Why is talent and hard work so easily dismissed?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Why is talent and hard work so easily dismissed?
41
Mon, 06-20-2011 - 1:03pm

I've been frustrated before and I'll be frustrated again but I don't know that I'll ever understand. Another school talent show has come and gone. I actually appreciate DS's school talent show because unlike DD's elementary, DS's show is almost entirely filled with kids actually taking lessons and working on skills. You'd assume that the majority of audience were there to support their own child and so could appreciate the work going in but they were still a terrible audience.

For example, the 9-year-old who played her own piano accompianment as she sung a Disney song got polite applause despite the fact that she was really very good (I was incredibly impressed with her piano skills and her singing was clear and on key.) The girl who mumbled through a canned

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2006
Fri, 07-08-2011 - 10:21am

Actually I have total contempt for "rigorous" programs of any kind. I don't know how that term ever got conflated with "academic excellence".

Here's the top Google hit on the definition of rigor:

rig·or
n.
1. Strictness or severity, as in temperament, action, or judgment.
2. A harsh or trying circumstance; hardship. See Synonyms at difficulty.
3. A harsh or cruel act.
4. Medicine Shivering or trembling, as caused by a chill.
5. Physiology A state of rigidity in living tissues or organs that prevents response to stimuli.
6. Obsolete Stiffness or rigidity.

[Middle English rigour, from Old French, from Latin rigor, from rigre, to be stiff; see reig- in Indo-European roots.]

Rigor has its place in a mathematical proof, in the sense that the argument must be valid...and scientific method requires rigor.

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Registered: 09-13-1999
Fri, 07-08-2011 - 11:09am

Deborah, thank you for your post!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2006
"I'm all for high standards, demands, even some pushing where helpful..."

I think we're pretty much on the same page on this one...but I try to "engineer" the environment so that the standards, demands, and pushing come to be defined by the student...so that the student "owns" his own education. For us it has changed the "timetable of learning"...I have had to wait a looooonnnnnnggggggg time to see that built in eagerness and inquisitiveness and aptitude lead to self discipline and achievement and confidence.

Deborah
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Registered: 12-06-2010
"I try to "engineer" the environment so that the standards, demands, and pushing come to be defined by the student...so that the student "owns" his own education."

Are you familiar with the Waldorf schools? Waldorf is very much about about internal motivation, knowing your own mind and going at your own pace. There are a good deal of practical disadvantages to Waldorf, but its basic concepts are interesting food for thought.

I'm not a big fan of pressuring kids or setting their goals for them for two reasons: first, they'll get more satisfaction out of life when they own their efforts and second, it's far easier to learn discipline than to learn how to know your own mind. And there's nothing wrong with teaching kids that discipline is a useful if occasionally overrated tool. ;)
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Registered: 07-23-2002
Fri, 07-08-2011 - 11:11pm

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

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Registered: 12-06-2010
Sat, 07-09-2011 - 12:51am
Yeah, Waldorf doesn't do early academics, that's for sure. I think their argument would be that at four-and-a-half your kid should be outside playing with snails and building treehouses instead of learning long division. They don't like the use of computers and frown on television, too. And you're supposed to learn how to read using the Waldorf alliterative way, which is kind of cool but not really effective for spontaneous readers, is it? That was what I meant when I said that Waldorf is impractical. I do like the "whole child" concept and the focus on non-academic learning in the early years, though.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002

"I think their argument would be that at four-and-a-half your kid should be outside playing with snails and building treehouses instead of learning long division.

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2006
I don't know if this post is intended for me (it quotes my post) but I'll contribute anyhow. In a nutshell, a friend in my hometown had a Waldorf school in her attic and a book about the work of Rudolf Steiner...that introduced me to the notion that the kind of education I had was neither the only nor the optimal. As a young parent I learned about Reggio Emilia and Montessori and Summerhill and Holt.

I was long on theory and short on understanding when I started teaching my own kids over a decade ago...by now I've discarded most of the theory in favor of what works for us. And what works for us discipline wise is basically the Golden Rule. That's it.

Deborah
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2002
Sat, 07-09-2011 - 11:06am

My husband, my son and I have wondered the same thing.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2006
One more observation...Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, etc. schools vary widely in their implementation...but my friend started her Waldorf school because the public schools were an extremely poor fit for her verbally and musically precocious son.

Deborah