The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, July 14, 2008

What makes a favourite teacher

Everyone has a favourite teacher. Even if someone disliked all of their teachers, one would be the least disliked and this one, therefore, would be the "favourite".

I once asked a class of foreign students, whom I had taught for only a couple of weeks who their favourite teacher in life had been and why. I didn't expect any of them to point to me, in answer, given our short acquaintance - though the odd one did, in fact, do so.

That, however, was not what surprised or interested me. The peculiar answer of one Chinese mainland student did.

She named her favourite teacher as being an English teacher she had once had, long ago. He had been a Caucasian - but that wasn't why she had liked him. I was curious about her reasoning and so enquired further.

"Why is he your favourite?"

"Because he wore different coloured socks everyday.", she declared, seeming to be pleased to remember him and his strange habit.

I must have looked appropriately puzzled, for she fell silent, not knowing quite what to say next.

"Why did that make him your favourite teacher?", I prompted.

"Because he was fashionable.", she explained, as if it were the most obvious, and the most important reason in all the world.

I couldn't stop myself, but found my tongue echoing her reason to the whole class, just so that they could hear her softly spoken reply.

I left it at that. I didn't want to embarrass her. Yet, I confess I was flabbergasted that an inconsequential matter like the colour of one's socks, can make one the most memorable and appreciated teacher in a person's life.

This, of course, leads one to ask the necessary question: how is it possible to teach students who don't know how to measure the quality of what is being imparted? How is it possible to teach students whose values are so distorted that the colour of socks is held up as the measure of a teacher?

I wonder, now, how common such shallow views, as this young woman, ostensibly in her twenties, held, are in modern China? Is it a nation of superficial people unable to identify what is important in life?

I hope not. For soon the birthplace of this remarkable, sock worshipping, young woman, will be a financial superpower.

Of course, if it turns out that young women like her are common in modern China, you know how to cope with it: just wear differently coloured socks everyday. That is sure to impress them.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:13 PM 


Anonymous averral said...

lol she probably wanted to say that he was different from the rest of the teachers she has met but couldn't form her opinons in a coherent way.

3:17 AM  

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