The Aptitude Myth: How an Ancient Belief Came to Undermine Children's Learning Today

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Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2013 - Education - 189 pages
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The Aptitude Myth addresses the decline in American children's mastery of critical school subjects. It contends that a contributing cause for this decline derives from many Americans' ways of thinking about children's learning: They believe that school performance is determined very largely by innate aptitude. The Aptitude Myth traces the deep historical origins, the spread and elaboration, and the eventual triumph of the belief in the determining power of mental abilities "given" at birth and therefore fixed. Covered is 600 B.C.E. until 1926 (when the S.A.T. was first administered). The belief in aptitude, assumed by many Americans to be the modern view of learning ability, is revealed as an archaic way of thinking that originated in the imaginations of our ancient forebears and gradually gained credibility over 2,500 years. In recent times, the belief became elaborated to include the fanciful notion that more-than-modest academic study injures a child's health. Having inherited this mindset, Americans don't know how to insure that children gain mastery. A new mindset is needed. The final chapter offers a transformative mindset.

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About the author (2013)

Cornelius Grove, a former teacher and university lecturer, completed a doctoral dissertation on international classroom cultures in 1979. Since then, he has remained determined to contribute new historical and cross-cultural insights to that topic. Since 1990, he has served as managing partner of the business consultancy he founded, all the while continuing to explore his passion as an independent scholar, yielding The Aptitude Myth.

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