“Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”—Albert Einstein
Most of us have grown up fantasising about doing something meaningful and consequential with our lives by morphing into the very best version of ourselves. Centuries of literature and theatre have played to this fantasy. Yet most would attest to a considerable distance between the fantasy and their reality. More often than not, we’d never truly recognise our own dominant strengths. Even if we did, the opportunities to nurture these strengths through education, real world exposure and mentoring would be few and far between. It is very essential to spot talent at a young age and steer it in the right direction to truly realise our potential. You’d think that the entire education system would see this blindingly obvious truism and at least make an effort to navigate towards achieving it. Yet the majority of our education system is failing miserably on this count.
Academics like Howard Gardner have written multiple tomes on how each of us are different. Our individual intellectual constructs approach the very same reality very differently—like blind men diagnosing an elephant. However, mapping those constructs in a way that lends itself to an action plan for every individual child is a highly challenging task. Even some of the most well-meaning have been shipwrecked on the shores of this challenge.
Then we should perhaps start in this direction through cautious baby steps. Triangulating opinions between a teacher, a parent and a career counsellor could perhaps be a great first step in identifying a child’s dominant strengths. There are several open source psychometric tests that can also assist in creating a fuller bodied model of the child’s biggest assets. Instituting a system in our schools that requires educators to note the child’s responses to various stimuli—classroom activities, homework and social interaction—could over time yield a rich data bank on the child that points to those elusive dominant strengths that we seek. While far from perfect, this data would help every school understand every