Sunday, January 18, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell in Seattle

We left Code Name Alice at a friend's house tonight so we could see Malcolm Gladwell talk about his new book, Outliers--and talk generally about social sciences and some very interesting studies.

He actually talked about a lot more than his new book and it was a great presentation. I recommend seeing him if he comes to your area.

One of the great revelations was that our daughter's birthday will, potentially, dramatically change how well she does in school. This is because she was born in May. The cut off age for acceptance into school for the fall is a birthday in June. This means that if we put her in school at the socially proper age, she will be one of the youngest children in her class, which means she will be less mature, potentially not do as well in performing compared to older children (who have up to 11 months maturity on her) in the class and likely be told by her teachers (indirectly) that she isn't as good as the other kids (who happen to be older--an observation that nobody seems to make in the comparison). Conversely, if we wait and put her school the following year, she will be one of the oldest kids (if not the oldest) in class, which will make her the most mature kid in the class. This doesn't sound necessarily good at first, given that it's never fun to be the smartest person in the room (without much to learn from your peers). However, the teachers will treat her with more respect and think of her as more intelligent, thereby providing her with the healthy mentality that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it.

I am, of course, paraphrasing in a slightly awkward sickly thought process. His new book sounds like it's worth the read (although, I'm not sure any of his educational research is in there). Now I'm going to go curl up with a warm blanket and drink ancient Ninja healing elixir to ward off this fever.

Here he is on TED.com, with a very interesting anecdote about spaghetti sauce:

1 comment:

Adam said...

Dude, you got me sick at Gladwell--I woke up this morning with a banshee in my sinuses.

It was a good talk though :)