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JAKE ANTHONY

The driving force behind this series of publications was born in


England just one year into World War Two. The sound of air raid
sirens and bombs dropping were his earliest subliminal memories.
The aftermath of a World War meant relative poverty and
food shortages. However, caring parents and a Grammar School
education were the highly positive catalysts which helped Jake
develop his own potential.
A wish to become an actor and writer was fulfilled through
difficult to obtain professional training, hard work and dedication
against the odds. Ultimately, Jake Anthony obtained a degree of
‘celebrity’ over the years and his work as a character actor can
still be seen on TV and DVD from time to time.
Eventually shunning the limelight of the acting world, Jake
became one of the most published writers who absolutely no one
knew or knows about. This was due to his work as a copywriter
and journalist in PR, going predominately uncredited. His work as
author was mainly published under pseudonyms, or as ghost writer
and/or editor for other authors. Few writers have received so
many consistently good reviews for their work or so high a per-
centage of published articles from unwanted press releases on an
international level, with absolute anonymity.
A period working as actor and writer and occasional direc-
tor of Theatre in Education in the West, followed by twenty plus
years in South East Asia, gave Jake a global perspective on the
many different ways children can be educated and their potential
expanded. These experiences inspired Jake to invest much of his
life researching, writing and practising Prodigy.

3
THIS SERIES OF BOOKS

A project spanning four generations, the research and personal


implementation of the information contained in this series of books
was compiled over a period of fifty years by the author, and a
previous forty years by the author’s father. A total of ninety years
dedicated interest in an holistic approach to life.
In the last decade, the author’s son has contributed an IT
and pure science dimension, as well as his own personal recollec-
tions of life as a youngster who, through a strange trick of fate,
was initially one of the least educated children in the Western
world.
Yet independent tracking by an educational psychologist con-
firmed that his raw IQ as well as his educational progress, in-
creased exponentially from the age of 8 to 14 years. This com-
pletely contradicts conventional wisdom as detailed in the contro-
versial book ‘The Bell Curve’ - which states that IQ cannot be
significantly increased after the age of five.
The information detailed within and the personal implemen-
tation of the Prodigy Project is truly startling stuff, and holds out
hope for each and every child.
A lifetime’s work, the son of the author now has his own
young son and daughter benefiting from the many factors detailed
within the series of books that make up the Prodigy Project.

4
CONTENTS

Acknowledgements
Reference
Personal Recollections of Childhood by a Dad and a Kid
Foreword

1. INTELLIGENCE - AN INSTANT GUIDE

IQ
The Most Widely Used Intelligence Tests Utilised Today
The Intelligence Scale
IQ Ratings As a Percentage of the Population
IQ Ratings - Genius Level
Intelligence: The Most Common Characteristics
The Human Brain - An Instant Guide
What Kind of Intellect Will Your Child Possess?
Types of Intelligence

2. RECOGNISING A PRODIGY

Early Signs of a Clever Kid


The Stages in Your Baby’s Development - An Instant Guide
Speech Development
Indications of a High IQ - Toddlers to Around Seven Years
Identifying the Gifted School Child

5
3. HELP FROM THE FAMILY

Position in the Family


Assisting the Older Child
Competing With a Gifted Older Sibling
Getting the Gifted Child Back on Course
Should I Have My Child Tested By An
Educational Psychologist?
Wechsler Tests
MENSA - The Genius Club

4. POTENTIAL IQ IMPROVEMENT FACTORS

Your child’s Intellectual, Creative and Emotional Potential

5. WHAT CAN I DO TO NURTURE A PRODIGY?

Genes Are Not the Whole Story

BEFORE CONCEPTION & DURING PREGNANCY

Factor 1 - Body Conditioning


Factor 2 - Nutrition & Diet
Factor 3 - Vegetarianism
Factor 4 – Meditation
Factor 5 - Smoking
Factor 6 - Alcohol
Factor 7 - Drugs, Tranquillisers & Pain Killers
Factor 8 - Air Pollution & Oxygen Levels

6
BIRTH, INFANCY & EARLY CHILDHOOD

Factor 9 - Pre-Natal Stimulation & Classical Music


Factor 10 - Natural Child Birth
Factor 11 - Breast Feeding
Factor 12 - Touch & Baby Massage
Factor 13 - Cranial Osteopathy
Factor 14 - Early Speech Development

THROUGHOUT CHILDHOOD

Factor 15 - Motor Skills Development


Factor 16 - The Importance of a Stable Background
Factor 17 - An Enriched Environment
Factor 18 - Not Smacking
Factor 19 - Time With Father
Factor 20 - Creative Play & Early Self-Reliance
Factor 21 - Learning to Play a Musical Instrument
Factor 22 - Advanced Motor Skills & Extreme Sports

POTENTIAL IQ IMPROVEMENT RATINGS -


A SUMMARY

7
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

(Theatre in Education)
Betty Lavington A.L.C.N., L.L.C.M.
Performers., L.L.C.M. Teaching., Fellow of The London
College of Music., Examiner, The London Academy of Music
and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).
(Theatre in Education)
Jake Anthony. British Actors Equity. The Writers’ Guild.
(IT)
Joshua Anthony M.Sc. Computer Science.
(Cognitive Development)
Professor Robert Plomin.,
Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.
(Downing Technique)
Pauline Allen. Sound Learning Centre, UK.
(Educational Psychology)
Neville W. Adams. B.Sc., M.Sc., Dip. Ed., A.B.P.S., UK.
(Education)
Nathan Mills M.A.. Research Based Learning (RBL). King
Mongkut’s University, Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand.
(Nutrition)
Dr. Robert J. Woodward B. Pharm., Ph.D., M.Royal Pharm. Soc.,
C. Chem., F.R.S.C., London, UK.
(Extreme Sports)
Svein Rasmussen.

• The knowledge, experience and assistance provided by all of the


above, was invaluable in the compilation of this publication.

8
REFERENCE

Thanks are offered to the many scientists, nutritionists,


naturopaths, social scientists, psychologists, educational psy-
chologists and professionals in a wide range of disciplines
throughout the world, whose work has been utilised
as reference material in ‘Prodigy’.

PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS
OF A DAD AND A KID

Providing a human perspective to add to the scientific,


detailed intermittently throughout this series of books
are the recollections of a Dad and a Kid.
They participated in the Prodigy programme
from the kid’s conception.
The Kid is now a Master of Computer Science,
an award winning movie maker, and co-author of this book.
The Dad is a much published author and
compiler of this series of books.

Cartoons: Mac.
Prodigy Logo: Joshua Anthony.
Graphic Design: Bird & Jake Anthony.

‘Prodigy’ as title was suggested by


Peter Cox of Litopia Corporation.

9
Published by IQ Inc.
International licencing enquiries:
publicrelationsiqinc@hotmail.com
www.iqincmedia.com

(C) 2007. 2009.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted


or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, photocopying,
recording or otherwise, except for brief extracts for the purpose
of review, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.

Prodigy 1: ISBN `974 - 88459 - 7 - 4

Prodigy Compilation:

ISBN `974 - 94992 - 9 - 8

First Pressing: April 2007.


E-Book: 2009

10
Foreword
Talent developed to a prodigious level in any preoccupation or pas-
time can be fun, as well as the route to a successful future career.
Your child may not wish or be able to emulate Einstein, Beethoven or
Picasso, but there are a million technical, artistic and craft options in
the modern world open to any young person having the appropriate
degree of intellect, understanding and expertise.
Another Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, John Cleese, Eric Idle,
Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Barry Humphries, Stan Laurel, Oliver
Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando, Laurence Olivier, Michael
Caine, Sean Connery, Nick Nolte, Mel Gibson, Susan Sarandon,
Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey, Aretha Franklin, Renee Fleming,
Pavarotti, John Barry, Walt Disney, Frank Churchill, Akira
Kurosawa, David Lean, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Tony Scott,
Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Jonathan Swift, Charles Dickens,
Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, H.G. Wells, Alexander Dumas,
Jules Verne, Victor Hugo, Aldous Huxley, Dostoevsky, Isaac Asi-
mov, L. Ron Hubbard, Tiger Woods, Lennox Lewis; a gifted ath-
lete, computer scientist, entrepreneur, environmentalist or Nobel
Peace Prize winner, these the world would welcome and reward.
Parents conversant with the many dietary, environmental,
physiological and psychological components that can help expand
and inspire intellect during the early years when so much is possible,
can potentially increase their children’s growth by an exponential
degree. However, you can boost IQ at any age. Prodigy tells you
how.
The higher your IQ as a child, the longer you are likely to live.
This was the conclusion of a study published in the British Medical
Journal in the year 2001[1]. It is the first time that IQ records have
been clinically linked to mortality.

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1
Intelligence
An
Instant Guide

12
THE MOST WIDELY USED
INTELLIGENCE TESTS UTILISED TODAY

The Wechsler System: Used mainly by Educational Psychologists,


this system evaluates both educational attainment and raw-IQ levels
in children.

The Cattell System: This is utilised by MENSA, the Genius Club,


and was devised predominately to measure raw-IQ. However, a
cultural bias will automatically be created in favour of those emanat-
ing from a formally educated background.

The Torrence Tests: This system attempts to numerically quantify


“creative” skills and attributes.

The Bell Curve

13
IQ

IQ means ‘Intelligence Quotient: the amount or quantity of a person’s


intellect given as a numerical score. 100 denotes average. Higher
than that and you would be regarded as intellectually bright.
From 1905 onwards, attempts to measure raw-IQ were
conceived to determine which individuals would benefit most from
formal education. The earliest system used was the Stanford-Binet
test.
An individual can possess a high IQ but might not be able to
read and write through lack of education. Education does not constitute
intelligence. Lack of education does not constitute stupidity.
A study carried out by Professor Jame Flynn, of the University
of Otago in New Zealand, published in the year 2001, deduced that
the world is getting smarter, and that environment can make a mas-
sive difference to a person’s IQ [1]. This is something the first
published book in the ‘Prodigy’ series asserted way back in 1990,
and which the authors’ utilised in practise for 40 years.
However, IQ is reducing in some developing and third world
nations. Even in a country such as Thailand - a civilised nation with a
relatively high standard of living - the IQ of children is reducing. The
average IQ of children dropped from 92 in 1996 to 89 in 2001. The
study was carried out by the Public Heath Ministry of Thailand.
Critics of IQ tests argue that they are mainly conducted in
algebra, and are biased towards the culture of those who devise
them.
Supporters of IQ testing believe that our brains are endowed
with a capacity they call general intelligence, and that this is what IQ
tests measure. Whatever, to find out the level of an individual’s IQ or
expertise in any field, some kind of test must be carried out.

14
THE INTELLIGENCE SCALE

IQ 70 or below. Subnormality.

IQ 80. Borderline retardation. 5% of the population


in the West score below this figure.

IQ 100. This is the average


intellectual score for adults in the West.

IQ 120. Very bright. Only 5% of the human


race score above. In some nations less than
1% of the population score above this figure.

IQ 130. Gifted. This level of intelligence is widely


recognised to represent those who are intellectually
gifted.

IQ 148. Genius. This magic figure allows you to


join MENSA - the Genius Club.

IQ 173. Super-Genius. This super-magic


figure qualifies you to enter Intertel and The
Triple Nine Society. These are the
intellectually exclusive associations which
only admit people functioning at
super-genius level.

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IQ AS A PERCENTAGE OF THE POPULATION

In the book ‘Behaviour Disorders in Children’, Bakwin and Bakwin


produced a chart detailing the full range of measurable IQ scores
as a percentage of the population in the West [2].

IQ %

Below 70: 1

70-79: 5

80-89: 14

90-99: 30

100-109: 30

110-119: 14

120-129: 5

130-149: 1

150 Plus: 0.1

16
IQ RATINGS - GENIUS LEVEL

In the book ‘Management of the Handicapped Child’, Michael Smith


produced a chart detailing the upper end of the range of IQ scores in
children as a percentage of the population [3]:

IQ %

Over 125: 1 in 17

Over 136: 1 in 100

Over 140: 1 in 170

Over 150: 1 in 1,000

Over 160: 1 in 10,000

Over 170: 1 in 100,000

Over 180: 1 in 1,000,000

17
INTELLIGENCE: THE MOST COMMON
CHARACTERISTICS
In ‘Psychology Today’, the most commonly mentioned characteris-
tics regarding intelligence, as described by psychologists, follows:

Verbal Intelligence:

• Displays a good vocabulary.

• Likes to read.

• Reads with high comprehension.

• Verbally fluent.

• Converses easily on a variety of subjects.

Problem Solving Ability:

• Identifies connections between ideas.

• Listens to all sides of an argument.

• Sees all aspects of a problem.

• Displays objectivity.

• Plans ahead

• Considers the results of actions.

• Able to apply knowledge to problems.

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Practical Intelligence:

• Learns rapidly.

• Appreciates knowledge for its own sake.

• Thinks deeply.

• Shows creativity.

• Sizes up a situation well.

• Displays interest in the world at large.

19
THE HUMAN BRAIN - AN INSTANT GUIDE

The brain is a collection of cells which magically combine during the


foetal stage. The brain is the control centre of our body and con-
sciousness. In many ways it is an organic computer, but more com-
plex than any invented thus far.
The brain weighs about three to three and a half pounds. It is
made up of two hemispheres - right and left. Sections of the brain,
called lobes, are responsible for different functions. The frontal and
prefrontal lobes are associated with higher mental functions; the mid-
brain and hind-brain governs motor functions (movement) and in-
stinctive survival reactions such as fight or flight, rage, feeding, sexual
attraction and mating [4].
Although the human brain makes up just two percent of our
body weight, it consumes twenty percent of the oxygen and glucose
carried by the blood.
Nerve cells commence dying from around the age of eight-
een years, but existing cells can put out new fibres and send them
long distances [5].
The number of neurons (brain cells), dendrites and axons that
evolve and the length and complexity of their development, will de-
termine the size of the brain and the intelligence level of each human
being. This means that whatever factors that can be applied to assist
the growth and development of nerve cells, will directly influence the
intellectual status of each and every child.
A great proportion of synaptic production is not preset by na-
ture, but is formed entirely as a result of experience [6]. This is
extremely relevant during the foetal stage and the first two years of
a child’s development. However, the process goes on throughout
life.
Increasing the size and efficiency of nerve cells is a bit like
increasing the size and efficiency of our muscles by exercise. We
don’t grow additional muscles as we grow older, but we can make
them grow larger and stronger through progressive resistance exer-
cise. Studies with animals confirm that the brain will continue to grow
for as long as environment continues to challenge and stimulate it.

20
In the main, neural circuits in the brain are regulated by sero-
tonin. High levels of serotonin help ensure that an individual’s actions
are sensible. Manufacture of serotonin is influenced by the quality of
our diet. Men usually have lower levels of serotonin than women.
This is almost certainly because, since prehistoric times, men were
required to defend their mates from human or animal threat, so needed
to be aggressive.
In contrast, women stayed in the relative safety of the cave
caring for children. This required nurturing and caring skills, the op-
posite to the brain chemistry role of men.
The prehistoric brain factor probably explains why 96% of
road rage incidents in the USA are committed by male drivers [7],
and why the brains of violent criminals are generally lower in frontal
and prefrontal cortex development [8]. In essence, violent individu-
als are more primitive examples of the human race, closer in ances-
try to Neanderthal man. Less frontal and prefrontal development
equals reduced intellectual status plus limited control mechanisms.
This is further confirmed by the fact that violent felons generally
have IQs lower than average. Often considerably so [9].
Size does matter. We know this because Einstein’s brain was
preserved, and a study carried out by Canadian scientists confirmed
that a portion of the brain that governs mathematical ability and spa-
tial reasoning - two key ingredients relating to the sort of thinking
Einstein did best - was larger by some 15% than average. To ac-
commodate his bigger brain, nature made the Sylvian fissure smaller,
allowing brain cells to pack together, permitting more neurons to es-
tablish connections.
Theoretically, this can permit more cross referencing of infor-
mation and ideas, leading to great leaps of insight [10]. The study
was reported in the prestigious British medical journal, ‘The Lancet’.

21
BRAIN CELL DEVELOPMENT
THROUGHOUT LIFE

In utero: week 12 In utero: week 24

In utero: week 32 Birth

Age: 1 year Adult

22
British Hangliding & Paragliding Association
(BHPA)
www.bhpa.co.uk
Control and development of the sport of hangliding
and paragliding.

British Bobsleigh Association (BBA)


www.bobteamgb.org
To promote British bob sleighing.

National Association of Karate & Martial Arts


Schools
www.nakmas.org.uk
To promote karate and the martial arts.

British Cyclo-Cross Association (BCCA)


www.britishcycling.org.uk
To promote off road cycling races for all age groups.

British Amateur Weightlifting Association (BAWLA)


www.weights.demon.co.uk
Supervises and controls all aspects of weight lifting.

British Basketball Federation (BBF)


www.british-basketball.co.uk
UK Federation of national basketball associations.

Ice Hockey UK
www.icehockeyuk.co.uk
Governing body for the sport of ice hockey in the UK.

216
British Horse Society
www.bhs.org.uk
Promote the welfare, care and use of the horse and
pony.

British Trampoline Federation (BTF)


www.trampoline.co.uk
Promotion of the sport of trampolining.

Amateur Swimming Association (ASA)


www.britishswimming.org
To promote, train and practise swimming, diving and
water polo.

National Association of Swimming Clubs for the


Handicapped
www.patient.co.uk
To promote swimming for the disabled.

Ramblers Association (RA)


www.ramblers.org.uk
To promote rambling; to protect rights of way; to
campaign for better access to open country.

Young Explorers Trust (YET)


www.theyet.org
To increase opportunities for young people to take
part in exploratory discovery and challenging adventures.

* Reference material for Prodigy One is located at the end


of Prodigy 2. Prodigy 2 commences on the following page.

217
CONTENTS

Acknowledgements
Reference
Personal Recollections of Childhood by a Dad and a Kid
Foreword

1. EDUCATION PAST AND PRESENT

Today’s Low Educational Standards


Education in the Past

2. HOW KIDS LEARN

Young Children Learn Differently to Adults

3. KIDS WITH PROBLEMS

Disruptive Children, Attention Deficit and Educational Problems


The Role of Theatre in Education
Development of the Handicapped Child

4. EDUCATION - IQ BOOSTING STUFF AT HOME

Learning Through Play


Toys R Educational
Boosting Creativity and the Right Side of the Brain
5. ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF EDUCATION
FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM

Chalk N’ Walk
Starting School Later
Physical Pursuits Develop Bigger Brains
Formal Education - A Guide
Distance Learning
Home-Education - Why?
Home-Education Checklist
Home-Education - How To
Creative Teaching from the Pupil’s Perspective
The Montessori Method
Kumon – Kid-Friendly Maths Tuition
Science Made Simple
Problem-Based Learning -
A Lateral New Educational Programme
Goals and Objectives of Problem-Based Learning
Education and the Internet
Helpful English Language Internet Sites
Thailand: English and Thai Language Internet Sites
The Relevance of School and Class Size
Enlightened Education - A Chart

6. FINISHING SCHOOL

After School

REFERENCE NOTES

Bibliography
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

(Theatre in Education)
Betty Lavington A.L.C.N., L.L.C.M.
Performers., L.L.C.M. Teaching., Fellow of The London
College of Music., Examiner, The London Academy of Music
and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).
(Theatre in Education)
Jake Anthony. British Actors Equity. The Writers’ Guild.
(IT)
Joshua Anthony M.Sc. Computer Science.
(Cognitive Development)
Professor Robert Plomin.,
Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.
(Educational Psychology)
Neville W. Adams. B.Sc., M.Sc., Dip. Ed., A.B.P.S., UK.
(Education)
Nathan Mills M.A.. Research Based Learning (RBL). King
Mongkut’s University, Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand.
(Nutrition)
Dr. Robert J. Woodward B. Pharm., Ph.D., M.Royal Pharm. Soc.,
C. Chem., F.R.S.C., London, UK.
(Hyperactivity)
Sally Bunday and Irene Colquhoun.
Hyperactive Children’s Support Group, England.

• The knowledge, experience and assistance provided by


all of the above, was invaluable in the compilation of this
publication.
REFERENCE

Thanks are offered to the many scientists, nutritionists,


naturopaths, social scientists, psychologists, educational psy-
chologists and professionals in a wide range of disciplines
throughout the world, whose work has been utilised
as reference material in ‘Prodigy’.

PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF
A DAD AND A KID

Providing a human perspective to add to the scientific,


detailed intermittently throughout this series of books
are the recollections of a Dad and a Kid.
They participated in the Prodigy programme
from the kid’s conception.
The Kid is now a Master of Computer Science,
an award winning movie maker, and co-author of this book.
The Dad is co-author and compiler of this series of books.

Prodigy Logo: Joshua Anthony.

‘Prodigy’ as title was suggested by


Peter Cox of Litopia Corporation.
Published by IQ Inc.
(C) 1990. 2007. 2009.

International licencing enquiries:


publicrelationsiqinc@hotmail.com

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted


or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, photocopying,
recording or otherwise, except for brief extracts for the purpose
of review, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.

ISBN 974 - 88459 - 8 - 2

Prodigy Compilation: ISBN 974 - 94992 - 9 - 8

First Pressing April 2007.


E-Book: 2009.
Foreword
Educating your child utilising information technology and humanitar-
ian alternatives is almost certainly a superior route to the chalk n’ talk
method which is still the mainstay of the teaching craft in most of the
world’s schools and colleges.
Amazing really - and some would say intellectually challenged
- that methods of teaching utilised in the days when sailing boats and
the horse and cart were the only means of transport; when women
were not involved in the democratic process and would not receive
the vote for hundreds of years; the only means of communication
was to handwrite a letter utilising a quill pen if you could actually read
and write as the majority could not, and pay someone to carry your
letter to its destination, are still the main means of educating our
young.
It’s astonishing that in our round the clock information and
entertainment world of cable and satellite TV, computers, informa-
tion technology and the revolutionary Internet, that chalk n’ talk still
reigns supreme in our halls of learning.
Albeit, chalk n’ talk in the hands of an inspired teacher will
always have a place in the education process. In the hands of the
average however, it will continue to bore pupils rigid and make the
learning process into a grind.
But there are alternatives to methods of education emanating
from the less enlightened past. Home-education with a humanitarian
approach, part time private tuition as an adjunct to normal day school,
Theatre in Education, Distance Learning, Problem-Based Learning,
Kumon Maths Tuition, IT and the revolutionary Internet, allow us to
do better. However, informed parenting skills are the key.
This chart should make the UK and USA very concerned [1].
TODAY’S LOW EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS

It is easy to be complacent when a nation perceives itself to be a


major international power. This is particularly relevant to one that
ruled half the globe until the middle of the twentieth century (the
UK), and the other a current superpower in terms of financial mus-
cle and military might (the USA).
Educationally, the Third International Mathematics and Sci-
ence Study confirmed that the UK and USA were the academic
equivalents of seven stone weaklings: the USA almost ‘last’; the UK
not much better. Maths and science skills are the most in-demand
talents required to compete in today’s high-tech global economy.
Where that leaves the UK and USA in the future, is worryingly open
to speculation.
Embarrassingly for Britain and the USA, three of the top four
places were taken by Scandinavian nations: Norway first; Sweden
second; Denmark fourth. Not only did Scandinavian nations take top
positions, but the chart confirmed that education was superior in much
of Europe also.
With all of their post-Communist troubles, Russia, little Latvia
and Slovenia were all a quantum leap ahead of the UK and USA.
Rural nations Cyprus and Greece, were also way out in front of the
two nations that generally regard themselves as world leaders and
superpowers.
If ever a set of statistics verified that the education systems
in the USA and UK, fail so many in a big way, the Third International
Mathematics and Science Study did so with a vengeance.
Towards the end of 2001, a world survey on educational stand-
ards for the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Develop-
ment - which assessed 265,000 students from 32 countries - looked
at the ability of students to use their knowledge and skills to match
real life challenges rather than just testing on curricula. Yet again, a
Scandinavian nation came out on top. In this case, Finland [2].
The study ranked Finland’s 15 year olds as being the best at
reading. Again, the USA was near the bottom.
Finland, Korea and Japan took the top places in science and
mathematics. The USA was once more near the bottom.
America’s 15 year old were only average when compared to
other industrialised nations. “Average is just not good enough for
American kids,” the United States Education Secretary at the time,
stated.
The study also found a bigger difference amongst students
from different schools and socioeconomic groups in the USA than in
most other nations. As far as education in the USA is concerned,
this suggests that equality is more a matter of rhetoric than a concept
carried out in reality.
To add to the educational disaster which world testing con-
firms is the case in the USA, the National Geographic-Roper Global
Literacy Survey in 2002 found that 11% of Americans aged be-
tween 18 and 24 could not find their own country on the map. An-
other 50% could not properly identify China, Britain or Japan. The
survey placed the United States second to last in terms of geographic
literacy - just ahead of Mexico [3]. To add to this educational igno-
rance, 57% of Americans believe the science of evolution is invalid
and that the world (Earth) was formed in seven days.
Amazingly, an estimated 40 million Americans lack the lan-
guage skills to surf the Internet or read the instructions on a food
label. In Canada, one in three adults has trouble reading a newspa-
per or filling out an employment application. In Britain, one in five of
the adult population has difficulty reading and counting [4].
But why should those who govern the UK and USA be sur-
prised, when their systems of education are founded on the British
Public School (private, fee paying institutions) values of the Victorian
era and before.
In more recent times the reverse, as a policy of rights rather
than individual responsibilities has replaced the “do as you are told”
policies of the past. High-tech developments and humanitarian alter-
natives have made such systems of education virtually obsolete.
In the first few days of the year 2000, CNN carried out a
follow up study to the Third International Mathematics and Science
Study and the shame of America’s poor academic standards. They
found that 54% of all college freshmen needed remedial maths [*]
tuition [5].
Add the fact that capitalist systems are too simplistic for the
modern world, and economic, educational and cultural polarisation
could occur. In such circumstances, the risk of social breakdown
and an out-of-control underclass - as predicted by Charles Murray
and Steven Herrnstein, authors of the controversial book ‘The Bell
Curve’ - becomes increasingly likely. In such circumstances, the fu-
ture for the West’s current and perhaps soon-to-be former super-
powers, does not look too bright.
In a scathing report entitled ‘Don’t Look to England for High
Literary Standards’, by Dr. Anthony Daniels, writing under the pen-
name Theodore Dalrymple, in the Wall Street Journal, England’s
educational system was castigated: “The English educational system
is so bad it is hardly possible to imagine a worse one, and never has
so little been imparted at such expense to so many for so long.” [6]
In slum area schools where Dr. Daniels’ medical practice is
located - a fifth of the population of the industrial English city in
which he lives - the abysmally low level of education is scarcely
equated in the Third World let alone the developed one. Many young
people were unable to say when the Second World War took place;
could not name a British Prime Minister; and did not know who
Shakespeare was. Winston Churchill once said: “A nation forgets
the lessons of history at its peril.”
As to reading, the majority of youngsters between 16 and 20
in Dalrymple’s area could not read a short passage out loud; stum-
bled over unfamiliar or long words; and when asked to explain the
meaning of what they had read, said: “I don’t know, I was only
reading it.”
Dalrymple’s observation was that the written word meant no
more to them than it would to a parrot who had managed to imitate
the human voice. He also commented that, after 11 years of full time
education, the level of numeracy was no higher and many 16 to 20
year olds were unable to add 9 plus 12, stating that they didn’t get
that far at school!
As a contributory factor not related to the state run school
system, Dalrymple confirms that many of the children in his area
emanate from disastrous home backgrounds, and that two thirds of
the births in his hospital were illegitimate. However, Dalrymple makes
the point that school reports he has seen confirm that teachers were
less than literate themselves. “Good but you could of done it differ-
ent,” was given as an example of a teacher’s report.
The headmistress of this particular school defended the teacher
in question, giving credence to the general opinion that public exami-
nation standards have fallen so low, it takes determination, ingenuity
and total ignorance to fail. Dalrymple further suggested that for many
decades, the educational establishment had been engaged in chang-
ing examination yardsticks to disguise what amounted to criminally
stupid experiments with children’s lives.
“All Must Have Prizes”, a book by journalist Melanie Phillips,
was quoted by Dalrymple as providing proof of the deeply corrupted
public examination system in England [7].
Further evidence of the delinquent English educational sys-
tem was provided when 16 to 20 year olds were given the cognitive
test administered to old people - to discover if they were suffering
from dementia. A high proportion of the youngsters failed! [8]
Yet more confirmation of the appalling state of the educa-
tional system in many areas of the UK emanated from a survey of
schools and education authorities by the National Association of Head
Teachers (NAHT): They predicted that half of the primary schools
in England would fail to reach the government’s targets for reading
and writing. Worse, the veracity of the tests themselves were called
into question by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, who
claimed it had itself lowered the pass mark for eleven year olds in the
previous three years to 44% percent [9]. The government’s target
pass mark is 80%.
Australia managed to reach number seven in The Third Inter-
national Mathematics and Science Study into education standards
worldwide, scoring considerably better than the UK and USA. How-
ever, it too has areas of gross underachievement. As example, 50%
of aboriginal children cannot read or write [10]. To his credit, the
Prime Minister of Australia initiated a programme of remedial edu-
cation.
‘It’s Education, Stupid’, was suggested by The Washington
Post as a slogan which presidential aspirants could utilise for the
year 2000 elections in the USA [11]. Senator John F. Kerry (Demo-
cratic Senator for Massachusetts) and Gordon H. Smith (Republi-
can Senator for Oregon) - representing both sides of the political
spectrum - confirmed that the need for immediate action in the Ameri-
can public education system could not be underestimated, and that
too many schools were not equipped to provide students with a qual-
ity high-school education. It was not explained whether this was the
result of lack of accountability, poor teaching methods, inadequately
educated teachers, a lack of resources, poor discipline, or pupils who
were simply too intellectually challenged to be educated. The sena-
tors believed that modernising teaching to suit the twenty first cen-
tury was a priority. How to accomplish this task was not detailed.
A further derogatory prognosis emanated from a Reuters ar-
ticle published in Washington entitled: ‘Bush Jr’s Rise Seen As De-
finitive Sign of America’s Intellectual decline’. It confirmed that the
number of people reading a daily newspaper in the USA had halved
since 1965; 40 percent of people questioned could not name Ameri-
ca’s World War Two enemies; and 120 million could only read and
write English to the level of an eleven year old child [12].
The American pop singer Madonna added her own comment
to the debate about the quality of the American educational system,
stating that from her own experience it was “substandard” and failed
to promote social awareness [13]. Madonna intends to send her own
children to international schools, where multi-cultural and multilin-
gual students are encouraged to think for themselves.
Personal knowledge deriving from the elder author of this
publication, involved an American garbage collection company en-
gaged in buying a major Swedish company in the same field. As part
of their due diligence responsibilities to shareholders, they asked the
owner of the Swedish company how many of his 100 staff could
read and write. The Swedish garbage company owner (who was a
scientist with a Master’s Degree) was amazed at such a question
and answered: “All of them.” The American directors were over-
whelmed, their surprise due to the fact that more than half of the
employees in the American garbage industry cannot read or write, or
were only able to do so at a very low standard. This small, street-
level example says so much about the low levels of educational at-
tainment in the USA, when compared with Scandinavian nations.
But the Nordic nations put social goals before the American
mantra of ‘profit by any means’. High educational attainment by all
and a superior standard of medical care in the Scandinavian nations
confirms that social goals can be achieved within a free enterprise,
democratic system.
The socially conscious free-enterprise systems of government
as practised in Scandinavia, almost certainly provide educational and
perhaps social role-models for the rest of the world. Any nation wish-
ing to maximise the creativity and high-tech skills of future genera-
tions, could do well to study the Scandinavian models.
The Third International Mathematics and Science Study into
educational standards worldwide and follow up studies since, con-
firm that other than a limited number of usually non-state funded
exceptions, the UK and USA could hardly do worse.
In his book ‘The Twilight of American Culture’, Morris
Berman, a lecturer at the John Hopkins University, stated that most
people in the USA cannot read, never mind spell. He described Ameri-
cans as spiritually dead, Prozac popping individuals from families
that are falling apart. As to the Republican candidate for the highest
office in the land, Morris Berman was quoted as saying that George
Bush Junior was unable to give a grammatically correct speech un-
less it was written by someone else and read from a teleprompter.
“He’s pretty smart, but he doesn’t know much,” was given as
an example of the average American’s opinion of George Bush Jun-
ior’s intelligence. Berman’s opinion was that in the year 2000 presi-
dential race, the Republican candidate and the average person who
voted for him were made for each other! Tending to confirm his
prognosis, the Republican candidate was elected by less votes than
his opponent!
Education standards are very important in a technically so-
phisticated world, where communication skills are more important
than at any previous time. However, empathy, compassion, common
sense, resolve, inner strength and generosity are just as important.
In January 2001, President George Bush Junior announced a
new educational initiative that injected 26 billion dollars into the public
school system. In addition, schools were to be regularly tested to
assess standards. Quite revolutionary, where schools failed to reach
minimum test requirements, pupils were to be given the money to
hire tutors of their own choosing. Perhaps because where schools
fail, students’ using their own initiative could not do any worse. Stu-
dents would also be given the option to utilise school funds for trans-
port - in order to attend other schools which are able to reach ac-
ceptable educational standards.
In 2004, President Bush initiated his ‘No Child Left Behind’
Act, whereby any child failing to reach competence in basic skills for
their age, would be given extra tuition until they could. This logical
policy was some 50 years or so after Sweden had introduced it - a
nation with a superlative state education system. Unfortunately for
children in the USA, not enough funding was provided nor were
there enough teachers in the state run school system for the Presi-
dent’s initiative to be fully implemented! Words are cheap.
In Kansas, $2 billion was spent on schools. Unfortunately it
was to no avail, as despite Kansas City Central High School now
having Greek statues at the entrance, superb classrooms, 900 state
of the art computers, a theatre, an Olympic sized swimming pool and
an indoor running track, a spokesman for the committee monitoring
the high spending project to upgrade American schools, confirmed
that despite an average of 7,000 pounds per year being spent on
each pupil, only one in 20 students aged 16 had good reading skills
and fewer than one percent of 15 and 16 years olds scored in the top
level of the state maths exams in 2001. “They are horribly unedu-
cated,” the spokesman added [14].
In contrast, Korean children beat their American and British
counterparts by wide margins in maths and science tests - despite
the fact that the state spends just 2,000 pounds per year for each
child on education.
In June 2002, Britain’s Secretary for Education had little al-
ternative but to own up to the fact that the Comprehensive system
of education had failed and that many comprehensive schools were
so bad, as a former teacher herself, she would “not touch them with
a barge pole.” Statistics released soon after, confirmed that one
fifth of the British nation was functionally illiterate. Of course,
government ministers predominately sent their own children to fee
paying schools or moved to areas where state funded schools use
selection to admit pupils, thereby avoiding mediocre standards by
way of the comprehensive system.
In the second week of July 2002, the British Prime Minister
announced that he was reforming the fifty year experiment with
comprehensive schools and would create thousands of specialist
schools ‘to develop the talent of each and every pupil’ - of which
up to ten percent would be selected by ability [15].
What the education authorities in the UK planned was very
close to that which the ‘Superkids’/’Prodigy’ series has detailed and
recommended for decades. Albeit, governments can be voted out of
office before their white hot educational initiatives can be carried
out.
However, parents and teachers can implement some or all of
the factors detailed in the ‘Prodigy’ series of books right now - with-
out government permission. Your initiative and dedication can ac-
complish so much. And you cannot do worse than most British gov-
ernments have in the field of education, and certainly not the com-
prehensive school system where one size was supposed to fit all.
The British government has now effectively admitted that for fifty
years it has been a complete waste of time!
To underline the futility of the ‘one size fits all’ education poli-
cies of the past, before this book was completed the National Acad-
emy for Gifted and Talented Youth Summer School was launched at
Warwick University, in the UK. Using selection, it actively seeks to
help gifted children maximise their talent. www.warwick.ac.uk
To confirm that things are not getting any better but in fact are
getting far worse, in 2006 the USA came 24th in the world Maths
League. At one time it came first. In May of the same year, Time
magazine and the Oprah Winfrey Show carried a feature called:
‘America: The Dropout Nation’. It was so named because more
than 30% of students drop out of school and fail to graduate.
A bright note in the USA is the curriculum followed by the
Francis W. Parker School, in Massachusetts. Minus dress codes, an
informal relationship based on mutual respect and first name terms
between student and tutor; progress to higher levels of learning based
on ability not age; small teaching groups where individual students
can learn alone or with others; adult versions of learning through play
such as computer games, making documentaries and teaching pro-
grammes utilising technology, create a climate where staff and stu-
dents become conspirators in the search for knowledge. Fun stuff
plus mentoring with a vengeance.
This is extraordinarily similar to the Scandinavian model, and
the route recommended in the original edition of the first book in the
‘Prodigy’ series - published in Japan in 1990, as ‘Superkids’.
The work of Howard Gardner and Robert Sternberg, behav-
ioural scientists and authors in the USA, also offers hope.
Wondertree Learning Center, in Vancouver, Canada, is an-
other interesting project practising holistic approaches to education .
It too links to the many factors detailed in the ‘Prodigy’ books.
In South East Asia, in Thailand, located in Bangkok and also
Pattaya, on the East Coast, the Regent’s School is another establish-
ment whose practises closely correlate with the principles and fac-
tors featured in the ‘Prodigy Programme’. The Regent’s School is
one of the finest international schools on the planet, providing a se-
cure and caring coeducational day and boarding environment in which
students develop the skills and values necessary to realise their po-
tential and make a positive contribution to society. www.regents.ac.th
Bill Gates, founder of the giant Microsoft Corporation, and his
wife Melinda, have created a foundation to try and reverse the edu-
cational disaster that is the American state funded school system. To
access or contribute, check out: www.standup.org

[*]. Mathematics is a subject which encompasses a number of disci-


plines. Geometry, algebra, trigonometry and many more. This is why
the word ‘mathematics’ - which describes the aforementioned set of
disciplines - is a ‘plural’ noun. However, English language tuition in
the USA has become so slipshod, the ‘singular’ word ‘math’ has
been institutionalised as an abbreviation of the plural noun ‘math-
ematics’. It is totally illogical to use a singular noun as an abbrevia-
tion for a plural noun. ‘Maths’ is the correct abbreviation and you
will note that the originators of the English language - the British -
use the word ‘maths’ (with an ‘s’ on the end) as an abbreviation for
the word ‘mathematics’. In this and other examples, it appears that
in the USA, no one seems to know the rules - including the teaching
profession. This is an indictment of the generally low standards that
prevail in the American education system.
EDUCATION IN THE PAST

Stories about education in the Victorian and Edwardian eras border


on the horrifying. It was not unknown for a young child to be hit so
hard on the hand with a cane, the palm split. As an eight year old, this
happened to the father of the editor of this publication. Such punish-
ment was meted out on a daily basis for offences as mild as talking in
class.
Flogging on the buttocks was often so severe that a child was
unable to sit down for days. Flogging with cane, strap and birch were
common place and brutal. Children as young as five were so treated.
But corporal punishment was common practise in every area
of life in the West, and flogging was still permissible in the armed
forces and penal establishments in Britain and some parts of the
USA, until the end of the nineteen fifties. It was practised in some
British and Australian schools until as late as the nineteen eighties,
and was still permissible in private schools in the UK at the turn of
the new millennium.
The phrase ‘corporal punishment’ emanates from the British
Navy, where it was the duty of marine ‘corporals’ to flog seamen
who had transgressed maritime law. It was the role of teachers and
for some their pleasure, to flog children who transgressed school
rules. Unfortunately, these methods are still used to ‘educate’ the
young in far too many nations.
Only the offspring of the ruling-classes were once educated
in the UK, and too much from the past lingers on. These were re-
garded as the privileged few. Albeit, such ‘privilege’ included the
dubious attraction of being unceremoniously taken from the family
home at the age of five or six; deposited amongst strangers in cold,
prison like conditions; liberally beaten by all who were older or sen-
ior, which meant everyone to start; and treated like a slave (a fag) in
an English public school. As a result, many missed out on the joys
and happiness of childhood.
For the uninitiated, ‘public’ school actually means ‘private’
school - a psychologically contrived use of words by the British rul-
ing classes to make it appear that such learning establishments were
open to all. In fact they were designed for the sons of the ruling
classes, as in those days women didn’t count for much any more
than children of the working class. Hence sons of the ruling classes
were usually educated, but their daughters and the poor were usually
not. And it’s not so long ago.
In the USA, ‘public’ school describes an institution which is
actually open to all, as wealth or personal connections are not re-
quired in order to attend. As Winston Churchill and Bernard Shaw
once said about the UK and USA: “Two nations separated by a
common language.”
Rote learning - where continuous repetition of facts, tables or
alphabets are undertaken to commit them to memory - often rein-
forced with the cane, made education a misery for countless millions
for hundreds of years. It achieved very little in educational terms, as
living in constant fear of being thrashed or shouted at is not a suitable
climate for learning. In fact it is counterproductive.
That was, generally speaking, the Western method of ‘edu-
cating’ the young right up until the last few decades. It was quite
similar to the manner in which Lord and Lady Ponsonby-Smythe
trained their horses, dogs and servants - harsh discipline utilised to
inculcate basic skills. Sorry Britain, but that is how it was for the
majority of people during the greater part of the last few centuries.
For most, life became something resembling a drudgery, with
schooldays far from being the happiest days of their lives.
As to the British public schools, much of the output they pro-
duced were disrespectfully known by the general public as ‘chinless
wonders’ - bumbling, ineffectual administrators with limited intellec-
tual interests, minimal personality and social problems. Residence in
single sex educational establishments, where homosexuality and con-
tinuous thrashings were very often the order of the day, almost cer-
tainly contributed to their unhappiness and lack of poise. Many stut-
tered in later life as a related result. Others became adherents of
‘the vice anglais’ [*].
A defining moment in what became a change of course in the
UK, was the 1944 Education Act. Similar legislative changes were
initiated by other nations. Steered through the British parliament by
Rab Butler, enlightened individuals with a social conscience ensured
that intelligent children emanating from the working classes (blue
collar) and the genteel poor were given the opportunity to access
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