Aren’t We All Gifted and Talented?

Last week on Critical Thinking in the Real World, I interviewed Mariaemma Willis who co-wrote Discover Your Child’s Learning Style with Victoria Hodson.  Willis says that the key to each child’s success is understanding the unique way he or she learns. 

As adults we have some understanding of the best way we gain and retain knowledge.  Perhaps it is by hearing the same thing over and over.  It could be that we must write or read something multiple times.  Others prefer to see the process and then do it themselves. We have learned to cater to our unique learning style over the years, but we often forget that our children may not learn in the same way. 

 Ellis says this book is a parenting book in that it encourages parents to take charge of their children’s education journey.  In the introduction, she writes, “The more success and accomplishment young people experience based on their unique styles of learning, the better equipped they are to deal with learning and life in general.”

What I love about Discover Your Child’s Learning Style is that this book is applicable for students of all ages and that includes both preschoolers and adults returning to college.

The reality is that many people form lifelong self-images by how successful they are in school.  If you didn’t have a positive school experience, you probably understand this very well.  As a first grader in 1977, I was selected for the “gifted and talented” program.  I was excited by this even though I didn’t quite understand what it meant.  I felt smart though and was pleased the teacher seemed to recognize it.  The special group was given a test to determine whether or not we’d be admitted to the “gifted and talented” track and we were told to place our answers on a Scantron form.  I’d never seen a Scantron form before and had no idea how to fill it out.  I kept filling bubbles until the line was full and then moved on.  It was quickly determined that I couldn’t be that smart if I was unable to fill out the form correctly.  I remember feeling shame and anger.  If only the teacher had asked me the questions or allowed me to write down my answers, I was sure I would be “gifted and talented” too.  There were no second chances, however. 

 Thankfully, I had a family who encouraged me and I was later blessed with great teachers who recognized that I was in fact quite smart especially when I was allowed to speak or write my answers.  I never did well on multiple choice tests because that didn’t fit my unique learning style.  Today I am a college instructor and mother of three who is re-learning every single day that each person learns differently, but we are all capable of learning.

 For more information or to complete an online self-portrait of your or your child’s learning style, go to and enter the code: RLHINZ for $5 off.


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