: Surely that depends on their interests. I can remember being used as : a mathematics tutor as far back as the third grade (in the mid-1950s), : and I remember that it was rather gratifying. And since I became a : teacher, it may even have been in some way in my best interest. However, : I also became a mathematician, and there's no doubt that it did nothing : to further *that* interest: when I was tutoring, I was *not* learning : mathematics. On that score I'd have been much better off tucked into : a corner with a 7th grade text. (Fortunately I was able to find such : things in the public library.)
Not at all! Yor interest in math was piqued and you learned it ON YOUR OWN. This should be the absolutely ONLY goal of teachers in today's Age of Information.
You are a prime example of "educating" as opposed to "schooling".
: I do not think that the purpose of education is to make money or acquire : power. The idea that it should promote happiness is a little less : unattractive at first sight, but I'm not sure that it can stand much : scrutiny. Surely education should prepare one to face facts, and facts : are frequently unpleasant.
: The ability to get along with others is certainly important, but it : doesn't seem to have much to do with *education*. I can accept that : a schools have a place in the socialization process, but I insist that : education comes first.
The first goal of "education" should be to seperate it as quickly as possible from "schooling".
Schooling imposes a hierarchical structure on the process of learning. It implies that all knowledge flows from the mouth of the teacher and the words in a textbook. Nothing could be further from the truth.
: > Gifted does not mean successful or happy in life.
: True, but I'm not sure how it's relevant. One of the problems faced : by the genuinely precocious is that they are so seldom dealt with at : their own level as children; I don't see how ignoring or misusing : their talents is going to improve their chances at success or : happiness!
I reiterate: the concept of labeling is damaging. There is no reason for it's use beyond that of a diagnostic. "Gifted" is a particularly repulsive and ugly term. It is effete and hierarchical in nature and implies someone has bestowed it on the designee. (Seperation of church and state could come into play here.)
Those who have shown talent in a particular field should be encouraged (not pushed) to develop it outside the regular classroom where more individual attention can be given (whether it be by special tutalage or self-instruction). We do it by means of "pull-out" programs. This is not always the best method but it is the best method that can be afforded by a public school at this time.