Friday, July 04, 2014

Gifted Children Are Students Too

Whenever a country perceives its education system to be inadequate (or worse than that of its trading partners), the government steps in. Typically, two things happen:
  • the Ministry of Education submits a proposal to lengthen the house children spend at school (by lowering the entry age, increasing the hours of school per week, reducing the holidays), and
  • all the attention is focused on the underperforming students, while gifted students get largely ignored.
To see why increasing the school hours is not a good idea, have a look at this article. Our blog will focus on the paradox of gifted children.

At first, it's not a paradox at all: surely students who struggle need more teacher attention? Yes and no. Children who have trouble learning to read, for example, need more attention in order to learn to read. Most gifted children, on the other hand, will take to reading like the proverbial duck to water. This does not mean gifted children need the teacher less - they just need the teacher to teach them something they don't already know. 

In many parts of the world, especially among the English-speaking countries, there is an alarming trend to let gifted children cruise through school bored. Although they will pick up the 3 Rs, they will never reach their potential to become another Einstein or Stephen Hawking unless they are exposed to challenging materials at school, unless they learn how to love to learn, and unless they learn how to learn.

Basic skills come so easily to gifted children that many of them don't actually know how to learn something they don't grasp immediately. To them, the lesson is either immediately obvious or too difficult. While a less apt student is used to trying to understand the new concept until they get it, gifted children never learn that specific technique of trying and trying again.

The result? Instead of educating a bunch of brilliant scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs and inventors, a country that neglects its gifted students will end up with a lot of young adults incapable of growing the national economy.

Is your teenager gifted? Find out here.

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