Mohamed

Beyond the borders of sanity

Discovering hidden talents

The views expressed in this article are not based on any scientific research or facts, but are rather random ramblings and rants expressing my inner thoughts, the same thoughts that have been disturbing me for the past 19 years.

inspiration

Everybody has a talent of their own, but the real challenge lies in discovering this talent. One would think that education systems should help students in discovering those talents and deciding on what they'd rather be doing for the rest of their natural lives. On the contrary, I've seen colleagues of mine (computer science majors) who would rather be accountants, some better as artists, others great at marketing. We have so many examples of engineering students who turned out being great comedians (Mr. Bean) and actors and all sorts of professions - all living proof of the failure of education systems in discovering talent in students.

When we look at how education systems work up the hierarchy, we notice that they go from the general to the specific. We start learning general and basic content during primary school, going more "advanced" and specific as we proceed. One of the ways in which this helps in making a choice is by understanding as many fields as possible, to be able to know what one is best at. One will never know unless he tries

So this is a point in the favour of education systems. So it should be possible to discover talents In young children by simply observing them in action. Teachers should be easily able to tell what students are good at, and what they're not good at. So the question which raise itself is : why are these talents usually NOT pointed out?

IMHO the flaw lies in how education systems assess students. A closer look at assessments , we see quizzes, assignments, tests and projects. After all of that all students get graded on a scale of 100. An 'A' grade represents 'fairly' competent'. But the problem is that a fairly competent and an extraordinarily good student would both get an 'A' . What limitation to the infinite creativity of the mind!

As we can see, the system is grade-oriented. My mother always used to tell me "study hard to get *good grades*" (well more like shout at me). Is that all what matters? Getting good grades, regardless of discovering what you'd love to do in the future ? Sure , maybe it is implicitly assumed, but I think this is critical enough to be explicit!

Another issue issue which bugs me is the attitude of some people. "I just want to graduate, get a good job and make my parents happy". Sure those are noble goals, but what ever happened to doing what you love and doing it like nobody else!!

Another "talent killer" is cheating. I'm referring to cheating in all of its forms. That Includes copying assignments and cheating in tests. This just kills the whole concept of education -- it's bad, don't do it.

I've ranted a lot during this post, kind of annoying. The bottom line is : somebody come up with better assessment system and save the world from wrong choices!!!

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