The distribution of talents in a person may be compared to the distribution of matter in the universe. We have gotten much better at visualizing this matter over time – and a person gets better at recognizing what he is good at as he gets older.
This picture sums it up:
We start off with talents that are fuzzy. Some boys are good at sports. Some girls may be good at music. Either sex may have talents commonly associated with the other. I believe the brain is predisposed to some talents at birth, but that doesn’t preclude learning to be better at anything.
The point is that as we get older we figure out where our talents lie. We accept that we are naturally good at some things and, while we can develop a weakness into a strength, there are so many areas where we are just naturally better; Why invest the energy to do so?
Recognizing and accepting ourselves as who we are simply acknowledges this prenatal organization of brain stuff. We ought to consider it a gift.
Schools simply reflect society’s priority to develop general individual utility for the sake of general prosperity. In an increasingly interconnected and complex society, the role each of us play can be more granular. Unfortunately it is not economical for schools to produce individualized curricula – so we settle for generic education ill suited to the individual talents of students.
Perhaps in some enlightened future educational system we will enjoy new capabilities being developed in pharmacology: to custom engineer drugs to suit the unique characteristics of human molecular architecture at the DNA level. Some education leaders are advocating the same for schools.
As the noted education expert Sir Kenneth Robinson has criticized: The principal organizing characteristic which determines the education of our youth should not be their date of manufacture.