Step 5 B: The Making of an Expert

The Making of an Expert: This article discusses new research about how people become “experts.”

After reading the article, discuss how “experts” are made in the comments section below. Think about a specific “expert” and describe how you think he or she developed that particular skill or ability.


956 thoughts on “Step 5 B: The Making of an Expert

  1. Shane Riddle says:

    Even the most skilled experts have had to practice deliberately over a long period of time and have a quality coach. It’s no surprise that athletes and actors often have generation after generation from the same family in the same sport or acting. They get practice (playing with or watching parent) from a coach (the parent), which helps the child become a better expert.

    Practice at anything can make one an expert.


  2. Paytsar Sasunyan says:

    Reading this article and reflecting on how I and most teachers become teachers, reminded me of how little time, practice, support, feedback from professionals we get in our teacher preparation programs. I wonder how much productive our education system would be if the United States was really interested in improving literacy and graduation rates. Becoming an expert teacher takes more than what the current credentialing programs offer.


  3. Nicole Niederdeppe says:

    Becoming an “expert” does indeed take deliberate practice, focusing on the mind, and not just the technical skill being nurtured. Although having some natural talent may guide an artist or performer, for example, without nurturing that talent with specific technical instruction as well as hours of dedication, the person will never become an expert artist or performer.


  4. N Strickland says:

    It’s an interesting article that affirms the findings of Malcolm Gladwell where an “expert” has had deliberate practice, time (10,000 hours or more), and support or mentors. Gladwell cites Bill Gates in his example where his supportive mother drove him to a place where he had extensive time and practice programing to develop his expertise.


  5. Azniv Shahmelikian says:

    Experts are made not born. Experts develop a particular skill or ability by Systematic Training and Practice, it requires struggle, sacrifice, honest and painful self-assessment, deliberate practice (improving skills they have and extending the reach and range of their skills),their expertise should be measurable, they think deliberately, have expert coaches that in time they turn them into self-coaches.
    I will give the example of Benjamin Franklin, how he used systematic practice which was deliberate practice and deliberate thinking.


  6. Matthew Lee says:

    When I think of an expert in something, one of the first things that comes to mind is teachers. Teachers claim to have so much expertise in their respective field that they feel knowledgeable enough to share that expertise with others. However, although I do not believe that all teachers are able to pass the 3 tests of expertise, I think good teachers do not necessarily have to. Good teachers should never admit or believe that they are the smartest person in their classroom; it is intimidating and sometimes discouraging to students who have a fixed mindset and might be comparing themselves to either the teacher or the other students in the class. I have also seen many students who have thought about solving a problem or concept in a way that I have never even considered and I love it when my students ask me questions that make me want to learn more, encouraging me to always keep up to date with both my teaching practices and content knowledge.


  7. K. Navarrete says:

    Evidence demonstrates that “experts are always made, not born.” According to the article, an expert is made through practicing deliberately, thinking deliberately, exposure/practice from a young age, and having excellent mentors/couches.

    The article gives the example of Mozart who is believed to be a child prodigy and a musical genius. It points to the fact that Mozart was exposed to music before the age of 4, and had a mentor (his father) who was a successful composer and music teacher.


  8. Silvia A. Almaguer says:

    All experts are in the knowledge that they need to be in constant practice and acquisition for knowledge and or physical acuity. They got there through numerous hours of work. This work could either be through physical practice, mental progression by research , and a/or create their own research projects.
    Their coaches started as teachers and they did progress into experts and of course surpassed their coaches.


  9. Aida says:

    According to the article “Making an Expert” it takes time and practice to become and “Expert”. For example, a math teacher does not only need to be subject-matter proficient but he/she also needs to be an expert in the art of teaching. Based on the article; the teacher needs deliberate practice if they lack the ability to employ different teaching practices in the classroom to make the content accessible to all student. Only then, the math teacher will become better at teaching due to considerable and specific daily practice.


  10. Gabriela says:

    We become experts though practice over time. Experts are made. We need to start practice very young. We need to have excellent guidance ( teachers / coaches / family)


  11. lgoldberg says:

    To become an expert you need to start at an early age with the support of good mentor/teacher/coach. On going and sustained practice must occur, with the focus on improving and examing new methods to reach examplary levels of experts.


  12. Valencia says:

    I agree with the formula of how an expert is created, intensive practice, devoted teachers, and SUPPORT from their families. Having these three provide a structure that will help anybody learn, study, and over come challenges. However, nowadays it is hard to have the support from families, since there are so many divorces, broken families, unwanted children, and so forth, there is no support or the structure a family needs to provide for a child to develop a vision of what their goal is, short and long term, how to they visualize themselves in the future, etc. I always thought that any expert was developed, as the article mentions by practicing and studying. Very few people can be considered geniuses, they are naturally born with a different kind of mind, photographic memory or some kind of extra special talent, but other than that anybody can become an expert by trying, practicing, and overcoming challenges.


  13. Shannon George says:

    Experts are made through deliberate practice, with utmost concentration, focusing on areas they need to improve upon. Because we are applying these ideas to our teaching and assessment and to our students, we need to translate these ideas onto how our students can practice deliberately and focus on areas they need to improve upon, not just doing things that are comfortable. We need to be the coaches they need.
    An example of a person who is an expert in their field is my playwriting professor. I think he became an expert through years of performing, directing, focusing on how to improve and finding what worked and didn’t work, and teaching it to others.


  14. jeff mcculty says:

    math may need a little drill and kill to accomplish expertise. Good coaching that is individualized is better than group teaching.


  15. Kevin says:

    Expertise must lead to performance that is consistently superior to that of the expert’s peers. Second, real expertise produces concrete results. Finally, true expertise can be replicated and measured in the lab. I would consider my former math coach an expert because she was constantly able to answer questions and give presentations which showed her superiority over the rest of the math dept. Her scores on tests were also high.


  16. Lynn Brown says:

    Experts are made – they practice deliberately, take the time they need and have coaches and mentors. Dr. Marilyn Mason, became an expert organist because she was passionate about the organ and had the support of her family and mentors. She practiced daily and held the belief that there is no end to learning and growing in your profession.


  17. Alexandra Hohmann says:

    I think the old saying goes something like, “An expert is someone who had 10,000 hours of practice.” In the cases presented in the article, even more factor contribute to making an expert, such as family support and dedication, and encouraging teachers/coaches. I found the anecdote about the supposed wine experts humorous. Experts need to perform consistently and deliberately.


  18. Ryan Pool says:

    As mentioned by another commentator, “Deliberate practice is different. It entails considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well—or even at all.” The engagement of students in deliberate practice is a key to improvement. Without the proper feedback and guidance, mistakes and errors are continually made that inhibit growth. It is important as educators that we emphasis resilience and effort.


  19. The article brings so many of the modern myths about experts into the light of reason. The article talks about the most effective types of practice because as the article says, “Deliberate practice involves two kinds of learning: improving the skills you already have and extending the reach and range of your skills.” Learning to analyze mistakes in a productive manner would be powerful for students to learn and clearly some young people do have the required mindset to do that. Occasionally, I thought this required more maturity than my students had but the mindset to look for clues to improvement is more the key that a certain level of maturity. In terms of expertise that I find admirable I always admired Tony Robbins since as a youth his writing and speaking engagements helped inspire me. One of his famous quotes is “your past does not equal your future.” The article talks about how beyond the mindset and correct practice experts learn to coach themselves and how to use time effectively. Tony Robbins was an immigrant from Croatia and he turned the most common need in the world-communication-into an area of his expertise.


  20. L. Murillo says:

    Experts are not made they are born. The article, “The Making of an Expert”, talks about how in order to be an expert we must practice deliberately, take the time we need, and find coaches and mentors. What this means is that need to put effort into something we don’t to well. We also need to take out time to build our skill. Next, we need to find mentors of that skill to assist in building skills to a higher level.
    When I think of popular people who have been known to be experts, Tiger Woods come into mind. He was known to be one of the best golfers. How did he become an expert? He practiced as a small child and was trained on moves. he spent long hours and was assessed over the years.


  21. Kenneth Zubiate says:

    The idea of that practice makes perfect only makes sense when there is a systematic and accurate feedback. We can give the same kids the same math problems a million times, show them which where right and which were wrong, but without specific guidance on how to improve on mistakes, these repetitions will not lead to mastery. “Deliberate practice is different. It entails considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well—or even at all.” Time is also a crucial factor to mastery, which is not well accommodated by schools with their rigid pacing plans and standardized tests. Asking students to put more time in on their own will require an “inner coach” to keep them working hard. I consider my mother a master teacher because she has put 25 years into reading instruction. She has worked with a variety of students and standards. She has also received a master’s degree in reading instruction where she learned techniques and got feedback from other experts in that field.


  22. Meghan Truax says:

    Contrary to popular belief, experts were not born with some innate special ability, instead they gained their expertise through consistent deliberate practice monitored by a mentor or teacher. It takes struggle and sacrifice to become an expert in a field, and by this article’s findings, anyone with enough time, dedication, and mentors can be come an expert in any field. This article would be inspiring for any student who wishes they could become extraordinary in a field and believes they are incapable simply because they have not yet shown outstanding talent in that field. With determination, practice, and guidance anyone could become an expert as long as they are willing to put in the time.


  23. Hugo Sandoval says:

    Being an expert takes time, just like the article mentioned. If the person would like to become an expert on a specific area, they must put time, effort and a person must find a mentor that can guide them in order to know what is expected and how to get there. The students have this opportunity but it is important for the educator to demonstrate this idea for the student in order for the student to achieve this goal of an expert in their own education.


  24. Manuel Velazquez says:

    “Deliberate practice is different. It entails considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something
    you can’t do well—or even at all. Research across domains shows that it is only by working at what you
    can’t do that you turn into the expert you want to become.” It reminds me of the old saying,”Practice makes perfect” Of course you need to have a proper mentor, coach or environment to focus efforts. Time to dedicate toward the goal is also a factor especially when we live in a society where everyone wants immediate gratification.


  25. natalie p says:

    Expertise requires struggle, sacrifice, and honest, often painful self-assessment. A person needs to devote themselves to learning the talent and practice and perfect their technique. An expert also learns from a coach who will teach and guide them through perfecting the technique until they can accomplish learning and success on their own. I think about professional athletes being experts at their sport. They did not start out being perfect at their sport. It took time and dedication to practice and perfect their game.


  26. Bryan Ramos says:

    After reading the article, discuss how “experts” are made in the comments section below. Think about a specific “expert” and describe how you think he or she developed that particular skill or ability.
    When I think about an “expert” I think about Manny Pacquiao. He’s considered an expert because it took him many years to be a great boxer. In addition, it wasn’t easy becoming an expert even though the trials and tribulations he endured. He also had a great coach that guided him. I do believe that the main points of being an expert in this article does make sense: practice deliberately, take the time you need, and find the coaches and mentors.


  27. Janice Lopez says:

    We become experts through deliberate practice. This entails ” considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well-or even at all.” It’s “working at what you can’t do that you turn into the expert you want to become.” It also requires one to think deliberately, which requires “exploring all the possibilities for their next move, thinking consequences of each and planning out the sequence of moves that might follow it.” This reminds me of when I was a novice teacher and I had to maneuver through this system called Welligent, gather information, and eventually conduct an IEP meeting. I didn’t know how to begin. It took time figuring out how and from who to gather information from, but little by little and with planning and practice it became more of an expert at it the entire process came together easily.


  28. Ed N. says:

    If being an expert was so easy every one would be one. In the real world there are very few experts. I however must agree that with effort and focused practice we can all improve at most things and get good at them. It also makes sense that that with proper support and coaching we can increase proficiency. I have experienced this myself. For the last few years I have focused on my guitar. I can play just fine and learn what ever song I choose, and I am still a very long way from becoming an expert. I my never be one, but I will keep on going. I had to decide this all alone. This is the first step for anyone the wants to do anything, is just deciding.


  29. Marquez Janna says:

    This article explains that people become “experts” through having careful and deliberate practice over time. The article also discusses that the most accomplished experts develop systems for evaluating their own performance, rather than relying on coaches/mentors, and are continuously reviewing and working to improve in their field. The article mentioned Benjamin Franklin as an expert who spent time working on activities that required sustained mental rigor such as reconstructing an interesting article from memory and then comparing it to the original article.


  30. Nicole Bloom says:

    “Experts are always made, not born.” The authors show that experts are created when you put forth deliberate practice over a period of time. Deliberate practice involves targeted application of a skill, preferably under guidance of a coach or mentor at first. Deliberate practice, when done properly, involves practicing and assessing your attempts to look for ways to improve and then practicing some more!


  31. I’m recalling a video of Malcolm Gladwell (author of Outliers) discussing the “10,000 hour rule” or how it takes about 10 years of sustained effort to become a master at something. It’s probably true for teaching as well, it certainly takes time to become good. The implication is that we are impatient and assess negatively too early, expecting mastery from ourselves before nature and time allows for it.


  32. Latosha Guy says:

    Experts are made. They are afforded opportunities to solve problems of practice based on deliberate practice; the time invested in their craft, and understanding how to be coached and mentored.


  33. J. Kelley says:

    Experts are made, not born. Research shows no correlation between IQ and expert performance in chess, music, sports, and medicine. These are very important points that contradict what society and the world have taught us about experts and success. To become an expert, you must—
    1. Practice deliberately ( and in the correct way )
    2. Take the time you need ( minimum 10 years).
    3. Find coaches and mentors—quality of practice must be guided by highly skilled coaches/ mentors to be of value.
    Frank Lloyd Wright became an expert, famous American architect. His mother made him play with special blocks for 3-4 hours per day. This built his skills to see structures a certain way. He was trained from an early age. He is great example of an expert that was made, not born.


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