Who is a Genius?

Who is a Genius?

There is a quote that reads, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Some say Albert Einstein said those words. Some say he did not. Regardless of who really did say them, the sentiment remains the same. You have to capitalize on an individual’s strengths and abilities. If not, the person will believe that they are incompetent and incapable. With high school graduation rates at 75% or less in some places and college graduation numbers hovering at 50% or below, there are some that say that these numbers are a result of lack of motivation in today’s students. But I ask, is it really lack of motivation?

There is an existing body of research that explains that a student’s level of achievement in a specific area is a strong predictor of the student’s motivation and the self-regulated behaviors that drive continued educational obtainment (Dembo & Seli, 2004). So how is that achievement defined? In the belief that one is—you guessed it—competent and capable.

So how does one come to believe that they are competent and capable? In one word, the answer is success. Success breeds success. With the proper academic supports, students can better understand how to learn and what to learn in order to prepare for and achieve their goals and dreams. The more the student experiences success, the more competent and capable the student will feel and thus become. This leads to motivation and achievement—a belief in one’s ability to accomplish a task.

I think that it’s a safe bet to say that the majority of of students want to do well in school. They want to attend post-secondary institutions or vocational schools after having a successful secondary education experience. Upon entering a post-secondary institution, the students have aspirations of graduation. However, even with the best of intentions, many don’t know what to do or how to go about doing what needs to be done. And in just as many cases, even their parents are at a loss as to what to do. If there have been numerous failures up to this point, they feel like a fish trying to climb a tree—hopeless and stupid. This may seem like harsh words, but, they stem from true feelings.

With the proper supports and innovative technologies, students can achieve higher levels of academic success in secondary and post-secondary institutions. Every student has strengths and abilities. As a community that will surely suffer if our children fail, let’s make it a personal mission to be instrumental in the facilitation of their academic growth and growth toward achieving their dreams. After all, maybe it was Albert Einstein or somebody else, but, it’s worth repeating: “Everyone is a genius…”

By Cheryl Harris Curtis

Cheryl Harris Curtis is an Educational Consultant/Writer that is a candidate in the world’s only Developmental Education Doctoral program. Believing that her personal mission is to inspire, uplift and empower, she encourages others to work to do the same. Feel free to contact her at Cheryl.curtis@att.blackberry.net or follow her on twitter @educationreform.



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