People and Their Learning Abilities According to Gladwell
Educational Success and the Advantages
Success is not something that is just given to someone, it is something that one has to earn. Educational success is determined on our own hard work and the choices that we make. One has to be very motivated and not only want to succeed but they have to try to succeed and work hard to achieve their goal. Even though success has to be earned there are many opportunities and advantages that are given to certain individuals. As Gladwell argues in Outliers, people who are successful in education have often had special advantages such as parents support, high IQ scores, and being born in certain months out of the year.
One of Gladwell’s arguments is that people born in the first three months of the year, January, February, and March have more of a chance towards success. In the first chapter he uses an example with hockey. There is a chart with all of the hockey players from a team and almost all of them are born in the first three months in the year. He states, “It has nothing to do with astrology, nor is there anything magical about the first three months of the year. Its simply that in Canada the eligibility cutoff for age-class hockey is January 1st.” So if there were two young boys, one born on January 1st and another born on January 2nd the child that was born on the second would not be able to play on that years team, he would have to wait until the next year. Because he has to wait until the next year, in that time of waiting that child is going to mature and grow and he will automatically have a better chance of being the better player on that next year’s team. Not only does this go with sports but cut off dates interferes with school and one’s education as well.
Because of the cut off dates it causes younger children to be in a class with an older age group and older kids to be in a class with kids who are younger. If you are one of the kids who is older in the class you are going to be more mature and learning will come easier to you rather than the younger kids. When a teacher sees a child excelling in a classroom, that child is rewarded and most times get special attention. This leads that child to have better self confidence. If a child is ‘too smart” to be in that grade they may get the opportunity to learn past the others in the class, this would lead that child to have more education and they are already one step ahead in their life.
Some people’s success comes from the environment that they grew up in whether it be good or bad. Kids who grow up in a bad environment or have little parent support for their education sometimes struggle in school or struggle making friends. Having parents support is very important for a child to succeed in school. A child’s first teacher is their parents, they are their role models while growing up. A parent’s attitude towards their child’s education can really affect a child to want or to not want to succeed. In my personal experience growing up I did not grow up in an environment where I was taught that education and school was important. In elementary school I do not remember ever doing homework and when I did do it, I did not have a parent to tell me to do it nor help me with it either. Because I lacked having parent support some of my grades dropped and I struggled a little more than others who had that support. Even though I was not taught that education was important I still loved school. I loved going to class everyday and learning new things.
When I was in 6th grade my mom got custody of me and my little brother. This is when I learned that I needed to do well in school. My mom provided great support for me and my brother during our later years in school. She helped me with my homework and projects as well as made sure that we got our homework done everyday. Before we went to hangout with our friends or played our video games we always had to have our homework or reading done first. My mom would bribe my brother and I with money, we were paid for every A and B that we earned. We were not allowed to get any grade below a B and if were to get anything below and 80% in a class then we would not get paid for that grade. This reward system that my mom made up really helped me thrive to get good grades not only because of the money but because I loved it when I made my mom proud.
During high school is when I was really introduced to the idea about college and furthering my education after high school. Neither of my parents went to college and did not even graduate from high school. This is what my mom says is one of her biggest regrets in life. Because she did not further her education she has struggled in her life, she does not want the same for her children. My mom has always told me that education is important, this is one of the main reasons why I plan to continue going through college. If I did not have her support through this whole thing I do not know if I would feel the same about my education.
Even though some kids do not grow up with support of their parents some kids learn from their parents mistakes and do not want to end up like them. Having to grow up in a bad environment pushes you to want better. In Outliers it talks about Chris Langins experience growing up and how he decided to move away from his past and go to college. In this chapter Langin says “To this day I have never met anybody who was as poor when they were kids as our family was.” Langin says how horrible of a life he had while growing up, his family struggled financially and he lacked support from his mother. Chris Langin was a very smart guy and even earned a scholarship which he ended up not getting because his mother did not send out the financial statement. Even though he went through some bad experiences he still pushed through it and got an education. Having a parents support throughout your educational journey really helps, with their support you can avoid having to go through some of the things that Langin had to deal with. Since Chris Langin was a very smart individual he had a little less of a hard time learning certain material.
Some people think that success is given to people and that it is something that they will never have. Being a genius or having a high IQ score does play a huge role in success in many cases, because they are naturally smart or talented. Being born smart will help in learning because that person will learn quicker than others. Even though being really smart can help you be successful, the achievement is not just going to come along with it. You have to work really hard and practice a lot to earn success. Other factors that help in educational success is classroom setting, teachers, and your participation. If a teacher cares about your education and helps you with things that you struggle with you are more likely to have a better education. Your education and your success is mainly on you. A person needs to pay attention and do assignments in class in order to actually learn the material.
In the educational system they use IQ testing to rank students to see how smart they are and to see what classes they should be placed into. Testing students puts them into separate categories basically telling them that they are smart or they are not. These test can bring down someones self esteem and make them feel as if they are not good enough, when in reality they are, they just have a different type of intelligence. There are many tests such as the SAT and the ACT. These specific tests only test on very few types of intelligence. There are several types of intelligences that people have such as creativity and leadership intelligence. Everyone is smart in their own way.
In chapter three Gladwell compares two very smart mens IQ scores. One of the men Einstein and the other Chris Langin. Gladwell says “Einstein had an IQ of 150 and Langan had an IQ of 195. …they are both clearly smart enough.” The point of Gladwell’s argument is having a high IQ score means that you are very intelligent, but after a certain point anything above that high score does not mean it is any better. Even though Langan’s IQ was 45 points higher than Einstein’s does not mean that he is any smarter than him. All it means is that they are both smart enough and that they can both figure out very complicated questions and both have very good chances towards success.
Success has to be earned. For success to be earned it requires dedication,motivation and hard work. There are advantages that many individuals have which helps them academically but everyone has the same chance towards success. Those who do not obtain the advantages such as parents support, having a high IQ score or who have birthdays before the cut off dates in school still have the same opportunity to further their education and be successful, they may just have to work a little bit harder, but the hard work always pays off.
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