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An expert talks about nurturing talent; Children discuss money++ #8

++Upcoming Events

Hi, this is the GenWise team– we bring out this newsletter to help parents and educators to complement the work of formal schools and associated systems. We can help our children thrive in these complex times only by exchanging ideas and insights and collaborating on this.

This week’s main post ‘Identifying and Nurturing Talent’ shares excerpts from a 49 minute conversation between Vishnu Agnihotri and Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Director of the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University This conversation happened on the sidelines of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) convention at Albuquerque, New Mexico, in Nov 2019 .

You are invited to be an early member and beta-tester of the GenWise Club (ages 13-90), a community of interested students, parents, and educators. Check out section 2 for how to join the club.

Join this conversation on learning, by commenting on our posts, or joining our club community for more regular and closer interactions.


Identifying and Nurturing Talent

Vignettes from the GenWise Club: Talking about Money

Upcoming Events (Free & Paid; both external and GenWise events)

Identifying and Nurturing Talent: A conversation with Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubilius

These are excerpts from a conversation that happened in Nov 2019 and you can listen to the entire conversation here. Dr. Paula’s quotes have been organized under 5 key points that she made during the discussion.

Identify and nurture talent early

“We still have the perception that those kids are blessed to have this high ability, and they’ll be just fine. And they don’t need anything special. What we forget is that, you know, becoming gifted in some field as an adult is a process that takes place over time, and needs a lot of inputs in the form of, you know, appropriate programming and support from adults, and encouragement from teachers, and acknowledgement by parents.”

Cultivate motivation for learning

“Kids who are in classes where they’re bored out of their minds, they’re not learning anything, their motivation is not being cultivated.”

“If you have a kid who’s in a class, and they can do the work so easily that they never have to put forth the effort, that is not a good thing. Because what the kid learns is……. being smart means never having to work hard.”

Build important habits and skills, through appropriate challenges

“When the work does get hard, and eventually it does for everybody….they don’t know what to do. They don’t know what to do, and instead of digging in, and putting forth more effort, they might turn away from their skills and abilities, and that’s lost talent.”

“If we provide the right level of challenge for kids, it cultivates lots of skills like, having to study, having to learn how to study, having to accept failure, having to focus on deliberately striving for improvement, those are all important skills. That’s what we want kids to learn.”

Help child recognize her aptitudes, interests and personality – Critical Parent Role

“It behooves parents to view their child as having the potential for future achievement, but also that that in order to get there…. it’s a process of developing that potential through opportunities, through their parenting, through the messages and values that they convey.”

“Parents should see their child in multiple contexts… teachers only see the child in school. That’s why parents, research shows, are better identifiers of giftedness, than teachers. Because if a child’s not performing in school, that doesn’t mean they’re not doing a lot outside of school. So what parents can look for is to provide opportunities ….. taking them to a concert or taking them to a museum or reading books with them or dancing with them or whatever. They don’t have to over schedule them into a lot of activities. But they should provide stimulation and things to notice their kids who are, you know, very verbally adept, very curious, kids who notice like mathematical things……”

Actively consider out-of-school programs and expert mentoring to complement effort of parents and schools

“The other thing I would say to parents is sometimes kids are not that engaged in school learning. And so it’s hard to get a sense of their interests from school. Maybe they do well in every subject, you know, so you don’t know what’s really fueling their soul. So I would say to parents, if at all possible, let your child go to outside-of-school programming. Because there, they choose something they’re interested in and let them choose something they want to study. Maybe they change their mind after that one experience, but at least it gives them a clue about what their interests are, and maybe what they want to pursue and what they’re good at.”

Paula talking about her own experience as a undergraduate student with a History professor and the importance of expert mentoring-

“So I had to read five journal articles on a particular subject and mine was something on the Civil War. But what was so interesting was the methods of Historians on how they gathered evidence by looking at artefacts and kind of, triangulating to make sure that what they thought was, there….. was really true. And this experience …. gave me a sense of their methods. And so that happened for me in college. How cool would it be if students in high school had an experience where they learned how historians come to the conclusions that they come to how they do research?! So that’s where experts can help kids. And that’s so, so motivating to learn that, you know, it would really turn on kids to going into that deal. So that’s why I think experts can help.”

Vignettes from The GenWise Club: Talking about Money

An active parent in the club, Sayali, initiated a conversation on money by asking “Do you know what is minimum wage? Would you like to take a guess as to what is it in India and what is it in the US? Share your thoughts.” Children engaged with this question and the discussion has moved on to purchasing power parity, real vs nominal income, whether money and happiness are connected and so on! (not necessarily using these formal terms). Sayali has now shared about the marshmallow test and the relevance of this to money will be discussed in her live session at the Club Lounge tomorrow (Sat, May 29, 2021).

Some excerpts from the discussion so far are shared below.

Tanish’s response to the ‘minimum wage’ question

Minimum wage is the least amount of money an employer needs to pay an employee. In India, the minimum wage is 176 INR per day (which is 2.42 USD). In the United States the minimum wage is 7.25 USD per hour. (Every state has different minimum wages, Washington, for example, has 15 USD an hour as minimum wage, but Georgia has 5.15 USD an hour as minimum wage). But states with lower minimum wage than the Federal minimum wage must still pay 7.25 USD to their employees under the Fair Labour Standards act. Since the US has minimum wage calculated in hours, but India has minimum wage calculated in days to compare, you should convert hours to days. If the US person works 8 hours a day you get a minimum wage of (7.25 * 8) which is 58 USD. 58 USD is 4221.63 INR. This is the because the value of USD is much higher than the value of INR. (1 USD is 72.79 INR) Source : Note : Our minimum wage system has many classifications and the amount of money a person earns in an hour, varies a lot depending upon the skill required and the industry. The document below is from 2017, the minimum wage has been increased by two rupees. I couldn’t find a source for that though.

Sayali responded to this saying “Great try, Tanish! Appreciate your efforts. Here is a website that will give you details for India, with latest revisions etc. . So my next question is – is it fair to compare wages in India and US just by multiplying with exchange rate?

Tanish responded to this question, saying “No it is not fair, for example if you buy a house in a normal town in the US, the cost will be around 120 – 150 USD per square foot but if you’re looking at a similarly placed house in India the cost will be around 3500 INR per square foot. 3500 INR is 48.16 USD The value of USD against INR is a lot. But its not fair to compare it that way because 60 USD isn’t going to be worth much if you’re buying stuff in the US. It’s not going to get you something that would cost 4000 INR in India.”

Discussion on money and happiness

Sayali also asked “Do you think money is necessary for happiness? How much is good enough?” This led to many interesting comments and counter-comments.

Omkaar then shared the graph below, and Sayali asked if he understood what ‘real income’ referred to in the graph means.

GenWise mentor, Navin also joined the discussion and posted an old tweet of his about the topic.

How to become a member of The GenWise Club

In the beta phase, the Club is open to all. All it takes to join are these steps:

Get an account for you and/ or your child on Discord

Use this invite (valid till June 4, 2021) to join the GenWise server. If the link has expired or doesn’t work, please write to, requesting a new link.

Direct Message (DM) Vishnu with your full name and details once you slide in to The GenWise Club!

Upcoming Events

External Events

Parasitology and Malaria Join ‘Talk to a Scientist’ in their next episode where Sushma Ambekar from Iowa State University will share her ongoing research with the malarial parasite. Check out this facebook post for details. Saturday, 29th May 2021, 5-6 pm IST. For ages 6-16. Register here. (Free)

More Fun with Light (Chai and Why series targeted at children) on Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 11 AM by the cool TIFR outreach team. The link to the event is here. (Free). This session will cover “polarization”- an interesting property of electromagnetic waves such as light where the electric and magnetic fields are both oscillating but in different directions, and perpendicular to the wave’s direction of travel. The nature of the orientation and rotation of these fields are very important for technologies such as lasers, wireless and optical fiber communications, radar etc. Polarization is also used in LCD screens, photographic filters, and 3D glasses.

CONTAGION Exhibition from Science Gallery, Bengaluru. CONTAGION explores the phenomenon of the transmission of emotions, behaviours, and diseases. CONTAGION is a 45-day exhibition season, from 30 April to 13 June. There are also several interactive workshops for 15-28 year olds going on till June 6. For more details visit their website here. (Events are free)

Events @GenWise

“Talking about Money”- Sat, May 29, 11 AM @The GenWise Club Lounge

The facilitator, Sayali Mahashur (a GenWise parent) says “What do you think is the most important thing in life – you know what I think? It’s money! Okay- ‘most important’ might be a slight exaggeration but it’s quite important…as my organisation’s name “moneylife” suggests! So I would like to spend some time talking about money with you.”

Sayali is a CFA with experience in asset management and investment of more than 15 years. She is currently associated with moneylife, helping people invest wisely. She also assists CMHLP in working on causes of mental health and advises AlgoAnalytics on AI related projects in finance. She made her first investment as a schoolgirl, investing some prize money in Reliance convertible debentures.

All students and parents welcome!

“Psychology of Money” Book Discussions- starting Sun, Jun 13, 3 PM @The GenWise Club Lounge

The facilitator, Vishwesh (a GenWise parent), says “I started my career as an employee almost 25 years ago and had started making money as a teen assembling PCs for corporates, but I had not started to plan my money until 10 years ago- how much money should I save for the future? and how much money should I spend? We have all experienced this and many of us did not realize that we spend a very large portion of our money on current needs, not planning to save and invest for future dreams. I wish I had guidance or a reference book back then and things would have been very different.

The situation is even more complex today, with Gen Z getting plenty of money-making opportunities much earlier in their life by doing summer internships, inheriting investments, pricy gifts, social media channels, etc. thus having a higher chance to start investing early.

Recently I stumbled upon this book called “Psychology of Money” which shares 19 short stories exploring the strange ways people think about money and teaches you how to make better sense of one of life’s most important topics.

Let us come together and listen to these stories every Sunday and discuss our learnings. These readings will help build a wealth mindset and learn from the experiences of other people. It will also give a lot of perspective into things like- why people do crazy things with money, luck and risk, compounding, getting vs staying wealthy, how everything has a price, etc.”

Upcoming Courses @GenWise

Details of at least 4 GenWise courses coming up (out of 15+ courses listed here), are shared below. Early registrations can avail an early bird discount.


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