Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The 10,000 hour rule

The Rule of 10,000 hours states one must do a skill for 10,000 hours before they can claim Mastery. This comes from the book Outliers, by Maxwell Gladwell.Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to success of those who operate at the extreme outer edge of what is statistically plausible. Polyglots fall right into this niche.

1 comment:

Michael Tuchman said...

First of all, I want to say how happy I was to find a blog devoted to the subject of self-taught language learning. I have been doing this my whole life with varying degrees of success. I'm teaching myself Russian and Japanese now, while maintaining my undergraduate knowledge of French and German.

Everybody taking a new hobby comes up against this number. I write a cello blog, and this number comes up in conversation just about every other day with other amateurs.

It seems to me that if you can fly a plane with 1000 hours of air time, there is still quite a bit of useful work you can do with just 1000 hours of language study. If a college semester is 400 hours of work, and you can major in a language with about 10 courses, then 4000 hours (and that's a bit high) is all the work you need for an undergraduate major in a foreign language.

I think by putting the final destination : 10,000 or Mastery in front of some more useful milestones, most people discourage themselves too easily. I wish they'd put aside this number, and remember some very useful smaller numbers even if they don't correspond to Malcolm Gladwell's concept of "Mastery"

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