Intelligence in the Classroom - Tuesday
Half of all children are below average, and teachers can do only so much for them.
What's Wrong With Vocational School? - Wednesday
Today I turn to the upper half, people with IQs of 100 or higher. Today's simple truth is that far too many of them are going to four-year colleges.
Aztecs vs. Greeks - Thursday
Those with superior intelligence need to learn to be wise.
We live in an age when it is unfashionable to talk about the special responsibility of being gifted, because to do so acknowledges inequality of ability, which is elitist, and inequality of responsibilities, which is also elitist. And so children who know they are smarter than the other kids tend, in a most human reaction, to think of themselves as superior to them. Because giftedness is not to be talked about, no one tells high-IQ children explicitly, forcefully and repeatedly that their intellectual talent is a gift. That they are not superior human beings, but lucky ones. That the gift brings with it obligations to be worthy of it. That among those obligations, the most important and most difficult is to aim not just at academic accomplishment, but at wisdom.
The encouragement of wisdom requires a special kind of education. It requires first of all recognition of one's own intellectual limits and fallibilities -- in a word, humility. This is perhaps the most conspicuously missing part of today's education of the gifted. Many high-IQ students, especially those who avoid serious science and math, go from kindergarten through an advanced degree without ever having a teacher who is dissatisfied with their best work and without ever taking a course that forces them to say to themselves, "I can't do this." Humility requires that the gifted learn what it feels like to hit an intellectual wall, just as all of their less talented peers do, and that can come only from a curriculum and pedagogy designed especially for them. That level of demand cannot fairly be imposed on a classroom that includes children who do not have the ability to respond. The gifted need to have some classes with each other not to be coddled, but because that is the only setting in which their feet can be held to the fire.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Charles Murray on Intelligence and Education
There were three well thought out (and long) editorials by Charles Murray in the Wall Street Journal this past week. I've included links to free versions of them (on OpinionJournal.com) and a few quotes. The last article is most relevant to this blog in talking about the need for gifted education.