Sunday, 8 June 2008

The effect of school on the genius mind

Article 1

The education system in America for example is designed to provide instruction for the average student. The concept behind this idea is that every student should graduate with what they need to know to survive the world in terms of math, science, language, and history. The instructional material is tailored so that students in the average range intellectually should receive a challenge.

The problem with this plan is that only 95% of students fall into the "average" intellect category. The other 5% have an IQ at one extreme end of the scale - either highly intelligent, or highly retarded. For the latter group, schools have long had special classes and slower instruction, for students can be held back if they do not learn enough, so that they repeat a grade and get a second shot at it. For the other group, however, schools are woefully unprepared to meet their educational needs.

Geniuses are occasionally offered one "gifted class" they can go to which allows them to study other topics of more interest, but these classes tend to meet infrequently. Some school systems will offer to let a student "skip" a grade - move directly into the 9th grade from the 7th grade, for instance - but many schools will not for fear of having a student miss out on proper socializing. Skipping causes another problem, in that if the gifted student had anything left unlearned in the skipped grade, he or she wouldn't have all the knowledge they need to succeed in the new one. Finally, only those students who are already hard workers will be blessed with the chance to skip a grade, because those students who are not hard workers but who are still geniuses won't have the grades high enough to prove that they need a more advanced level of study.

The problem all of this ultimately generates is that the minds of geniuses are allowed to slowly waste away in twelve years of school. By the time a genius graduates, he or she has had little if any kind of challenge, and has taken to simply breezing through school on his or her amazing intellect. For a genius, learning new facts is something that takes only one session in class, and no homework. Homework becomes a hassle and a bore, so the genius usually will skip it in favor of simply taking the test, passing it, and getting a grade in the class that is just barely above average.

And thus, the genius becomes lazy.

Without the proper kinds of challenge, the genius will go on to college and pick something rediculously difficult for the average person (such as nuclear chemistry or astrophysics) and still approach the class in the same way as before - attending class but not doing the homework. If the class is too difficult, the genius will find himself (or herself) unable to keep up with the work load and will eventually drop out. If the genius is driven to get a degree, the genius will pick something much easier on the next attempt, and thereby slide through college the same way he or she slid through high school.

This will carry over into life as well. The genius will become the dreamer - always thinking of grand ideas, but lacking the willpower to implement them.

How can I prove this? 1 out of every 2000 people you meet is a genius. How many of them do you hear about on a daily basis? Stephen Hawking is the world's only current recognized genius who is also out there making new and fantastic ideas and discoveries all the time. Every once in a while, another genius will be spoken of who has invented a number of products, but in every one of these cases, the genius was already fairly well off financially and was able to personally fund (or easily obtain backing for) these special projects. But, with 1/2000th of the population being a genius, we should have 150,000 geniuses in the U.S. alone who are constantly doing great, amazing things.

Truth is that we do have that many geniuses in the U.S., but we don't recognize them. As one of my college professors told me, "you can't be a genius, because geniuses wouldn't be going to school here." That's the stigma in our society, but if a genius isn't driven to succeed, how would the genius get into schools like M.I.T., Berkeley, etc? They wouldn't, so they go to schools like Tulsa Community College.

So, enough complaining, and on to the solution. The genius mind doesn't need to skip a grade, because of the chance of missing some key data. What the genius mind needs instead is fast-paced instruction. Classes for geniuses should be set up so that students are learning material twice as fast as in normal classes - when a topic is taught, the teacher moves on with another topic and doesn't linger. The genius mind will get it anyway, and won't need an hour's worth of reiteration. In this way, the genius mind will be challenged, and the genius will not grow up to be a lazy bum. Once we have a nice core group of geniuses, the technology level in this country should grow by leaps and bounds.

But it'll never happen...

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