The August issue of Scientific American tries to figure out why some people become experts at things and other people don't. This, they contend, will help us teach better. I don't know why they bothered. I can tell you why I am more of an expert than you in four words: I am smarter than you.*
Now, that isn't a value judgment, it's just the way it is. We all went to school ( well, most of us, unless you live in a third world country like Canada ) and we all applied ourselves in ways that we wanted to apply ourselves. Some people concentrated on getting an education, some focused on nailing chicks. Then there's scientists, who were lucky enough to be skilled in both.
What this study claims they want to accomplish is to improve teaching but what they really want is to try and make equal opportunity mean equal outcomes. Science knows this is not practical because we're all unique - just like everyone else.
No one can quantify why someone who claims to be a connoisseur in wine is barely more skilled than the average monkey at actually knowing one wine from another or why some truly stupid people are gazillionaires in business so this study focuses on what they can study; chess.
We all know dumb people who are great at chess so clearly expertise in the game can be taught. I am terrible at chess, mostly because it lacks originality these days - there is one, and I mean ONE - opening you can win with today. Unless you're a grandmaster up against that wine-sipping monkey you aren't going to win with Giuoco Piano in 2006, and that's just a shame. I played chess once in 2005 and that was only because it was against the girl in the picture above. For chess, that's a supermodel.
It's okay, there aren't many supermodels in science either.** But if studies like this show us how to teach people better, it means we can teach more people to be better teachers - and that means more teachers who look like this. -------------------->
Yeah, that Isis always made my little Captain Marvel go Shazam. No wonder I grew up so smart.***
*Get it??? I said 4 words but it is was 5. (sigh) Nobody gets me.
**However, should you know a science supermodel, send along a pic and contact info and I will do a special 'Supermodels Of Science' posting. If yours wins, you get a free Jenius t-shirt.
***Do I get some kind of award for referencing 1970s icon Isis twice in the last week??