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与生俱来与后天培养(Nature vs. Nurture)

2016-08-19 11:49     供稿单位: 新航道     原创作者:新航道    

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  Of all the mistakes made in education, the belief in hereditary limits to development is the worst. It gives teachers and parents an opportunity to explain away their errors and relax their efforts, and it conveniently frees them from the responsibility of their influence over the children. Every attempt to avoid responsibility should be opposed. If an educator really attributed the whole development of character and intelligence to heredity, I do not see how he could possibly hope to accomplish anything in his profession. If, on the other hand, he recognizes that his own attitude and exertions influence the children, he cannot escape his responsibility. 在教育方面犯下的所有错误中,最严重的莫过于相信遗传会限制发展,因为它会给教师和家长提供一个开脱错误、放松要求的机会,便于他们推脱教育孩子的责任。任何逃避责任的做法都应该遭到反对。假如教育者真的把性格和智力的发展都归因于遗传,我看不出他如何能指望在自己的职业生涯中取得任何成就。从另一方面来看,如果他承认自己的态度和努力会对孩子产生影响,他就不可能逃避责任。

  I am not referring here to physical heredity. The inheritance of physical disabilities is beyond question. The importance of such inherited problems for the development of the mind is only understood, I believe, in Individual Psychology. The child is conscious of his physical disability, and he limits his own development in accordance with his judgment of that disability. It is not the disability itself that affects the mind, but the child’s attitude toward his disability and his consequent development. If a child suffers, therefore, from a physical disability, it is especially important for him to understand that he is not necessarily lacking in either intelligence or character. We have seen that the same physical disability may be taken either as a stimulusfor even greater effort and success or as an obstacle that is bound to hinder development. 我这里指的并不是身体遗传。身体残疾的遗传毋庸置疑。我觉得这种遗传问题对于心理发展的重要性只有在个人心理学里面才会被理解。孩子知道自己的身体有残疾,于是他会根据自己对这种残疾的判断限制自己的发展。影响心理的并非残疾本身,而是孩子对自身残疾的态度以及随后的发展。因此,如果一个孩子身体上的残疾给他带来了痛苦,他不一定在智力或性格上低人一等,让他明白这一点特别重要。我们已经看到,同样是残疾,有的人把它看作是奋发图强的动力,有的人却把它看成是妨碍发展的阻力。

  Good and bad, like other expressions of character, have meaning only in a social context; they are the result of training in a social environment, among our fellow human beings, and they imply a judgment that a person’s behavior is “conductive to the welfare of others” or “opposed to the welfare of others.” Before a child is born, he has no social environment in this sense. At birth he has the potential to develop in either direction. The path he chooses to follow will depend on the impressions and sensations he receives from his environment and from his own body, and on the way he interprets these impressions and sensations. Above all, it will depend on his education. 和性格的其他表现形式一样,好与坏只在社会环境里有意义;它们是社会环境培养的结果,是在人群中培养出来的;它们暗含着一种评判,即一个人的行为要么“有利于别人的幸福”,要么“有损于别人的幸福”。孩子在出生之前,没有这种意义上的社会环境,出生时他有了朝两个方向发展的可能。他选择走什么样的路取决于他从环境和自身获得的印象和感觉,取决于他如何理解这些印象和感觉,最重要的是,取决于他受的教育。 It is the same with inheriting intellectual ability, although the evidence from this is perhaps less clear. The strongest factor in the development of intellectual ability is interest, and we have seen how interest is blocked, not through heredity, but through discouragement and the fear of defeat. It is doubtlessly true that the actual structure of the brain is to some degree inherited; but the brain is the instrument, not the origin, of the mind, and provided any defect is not too severe for us to overcome with our present knowledge, the brain can be trained to compensate for it. Behind very exceptional degrees of ability we shall find, not an exceptional inheritance, but sustainedinterest and training. 智力的遗传也是如此,尽管这方面的证据可能不那么明确。智力发展最重要的因素是兴趣,而我们已经看到兴趣是怎样被封杀的,不是因为遗传,而是因为灰心丧气、害怕失败。毫无疑问,大脑的实际构成在某种程度上是遗传的;但大脑是思想的工具,而不是思想的源头。只要缺陷没有严重到不能用现有的知识来克服,大脑就可以通过训练加以弥补。在超凡能力的背后,我们发现的并不是超乎寻常的遗传,而是持久的兴趣和训练。

  Even where we find families that have contributed many gifted members to society in more than one generation, we need not assume that hereditary influence has been at work. We may suppose, rather, that the success of one member of the family acted as a stimulus to the others, and that family traditions and expectations enabled the children to follow their interests and train themselves through exercise and practice. 即使对我们看到的那些人才辈出的家庭,我们也不必认为遗传的影响发挥了作用。我们倒可以认为,一个家庭成员的成功对其他成员是一种激励,而家庭的传统和期望会使孩子顺着自己的兴趣、通过练习和实践训练自己。

  Mozart’s parents were interested in music, but Mozart’s talent was not inherited. His parents wished him to be interested in music and provided him with every encouragement. His whole environment was musical from the earliest age. We generally find this fact of an early start among outstanding people: They played the piano at the age of four, or they wrote stories for the other members of the family when they were still very young. Their interest was long and sustained, and their training was spontaneous and widespread. They did not lose their courage, nor did they hesitate or hang back. 莫扎特的父母酷爱音乐,但莫扎特的才华并非遗传。他的父母希望他对音乐感兴趣,对他的鼓励可以说是面面俱到。从很小开始,他就浸泡在音乐环境当中。我们通常发现杰出人物起步都很早:他们四岁就弹钢琴,或者很小的时候就给家里人写故事。他们的兴趣是长久而持续的,他们的训练是自发而广泛的。他们没有丧失勇气,也没有犹豫或者退缩。

  No teacher can succeed in removing the limits a child has set to his own development if the teacher believes that these limits are fixed. It may make the teacher’s life easier if he can say to a child, “You have no gift for mathematics”; but it can only discourage the child. I have had some personal experience of this. For several years, I was the mathematical dunce of my class, quite convinced of my lack of talent for mathematics. Fortunately, I found myself one day, much to my astonishment, able to complete a problem that had stumped my teacher. The unexpected success changed my whole attitude toward mathematics. I became one of the best mathematicians in my school. The experience helped me, I think, to see the fallacy of theories of special talents or inborn capacities. 一旦教师相信一个孩子给自己设置的发展极限已成定局,他就无法成功地打破这些极限。如果他能对一个孩子说:“你没有数学天分,”这可能会使教师的日子好过一些;但这样做只会挫伤孩子的积极性。我自己就在这方面有过切身体会。在好几年的时间里,我一直是班上的数学老大难,我坚信自己没有数学天分。幸运的是,有,我发现自己居然能解开一道把老师都难住的题,这令我大为惊讶。这次意想不到的成功彻底改变了我对数学的态度,我成为了学校的数学尖子之一。我想这次经历帮我看清了所谓的特殊才能或天生能力其实都是些谬论。



  nurture n. 培育

  hereditary a. 遗传的

  explain away 为…辩解

  relax one’s effort 放松努力

  heredity n. 遗传

  exertion n. 努力

  inheritance n. 遗传

  beyond question 无可争辩

  inherit v. 继承

  in accordance with 依照be lacking in 缺少

  stimulus n. 刺激物

  obstacle n. 障碍

  hinder v. 阻碍

  conductive a. 传导的

  welfare n. 幸福

  sensation n. 感觉

  block v. 阻塞

  provided conj. 假如

  compensate for 弥补

  sustained a. 持久的spontaneous n. 自发的

  hang back 退缩

  set limits to 为…设定界限

  have no gift for 在…方面缺少天赋

  dunce n. 在学习上愚笨或迟钝的人(尤指学生)

  astonishment n. 惊讶

  stump v. 使为难

  fallacy n. 谬见

  inborn a. 天生的