Are we born to love learning? 人天生就愛學習嗎?

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你喜歡學習嗎?雖然有些人愛學習,但也有不少人覺得學習枯燥無味。研究表明,如果你覺得一個概念太難或太無聊,學起來也就會更困難。但是,我們生來就會學習,所以好好利用這個天生的能力吧!

字彙:philomath 愛學問的人

Are you the kind of person who hated school? Or are you more like Michael Nicholson, who can’t stop learning? He currently has 30 degrees including 22 master’s and a doctorate! If you’re also passionate about studying, you might be a philomath – a person who loves to learn and study. The word comes from Greek with ‘phil’ meaning ‘a lover of’ and ‘math’ meaning ‘learning’.

Humans are all philomaths to an extent – our brain is hardwired to be curious. We want to learn and understand, partly to make sense of the world but also because of something called neoteny. This is a term that refers to the juvenile characteristics of some animals, including humans, being retained into adulthood. One of these traits is neuroplasticity, which helps our brains stay flexible – this gives us the ability to learn throughout our lives. Many creatures which are genetically close to us, like primates, can’t do this and only learn during their adolescence.

But for every person who loves learning, there are plenty who can’t stand it. Lots of people remember their school days as being boring or even pointless.Why is this? Educational anthropologists have suggested that if a concept or idea is too complex or dull, it becomes harder to link old and new ideas together. If that’s the case, we lose motivation and absorb less information. This negative experience of education at school may lead to people avoiding learning opportunities in later life.  ­

So, don’t let a bad educational experience prevent you learning something new as an adult. Evolution has made us lifelong learners, so take advantage of your biology and discover your inner philomath. Who knows what you could achieve?

詞彙表

master’s 碩士學位
doctorate 博士學位
hardwired 天生的,本能的
curious 好奇的
neoteny 幼態持續,幼稚
juvenile characteristics 幼年特徵
retain 保留
trait 特徵
neuroplasticity 神經可塑性
genetically close 基因相近的
primate 靈長類動物
adolescence 青春期
educational anthropologist 教育人類學家
concept 概念
complex 複雜的
motivation 積極性,動力
absorb 掌握
evolution 進化
lifelong learner 終身學習者

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. True or False? Michael Nicholson has 22 degrees.

2. Which language does the word ‘philomath’ come from?

3. Why does the writer say ‘humans are all philomaths to an extent’?

4. True or False? Neuroplasticity helps humans learn throughout their lives.

5. Why is it difficult to absorb information that is too complex or dull?

2.  選擇意思恰當的單字或片語來完成下列句子。

1. A common _______ of children’s TV is humour.

philomath                   characteristic               primate                     concept

2. Some exam questions were very _______. I couldn’t answer them.

hardwired                   flexible                         complex                    lifelong

3. He struggles to _______ when he isn’t interested in the subject.

retain                          absorb                         link                            learn

4. After four years of studying, she graduated and got her _______.

traits                            evolution                     doctorate                  adolescence

5. The dog was _______ of the new food. He sniffed it before trying it.

curious                        educational                  master’s                   pointless

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. True or False? Michael Nicholson has 22 degrees.
False. He currently has 30 degrees including 22 master’s degrees and a doctorate.

2. Which language does the word ‘philomath’ come from?
It comes from Greek with ‘phil’ meaning ‘a lover of’ and ‘math’ meaning ‘learning’.

3. Why does the writer say ‘humans are all philomaths to an extent’?
Because our brain is hardwired to be curious.

4. True or False? Neuroplasticity helps humans learn throughout their lives.
True. It helps our brains stay flexible.

5. Why is it difficult to absorb information that is too complex or dull?
Because it becomes harder to link old and new ideas together, so we lose motivation.

2.  選擇意思恰當的單字或片語來完成下列句子。

1. A common characteristic of children’s TV is humour.

2. Some exam questions were very complex. I couldn’t answer them.

3. He struggles to learn when he isn’t interested in the subject.

4. After four years of studying, she graduated and got her doctorate.

5. The dog was curious of the new food. He sniffed it before trying it.