43 - No Need for Genius Envyدوره: Coursera – Learning How to Learn / درس 43
43 - No Need for Genius Envy
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This is a good place for us to step
back and look again at chunking from
Notice what we’re doing here.
We’re interleaving our learning by jumping
back to revisit
and deepen our understanding of a topic
we’ve already covered.
There’s an interesting connection between
math and science and learning a sport.
In baseball, for example, you don’t learn
how to hit in one day.
Instead, your body perfects your swing
and lots of repetition over a period of
Smooth repetition creates muscle memory,
so your body
knows what to do from a single thought.
One chunk instead of having to recall all
the complex steps involved in hitting a
In the same way, once you understand why
you do something in math and science.
You don’t have to keep re-explaining the
how to yourself every time you do it.
it’s not necessary to go around with a
beans in your pocket and to lay out ten
rows of ten beans again and again so you
get that ten times ten is equal to 100.
At some point you just know it from
For example you memorize the idea that you
simply add exponents, those
little superscript numbers, when you are
multiplying numbers that have the same
Ten to the fourth times ten to the fifth
is equal to ten to the ninth.
If you use the procedure a lot, by doing
types of problems you’ll find that you
understand both the why
and the how behind the procedure far
better then you do
after getting a conventional explanation
from a teacher or a book.
The greater understanding results from the
fact that your mind constructed the
patterns of meaning, rather than simply
accepting what someone else has told you.
Remember, people learn by trying to make
sense out of the information they perceive.
They rarely learn anything complex simply
by having someone else tell it to them.
Chess masters, emergency room physicians,
fighter pilots, and many
other experts often have to make complex
They shut down their conscious system and
instead rely on their
well trained intuition, drawing on their
deeply ingrained repertoire of chunks.
At some point self-consciously understanding
why you do what you do, just
slows you down and interrupts the flow
resulting in worse decisions.
But wait, are chess masters and people who
multiply six digit numbers in their heads
Not necessarily, I’m going to tell it to
Being smarter often equates to having a
larger working memory.
Your hot rod of a memory may be able to
hold nine things in mind instead of four
and you can latch on to those things like
a bulldog, which makes it easier to
But guess what, it also makes it more
difficult for you to be creative.
It’s our old friend and enemy Einstellung.
The idea you are already holding in mind
can block you from fresh thoughts.
A superb working memory can hold its
thoughts so tightly that new
thoughts can’t easily peek through.
tightly controlled attention could use an
occasional whiff of ADHD-like fresh air,
in other words, to have your attention
shift even if you don’t want it to shift.
If you’re one of those people who can’t
hold a lot in
mind at once, you lose focus and start
daydreaming in lectures and have
to get to some place quiet to focus so you
can use your
working memory to its maximum, well
welcome to the clan of the creative.
Having a somewhat smaller working memory
means you can
more easily generalize your learning into
new, more creative combinations.
Because your working memory, which grows
from the focusing abilities
of the prefrontal cortex doesn’t lock
everything up so tightly.
You can more easily get input from other
parts of your brain.
These other areas, which include the
not only are more in tune with what’s
on around you in the environment, but are
the source of dreams, not to mention
You may have to work harder sometimes or
much of the time to understand what’s
But once you get something chunked you can
take that chunk and turn it outside in
and inside round, putting it through
even you didn’t think you were capable of.
Here’s another point to put into your
It is practice, particularly deliberate
the toughest aspects of the material that
can help lift average brains into the
realm of those with more natural gifts.
Just as you can practice lifting weights
and get bigger muscles over time,
you can also practice certain mental
that deepen and enlarge in your mind.
Whether your naturally gifted or you have
to struggle to get a solid grasp of
the fundamentals, you should realize that
not alone if you think you’re an imposter.
That it’s a fluke when you happen to do
well on a test, and then on the next
test, for sure they, and your family and
are finally going to figure out how incompetent
you really are.
This feeling is so extraordinarily common
that it even has a name.
The Imposter Syndrome.
If you suffer from these kinds of feelings
inadequacy just be aware that many others
secretly share them.
Everyone has different gifts, as the old
saying goes, when one door closes, another
Keep your chin up and your eye on the open
I’m Barbara Oakley.
Thanks for learning how to learn.
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