Anti-intellectualism: A hurdle

Dr. Nicholas Colangelo

Dr. Nicholas Colangelo, Director, Belin-Blank Center

One of the biggest obstacles that gifted education faces is anti-intellectualism, which Richard Hofstader defined as “a resentment and suspicion of the life of the mind and those who are considered to represent it; and a disposition constantly to minimize the value of that life.”

Anti-intellectualism is most damaging to our young gifted students, who face disrespect and even ridicule for what we as a society should consider good things – excitement about new ideas, high test scores, and good grades.

What can we do about it? Schools can display student accomplishments not only in sports, but also in academics, music, and art. Teachers and parents can recognize gifted programs not as undemocratic or elitist, but as a way of accommodating individual student needs. Finally, we can recognize that anti-giftedness is anti-intellectual and ignores individual differences in abilities.

2 responses to “Anti-intellectualism: A hurdle

  1. What a nice Post Nick, simple and to the point. It is nice to see the Belin Blank centre blogging and using twitter. Anti-intellectualism can be so damaging, especially to young folk who only want to grow and and enjoy their potential. Les

  2. Really, most of this era can be summarized:

    1. Myopic focus on satisfying today’s needs as opposed to future challenges. So the emphasis is on producing large quantities of turn the crank people, not people striving to take us further.

    2. Fear. We have entered the era of disposible people. So people are always afraid of being disposed of. This translates into the fear that if gifted people are educated well, that nongifted people will be excluded from their dreams and aspirations. They will be disposed of. The teamwork model of everyone, gifted and nongifted together, making the best contributions of their respective talents and abilities together, is broken.

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