People, need I say students, are smart in different ways. They might be smart (expert at) playing a particular video game or shopping online or dog training or horse riding or the internal affairs of Poland or basketball or short story writing. I am reminded of this and humbled by it, every time I get to know a new set of students.
The graphics below are my attempt at depicting this reality. Consider each person (point in space) as an amalgam of traits. Each trait is normally distributed among all people. The length of the colored line represents the “accomplishment” for that particular trait, defined by direction and color. The diversity of lengths of expertise is evident.
Now we enclose each person (point) in a bubble with a two standard deviation radius. We can see some trait spikes sticking out. These represent an exceptional measurement, a ninety-fifth percentile of accomplishment.
They say everyone has a story. Also everyone has an exceptionality.