The Pandemic Must Not Stop the Development of Gifted Children

07/12/2020

photo by pressfoto

I am always sorry to see untapped potential around me. For example, quite often a startup comes up with a great idea but is unable to develop it further and make it succeed. Or it may be an athlete who excelled in his youth but at some point, he got stuck and now is just a "former great talent". However, these are only individual cases. The current, almost a year-old stalemate in the normal functioning of education does not threaten to harm individuals yet to "bury" an entire generation of gifted children.

It is important to realize that talented children, if allowed to develop as they need, have the potential to influence the whole country. Thanks to their abilities, one day they can advance science, work on new technologies, establish themselves in international institutions, build successful companies or aspire to lead the state itself. Every country needs such people.

Of course, the current form of teaching does not mean the children will come out as illiterates. Definitely not. At the same time, however, the current state of emergency does not make it possible to develop children's abilities beyond a certain framework which is, of course, set to standards reachable to all of them. Not more than that.

Unfortunately, in the current regime, educators' hands are tied when it comes to developing talented children. During regular classes, as soon as a teacher spots a pupil mastering the curriculum faster than others, he/she can easily add extra materials, further stimulate him/her and not let him/her get bored. In the distance learning environment, children meet the basic requirements and go watch their favorite youtuber. Parents are happy their kid finds the distance learning a piece of cake, yet without realizing it is not exactly a win-win situation.

That is why I believe that if parents are lucky enough to have children born with exceptional abilities, they must not be satisfied with what basic education offers them. And in the current situation, it is doubly true. I do not think parents should put the education itself on their shoulders - only few could manage while working from home. Rather than that, it is necessary to think about it differently - to start thinking about whether there is something extra that I, as a parent, can do to help successfully develop my child's potential. Personally, I support the Center for Talented Minds, however, there are a number of similar institutions and courses.

There is no doubt that extra education, outside the (for now imaginary) walls of public schools, is not usually free, which can discourage many people. However, I personally see education as an investment that pays off. And if a parent can contribute to the development of their child's talents, it is, from my point of view, clearly a priority. There are still many families who would like to support the education of their talented kid, but their social conditions will not allow them to do so. Even for them, the situation is not hopeless. There are many different grants and support programs that help you finance education. If you just look a little.

If someone thinks it is nothing, that it is only a few months, they could not be more wrong. Pupils have already had their teaching disrupted for almost 7 months - which is a huge part, if we take into account what percentage of their schooling it actually is. And I dare say nothing will change at least until the end of November.

What should change is parents' thinking about education. It is not enough to rely only on school. We should look for different ways to give space to the development of talent, too. One day, the children will thank you for that.

I publish my articles also on the Aktuálně.cz blog.