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robertogreco : attitude   18

Why there’s no such thing as a gifted child | Education | The Guardian
"Even Einstein was unexceptional in his youth. Now a new book questions our fixation with IQ and says adults can help almost any child become gifted"



"When Maryam Mirzakhani died at the tragically early age of 40 this month, the news stories talked of her as a genius. The only woman to win the Fields Medal – the mathematical equivalent of a Nobel prize – and a Stanford professor since the age of 31, this Iranian-born academic had been on a roll since she started winning gold medals at maths Olympiads in her teens.

It would be easy to assume that someone as special as Mirzakhani must have been one of those gifted children who excel from babyhood. The ones reading Harry Potter at five or admitted to Mensa not much later. The child that takes maths GCSE while still in single figures, or a rarity such as Ruth Lawrence, who was admitted to Oxford while her contemporaries were still in primary school.

But look closer and a different story emerges. Mirzakhani was born in Tehran, one of three siblings in a middle-class family whose father was an engineer. The only part of her childhood that was out of the ordinary was the Iran-Iraq war, which made life hard for the family in her early years. Thankfully it ended around the time she went to secondary school.

Mirzakhani, did go to a highly selective girls’ school but maths wasn’t her interest – reading was. She loved novels and would read anything she could lay her hands on; together with her best friend she would prowl the book stores on the way home from school for works to buy and consume.

As for maths, she did rather poorly at it for the first couple of years in her middle school, but became interested when her elder brother told her about what he’d learned. He shared a famous maths problem from a magazine that fascinated her – and she was hooked. The rest is mathematical history.

Is her background unusual? Apparently not. Most Nobel laureates were unexceptional in childhood. Einstein was slow to talk and was dubbed the dopey one by the family maid. He failed the general part of the entry test to Zurich Polytechnic – though they let him in because of high physics and maths scores. He struggled at work initially, failing to get academic post and being passed over for promotion at the Swiss Patent Office because he wasn’t good enough at machine technology. But he kept plugging away and eventually rewrote the laws of Newtonian mechanics with his theory of relativity.

Lewis Terman, a pioneering American educational psychologist, set up a study in 1921 following 1,470 Californians, who excelled in the newly available IQ tests, throughout their lives. None ended up as the great thinkers of their age that Terman expected they would. But he did miss two future Nobel prize winners – Luis Alvarez and William Shockley, both physicists – whom he dismissed from the study as their test scores were not high enough.

There is a canon of research on high performance, built over the last century, that suggests it goes way beyond tested intelligence. On top of that, research is clear that brains are malleable, new neural pathways can be forged, and IQ isn’t fixed. Just because you can read Harry Potter at five doesn’t mean you will still be ahead of your contemporaries in your teens.

According to my colleague, Prof Deborah Eyre, with whom I’ve collaborated on the book Great Minds and How to Grow Them, the latest neuroscience and psychological research suggests most people, unless they are cognitively impaired, can reach standards of performance associated in school with the gifted and talented. However, they must be taught the right attitudes and approaches to their learning and develop the attributes of high performers – curiosity, persistence and hard work, for example – an approach Eyre calls “high performance learning”. Critically, they need the right support in developing those approaches at home as well as at school.

So, is there even such a thing as a gifted child? It is a highly contested area. Prof Anders Ericsson, an eminent education psychologist at Florida State University, is the co-author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. After research going back to 1980 into diverse achievements, from music to memory to sport, he doesn’t think unique and innate talents are at the heart of performance. Deliberate practice, that stretches you every step of the way, and around 10,000 hours of it, is what produces the expert. It’s not a magic number – the highest performers move on to doing a whole lot more, of course, and, like Mirzakhani, often find their own unique perspective along the way.

Ericsson’s memory research is particularly interesting because random students, trained in memory techniques for the study, went on to outperform others thought to have innately superior memories – those you might call gifted.

He got into the idea of researching the effects of deliberate practice because of an incident at school, in which he was beaten at chess by someone who used to lose to him. His opponent had clearly practised.

But it is perhaps the work of Benjamin Bloom, another distinguished American educationist working in the 1980s, that gives the most pause for thought and underscores the idea that family is intrinsically important to the concept of high performance.

Bloom’s team looked at a group of extraordinarily high achieving people in disciplines as varied as ballet, swimming, piano, tennis, maths, sculpture and neurology, and interviewed not only the individuals but their parents, too.

He found a pattern of parents encouraging and supporting their children, in particular in areas they enjoyed themselves. Bloom’s outstanding adults had worked very hard and consistently at something they had become hooked on young, and their parents all emerged as having strong work ethics themselves.

While the jury is out on giftedness being innate and other factors potentially making the difference, what is certain is that the behaviours associated with high levels of performance are replicable and most can be taught – even traits such as curiosity.

Eyre says we know how high performers learn. From that she has developed a high performing learning approach that brings together in one package what she calls the advanced cognitive characteristics, and the values, attitudes and attributes of high performance. She is working on the package with a group of pioneer schools, both in Britain and abroad.

But the system needs to be adopted by families, too, to ensure widespread success across classes and cultures. Research in Britain shows the difference parents make if they take part in simple activities pre-school in the home, supporting reading for example. That support shows through years later in better A-level results, according to the Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary study, conducted over 15 years by a team from Oxford and London universities.

Eye-opening spin-off research, which looked in detail at 24 of the 3,000 individuals being studied who were succeeding against the odds, found something remarkable about what was going in at home. Half were on free school meals because of poverty, more than half were living with a single parent, and four in five were living in deprived areas.

The interviews uncovered strong evidence of an adult or adults in the child’s life who valued and supported education, either in the immediate or extended family or in the child’s wider community. Children talked about the need to work hard at school and to listen in class and keep trying. They referenced key adults who had encouraged those attitudes.

Einstein, the epitome of a genius, clearly had curiosity, character and determination. He struggled against rejection in early life but was undeterred. Did he think he was a genius or even gifted? No. He once wrote: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.”

And what about Mirzakhani? Her published quotations show someone who was curious and excited by what she did and resilient. One comment sums it up. “Of course, the most rewarding part is the ‘Aha’ moment, the excitement of discovery and enjoyment of understanding something new – the feeling of being on top of a hill and having a clear view. But most of the time, doing mathematics for me is like being on a long hike with no trail and no end in sight.”

The trail took her to the heights of original research into mathematics in a cruelly short life. That sounds like unassailable character. Perhaps that was her gift."
sfsh  parenting  gifted  precocity  children  prodigies  2017  curiosity  rejection  resilience  maryammirzakhani  childhood  math  mathematics  reading  slowlearning  lewisterman  iq  iqtests  tests  testing  luisalvarez  williamshockley  learning  howwelearn  deboraheyre  wendyberliner  neuroscience  psychology  attitude  persistence  hardwork  workethic  andersericsson  performance  practice  benjaminbloom  education  ballet  swimming  piano  tennis  sculpture  neurology  encouragement  support  giftedness  behavior  mindset  genius  character  determination  alberteinstein 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Wake Up Now | This American Life
[Bookmarking mostly for the intro and act one. I know someone who got sucked into something similar and predating WakeUpNow. It was frustrating and disheartening, but also a little fascinating to watch as he bought in (despite my warnings) to the pyramid scheme, mostly due to someone who he considered to be a mentor. At the time, I did a lot of searching to expose to him that the company was a pyramid scheme. YouTube and the rest of the web was full of videos that were labeled as exposing them as a scam, but actually supported the company. Wake Up Now seems to have taken that strategy to a whole new level. SEO is bad, but this is the worst of all SEO.

Reminds me too of Adam Curtis talking about “a constant state of destabilized perception” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcy8uLjRHPM ]

"This American Life staffers Brian Reed and Bianca Giaever explain to Ira this thing they've found online called WakeUpNow. It's a company but they can't tell exactly what it does, and what its product is. Maybe it's a club? An organization? They find hundreds of enthusiastic videos people have made about it. (5 minutes)

Act One: Something’s Happening Here and You Don’t Know What It Is.
Brian and Bianca go to a WakeUpNow conference to try to figure out what the company really is. WakeUpNow does something called "network marketing," which Brian points out, is a very bland term for something completely mind-blowing. The company's Marketing Director Jordan Harris tells Brian and Bianca that what they saw at the conference was not a good measure of what the company is. We also hear from Robert L. Fitzpatrick, who researches network marketing and wrote a book called False Profits; and Damien Lacks, who quit his job to do WakeUpNow. (31 minutes)

Act Two: Board Games.
Jacob Goldstein and David Kestenbaum of NPR's Planet Money tell the story of two guys who decided that the CEO of a small tool company was paid too much and wanted to wake people up to that fact - They wanted to cut the CEO's pay. The two people happened to be investors in the tool company. It turns out if you think CEOs are paid too much, it's guys like this with money to invest in stocks that you want on your side. Planet Money is a production of NPR News. (15 minutes)

Act Three: Sleep No More.
A woman in Springfield Oregon named Angela Jane Evancie tries to get her boyfriend, sleepy grad student Morgan Peach, to wake up during finals week. (3 minutes)"
business  employment  fraud  wakeupnow  seo  2014  thisamericanlife  pyramidschemes  brianreed  biancagiaever  wakupnow  networkmarketing  marketing  misinformation  psychology  attitude  emptiness  presentationofself  positivepsychology  cults 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Free Cinema - Wikipedia
"Free Cinema was a documentary film movement that emerged in England in the mid-1950s. The term referred to an absence of propagandised intent or deliberate box office appeal. Co-founded by Lindsay Anderson, though he later disdained the 'movement' tag, with Karel Reisz, Tony Richardson and Lorenza Mazzetti…

The manifesto was drawn up by Lindsay Anderson and Lorenza Mazzetti at a Charing Cross cafe called The Soup Kitchen, where Mazzetti worked. It reads:

These films were not made together; nor with the idea of showing them together. But when they came together, we felt they had an attitude in common. Implicit in this attitude is a belief in freedom, in the importance of people and the significance of the everyday.

As filmmakers we believe that
      No film can be too personal.
      The image speaks. Sound amplifies and comments.
      Size is irrelevant. Perfection is not an aim.
      An attitude means a style. A style means an attitude."
tonyrichardson  karelreisz  directcinema  cinémavérité  jeanvigo  free  1959  1956  1950s  manifestos  manifesto  glvo  srg  edg  filmmaking  film  style  attitude  perfection  sound  small  size  freedom  everyday  freecinema  documentaries  documentary  thesoupkitchen  lindsayanderson  lorenzamazetti  wabi-sabi 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Designing for Slow Technology: Intent and Interaction [.pdf]
"I argue in this paper for the value of adopting some specific design approaches when creating slow technology, how to create long lasting relationships with technology, and how to design reflective or slow digital interactions. The problem I have addressed is how to design for long lasting technologies with changing users. My approach is informed by activity theory, which provides a theoretical and methodological perspective while design principles inform ideas of process, structure and interaction. The contribution to HCI is in the view of slow technology as demanding a unique set of design skills.

Slow technology is concerned with time and with speed, primarily with relation to how humans interact with technological artefacts. Slow technology is a way of thinking about human artefacts that emphasises speed of operation, pace of consumption and the length of time taken to obtain results. As a knowledge domain, slow technology has engaged with many different areas of technology…"

[via: http://johnfass.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/inuit-genealogy/ ]
interaction  attitude  intent  modularity  interactiondesign  2012  johnfass  slow  technology  slowtechnology 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Generation Make | TechCrunch
"We have a distrust of large organizations…don’t look down on people creating small businesses. But we’re not emotionless…We have anger…flares up to become Arab Spring & OccupyWallStreet…We have ego…every entrepreneur who thinks their tech startup is the best…We have passion, & an intense drive to follow…through, immediately. Our generation is autonomous…impatient. We refuse to pay our dues…want to be running the department. We hop from job to job…average tenure…is just 3 years. We think we can do anything we can imagine…hate the idea that we should ever be beholden to someone else. We do this because we have been abandoned by the institutions that should have embraced us…We are a generation of makers…of creators. Maybe we don’t have the global idealism of the hippies. Our idealism is more individual: that every person should be able to live their own life, working on what they choose, creating what they choose…"
socialmedia  makers  making  generations  millennials  2011  justinkan  williamderesiewicz  entrepreneurship  ows  arabspring  occupywallstreet  idealism  attitude  trends  passion  unschooling  deschooling  hierarchy  revolution  via:preoccupations  davidfincer  markzuckerberg  individualism  self-actualization  independence  work  labor  behavior  startups  startup  workplace  motivation  geny  generationy 
november 2011 by robertogreco
FYIFV - Wikipedia
"FYIFV (standing for "Fuck You, I'm Fully Vested") or FYIV[1] is a piece of early Microsoft jargon that has become an urban legend: that employees whose stock options were fully vested (that is, could be exercised) would occasionally wear T-shirts or buttons with the initials "FYIFV" to indicate they were sufficiently financially independent to give their honest opinions and leave any time they wished.

In internal usage at Microsoft, it was meant metaphorically to describe intransigent co-workers. In press usage and popular culture, it is often used to imply a predatory business culture reaching even to the programmers."
microsoft  history  attitude  honesty  work  businessculture  behavior  money  wealth 
october 2011 by robertogreco
The Tyee – At Play in the Field of School
"For example, there is a group of kids here who get huge satisfaction from building forts, which has elements of both work and play. They work at their play. They are clearly playing at fort building, and they are working hard.

This is another good example. When you are little and you are going to build a fort in the living room, and you run around the house and gather blankets and pillows and everything, and the whole time you are doing it, it doesn't take you any effort. You don't have to push yourself, it flows like magic and your energy is right up. Then it is time to put it all away and your energy drops like a stone, and it is a hard, onerous task to put it away. It is the exact reverse of what you just did so easily. It is just the way it is viewed. It becomes a completely different thing.

The more of your life you can lead that has that fort-building energy, the better."
matthern  helenhughes  windsorhouse  play  education  learning  unschooling  deschooling  making  forbuilding  perspective  attitude  tcsnmy  2004 
april 2011 by robertogreco
If I Stumble, If I Fall: 5 Tips When Failing | World of Psychology
"Failure is a part of life since our earliest moment of consciousness. Somewhere along the way, we think of failure as something bad — it gets laden down with judgment and negative thoughts. But failure is a normal and natural part of life that is neither bad nor good — it’s just how we learn.

So the question isn’t whether you want to fail or not (because you will — we all do!), but how quickly you can embrace your failure, learn something from it, and try again. We can learn something from a toddler learning to walk — they don’t take their failure to heart; they simply try again."
via:cervus  failure  mistakes  obstacles  psychology  work  learning  life  attitude  tcsnmy  success 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Seth's Blog: The coming melt-down in higher education (as seen by a marketer)
"1. Most colleges are organized to give an average education to average students... 2. College has gotten expensive far faster than wages have gone up... 3. The definition of 'best' is under siege... 4. The correlation between a typical college degree and success is suspect... 5. Accreditation isn't the solution, it's the problem. A lot of these ills are the result of uniform accreditation programs that have pushed high-cost, low-reward policies on institutions and rewarded schools that churn out young wanna-be professors instead of experiences that turn out leaders and problem-solvers... The only people who haven't gotten the memo are anxious helicopter parents, mass marketing colleges and traditional employers. And all three are waking up and facing new circumstances."
tcsnmy  education  highereducation  learning  highered  schools  accreditation  change  gamechanging  economics  meltdown  marketing  colleges  sethgodin  trends  attitude  2010  future  leadership  unschooling  deschooling  internships  schooling  gapyears 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Why Academic Excellence Doesn't Cut It Any More | Beyond School
"First, your grades might get you in the door, but they won’t get you up the ladder. (And in this Age of Defining-Down “Success,” even getting in the door shouldn’t be taken for granted. Having a job at all, in other words, may be the “new” success. Just ask the 1-in-5 Americans currently unemployed or under-employed.)

And second, we don’t see you as a GPA, because we see the rest of you daily. How you walk and who you walk with, how you sit and how you compose your face, where your eyes go and don’t go, what comes (and doesn’t come) out of your mouth — all of things things are very obvious codes that we decode daily. And when you leave us, others with the power to pull you up or keep you down will take our place, and they’ll read those same codes."
grades  grading  clayburell  social  socialintelligence  attitude  tcsnmy  teaching  success  entitlement  privilege  asia  us  india 
december 2009 by robertogreco
David Byrne’s Perfect City - WSJ.com
"There’s an old joke that you know you're in heaven if the cooks are Italian and the engineering is German. If it's the other way around you're in hell. In an attempt to conjure up a perfect city, I imagine a place that is a mash-up of the best qualities of a host of cities. The permutations are endless. Maybe I'd take the nightlife of New York in a setting like Sydney's with bars like those in Barcelona and cuisine from Singapore served in outdoor restaurants like those in Mexico City. Or I could layer the sense of humor in Spain over the civic accommodation and elegance of Kyoto. Of course, it's not really possible to cherry pick like this—mainly because a city's qualities cannot thrive out of context. A place's cuisine and architecture and language are all somehow interwoven. But one can dream."

[via: http://www.nearfuturelaboratory.com/2009/09/12/david-byrne-urbanism/ ]
davidbyrne  bikes  biking  books  urbanism  planning  urbanplanning  urban  cities  design  janejacobs  failure  creation  energy  glvo  size  density  chaos  danger  serendipity  security  attitude  scale  human  parking  boulevards  mixed-use  publicspace  architecture  culture  sociology  travel 
september 2009 by robertogreco
An Excerpt from My Three-Volume Memoir « Cocking A Snook Too!
"What is up with this attitude? Why are you in a 3300 level class that you don’t even care about? Come to think about it, why are you even in college?"
education  motivation  learning  colleges  universities  attitude  passion  obligation 
july 2009 by robertogreco
David Weiss: Metacognitive Miscalibration
Another reason why some can feel "informed" when in fact they are not is that they have lost the hunger to learn. They've lost the desire to learn and grow...Closely related to the lack of desire to learn is the desire to avoid being wrong."
arrogance  attitude  learning  knowledge 
april 2008 by robertogreco
In My Copious Free Time: TED2008 Day 3, Session 4: What stirs us?
"came back, said he hadn't gotten job because he played the 1st way, holding back. But then said, "oh, fuck it" & went to Madrid, auditioned for 1st chair in their orchestra & got it. So Zander says you have to get BTFI - Beyond the "fuck it" point."
authenticity  attitude  life  perspective  gamechanging 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Rands In Repose: The Nerd Handbook
"At some point, you, the nerd’s companion, were the project...showered with the fire hose of attention...he’ll move on, and, when that happens, you’ll be wondering what happened to all the attention. This handbook might help."
advice  communication  culture  humor  nerds  relationships  psychology  howto  social  society  sociology  technology  programming  productivity  personality  people  introverts  coding  habits  behavior  attitude  aspergers  attention  howwework  t-shapedpeople 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Can a Lack of Sleep Set Back Your Child's Cognitive Abilities? -- New York Magazine
"Overstimulated, overscheduled kids are getting at least an hour’s less sleep than they need, a deficiency that, new research reveals, has the power to set their cognitive abilities back years."
children  cognition  learning  sleep  teens  emotions  attitude  overscheduling  education  health  mind  psychology  research  lifehacks  happiness  creativity  youth  brain  science  kids  parenting  lifestyle  society  homeschool  cognitive  obesity  depression  moods  memory  dreams 
october 2007 by robertogreco
paralanguage: Definition and Much More from Answers.com
"The set of nonphonemic properties of speech, such as speaking tempo, vocal pitch, and intonational contours, that can be used to communicate attitudes or other shades of meaning."
language  sound  words  english  attitude  meaning  communication  glvo 
august 2007 by robertogreco

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