Women in Early Childhood Education: My Interview With Sharan Paul Who Studies Highly Intelligent Children by Mike Prochaska
Sharan Paul lives in Canton, Ohio, and is studying the education of highly intelligent kids from kindergarten to grade 12 and promotes making the world a better place. “I got into this field of research because my grandson (now 15 years old) is a genius and was frustrated at an early age by a lack of understanding and creativeness in education,” she says. Read on to learn more about Sharan…
Q. Why is play important for children?
"I believe play is important for adults as well. So many lessons, from personal interaction to leadership, are learned through play. Overcoming obstacles, finding alternatives, play can actually provide a child with adaptable skills needed in our fast-moving world."
Q. What about outside play?
"There are perspectives in nature that cannot be taught from inside a classroom. When children connect with nature, they can understand how our lives all fit within the broader scope of the world. By making that connection at an early age, we encourage a generation of environmentally responsible people that will work in harmony with nature to preserve the earth."
Q. What are your favorite activities to do with kids?
"Again, I am not an educator, but my grandson and I have supplemented his education in the past 15 years by learning and experimenting on our own. When his class studied the Civil War, we made a scale model of a battle and found numerous strategies with different outcomes. We put seven tin cans in seven places and charted the progress of rust growth. A simple book report became an exercise in creative writing as we devised new endings for the story or book and compared our reasons why. My favorite activities are challenging each other."
Q. What do men bring to the classroom?
"There are way too many to list, so here are the top advantages: Men have a different approach to learning, which lends diversity in education. Men are more willing to create hands-on learning which allows children the mind/body connection they need to grasp complex concepts. Men often think outside of the box, which is a valuable early lesson in interdisciplinary approaches to a problem."
Q. Anything inspiring to tell anyone thinking of going into this field?
"While it is important to talk openly and honestly to children, don’t forget it is equally important to listen to them."
Q. Tell us about your website!
"The website, A Better Way Earth, is actually a project for my climate change seminar this semester. This is my last semester of classes before I graduate with my Master's Degree. I begin my doctorate study next January. On the website, under Quick & Easy, there will be some recycle crafts for kids if you want instructions or some ideas for your kids."
Q. Anything else you'd like to add?
"Thanks so much for letting me talk about the smart kids [because] they need a voice. High intelligence does not means you automatically know everything, just that you have the ability to learn, which is why we need dedicated teachers."