会的远多于我们能够描述的。一个特立独行的同事曾经对我倾诉,说现在出现了越来越多的课堂系统性的编纂,他对此感到很沮丧,“也许我们应该勇敢一点,让它保持神秘的本质。”

Good teachers are like good actors, not in the sense that they are both artists, but in the sense that the best teachers teach you without you realising that you’ve been taught. If students get a whiff of being part of an ‘intervention’, then it is likely that the very awareness of this will have a detrimental effect. The growth mindset advocates David Yeager and Gregory Walton at Stanford claim that these interventions should not be seen as ‘magic’ and should be delivered in a ‘stealthy’ way to maximise their effectiveness – miles away from the standard use of motivational stories, posters and explanations of brain plasticity. As they put it in 2011: ‘if adolescents perceive a teacher’s reinforcement of a psychological idea as conveying that they are seen as in need of help, teacher training or an extended workshop could undo the effects of the intervention, not increase its benefits.’ Pedagogy is not medicine, after all, and students do not want to be treated as patients to be cured.

好老师就像好演员,不是指因为这两者都是艺术家,而是指因为最好的老师会让你意识不到自己在被教导。如果学生察觉到自己处在“干预”之下,那么这种察觉本身就可能会造成负面影响。来自斯坦福的成长型思维方式支持者戴维•耶格尔(David Yeager)和格雷戈里•沃尔顿(Gregory Walton)认为,这类干预措施不应被视为“魔法”,而应以一种“隐秘”的方式实施,以最大限度地发挥它们的效力——避免使用远离常规做法中的励志故事、海报和大脑可塑性理论。正如他们在2011年所说的:“如果青少年把老师对心理观念的强调视为他们需要帮助的象征信号,那么老师的训练或工作坊可能会适得其反反而会干扰这种干预手段的效果,而不是增加其益处。”毕竟,教育学不是医学,学生也不想被当作需要治疗的病人。

How students learn well can be very counterintuitive. You might think it is safe to assume that, once you motivate students, the learning will follow. Yet research shows that this is often not the case: motivation doesn’t always lead to achievement, but achievement often leads to motivation. If you try to ‘motivate’ students into public speaking, they might feel motivated but can lack the specific knowledge needed to translate that into action. However, through careful instruction and encouragement, students can learn how to craft an argument, shape their ideas and develop them into solid form.

学生取得成绩的方式学得更好的方法可能是非常违反直觉的。你可能颇有把握地认为,只要你激励了学生,学习效果就会随之而来。然而,研究表明,情况并非总是如此:激励并不总是带来成就,但成就往往会带来动力激励。如果你试图“激励”学生进行公开演讲,他们可能会感到有获得动力,但同时也有可能却不知道具体应怎样去做缺乏将其转化为行动所需的具体知识;然而,通过仔细的指导和鼓励,学生可以学会如何构思论点、形成个人观点,形成自己的观点、,并把它们发展成坚实的形式完成一场出色的演讲的具体方法。

A lot of what drives students is their innate beliefs and how they perceive themselves. There is a strong correlation between self-perception and achievement, but there is some evidence to suggest that the actual effect of achievement on self-perception is stronger than the other way round. To stand up in a classroom and successfully deliver a good speech is a genuine achievement, and that is likely to be more powerfully motivating than woolly notions of ‘motivation’ itself.

激励学生的动力一般因素大多数源于他们固有的信念和对自己的认知。自我认知与成就之间确实存在着很强的相关性,但有证据表明,成就对自我认知的实际影响,要强于自我认知对成就的影响。比如站在教室里发表一篇优秀的演讲作为一项真正的成就,可能比模糊的“激励”概念本身更有激励效果。

One reason for this might be the over-generalised picture of the growth mindset: it tends to be talked about as a global or general skill as opposed to a domain-specific one. Many interventions focus on kids having a kind of global attitude to their own intelligence that can then be transferred to any learning situation but this is rarely the case. For example, some students can have a positive mindset in maths but a negative mindset in history due to a highly variable range of factors. The idea that a workshop on the plasticity of the brain and some videos of famous sportsmen who have failed in the past can translate into a domain-general growth disposition is simply unrealistic.

造成这一现象的一个原因原因之一,可能是人们对成长型思维方式的理解过于泛化:人们往往把它当作一种总体性或一般性技能来谈论,而不是针对一个具体领域的;许多干预措施强调让孩子们对自己的智力持有一种总体的积极态度,这种态度可以运用到任何学习情境中,但实际上,这种情况很少发生。例如,出于种种原因,一些学生可能对数学有积极的态度,却对历史持有消极的态度。所以,这种“通过一个关于大脑可塑性的研讨会和一些关于曾失败过的著名运动员的视频,使学生产生总体上的跨领域的成长型态度倾向”的想法,显然是不现实的。

Students are most engaged when they are being supported through specific tasks to stretch their understanding beyond its current base, but ‘engagement’ doesn’t necessarily mean they’re learning anything. As the New Zealand education researcher Graham Nuthall showed in The Hidden Life of Learners (2007), ‘students can be busiest and most involved with material they already know. In most of the classrooms we have studied, each student already knows about 40-50 per cent of what the teacher is teaching.’ Nuthall’s work demonstrates that students are far more likely to get stuck into tasks they’re comfortable with and already know how to do, as opposed to the more uncomfortable enterprise of grappling with uncertainty and indeterminate tasks. The psychologists Elizabeth Ligon Bjork and Robert Bjork at the University of California, Los Angeles, describe such activities as ‘desirable difficulties’, which refers to the kinds of things that are difficult in the short term, but that lead to greater gains in the long term. These point to a range of strategies that are more prosaic and less attractive than growth mindset interventions – familiar strategies such as testing, self-quizzing and spacing out learning.

当学生在通过这些干预手段中被鼓励,从而延伸自己的现有认知时完成特定的任务来拓展他们对当前基础的理解时,他们会最投入,但“投入”并不一定意味着他们在“学习”任何东西。正如新西兰教育研究者格雷厄姆•努索尔(Graham Nuthall)在《学习者的隐秘生活》(the Hidden Life of students, 2007)一书中指出的那样,“学生可能对自己已经掌握的知识投入最多。在我们研究过的大多数班级中,每个学生已经知道老师所教内容的40% – 50%。”努索尔的研究表明,学生们更有可能投入于他们感到舒适并已经知道如何去做的任务中,而不是更不舒服地纠结于不确定的任务。加州大学洛杉矶分校的心理学家伊丽莎白·利根·比约克(Elizabeth Ligon Bjork)和罗伯特·比约克(Robert Bjork) 把这些不确定的任务描述为“必要难度(desirable difficulties)”,指那些短期内困难,但长期内会带来更大收益的事情。相比成长型思维方式的干预方式(如测试、自测试和间隔学习等熟悉的策略),这些“必要难度”的策略(如测试、自测试和间隔学习等熟悉的策略)则显得平淡无奇、毫无吸引力。

Clearly, something has gone wrong somewhere along the way between the laboratory and the classroom. The US education scholars Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Susan Lytle outline a fundamental problem with the education system. Teachers, they say in their book Inside/Outside (1992), are subject to top-down models of school improvement, and are often passive objects of study in the educational research that underpins those models:

The primary knowledge source for the improvement of practice is research on classroom phenomena that can be observed. This research has a perspective that is ‘outside-in’; in other words, it has been conducted almost exclusively by university-based researchers who are outside of the day-to-day practices of schooling.

显然,从实验室到教室之间的某个环节出了问题。美国教育学者玛丽琳·科克伦-史密斯(Marilyn Cochran-Smith)和苏珊·莱特尔(Susan Lytle)概述了教育系统的一个基本问题。他们在《内外》(Inside/Outside,1992)一书中写道,教师受制于自上而下的学校改进模型,而在支持这些模型的教育研究中,他们往往是被动的研究对象:实践改进的主要知识来源是对可观察的课堂现象的研究,而这一研究的视角是由外向内的;也就是说,这项研究几乎完全是由课堂外的大学研究人员进行的,他们并不参与学校的日常实践。

In a very real sense, teachers have been given answers to questions they didn’t ask, and solutions to problems that never existed. It is not surprising that they feel subject to fads and theories about students that do not hold up to scrutiny. For example, the problem of how to plan lesson content to match the individual ‘learning style’ of students has now been proven to have been a waste of time, and a sad indictment of how much time and energy has been expended on theoretical interventions with little to no evidence to support them.

所以在实际上,老师们得到的是他们从未问过的问题的答案,以及从未存在过的问题的解决方案。他们觉得自己受制于那些经不起推敲的关于学生的流行理论,这并不奇怪。例如,如何计划课程内容,从而使之与学生个人学习方式相匹配的问题,现在已经被证明是对时间的浪费,并导致了人们的不满——在这类不经检验的理论上浪费过多的时间与精力并导致了一种对于浪费时间和精力在没有证据支撑的理论干预手段上的控诉。

Recent evidence would suggest that growth mindset interventions are not the elixir of student learning that many of its proponents claim it to be. The growth mindset appears to be a viable construct in the lab, which, when administered in the classroom via targeted interventions, doesn’t seem to work at scale. It is hard to dispute that having a self-belief in their own capacity for change is a positive attribute for students. Paradoxically, however, that aspiration is not well served by direct interventions that try to instil it. Yet creating a culture in which students can believe in the possibility of improving their intelligence through their own purposeful effort is something few would disagree with. Perhaps growth mindset works best as a philosophy and not an intervention.

最近的证据表明,成长型思维方式干预并不像其许多支持者所声称的那样,是学生学习的灵丹妙药。在实验室中,成长型思维方式似乎是一种可行的概念结构;但在课堂上,试图通过有针对性的干预进行管理时,这种思维方式似乎无法大规模发挥作用。对于学生来说,自信于自己做出改变的能力是一种积极的特质,这一点是毋庸置疑的。然而,矛盾的是,试图灌输这种自信的直接干预手段并没有很好地达到预期效果。同时,却很少有人会不同意去创造这样一种文化环境,应该有这样一种氛围,去让学生相信自己能通过有目的的努力提高智力。可见,也许成长型思维方式作为一种哲学理论,而不是一种实际干预手段时,效果最好。

All of this indicates that using time and resources to improve students’ academic achievement directly might well be a better agent of psychological change than psychological interventions themselves. In their book Effective Teaching (2011), the UK education scholars Daniel Muijs and David Reynolds note: ‘At the end of the day, the research reviewed has shown that the effect of achievement on self-concept is stronger that the effect of self-concept on achievement.’

所有这些都表明,利用时间和资源直接提高学生的学业成绩,可能比心理干预本身会更好地促进心理变化。英国教育学者丹尼尔·缪伊斯(Daniel Muijs)和大卫·雷诺兹(David Reynolds)在他们的《有效教学》(Effective Teaching ,2011)一书中指出:“最终,研究表明,成就对自我概念的影响要强于自我概念对成就的影响。”

Many interventions in education have the causal arrow pointed the wrong way round. Motivational posters and talks are often a waste of time, and might well give students a deluded notion of what success actually means. Teaching students concrete skills such as how to write an effective introduction to an essay through close instruction, specific feedback, worked examples and careful scaffolding, and then praising their effort in getting there, is probably a far more effective way of improving confidence than giving an assembly about how unique they are, or indeed how capable they are of changing their own brains. The best way to achieve a growth mindset might just be not to mention the growth mindset at all.

许多对教育干预手段都指向了错误的方向,比如励志海报和演讲往往是浪费时间,而且很可能会让学生对成功的真正含义产生错觉。而相比开一个集会告诉学生他们有多独特或者他们能在多大程度上改变自己的大脑,教学生具体的技能——比如通过仔细的指导、具体的反馈,过去成功的例子和谨慎处理过的材料,教他们如何对一篇文章写一个有效的介绍,然后称赞他们为达到目标所作的努力——对于提高信心可能会更有效。总之,实现成长型思维的最好方法可能就是根本不提成长型思维。

只要努力,就能成功?

  • 本文原载于 Aeon

  • 原文链接:https://aeon.co/essays/schools-love-the-idea-of-a-growth-mindset-but-does-it-work

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