Can everyone turn into a genius? (about Genius in All of Us, by David Shenk)

I must say up front that I have not read The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong, by David Shenk. I’m only writing about the Talk of the Nation NPR show “Not Too Late To Tap Into ‘Genius In All Of Us‘” discussing it.

I really liked the following statement:

“Having high expectations is always crucial. Another is that (and I do not envy the teacher in this) that the critical thing in a classroom of 20 kids or 30 kids or, God forbid, more than 30 kids is trying to find out the level of all these different kids and hit all of them just slightly above their level – not too far above, because that’s going to be discouraging to anyone, certainly not too far below because that’s going to feel really boring and be discouraging for a different reason, and also trying to find, in each of these distinct personalities, what gets them going.”

I wish David Shenk elaborated on the “discouraging for a different reason” piece, but overall he did say he does not talk much about education in his book. Too bad…

It is nice to tell the kids they all can be who they want to be and reach for the stars. I assume that this is what Genius in All of Us is saying.

But what about the kids who are very smart but whose passion for learning (and whose advanced synaptic connections) are killed by teachers forcing them to stay way below their level of ability?

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