Joe Renzulli provided the first keynote of the WCGTC and I was really impressed by what he was sharing. Through his many decades of research that he has provided to education and gifted education in particular I was not sure what he was going to offer. I was not sure what new ideas he would be bringing to the table.
However, I really loved his message. In many ways his ideas were the same as mine. It was as if he pulled them from my brain and then just spoke about them in a more elegant intellectual manner than what I could do.
What I really stood out to me during his speech was when he discussed that the traditional focus of gifted education is good, but we need have to the students do something with their skills. They need to think about creating positive social change.
And this connects to the wisdom of psychopaths.
About a year I read the book the Wisdom of Psychopaths and one quote that stood out to me was
“Intellectual ability on its own is just an elegant way of finishing second.”
This quote has stuck with me and finally I found its match. This is essentially what Renzulli was talking about.
As an educator this should be our mindset. We are no longer just about skills and standards. It is our obligation to move beyond skills and teach about ethics and moral responsibilities to one another. As I work with bringing the real world to my classroom these discussions and life issues come up naturally. I don’t think we do this enough. One thing lacking in our education system is bridging the content and skills with helping to create social change.
This year I challenge you to think about how to help create positive leaders of our society. Think about how the lessons you teach can be connected to becoming a citizen in society. Not just a citizen, but social agent of change for good. This is a lost piece of our classroom. This missing piece might be the most important piece. Think about it.