“Breadth of training predicts breadth of transfer. That is, the more contexts in which something is learned, the more the learner creates abstract models, and the less they rely on any particular example. Learners become better at applying their knowledge to a situation they’ve never seen before, which is the essence of creativity.” -David Epstein, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
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 working together.
We are also a founder-member of the Gifted India Network– if you are interested in issues related to gifted education and talent development, an easy way to keep updated about talks, programs and resources is to join the Gifted India Network telegram channel (https://t.me/GiftedIndia).
This week, Saurabh Saxena, our friend and partner and CEO of Power Club shares his thoughts on what kind of nurturing gifted students need to make significant achievements in the real world. Power Club has an event next week featuring a Marvel writer from Hollywood and a Stanford University admission officer. More details about this event are shared in the upcoming events section.
From “Being Gifted” to “Becoming Extraordinary”
Unlocking real-world greatness for gifted and talented children
Who are “Gifted and Talented children”?
Are they born gifted? Is giftedness limited to academics, or can it be manifested into extraordinary real-world outcomes? What can parents do to enable the journey for these children to absolute greatness? And how can the world get the best out of these remarkable minds?
I have been researching this field for years now and have had the privilege to work with and mentor some extraordinary learners from across the world as part of my work at Power Club and as a life design coach for these children.
First and foremost, every child is born with unique gifts and talents. However, some children display differentiated cognitive, creative, academic, or social-emotional capabilities that surpass the confines of age and grades. Giftedness cannot be defined in a simple way, but we can identify these traits in children through psychometric testing and studying academic performance, creative work, problem-solving abilities, emotional sensitivity, and other attributes. It’s important to note that being “G&T” extends far beyond academic performance; it encompasses various spheres of development.
Why is early identification of giftedness crucial?
While the education system is designed to cater to the masses, gifted and talented children require special attention to ensure that their unique traits and abilities are nurtured. Without proper support, these children may lose their spark and struggle to thrive in the mainstream world.
Hence, it is absolutely essential to identify giftedness and unique talents early on. Such traits can be observed in children as young as 6 years old, and they often peak between the ages of 10 and 12. When provided with the right inspiration and opportunities to channel their uniqueness, these children can continue to develop and use their talents effectively.
Why do G&T children deserve our attention?
Not only for their own benefit, but for the sake of the world. Gifted and talented children possess an immense amount of creative potential. If we can guide them to address global challenges and pursue excellence and innovation, the entire world stands to gain.
Why can specializing too soon be detrimental?
As David Epstein elucidates in his groundbreaking book “Range,” premature specialisation can hinder one’s potential. Instead, exposure to multiple fields and cultivating interdisciplinary mindsets is crucial for nurturing that potential.
Epstein offers a compelling comparison between Tiger Woods and Roger Federer, showcasing their contrasting journeys. One specialized too early, while the other mastered skills across various sports and disciplines.
The same principle applies to gifted and talented children. When we identify a child as exceptionally gifted in mathematics and provide them with an advanced math program, we are only viewing their giftedness from a narrow perspective. Their mathematical abilities can also benefit from a holistic approach, allowing for the development of transferable skills and cognitive capabilities across different domains.
By offering interdisciplinary exposure, promoting problem-solving skills, and fostering a deep understanding of our complex world, we can empower our gifted and talented children to shine.
How can they truly thrive in the real world?
While G&T children may demonstrate talents in academic and creative fields at an early age, it is essential not to shield them from the real world for too long if we want them to excel.
To facilitate their growth in the real world, it is critical to provide “real-world exposure” to gifted children starting from the age of 12-13. This exposure can greatly benefit them in the following areas. Thus, it becomes our collective responsibility, as well as a parent’s prerogative, to help G&T children reach their peak potential.
How can parents initiate “Real-world exposure and learning”?
Parents can initiate this process by engaging their children in programs and experiences that go beyond single fields and embrace true interdisciplinary learning across fields like design, entrepreneurship, technology, liberal arts, social sciences, and engineering. They should be focused on:
Mentorship by coaches and industry experts
Collaboration with like-minded children from around the world
Generating real-world outcomes
If you are a parent and you think your child possesses unique gifts beyond academics, I encourage you to seek assistance from educators and experts to identify these traits. Together, we can embark on a journey to help your child become truly extraordinary.
We owe it to them and to the world.
Journey through a Cell: Nucleus (Online)– This week’s edition of ‘Talk to a Scientist’ features young scientist, Dr, Shalini Sanyal. On Sat, Aug 19, 2023 at 5 PM IST for children from ages 6-16. Register through the link/ QR code available on this page. here.
Empowering India: Ideas for Action by Scientists and Engineers (In Person, Bangalore)– Sun, Aug 20, 2023, 11 AM- 1230 PM. Register here.
This is a book release event where the authors of the book, talk about the possibilities science and engineering have for building our nation. The event blurb says-
“It is 2047. India is among the top 3 economies in the world. It is also in the top 3 nations in research, and technologies like AI, EV and green hydrogen, and spends 3% of its GDP on R&D. It is in top 10 in the Global Innovation Index, has achieved Gross Enrolment Ratio of over 50%, and Human Development Index of 0.9.
This dream is Possible and can become a reality, with Empowering India. Published by the Indian Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with the IIT Madras Alumni Association, the book explores ideas about what the leading research and educational institutions should do for India@100.
Having received inputs from an exemplary book advisory team and over 100 scientists and engineers, all of whom work at the frontiers of their respective areas, they have identified 7 focus areas and outlined 30 recommendations and hundreds of case studies in science, technology and innovation for empowering India and achieving sustainable development. The book also contains 10 illustrations, each of which takes a concept that symbolizes India, rural and urban, and visualizes it in a new context infused with various elements of S&T.”
Meet a Marvel Writer and a Stanford Admission Officer (Online)– Power Club is organizing an online workshop for students of Grade 8-11 on Thu, Aug 24, 2023 at 8:30 pm Gulf Time (10 PM IST).
During the workshop, students will interact with a Marvel writer from Hollywood and a former Stanford Admission Officer. Register here.