The Question Is Who Really Is Gifted!!

As one who has spent over fifty years in the field of education, it is a given that every X number of years someone will sound the trumpet for gifted classes for gifted students. Swedish Education Minister Jan Bjorklund is the latest to issue a demand for raising standards for those students who have displayed evidence of being academically gifted. “I just don’t understand,” he argues, “why it should be taboo to have specialized education for talented pupils in academic subjects in high school.” Of course, there are thousands of high schools all over the world who have such classes, and there are specialized secondary schools for the gifted such as the Bronx High School for Science. The issue is not whether or not to have such programs, but how does one identify which student is “gifted?” Let me offer a definition of a creative mind, “one who identifies new patterns within existing information.” In other words, a gifted mind examines what others see and sees something different.

A basic problem is that students who attain high grades in school are those who adhere to demands of teachers and feed back exactly what is demanded. Any student who meets what teachers desire is being educated to see what others see and do what others do, not to find new patterns, not to identify new directions, but to be an A conformist. Every long term study of students who have been straight A students reveals while they are successful in occupations they enter, they are not the creative minds in their fields.

  • Thomas, Math Game Review

    Albert Einstein put it very nicely:
    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
    How much imagination does regular school education leave? Does it promote or suppress imagination to sit in classrooms for 6-7 hours a day?
    Perhaps we’d have many more gifted children if we stopped using the existing performance measures?
    Just like you say, straight A students are successful in their occupations, but are not the creative minds in their fields.