Through the Education Lens

Famous Failures

CJW, July 17, 2010 1:01 PM

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Michael Jordan, Walt Disney and More Who "Didn't Make The Grade"
See 1 Min. Video Below

"Why Is School Set Up To Promote One Type Of Achievement, One Type Of Child, And One Type Of Assessment?"

" In our expanded conception of giftedness, we raise questions about the 'gifted child' label . . . 

Much modern research has been concerned with how gifted kids look, sound, think, and act, largely in an effort to help educators better meet their needs in school and in supplemental programs.  The conclusion:  There is no one absolute profile. 

 . . . .research findings lend credence to our theories about the distinction
between schoolhouse learners and creative-productive learners."

---- "Light Up Your Child's Mind"
      Chapter 2:  Dreamers, Challengers & One Track Minds

Over the last few weeks, in our conversations with parents, we've noticed something that went beyond a coincidence of anecdotes. There were just too many with the same "conclusions".  (Note:  these were typically dual-income parents who valued education and were in the mid-to-upper range on the socio-economic scale).

The topic?  How different each of their children were from each other:
1)  One child was near perfect academically.  Good/great grades, no major problems, did well on tests.  Driven by extrinsic motivators:  school achievement awards, grades, honors, parent "gifts".

2)  The other child, labeled "creative",  showed few signs of actively pursuing the school/parent rewards of child #1 in school.  In other words, this child was driven by certain interests and approaches, yet seemingly often in opposition to the "ideal" of school/class/teacher expectations.

No surprise here, necessarily.  These stereotypes have existed for some time.  But, what made us pause was WHICH child the parents were most worried about . . . and THAT fact was not only seemingly counter-intuitive but it also opened up a huge can of worms in the educational world of "givens".

The parents were more worried about the child who did well academically. 

Their other child, #2,  was described as always "creating" something:  writing, tinkering, drawing, building, actively challenging, experimenting - "mad scientist" was a word that came up more often than not.  The biggest concern with child #2 was how to "get them through school" with their drive still in tact, their spirit not broken and with the grades to get them into a good college.

They sensed that child #2, in the real world, will somehow, figure it out and/or make things happen.

The academic child was the one they feared would have a harder time surviving in the real world:  either lacking the "pluck", the adaptability, the ability (or motivation) to think beyond the test or the class.  These children also tended not to handle "being wrong" very well and had a harder time with an open challenge lacking in clear, specific directions.

The questions begs, "Why is school set up to promote one type of achievement,
 one type of child, and one type of assessment?"

We love this video below for reminding us of that, all too clearly:

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