I just finished reading Annie Murphy Paul’s Brilliant Blog focusing on “Expert in 10,000 Hours? Maybe Not” and was provoked moreso with the various comments that were associated with the blog post than the actual blog.
Being part of the Education environment and a proponent of positive, appropriate practice makes one become a master of a particular skill/resource/topic, it certainly makes me think about what I believe is a CONTINUUM of mastery. As Annie notes, a chess player took 26 years of serious involvement to reach master level, while another player took less than 2 years to achieve the same level. I see this throughout our classrooms with our students, teachers and administrators and even through my personal experiences. Some of us have specific talents and strengths that we are able to hone in on to develop specific passions/attributes that promote us to that of a specific mastery. Yet, I have seen students as young as five years old build a technical “code” for a robot over a weekend and high school students who take a whole semester to do the same. I do understand that there are varying levels of mastery and deeper levels of cognition. For me, the importance is tapping into the students interests’, connecting with real-world opportunities, guiding the mastery of learning and sharing some stories of perseverance. The world is full of people who persevered to fulfill their passions and I don’t believe that 10,000 hours was a main factor in their successes (a sub factor for sure).
See a few of my current favorite “experts” in various fields of endeavor:
The conversation will continue, the research will go on and there will be masters of their own making…..whether they hit the 10,000 mark or not.