Child Prodigy–Nature or Nurture?

child prodigyChild Computer Prodigy–Marko Casalan

Most people have heard of Bill Gates and Microsoft but have you heard of Marko Casalan? At the young age of nine, Marko, a child in Macedonia, has earned the title of the world’s youngest computer programmer certified by Microsoft and child prodigy. It is no surprise the press has deemed this child the Mozart of computers.

People often wonder how a child so young can be capable of such greatness. Heredity certainly sets the stage for Marko’s success but it is not the only determining factor. Brilliance alone does not guarantee success.

The answer to a significant degree lies in how this child is being raised and educated. No one would doubt Marko falls in the 1% of the population who is highly or profoundly gifted. What is worth looking at is the environmental factors, such as the influence of his parents and teachers which have contributed to his remarkable achievements.

The fact that Marko’s parents run a private school specializing in computer studies has contributed a rich educational environment for him to to feed his passion. As professional educators, his parents have had an ideal opportunity to understand and shape his social, emotional and educational experiences in such a way as to avoid the pitfalls that potentially derail some gifted students before they hardly begin.

It makes one wonder if other profoundly gifted students were given early opportunities or private or at least specialized schooling, what they too might be capable of accomplishing.

On the flip side it leaves one to wonder what Marko’s life would have been like if he had not had parents to provide this enriching environment, as Macedonia does not have a program for gifted children. Compared to other students with identified educational needs, programs for the gifted child, when they even exist, are seriously underfunded.

Marko was able to read and write at the age of two. At the age of six he was the youngest administrator with Microsoft. Would these remarkable accomplishments have been possible without early identification of his abilities and specialized education tailored to his unique needs?

Marko told The Times ,”I’d like to be a computer scientist when I grow up and create a new operational system.”

Sounds like Marko has plans to give back to the world. Perhaps, his new operating system will be free of bugs, error messages and breakdowns. Just one more reason to invest in this country’s young gifted students. Every corner of our world needs success stories like Marko’s.

More child prodigies listed here

Source: Bojan Pancevski, in Skopje, The Sunday Times

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