"Everybody is a Genius" - uggh

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by 2ndTimeAround, Nov 9, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    572

    Nov 9, 2014

    I hate that saying. No, it is not true. Nope, nope, nope. Yet I see it on so many teachers' doors, blogs, etc.

    "Genius" is a legitimate classification. I don't care how mamby-pamby everyone gets a blue ribbon we've become as a society, it is just plain wrong for teachers to say this. And even worse for them to believe it.

    It is almost as bad as "you can be anything you want to be" crap.

    Why do teachers insist on lying to their students like this? Lying to themselves? What good does telling these lies do? A temporary boost in self-esteem? Hope for something that will not be?
     
  2.  
  3. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    5,009
    Likes Received:
    390

    Nov 9, 2014

    Ranks up there with the whole "no child left behind". I'm sorry but some kids just don't have it. If they did, there would not be the classification of MR/ID whatever letters you want to call low IQ's this year. If all that was true, I wouldn't have a job.

    BUT no one wants to tell a kid, "hey, you are useless and won't amount to anything!" Well, except for crappy parents. So, teachers have to be that boost of confidence. It is hard to be honest with kids. You have to skirt around the truth. I have high school seniors with IQ's in the 40-50's. Some think they are going to get their drivers license. That is not going to happen but I'm not going to be the bad guy to tell them that. Leave that to the parents.

    You do want to boost their ego so they will try to do the best they can. Would you be where you are today if someone told you that you are just an average Joe and don't bother trying to do better?
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,958
    Likes Received:
    2,109

    Nov 9, 2014

    While I don't thing everyone is a genius in the true, traditional sense of the word, but I do think most learners have something they are good at...not all of those things are the types of skills measured by academic assessments...but I do think our students should view themselves positively and while a kid might not be good at math, or writing or art, there probably is something they are good at and educators should acknowledge those things, build on them and encourage all learners to work hard, find those things at which they excel and find passion and to follow the paths that lead to personal success and satisfaction.
    I have a kid in my class who is a gifted athlete. He hasn't been the most successful up to this point in math and reading/writing. He had a positive mindset that he's an athlete but viewed himself as 'no good' at school...I'm working on building his confidence, getting him to take risks, to learn from mistakes...he's making progress. Not because I view him as a 'genius' but because I know he has what it takes to work hard, respond to 'coaching' and persevere.
     
  5. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,439
    Likes Received:
    2

    Nov 9, 2014

    Ha. I thought I was the only one who hated that "You can be anything you want to be" baloney - particularly when it's coming from a celebrity explaining to kids that they can all be recording artists, actors, pro athletes, and supermodels if they just try hard enough and not let people discourage them.

    As for the poster...

    Okay, I had to look it up because I never saw a poster that said that. I came up with a selection of posters that contain this quote attributed to Albert Einstein:

    "Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb up a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid."

    First, from what I found, there's very little evidence that he actually said this.

    I believe the analogy is there to demonstrate that we are all highly intelligent in our own way, but will appear lacking if asked to do things that are beyond our natural ability. So, this idea could have a positive and a negative effect on kids. Positive: it can make them feel that we all possess something that makes us unique and that we have an intelligence for. Negative: If kids fully buy into this they might feel it's okay to get bad grades because they are a genius at Call of Duty (or something similar).

    Personally, I prefer a poster I saw on a teacher's door once when I was subbing. It said something like: If you fail, you're in good company. It then shows a list of historically important people and there initial failures before coming to prominence. That might be a more school appropriate yet hopeful message for kids than anything suggesting they're still geniuses even if they can't perform what they're supposed to.

    (By the way, not to thread-hijack, but if anyone knows where to find the poster I described, please let me know. I've always wanted it for my own classroom.) :)
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    572

    Nov 9, 2014

    I much prefer the second poster!

    I do believe we all have something that we are BETTER at. Not necessarily better than anyone/everyone else, but it is what we personally do best. Our best, unfortunately, might still stink compared to the general population.

    I love the idea of everyone having a personal gift. Sadly I don't think it is true either. We may have bents, directions that we are more suited for, but that doesn't mean we are gifted in those arenas.

    Some people are just average Joes. Nothing wrong with that.
     
  7. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    5,009
    Likes Received:
    390

    Nov 9, 2014

    [​IMG]

    Not a poster for sale but you could make your own!
     
  8. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    5,009
    Likes Received:
    390
  9. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Nov 9, 2014

    Money right here. I believe that most students are capable of far more tan anyone believes, most just don't understand what it means to work hard at something, especially something they might not enjoy as much as something else.

    I see kids all the time, fully engaged, focused, putting in the effort in a video game and then have a completely different "mindset" towards math or Reading. It is not so much some natural ability, it is simply how they approach the subject, how much they are wiling to "suffer".
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,123
    Likes Received:
    602

    Nov 9, 2014

    Have you ever read the book "Mindset? It is based on having two types of Mindsets:

    1. Fixed Mindset--Some are smart, some are not...little we can do about it.

    2. Growth Mindset--Where our performance is can constantly be improved through effort and training.

    One of the lowest students I ever taught was 16 years ago. This student simply couldn't read or spell. His parents felt he needed to be challenged like everyone else, and this boy had the determination that movies are made out of. He graduated with honors in High school, received a scholarship, and is currently doing quite well in college.

    Also, watch the movie "Gifted Hands". It is the true story about Ben Carson who was getting all D's and F's in 5th grade. He was convinced he was stupid. He became a genius. He is considered the best brain surgeon to have ever lived! You will hear about him soon. He is planning on running for president in 2016. (Not sure I agree with his politics, but that is another matter).

    2nd Time Around. Why is it so important to you to take away a person's dreams? If someone is determined enough to do something great, the past has determined it is possible.
     
  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,123
    Likes Received:
    602

    Nov 9, 2014

  12. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    4,257
    Likes Received:
    797

    Nov 9, 2014

    All the determination in the world wasn't going to make Christopher Burke become a doctor. He became extremely successful in other ways, but him being a doctor was never going to happen, ever, no matter how much determination he had.
     
  13. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    38

    Nov 9, 2014

    Isn't the mindset more "Everyone is a genius at something"? There's nothing wrong with accepting that not all talent/ability comes from the academic realm.
     
  14. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,123
    Likes Received:
    602

    Nov 9, 2014

    I have heard that before, but that is not what the book "Mindset" is about.
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,002

    Nov 9, 2014

    Let's clarify.

    The phrase that 2nd has a problem with is that everyone is a a "genius" at something. The phrase implies that the genius is already there. That it was determined and that the person needs to just find their field of 'geniusness' without any hard work.

    That is very different from Mindset which states that effort can get you to the level of genius through hard work and experience.

    I also hate the supposed saying by "Albert Einstein" because 2nd is right. It's not rooted in truth at all. It's an attempt to make everyone feel "special" when they're not. They only become special through effort, mistakes, and learning regardless if it's academia or other fields.
     
  16. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    38

    Nov 9, 2014

    I didn't mean "mindset" as in the book. It was just an unfortunate word choice considering that the book had been brought up. :p

    I just meant the OP's annoyance at the general "everyone is a genius" attitude. I've never heard anyone say "everyone is an academic genius", just the belief that everyone is great at something.
     
  17. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    572

    Nov 9, 2014

    Ben Carson did not go from dumb to genius. He was always a genius. His potential just had not been realized.

    reading, I am not determined to crush dreams. I want to help students develop dreams that are attainable. Why set someone up for failure (I'll never be a NBA star) and why waste time that could be best used preparing for a different, but realistic dream?
     
  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,123
    Likes Received:
    602

    Nov 9, 2014

    What you wrote is very different then what 2nd Time Around wrote. I don't see that she wrote anything about teachers are encouraging them to find their area of genius and then they don't need to work hard. You are reading a lot into what she wrote. Maybe you are right that she is just saying genius comes from more effort, mistakes, and learning...but I will let her address that since I don't see her saying it.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,958
    Likes Received:
    2,109

    Nov 9, 2014

    I wonder if some of the attitudes about this idea are grade level dependent. I'm not going to give up on my third grader athlete who struggles with reading and math, but if he were a junior high school student who still had low literacy and math skills one could understand that maybe someone would steer him toward a career that that was more suited to those skills at which he was more successful rather than passing him along and setting him up for heartache later on.
     
  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,002

    Nov 9, 2014

    I'm basing it off of the quote she was referring to (she didn't write out the entire thing). I'm not reading into it.

    “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
     
  21. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,123
    Likes Received:
    602

    Nov 9, 2014

    [QUOTE=2ndTimeAround;1916157]Ben Carson did not go from dumb to genius. He was always a genius. His potential just had not been realized.

    reading, I am not determined to crush dreams. I want to help students develop dreams that are attainable. Why set someone up for failure (I'll never be a NBA star) and why waste time that could be best used preparing for a different, but realistic dream?
    [/QUOTE

    So, I don't get your point. If you had the lowest academically achieving student in your class, who could hardly read in 5th grade, then what would you say to him as a 5th grade teacher? There was no evidence in 5th grade he was a genius. What would you want teachers to say to students like him? Potential is something that is hard to determine. All we can do is to get students to try as hard as possible and believe in themselves. If we say they can't do something, the problem is that we could be wrong. We simply don't know what each child's potential is.
     
  22. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    572

    Nov 9, 2014

    If I had such a 5th grader I sure would not be diagnosing him as a genius. I wouldn't do that with my top student either. I am not qualified to do so. I wouldn't tell him he is smart if I didn't think he was. I would compliment him on the work he does well. I would look for any gifts he may have and try to encourage him along those paths.

    I don't believe in empty platitudes.
     
  23. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Messages:
    912
    Likes Received:
    30

    Nov 9, 2014

    That's why I've always been repulsed by the overuse of the term/label "gifted." "We have 4 classes in our curriculum for gifted students."

    No......you don't have 25 kids per class that are "gifted." If there's one kid who can split an atom while he/she is in the second grade.............................that one person and that one person alone..............is gifted.


    :|
     
  24. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 9, 2014

    I've never heard of anyone referring to any student as a genius, much less calling everybody one. I have seen posters that say "every child has gifts" which I do believe.
     
  25. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,928
    Likes Received:
    159

    Nov 9, 2014

    Children will surprise you. They do it all the time. You have to pay close attention sometimes.
     
  26. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,123
    Likes Received:
    602

    Nov 9, 2014

    I agree with one thing, I don't like the word "genius" being thrown around so much. My reason is that I want students focused on their effort and how much academic growth they are achieving. To me there is a difference between saying "you are a genius" and you can become a genius through hard work, training, and good decisions.

    My concern was more your comment on "you can be anything" that you attacked. I think a person has a chance at achieving nearly anything if they are willing to work at it and receive the right amount of training. Sure the more poor choices and the more "wasted time" a student has, the more difficult time they are going to achieve their goal. This makes it very difficult, but not impossible in all situations. Natural talent does help, but those without a lot of it, sometimes can still achieve greatness with a lot of hard work and training.
     
  27. P Chang

    P Chang Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2014
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 9, 2014

    My just-turned-three-years-old son is a genius. He was walking at 10 months old, knew the alphabet at two years old, and can ace a set of flashcards for "children aged 4 to 5." :lol:
     
  28. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    572

    Nov 9, 2014

    I think you are confused about the true meaning of "genius." No, not everyone can become one, no matter how much work they put in.

    I have a student at my school that has an IQ of 60. Do you really think she'll be able to be president of the United States? Miss America? A doctor?
     
  29. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,002

    Nov 9, 2014

    Barring physical and medical mental disability, I must disagree with this. I agree that you should read the research done in the book Mindset. The largest difference between a child who has an IQ of 60 and one who has an IQ of 140 is the environment that they've grown up in. Students who grow up in wealthier households grow up hearing a wider vocabulary, reading frequently, and get proper nutrition during their young developmental stages. Those who are not as fortunate miss out on a lot of those things, but Carol's research and the research of others has shown that they can catch up and in some cases surpass those with the proper interventions, and right attitude.

    Sure there may be a few who have a slight genetic mental edge on others, but research has proven that this edge falls woefully short to deliberate practice and intelligently applied effort. Genius is simply a label given to those who have accomplished much when it was not expected. Most often these "geniuses" have applied vast amounts of effort and study, or are simply extremely focused on one thing to the point of obsession that they know more about it than anyone else. It's not a literal greater mental acuity when used most commonly.

    And if you're referring to gifted children, many so called "child geniuses" often grow up to be very average adults.
     
  30. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,123
    Likes Received:
    602

    Nov 9, 2014

    Those with IQs of 60 have some learning disability. I do think that there are those with IQs that inhibit them achieving what most people can do. (Although some do surprise)

    Could a low student who is a D/F student from the inner city become a doctor or a president? Ben Carson has achieved the first, and he is considering the second. One of my best friends became a successful lawyer, and he often got low grades in school, but decided to work his butt off when he got older. He was no genius but he decided at the age of 8, he was going to be a lawyer. I think average people accomplish things that geniuses do all the time through education and hard work.
     
  31. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,123
    Likes Received:
    602

    Nov 9, 2014


    Very well said. I agree with this. Yes, Mindset is a great book on this subject. Very well researched. :thumb::thumb:
     
  32. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    4,257
    Likes Received:
    797

    Nov 9, 2014

    While I agree that a child's upbringing has a lot to do with it, that doesn't account for the fact that so many families have children with wildly disparate levels of achievement, nor the fact that the (admittedly limited) research on identical twins reared about shows very significant similarities in IQ scores.
     
  33. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    4

    Nov 9, 2014

    While I don't agree with the "everyone is a genius" thing, I guess I will be unpopular and say that I will always encourage my students to go for their dreams, because they can be anything they want! At least, that is my humble opinion.

    I have a fourth grade student on a kindergarten reading level. He will probably never read as well as his peers, no matter the time and effort he puts in. But, on his state test scores from last year, he scored a perfect 100 on the "logic" portion. Some of my advanced kids were making 80s in that section. So he has that strength, and that's great!

    If he came to me one day and said he wanted to be an author, even though he can barely read or write, I would still encourage it. Who are we to put a limit on their ambitions? If he came to me and wanted to be a professional athlete, I would encourage that too. People don't get where they are out of luck (usually). Every student who eventually became an author, athlete, actor, teacher, soldier, etc.....took time, determination, and a dream. And maybe even a positive teacher who helped them along the way.
    :2cents:
     
  34. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    7

    Nov 9, 2014

    Am I the only one who is confused here? I guess I've never heard anyone call a child a genius. I almost feel genius is an outdated term that wouldn't be applied to anyone this day and age, kind of like "mute" or "savant" (or worse).

    I also don't understand the example of the child with an iq of 60. First, is there someone trying to call that child a genius? Why? And if not, how should you encourage that child?

    Maybe I'm just tired. I don't get it.
     
  35. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    572

    Nov 9, 2014

    I had a kid drop out of school as soon as he turned 16. Because you don't need to have a diploma to be a rap star. While the years he's spending in prison will give him street cred, I don't think being told that he could be anything he wanted to be did him any favors.
     
  36. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    4

    Nov 9, 2014

    There is definitely something to be said about making smart choices and getting an education, no doubt.

    This student didn't make those choices, obviously. But, I don't feel that it was because someone told him he could "be anything he wanted". You still have to make wise choices as far as schooling. :)
     
  37. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,002

    Nov 9, 2014

    Well, as the book Mindset states, a large part of it is the person in question's mindset about life and learning in general. Two children can be born into the same family but hold very different mindsets about their learning. One student may believe that their intelligence can't be changed and will do things to avoid challenges so that they don't feel they have to work hard in order to succeed, while the other who may not even have been as high achieving to begin with, could embrace challenges and failures as part of the learning process, and take them in stride.

    There's more to it than this, but essentially, attitude matters. I can definitely tell you that my boyfriend has a hugely different attitude about his life than his brother, and they've turned out hugely different. My boyfriend believes in working hard making smart decisions, while his brother feels things are owed to him and he shouldn't have to work hard for them. Both were raised by the same parents. My BF is very successful, his brother, let's just say, not so much.

    Similarities in genetics and upbringing would probably lead to very similar attitudes, especially if they were brought up to be very close.
     
  38. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    7

    Nov 9, 2014

    I think it's a stretch to say that because someone said "you could be a rap star", one kid ended up in prison. Personal responsibility has to come into play-someone once told me I could run a marathon, but I have to make the choices to be able to do it. Ending up in prison is a choice.
     
  39. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    572

    Nov 10, 2014

    I didn't say that it wasn't his choice. He made lots of bad choices. Including listening to those that gave him really bad advice.

    It is sad, sad, sad when adults encourage impossible (or nearly impossible) dreams. Those that do should be ashamed of themselves. You're encouraging someone to waste precious time. time that could be better spent reaching for something that is actually achievable.

    I imagine that most of you do work with little ones. Little ones that have plenty of time left. I have children that have just a couple of years left in our system. Just two/three years where they can get the foundation they need for what they want/should do. Really hard to make up for allt he time they wasted because they didn't think they needed to learn math or social studies. NBA stars don't need to add and subtract, their accountants will do it for them. So sad.
     
  40. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,330
    Likes Received:
    496

    Nov 10, 2014

    Because often kids miss the second part of the message. They hear "you can be whatever you want to be" but miss the part about working really hard that comes with it. Or they have no idea what it entails to do what they want to do and no clue what they should be doing g to prepare for it. So I have kids who are seniors in high school, and C students in general phase classes who think they are going to be pediatricians. They could be, but they are already so far behind! If they aren't smart or motivated enough for honors classes, then college will likely be a struggle for them, much less doing well enough to get into medical school. Some of them don't understand what courses a premed major takes, and that they will have to take very advanced math and science classes! But their whole identity is wrapped up in the idea of being a doctor. At some point, someone needed to tell them that if they are in high school and reading at the third grade level it might be time to find some reasonable goals for life.
     
  41. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Nov 10, 2014

    This thread is sad and explains why we have such a low graduation rate.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. futuremathsprof
Total: 406 (members: 2, guests: 386, robots: 18)
test