In South Korea, a country with educational fervor, there are many parents who want to raise their children as geniuses. How can you define a genius? Is it a genius if one has a high IQ and great test scores and attends the best college? By these standards, only a few can be geniuses. However, Albert Einstein who was considered to be a genius of his century, said everybody is a genius. I, as an educator, completely agree with his remarks.
I met with students and professors who showed genius in various areas while I attended Harvard University for about 10 years. As a result, I tend to spot people’s outstanding talent quickly.
South Korean universities select students based on school grades, writing tests, and SAT scores. By these standards, only those who attend prestigious universities can be called geniuses. However, I often encounter students with hidden talent in my classes. I can figure out their strengths and weaknesses while doing research together. If they are assigned to projects to utilize their strengths in a team that complements their weaknesses, their strengths further develop to a higher level. This is the moment that I feel most proud of as an educator.
As I am serving as the head of a university’s science institute for gifted, I often meet gifted elementary and middle school students. At a graduation ceremony, I often emphasize that the biggest meaning of graduation from the institute is planting a seed of self-hypnosis that they are geniuses. A knife held by a criminal harms lives but a knife held by a doctor saves lives. I hope that gifted children grow their seeds well and their fruits bring positive changes to the world.