Mad, adj.: Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence. ~Ambrose Bierce
I learnt early I was not the brightest caboose on the tracks. Round about grade 4 they used to issue standard I.Q tests to all the State School children, of which I was one at the time. The selected intellectually superior were given the option to attend the gifted school. Both my brothers made it without even trying. I did not.
See, the tests are loaded. Without saying a word the implication was that Math & Science mattered. They came first on the paper. Naturally I couldn't do any of it. I never got to the rest of the paper because English was no~where near as important as Math & Science. It took me a long time to realise I wasn't dumb; I just operated slightly differently to the rest of the world.
It took me so long in fact I had children of my own who started saying things like,"Speak English, mum", when I thought I was. Then they started going, "Thanks to you, mum, my friends can't understand me." As a family we have an extensive vocabularly ~ & we do not necessarily stick to English. There was a time, because the words, Shut Up! were forbidden, when Star took great delight in telling people to Dun do beal! or Fermer la bouche! Admittedly I once caused great consternation by muddling up my gentiles & genatiles. I knew the difference but never having heard either word actually pronounced took pot luck & got it wrong! It happens.
Forty years down the track I now know a lot about what *giftedness* looks like ~ & it is often not what people expect! The intellectually bright are often not academically inclined. More often not. Many hide a learning disability. Others concentrate on one area to the exclusion of all else. I know I did. As an adult I can run down the checklists put out for these things & tick all the boxes relating to language, interests, concentration ~ & not a single one relating to math, science, logic. My mind does not work that way.
I can run down these lists & tick all the boxes in one area or another for every single one of my children ~ which is incredibly scary because I do not have a single academically inclined child. I have 2 whose intellectual ability is downright scary & one of them has absolutely no idea how to manage his life.
With an election looming in Queensland, Education is once again in the spotlight. There is lots of noise & pollies making promises that mean nothing & less than nothing because you cannot make people learn. You cannot fix a problem by throwing money, & more money, at it. You cannot motivate the intellectually able with standardised education because they have no interest in standardised anything. Many become intellectually numb because most classrooms are beehives of boredom rather than centres of learning.
I do not have the answers. I know we have got it very, very wrong. One system is not going to fit every child. It is not even going to fit *most* children ~ there being no such thing as the average child. What I do know is that every child is gifted in their own way because God delights in diversity, in variables, in difference. It is people who try & make one size fits all education. I am not even convinced that there are certain things *everybody* should know. What is important is that people know how to find out.
And here's a thought: probably the 2 greatest inventions of all time are fire & the wheel. Both were invented by people who could neither read nor write & were unlikely to be able to count. Makes you think, doesn't it?