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Prof Joan Freeman's message for teachers

Prof Joan Freeman's message for you

Joan Freeman CNN interview

Georgia

What was easy for Georgia at the age of two and three quarters is what most children begin to learn when they start school at five. She had absolute control of the pencil in her tiny fingers, and she could argue interestingly in her squeaky little voice. The sheer quality of what she did was astounding. I was televised testing her intelligence before millions of sharp-eyed viewers all over the world. She became the youngest member of Mensa. She is now happy in her nursery because her teachers recognise what she is capable of and provide her with the education and permission to explore that she needs.

Chantelle

At five years-old, Chantelle was outstanding, and at that time the youngest member of Mensa. Accordingly, her school put her up a year. She struggled a bit, but coped. Her problem was that she was smaller and younger and the other children were not so keen to play with her although she was attractive and pleasant. Then when it came to the school sports, her parents and teachers decided she should run with her class and not her age group. A difficult decision. She did reasonably well, but could not win. Being younger than her class is not usually a good move, especially in the long-term.

Adam

On a straightforward vocabulary scale, Adam at the age of six shows what can be done by a gifted child. I asked him what a straw is. Instead of the few word response the test demands, Adam went into great length on the physics of drawing air out of a cylinder and how it drew up the liquid it was standing in. He then went off on an entirely different angle, explaining how the use of a straw would help babies and people who found it difficult to drink from a cup. Physics and social care - what a mind in such a small child.

Jocelyn

At her music school, Jocelyn found her music exciting and her academic work easy. But as a teenager, she decided to change course and took up science at university. Trouble was, her heart stayed with the music and she spent her time on it. She did not do well in her final university examinations, but had lost her place on the performing music scene. The lesson is to pay attention to your heart. This unquestionably all-round gifted and talented woman has never reached the level in life for which she had the potential.