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Concerning the mastery of a skill.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I read this in Inc Magazine in an article about Zingerman's Delicatessen, and thought it was worth sharing.

When you know absolutely nothing about a skill, you are unconsciously incompetent--that is, you don't know what you don't know. As you learn more, you become consciously incompetent: you know what you don't know. With training and practice you can become consciously competent, while total mastery makes you unconsciously competent, meaning that you use the skill so effortlessly that you're not even aware you're doing it.

Here is the kicker: in order to teach a skill, you have to go backward, from being unconsciously competent to being consciously competent. Until you can teach it, moreover, you don't really know what you know.

Pretty neat, huh? [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #2 of 9
LOL, that's probably why I can teach stuff! I seem to spend a good deal of time in the 1st 2 learning phases [img]smile.gif[/img] so I don't have to go back too far in time to remember them!
post #3 of 9
Melf, you should inform people that if you are in fact reading that article in the Zingerman's deli located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is located very close to the University of Michigan. There are some that read and post to this web site that are not aware of Zingerman's amazing quality of deli delights.

You also neglected to tell us if your were consuming a corned beef or pastrami sandwhich ? It is my understanding that the intellectual "karma" coming from nearby academic activities,research, and other worthy campus pursuits, effects the quality of the corned beef sandwhiches and freshly baked bread. Of course,classes are out now, so the question becomes if there is any residual karma effecting what you are eating, reading, and writing about ?
post #4 of 9

post #5 of 9
post #6 of 9
melf, absolutely priceless. This is something I visit in my own teaching constantly. Humility is the key to revisiting the consciously competent. [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img]
post #7 of 9
What goes around comes around: Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson (of Who Moved My Cheese? fame) used that rubric in The One-Minute Manager back in the '80s.

It's an old-un but a good-un.
post #8 of 9
I first saw this in the book "Psyching for Slalom" (water skiing).

In making use of these learning process steps, it is important to lead your students through expereinces that shift their use of their habits from "unconscious competence" back to the "conscious incompetence" level (relative to what new movement is to be learned).

This provides for learning, based on perception of change, as you guide them at being "conscious competence" using the new movement or skill being taught. effective learning is hampered unless habits are experienced at a "conscious" level so contrast can be felt. The goal is for them to be aware of when they are in new mode by choice, or habit by default, and be motivated to choose the new movement consistantly, and accuratly, enough for it to become their new level of "unconsciuos competence".
post #9 of 9

Very true isn't it. As a skill becomes perfected its performance becomes as a instantaneous muscle memory responce requiring no concious thought. In attempting to teach the skill to another the biggest backsteps we must take are probobly not to remember the principles we are utilizing to perform that skill, most expert skiers clearly understand what they are doing, unless there skill was obtained by dumb luck through random trail and error (thrown in the water and allowed to franticly splash untill the surface is obtained). The normal retracement is in remembering the process that brought them to their level of proficentcy and then continually attempting to enhance that process for the student.

One more thing to add to your idea: Sometimes much insight can be gained from the unconcious incompetent. A clear mind unencumbered with preconceptions of truth can foster new ideas that those whose minds are clouded by self-righteous all knowing wisdom can't. A principle that holds true in all facets of life.
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