Note: The first two paragraphs are part of an entry I posted in the Moodle for Module 4.
When I was six, we moved (from a town with only one prominent public school) to our present home. When I took the entrance test to one of the private schools near our new home, the guidance counselor and the school’s principal talked with my parents. Apparently, I scored very high in the IQ tests. The principal suggested enrolling me to their sister school in Quezon City where the facilities are more up-to-date. My mother, knowing how tiring (and expensive) that would be, had insisted that I attend their school.
My father is brilliant in Math and has a good command of English. My mother was very good with numbers herself and was a fast worker. They both loved books and they both passed on that love of reading to us, their children. At an early age, my father would test my sister and I on Math problems while my mother encouraged my love of books and interest in languages, even unearthing her college textbook on Spanish for me. My school had a good English and Math program. Because of my inherent abilities and the dedication of my teachers, I excelled in both subjects.
Of course, other factors eventually came into play as I grew older. I have talked about my experience in Physics in a previous post (and I find it ironic that I have to teach the subject now). When I was in high school, I found Algebra quite challenging. I remembered thinking why I hadn’t had the luck of inheriting my father’s mathematical abilities. Even my mother had bemoaned the same thing on those few times she became frustrated while trying to explain how to solve literal equations to me.
It was when I was in college, taking the required Psych 101 class for my course, that I first heard of a child’s intelligence being 75% inherited from the mother. I remembered sharing this at the dinner table the very day my professor told us this. And I vividly remember how my mother, without missing a beat, readily agreed to it as though it was a well-known fact. That, of course, elicited laughter from the rest of my family (see previous paragraph about my stressed out mom).
We talked of nature vs. nurture in my Psych class. From my experience, I do think that intelligence requires a balance of both. Even if a person is naturally talented, if those talents are not given opportunities to grow and develop, nothing remarkable will happen. Didn’t they say that even those with prodigious abilities have to train (that is, nurture) for a good number of years in order to become virtuosos?
I have seen how the girls enrolled in our school are exposed to all kinds of activities and opportunities that allow them to hone their talents and interests – opportunities that even I, as a child, could only dream of. I do remind them (whenever I could) to be grateful for those opportunities and to seize the chance to improve themselves. After all, one purpose of education is the improvement of the self.