該如何讓自己變得「更加聰明」?How do we become “smarter”?


“How can one become ‘smarter’? This is a question that some students have posed to me. The answer, in my opinion, is rather straightforward: Learn from others. If we persist in solitary efforts, how can we possibly enhance our intellectual capabilities? Without guidance, challenges, or a collective pursuit of greater objectives, growth is unlikely. If your aim is to become more intellectually adept, consider collaborating with those who can facilitate your progress.

有些學生問我,該如何讓自己變得「更加聰明」?其實,答案很簡單:向他人學習。若我們只是一味地閉門造車,怎能變得更加聰明?沒有人指引你,沒有人挑戰你,也沒有人和你一起完成更遠大的目標。如果你想變得更加聰明,就跟那些能讓你進步的聰明人士一起工作。

The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), a concept introduced by renowned Soviet psychologist Lev S. Vygotsky (1896-1934) in the early 20th century, underscores the importance of learning from and with others. The ZPD refers to the range of tasks an individual can accomplish with guidance and assistance, but not independently. It exists between what one can achieve independently and what one can achieve in collaboration with others.

「近側發展區」(ZPD)是一個強調學習他人並與他人一起學習的重要概念,由著名的蘇聯心理學家維高斯基(Lev S. Vygotsky,1896-1934)於20世紀初所提出。ZPD係指個體於指導及幫助下所能完成(perform)的任務(tasks)範圍,惟仍無法獨立完成(complete)。其介於主體在獨立作業下所能完成者(實際發展程度)以及在他人協作下或將達成者(潛在發展程度)之間。

ZPD emphasizes the significance of social interactions and collaborative learning. Vygotsky contended that interpersonal relationships, cultural tools, and social contexts heavily influence cognitive development. In this context, adopting the following four actions can facilitate transcending one’s ZPD and consequently becoming ‘smarter’:

ZPD強調了社會互動與協作學習的重要性。維高斯基認為,主體學習時所處的人際關係、文化工具以及社會背景極大地影響了認知的發展。在這個脈絡底下,採取以下四項行動,人們便可突破ZPD而變得更加聰明:

📌 1. Scaffolding: This is a teaching method that provides temporary support to learners, enhancing their understanding or skills. As learners become more proficient, the support is gradually withdrawn, allowing them to complete tasks independently. This technique enables learners to surpass their own ZPD and enhance their cognitive abilities.

鷹架教學法(Scaffolding):鷹架教學是一種教學方法,為學習者提供短暫的協助,以提升他們的理解力或技術。隨著學習者能力的提升,便逐漸減少協助,讓他們得以獨立完成任務。這種技巧(technique)使學習者得以突破自身的ZPD,終而提高他們的認知能力。

📌 2. Collaboration: Working with peers or more knowledgeable individuals helps learners extend their own ZPD. Through interaction and exchange of perspectives, all parties can acquire new knowledge, skills, and strategies. This kind of collaboration fosters active learning and enhances understanding.

合作:與同儕或更博學的人一起工作,有助於學習者拓展自身的ZPD。藉由互動與觀點的交換,彼此都能從中獲得新的知識、技術(skills)與策略。這種合作引發了主動學習,並促使學習者提升理解力。

📌 3. Mentorship: A mentor plays a crucial role in helping learners transcend their ZPD. They can be a teacher, a parent, or any experienced individual. Through feedback, encouragement, and suggestions, mentors assist learners in building on their existing knowledge and developing new skills. This mentor-mentee relationship promotes personal growth and cognitive development.

指點迷津:在引導學習者突破自身的ZPD時,良師(mentor)的作用顯得極其重要。他可以是一名老師、家長或其他富有經驗的個體。藉由回饋、鼓勵與建議,良師協助學習者建立自身現有的知識,並發展出新的能力(skills)。這種亦師亦友的關係促進了個人的成長與認知發展。

📌 4. Purposeful Practice: Undertaking challenging tasks—those slightly beyond a learner’s current abilities—can help extend their ZPD. By intentionally performing these tasks under guidance and with assistance, learners can gradually develop the skills needed to complete these tasks independently, thereby boosting their overall intelligence.

有目的的練習:執行具有挑戰性——略微超出學習者當前能力——的任務,有助於他們拓展自身的ZPD。在指導與協助下有意地執行這些任務,學習者得以逐步發展出獨立完成這些任務所需的技能,從而提升自身的總體智力(overall intelligence)。

However, the concept of ZPD is not without criticism. Some critics argue that it is difficult to assess and quantify ZPD in practice. The boundaries of the ZPD might be blurry, making it challenging for educators to assign appropriate tasks to learners.

不過,ZPD概念也並非毫無爭議。一些批評者認為,難以於實踐中評估與量化ZPD。ZPD的邊界可能很模糊,使教育者難以為學習者訂定合適的任務。

While these criticisms have merit, as a general principle, ZPD can provide a useful framework for supporting and assisting learners. By focusing on tasks that are just beyond a learner’s current abilities and providing appropriate assistance, educators can help learners surpass their ZPD. Through this research, learners can also understand the importance of learning from and with others. By scaffolding, collaborating, receiving mentorship, and practicing purposefully, individuals can effectively transcend their ZPD and become ‘smarter’ over time.

這些批評確有道理,但作為一個泛論(general principle),ZPD仍可在支撐與協助學習者等議題上提供有用的架構。藉由聚焦於恰好超出學習者當前能力的任務,並提供適當的協助,教育者得以幫助學習者突破他們的ZPD。透過這些研究,學習者也能意識到向他人學習以及與他人一起學習的重要性。透過腳手架教學法、合作、指點迷津以及有目的的練習,個體可以有效地突破自身的ZPD,並且隨著時間的推移而變得「更加聰明」。

In my personal experience, while independent learning and work are absolutely necessary for success, working with others—especially those who challenge me—is equally important. I can gain new knowledge from them, learn different ways of completing tasks, and view the world from various perspectives. If I were to stick to my solitary efforts, these gains would not be realized.

就我個人的經驗而言,即便獨自學習與獨立作業絕對是成功的必要條件,但與他人一起工作——尤其是那些挑戰我的人——也同樣重要。我可以從他們那裡獲取新知,學習完成任務的不同方法,並以不同的視角觀看世界。若我只是閉門造車,前述收穫將不復存焉。

So, let’s move forward together in the pursuit of collective learning!”

來,我們一起向前走,尋找共同學習的伙伴!

Image credit: UW 華盛頓大學圖書館

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