Every child has intelligence, gifts and talents:

Every child has intelligence, gifts and talents:

 

‘No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended, or who belittles in any fashion the gifts you labour so to bring into this world. ‘                       

 

Do I think some people are more intelligent than others?

Do I think that genius are a separate breed of people that were given a gift that you or others weren’t?

I question the paradigm which taught me and probably you too, to believe that each person can be put into categories like “highly intelligent”, “average” and “low intelligence”. I find that once a child is classified in our present system, they then tend to act out and accept their defined status. Is this a way to treat sacred beings? The adults in their world, whether parents or teachers, told them where they belonged on the continuum of intelligence and they believed them and believed the system. The adults sadly believe themselves. The labels are re-enforced and stick. It can be heard in conversations _ “I have a really bright group of students”, “They are a very average bunch” or “Mary is not as bright as her sister Frances”. Such labels become our belief systems which eventually become our prisons.

On looking into history and society, it is more often the person who rebelled against their given labels who became our “geniuses”, our “brilliant” or “successful” people….Einstein, Thomas Edison, Richard Branson, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods. So, in my classroom I chose to explore a new belief, a new paradigm in which every child has a “gift”, a “talent”, a “genius”, an “intelligence” to share. I discard the labels previously placed on all my students and go from there. It is wonderful! It’s fun and it’s full of surprises.

I discovered tennis champions, racing car champions, comedians, chefs, musicians, artists, actors, a shooter, a dancer, a karate expert an inventor and more. These are not just new labels to satisfy what I am looking for, these are sincerely dedicated young people with a skill and passion for their talent, with dreams of international success. You may also think they are pipe dreams, yet several had paying sponsors and trophies to back up their passions and dreams.

In bringing these other forms of intelligence to the surface, something different happens in the classroom. Firstly, my position as the knowledgeable authority diminishes. As each child becomes the expert in the group in their area of skill, we come closer to a type of equality and we call upon each other to share and bring to the learning what they know so well.

Let me explain this to you by using an example. Taking the racing car driver, we learn from him how to get sponsorship; how he needs back up support from parents, school, friends and the business community; how he needs to maintain his commitment and performance to retain this support; how he has responsibilities to the people who support him both emotionally and financially; how he needs to constantly set goals and learn ways to overcome the obstacles to these goals; and how he spends hours of his time in training honing and sharpening his skills. He had experiences of television interviews and personal newspaper articles to share. I had none of these experiences. We are all able to learn from discussions we have on issues about home, family and peers that are relevant to successful people. Issues which relate to life.

Without needing a specific topic, we find we cover;

Communicating.

Priorities.

Being Responsible.

Principles and Values.

Goal setting.

Time management

Teamwork

Persistence and commitment.

Motivation and willingness to learn.

Skill development.

Learning from both successes and failures.

Problem solving.

Enjoying life.

Here at the young age of sixteen is a talented person dealing with the real issues of life and yet within the school system he can be relegated to being “average” or not “intelligent” unless he/she conforms to the stereotypical definition of intelligence.

Combining this different approach to intelligence with the process of eliminating punishment a synergy occurs which introduces more FUN into the learning experience. Dropping the conventional version of intelligence we support the exclusion of punishment which had been used in the past to enforce conformity. We all become teachers and learners. We are all skilled and talented and therefore there is less need for heirarchy. No-one is “the best”.

What I am suggesting is that Educators acknowledge a much broader view of intelligence and support the value of each student on an equal footing, rather than setting some on pedestals, then to blend these intelligences into a balanced whole where all students can contribute and be recognised. Adopt a team approach to the framework of learning, where everyone’s learning is enriched by every other persons learning. This approach to intelligence supports self esteem. When students get in touch with their own personal talent and intelligence they come alive. They feel they belong. The classroom is alive with energy. It is a pleasurable environment to be in. Each person’s intelligence is not in competition with anothers. It is complementary.

Australian version*

Consider the following and decide for yourself, the particular Intelligence that is reflected in these people…..

Louise Hay

Peter Helliar                                              Samantha Stosur

Estee Lauder                                            Julia Gillard

Ian Thorpe                                                Fiona Stanley

Barbara Streisland                                   Barack Obama

John Farnham                                           Nelson Mandela

Kylie Monogue                                         Arthur Boyd

Julianne Moore                                         Tim Winton

Elle Mac Pherson                                     Ernie Dingo

Claudia Schiffer                                        Meryl Streep

Brett Whitely                                            Andrew Lloyd Weber

Daniel Ricciardo                                        Tom Hanks

Pablo Picasso                                           Kerry Packer

If in the process of education, each child felt they had a valuable place in the whole picture of life, I believe we would have a healthier society. Learning to respect the diversity of talents needed for societies’ development and progress can be modelled in the classroom through finding the talent of each member and demonstrating its value and worth. These concepts are far better embodied from practical experience than from a text book scenarioIMG_0269
Pat Berent
About Wisdom.’
Personal and Spiritual Counsellor.
pberent@aboutwisdom.com.au

Uncovering personal and global maps with those who seek change.

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