一颗游荡的心的惊人价值

2020-10-14 08:02

The Surprising Value of a Wandering Mind TPi世界播

一颗游荡的心的惊人价值TPi世界播


暂无TPi世界播


In college, I took a three-semester class sequence on European intellectual history taught by a long-tenured professor, Mary Gluck, who lectured straight through each session, usually reserving the last five minutes for questions. To some, this model was a nightmare; I loved it. Her lectures on topics including Haussmann’s urban design and Hegel’s theory of history were so finely honed, so expertly delivered, that I felt as though she had hinged my head open and deposited knowledge inside. Though the courses were challenging, learning from Dr. Gluck felt, in a certain sense, effortless. She delivered her scholarship to me, and I, lucky student, got to take it home. TPi世界播

在大学里,我选了一门为期三个学期的欧洲思想史系列课程,讲师是一位长期任职的教授玛丽·格鲁克(Mary Gluck),她每节课都会直接讲课,通常会把最后五分钟留给提问。对一些人来说,这个模型是一场噩梦;我喜欢它。她在包括奥斯曼的城市设计和黑格尔的历史理论等主题上的演讲是如此精雕细琢,如此熟练地传达,以至于我感觉她好像把我的头打开了,把知识储存在里面。虽然这些课程很有挑战性,但从某种意义上说,向格鲁克博士学习让人感觉毫不费力。她把奖学金给了我,而我,这个幸运的学生,必须把它带回家。TPi世界播


However, the polymorphic nonfiction writer and English professor Mary Cappello suggests, in her excellent new book-length essay, Lecture, that I was misinterpreting my intellectual role. Midway through the text, which at once defends the lecture and calls for holistic and creative improvements to the form, Cappello writes, “Fastened to our seats in the lecture hall, we aren’t funnel-heads into which a lecturer’s knowledge is poured.” On first reading that assertion, I bristled: Wasn’t I? But I now see how tenuous the conditions were that helped me learn so easily in that style. I was a full-time student living on campus; I was an insecure perfectionist afraid to speak in class, but obsessed with the mandate to learn. I arrived to lectures in a purely receptive state: present, undistracted, and eager to be taught. TPi世界播

然而,多变的非虚构类作家、英语教授玛丽·卡佩罗(Mary Cappello)在她出色的新书长文“讲座”(Lecture)中表示,我曲解了自己的知识分子角色。卡佩罗写道,课文读到一半,立即为讲座辩护,并呼吁对形式进行整体和创造性的改进,“我们被固定在演讲厅的座位上,而不是把演讲者的知识倒进漏斗头里。”第一次读到这一断言时,我勃然大怒:不是吗?但我现在明白了,帮助我如此轻松地以那种方式学习的条件是多么脆弱。我是一名住在校园里的全日制学生;我是一个没有安全感的完美主义者,不敢在课堂上发言,但痴迷于学习的使命。我是以一种纯粹的接受状态来听课的:在场,心不在焉,渴望被教导。TPi世界播


Ten years later, I am a doctoral candidate taking and teaching courses online amid a pandemic, and I know better than to presume that either I or my college-age students will come to class in such a state. Remote learning renders presence theoretical, distraction all but inevitable, and eagerness an uphill climb. On Zoom, absolute receptivity is very difficult to achieve. Remote learning asks us, as Cappello does, to reimagine the humanities lecture as a teaching tool that works even, or especially, for the distractible listener. To Cappello, in fact, distraction is the heart of the form. She argues that lectures are a tool for sparking thought, not for imparting information. (Presumably, she excludes certain highly concrete fields: I doubt that Lecture applies, say, to medical-school professors.) She believes that the lecturer’s role is to activate listeners’ minds—and if that sucks some into daydreams or rumination, that means the lecture is a success. TPi世界播

十年后,在一场流行病中,我成了一名在网上学习和教授课程的博士生,我知道不应该假设我或我的大学年龄的学生会在这样的州来上课。远程学习使临场感成为理论性的,分心几乎是不可避免的,而渴望则是一种上坡式的攀登。在Zoom上,很难实现绝对的接受性。远程学习要求我们,就像卡佩罗所做的那样,将人文课程重新想象为一种教学工具,它甚至甚至特别适用于心烦意乱的听众。对于卡佩罗来说,事实上,分心是状态的核心。她认为演讲是激发思想的工具,而不是传授信息的工具。(据推测,她排除了某些高度具体的领域:我怀疑讲座是否适用于,比方说,适用于医学院教授。)。她认为,讲师的角色是激活听众的头脑-如果这会让一些人陷入白日梦或沉思,那就意味着讲座是成功的。TPi世界播


Cappello is pro-inattention only to a degree. She wrote Lecture pre-pandemic, but I doubt that she would have suggested that students mute their teachers on Zoom or play Animal Crossing during class. Indeed, she believes that the very sound of a lecturer’s voice helps keep us submerged in thought. She recalls attending a talk by the influential evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould and becoming fixated, halfway through, on “the detail of how a tiny bone that had served as the gill-support in fishes came in time to take up residence in the mammalian inner ear.” She missed the rest of Gould’s points, but “[needed] his voice” to keep thinking about the tiny bone, rather than more personal or prosaic concerns. To Cappello, this semi-distracted state of “not not listening” is both relaxing and psychologically healthy. Like meditation, it “enables one part of the mind to wake while the other simultaneously sleeps.” TPi世界播

卡佩罗只是在一定程度上支持疏忽。她写了大流行前的讲座,但我怀疑她会建议学生们在课堂上让老师在Zoom或玩动物穿越游戏时静音。事实上,她相信讲师的声音能让我们沉浸在思考中。她回忆说,她参加了颇具影响力的进化生物学家斯蒂芬·杰伊·古尔德(Stephen Jay Gould)的一次演讲,演讲进行到一半时,她开始全神贯注地谈论“作为鱼类鳃支撑物的一块小骨头是如何及时进入哺乳动物内耳的细节。”她错过了古尔德其余的观点,但“(需要)他的声音”让她继续思考这块小小的骨头,而不是更多的个人或平淡无奇的担忧。对卡佩罗来说,这种“不听”的半分心状态既能让人放松,又能让人心理健康。就像冥想一样,它“使大脑的一部分苏醒,而另一部分同时睡着”。TPi世界播


Cappello’s preference for deep but diffuse attention makes her close intellectual kin to the writer and artist Jenny Odell, whose 2019 book, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, rejects the laser focus that life in “a world where our value is determined by our productivity” demands. Odell seeks “hidden springs of ambiguity and inefficiency” in contemporary life; Cappello suggests that lectures could provide exactly that, though only if speakers release themselves from the obligation to impart maximum knowledge in minimum time. In fact, she asks them to take less seriously the obligation to impart knowledge at all. TPi世界播

卡佩罗喜欢深度但分散的关注,这让她与作家兼艺术家珍妮·奥德尔(Jenny Odell)有着密切的知识分子亲戚关系。奥德尔2019年出版的书“如何不做任何事情:抵制注意力经济”(How to Do Nothing:Reating the Attribute Economy)拒绝了“一个我们的价值由我们的生产力决定的世界”生活所需要的激光聚焦。奥德尔在当代生活中寻找“模棱两可和效率低下的隐秘源泉”;卡佩罗认为,演讲恰恰可以提供这一点,尽管前提是演讲者必须从在最短时间内传授最多知识的义务中解脱出来。事实上,她要求他们对传授知识的义务不要那么认真。TPi世界播


Odell emphasizes inefficiency by way of emphasizing what Cappello calls “wandering ways.” Both writers argue that intellectual meandering is key to real learning and, further, that the ability to take such detours is a skill that many of us must consciously nurture. “In 21st-century America,” Cappello explains, “there is so much that holds or demands our attention without requiring our attention or altering our attention.” What if a lecture tried to do the latter? What if a college professor’s primary purpose was to help each student focus not on checking curricular boxes, but on using course material as a window into their own experiences, curiosities, and needs? TPi世界播

奥德尔通过强调卡佩罗所说的“流浪之路”来强调低效。两位作者都认为,智力上的漫游是真正学习的关键,而且,走这样一条弯路的能力是我们许多人必须有意识地培养的一种技能。“在21世纪的美国,”卡佩罗解释说,“有太多的事情需要我们关注,而不需要我们的关注或改变我们的关注。”如果一场讲座试图做到后一种情况呢?如果一个大学教授的主要目的是帮助每个学生不是专注于检查课程盒,而是把课程材料作为了解他们自己的经历、好奇心和需求的窗口,那该怎么办?TPi世界播


Take, for instance, a lecture I recently gave my freshman composition students on the stealthy manifestations of ingrained misogyny on readers’ and critics’ responses to books by women. The lecture was relevant to all 23 of my students, but relevant, I imagine, in 23 different ways. Not every student needed to absorb the whole lesson. For some, it might have been more productive to think about their past responses to certain novels, or wonder how this might apply to their musical taste, or begin imagining how they might approach criticism differently themselves. TPi世界播

举个例子,我最近给我的一年级作文学生上了一堂课,讲的是根深蒂固的厌女症对读者和评论家对女性书籍的反应的潜移默化的表现。这场演讲与我所有的23名学生都相关,但我想,在23个不同的方面都是相关的。并不是每个学生都需要吸收整节课。对于一些人来说,思考他们过去对某些小说的反应可能会更有成效,或者想知道这可能如何适用于他们的音乐品味,或者开始想象他们自己可能会如何以不同的方式对待批评。TPi世界播


Cappello argues that lectures should play to the fact that real learning comes primarily from within: not from a teacher’s neatly presented ideas, but from the connections your own brain forms between them. For a lecture not to leave room for mental wandering and idiosyncratic interpretation, she argues, is to reject that truth. To some extent, this is common sense: I know that my 23 students, with their varying interests and backgrounds, will not all make the same intellectual use of my literary-misogyny lecture. Cappello suggests that I embrace this fact by reenvisioning the form itself as a series of embarkation points for thought. Rather than attempt to present one unified argument that my students must absorb, I, the lecturer, should strive to awaken their various curiosities, then guide them into “the sort of quietude where thought occurs.” TPi世界播

卡佩罗认为,讲课应该强调这样一个事实,即真正的学习主要来自内部:不是来自老师巧妙地提出的想法,而是来自你自己的大脑在这些想法之间形成的联系。她认为,对于一场演讲来说,不给精神上的徘徊和特殊的解释留出空间,就是拒绝这一事实。在某种程度上,这是常识:我知道我的23名学生,他们的兴趣和背景各不相同,不会都对我的文学厌女症讲座进行同样的智力运用。卡佩罗建议我接受这一事实,将形式本身重新想象为一系列思想的起点。与其试图提出我的学生必须吸收的统一论点,我作为讲师,应该努力唤醒他们各种好奇心,然后引导他们进入“发生思想的那种宁静”。TPi世界播


This goal might be a bit abstruse for everyday teaching, and Cappello provides no practical guidance. In my literary-misogyny lecture, I endeavored to create quietude with anecdotes and digressions, modeling wandering in the hopes that my students might wander a bit too. How well that tactic worked is hard to say, but my students did seem energized in the discussion that followed. In the remote classroom, conversational vigor is in and of itself a success, and one that might point to the strange utility of Cappello’s argument. Teaching during a pandemic requires flexibility on all fronts: attendance, curriculum design, subject matter, and expected student response. It requires understanding that students are hard to reach right now, for more reasons than just the screens between us. This fall, my students are juggling school with work, family responsibilities, election anxieties, and coronavirus fears. Some are quarantining; some have been sick. TPi世界播

这个目标对于日常教学来说可能有点深奥,卡佩罗也没有提供实际指导。在我的文学厌女症讲座中,我努力用轶事和离题来创造宁静,以流浪为模型,希望我的学生也能有点流浪。很难说这个策略有多有效,但我的学生在随后的讨论中确实看起来很有活力。在偏远的教室里,对话的活力本身就是一种成功,这可能表明卡佩罗的论点具有奇怪的实用价值。大流行期间的教学需要在所有方面都具有灵活性:出席率、课程设计、主题和预期的学生反应。这需要理解,现在很难接触到学生,原因不仅仅是我们之间的屏幕。今年秋天,我的学生们在学校工作、家庭责任、选举焦虑和冠状病毒恐惧之间游刃有余。一些人正在隔离;一些人生病了。TPi世界播


Intellectual life is hard under such circumstances. Far easier is slipping into an existence that Cappello describes as “a dim assemblage of rote transactions and the automated reaching toward a cellphone.” If my lectures can energize students by offering an “occasional shake” from that existence, then I have achieved a small victory. If I can meaningfully orient students’ minds toward new possibilities, then, by Cappello’s standards, I have provided a valuable service, even if, by the end of my writing class, half my students are ruminating on possibilities that have little to do with writing. What matters—in a lecture, and an education—is, after all, thinking itself. TPi世界播

在这种情况下,智力生活是艰难的。要容易得多的是悄悄进入卡佩罗所说的“机械交易的模糊集合和自动接近手机的状态”。如果我的讲课可以通过提供“偶尔的震动”来激励学生,那么我就取得了一个小小的胜利。如果我能有意义地引导学生思考新的可能性,那么,按照卡佩罗的标准,我提供了一项有价值的服务,即使在我的写作课结束时,我的一半学生正在思考与写作几乎没有什么关系的可能性。毕竟,在演讲和教育中,重要的是思考本身。TPi世界播

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