Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Trouble with Outliers Pt. 1

Haley Scholars Fall 2013 Reading Groups

In his “Trouble with Geniuses, Part I” chapter, Malcolm Gladwell begins to clarify his argument that we continually have trouble understanding outliers. Researchers and an array of commentators often rely too heavily on conventional measures of aptitude to predict the ingredients of those who become extraordinary successes. For example, we label those who perform exceptionally well on IQ tests “geniuses,” and that designation falsely presumes that they will become highly successful.

According to Gladwell, individuals hardly need to be exceptionally intelligent or super smart to do really well. Instead, they merely need to be “smart enough.” And those who are smart enough do not need to attend the very best schools to gain the knowledge and training to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine, for example. They just have to attend a school that is “good enough.”

What's one important thing we should consider if we want to ensure that our local learning environments are “good enough”? Why?

Some previous answers
To make learning environments "good enough" they should be made smaller. Smaller classroom size with fewer students will take away from distractions and allow a more direct form of teaching from the instructor. --T.T.

A good collegiate environment also needs to have the proper resources for success to use. There is only so much that can be achieved without having resources around you to complete research, study time, and to build up your brain power. --R.C.

When it comes to "good enough" collegiate enviornment, the institution must mandate a well rounded curriculum. Taking general education class is crucial when it comes to becoming a well rounded individual. --C.A.

15 comments:

Deandre Howard said...

Unfortunately, we can only provide the best environment and tools needed for success. Ultimately, it is up for the students to decide to make the effort meet the standards of success; it is always one's own choices that mattered in one's life.

Bluntly speaking, the focus of promoting academics and providing high quality (and updated) materials, teaching, and academic facilities is the true priority. "You can't build a wall without tools," a friend said "so give them what they need." -DeAndre H.

Lindsey McCall said...

In order to make our learning environment "good enough" we must make all resources available to all students. It is ultimately up to the student to make their experience "good enough." We as students must take advantage of these resources such as: professor's office hours, study sessions, tutoring and the library. Every college/university is good enough, but it is also what you make of it.

Anonymous said...

Overall, some institutions have lost the essence of what an education is. Unfortunately, it isn't as admired as it used to be; people used to love the opportunity to attend school and better themselves. Now, school is seen as a burden and students settle for less then their best. Once students realize the standard of education and how it should be raised, I believe local environments will be "good enough." Teachers can only do so much. This topic should be addressed because education is the essence to solving some of the most complex problems, not only academically but regarding life skills as well.
-Alex J.

Sierra Ewing said...

To make certain that our learning environments are "good enough" there needs to be a solid foundation in the leadership. Our educators not only need to have an excellence in their field, but also a passion to lead and help students. The nurturing environment created by a passionate and knowledgable teacher and his ability to help and challenge the students is crucial. The small class size could help in theory and generally leads to a more engaged classroom setting, but it can't help if the teacher is disconnect from his students or lacks the ability to reach out to those who are under his teaching.

Isaiah Blackburn said...

This book just keeps getting better and better. I feel like a puppet being controlled by some master puppeteer because Gladwell's language seems to steer you in a new direction while reiterating his previous information as stepping stones to this new idea. I agree with Deandre. Potential is nothing without the desire to mature those skills in order to use them in the real world.

The fact that the student with the higher IQ did poorly on the convergence test with the brick and the blanket was amazing to me. It made me wonder if everyone has to forfeit their creativity in exchange for intelligence and vice versa. Is there a some midpoint where a person would not have to sacrifice one for the other?

Andriana C. said...

In reading this section I can only say one thing to ensure academic success. Since aptitude tests and grades can't guarantee success, that means only the person can determine how successful they can be. If every day is spent wasted, instructors should be blatantly honest with a student and tell them that their behavior is going no where. Honoring the academically successful and ignoring the average and below average students creates an inferiority complex that lessens a student's ability to understand that they can be successful. They think that they can only do great things in life if they behave like the straight A varsity sports student.
The fact remains that academic excellence isn't defined by intelligence, but rather the applicable skills you have that can prove useful later in life.

Evan Townzen said...

If the learning environment is not "good enough" then the thing that needs to be changed is the teachers, professors, or the budget for supplies. This is obvious. If you give someone, that wants to learn, the right tools they will learn.

That's all you can do though, if a student does not care you cannot make them, unless you trigger their interest. This is not something you can have a formula for though, because every student is different.
Therefore, if a student is interested and has the tools, they will learn.

Evan T.

sierra lucas said...

I feel that a quite place without a lot of distractions are key for success along with a team of people that support you. having all those resources will only get you so far, ultimately it is up to that student or person to do their part to make sure that they succeed in the area and things that they want to achieve.As long as you have these good study areas, a good team behind you, and a dedicated student than their should be no reason why failure should be a option.
Sierra L.

Shervonti Norman said...

To ensure that our local learning environments are "good enough," one important thing to consider is a person' sown drive to achieve their goals. Gladwell makes it very obvious that success is never just handed to a person. The amount of time and practice one puts into what they are doing is what helps them become successful. If a person is not serious about what they are doing and does not put the work that needs to be done into it, they won't be successful. That is no one's fault but their own. An institution can provide the best professors and supplies but if a person does not utilize that, that's their decision.

Alexandra Donaldson said...

In order to ensure our local learning environments are "good enough" we must make sure the learning materials are all up to date and the best that they can be. If the materials are up to date, the students will be able to learn at a higher level. Which in the end will promote success.

Alex D.

gabriel said...

Setting the standard a little higher then it should be can ensure that our learning environments is considered “good enough”. Those that meet that higher standard will do a lot better. However those that cant quite make that higher standard will still be considered “good enough”.
Achieving that higher standard is difficult. The students need to be willing to learn and put in that study time. As well as, those teaching the material need to be well equipped with the necessary tools to engage the students.
-G.S.Msengi

Rodrick Robins said...

In order for an institution to be good enough, it must be quiet. When I say quiet, I do not mean in the literal sense of the word in which there is an absence of audible sound. When I say quiet, I mean it must be away form societal noise, where students can "hear themselves think", and can cultivate their self, so that they can them be successful. Without a quiet mind and inner peace, the mind can not grow intellectually.

- Rodrick Robins

Trion Taylor said...

One important thing to consider is definitely the tools that are offered at a school. If they don't offer things like tutoring in every subject, or computers for students to use then the success of a student is limited.
When those things are offered, however, that's when it becomes the student's responsibility. Incentives to learn and study could also help but if you really want to get to your goal in life, then you shouldn't really need an incentive.

Joi M said...

I think that we need to better examine what types of teachers we have in the classrooms. Teachers shouldn't be hired just because they have a license, but their ability to connect with the students inside the classrooms & relate to them outside the classrooms should be taken into consideration. When students feel comfortable with the person inside the classroom they will have an easier time learning.

Abriella Jones said...

Focusing on each students personal needs would make learning environments way better. Some students excel in math but not in English, for example, so their time should be spent more on math. There is no reason for a student to have to wait and be held back from further learning just because another student is having problems understanding.