Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"Give me a child..."

What a fascinating watch was the documentary WHY AM I? last night... The "Dunedin Project" began when I first went to that city and I was aware of some of its methodology and hopes and expectations.

By identifying only five personality types among 1000 pre-schoolers and following these subjects for more than forty years all kinds of possible predictions have been able to be made. And what surprises there are: one sixth of the subjects have had serious brushes with the law. More importantly, most of these were from only two of the five "types" of pre-schoolers in 1972.

I recall a huge fuss in the Church when we introduced personality assessments into the ministry candidate assessment process in 1968. We had to assure the Examiners that the such assessments would not be permitted to contribute to the actual decision. But I can say now that from personal knowledge of many of the 200 people who were involved, these data, now regrettably destroyed, could have predicted a number of very significant failings of the individuals' later performance in ministry.

Alas, the denominations had neither the curiosity, nor the immense international resources of "The Dunedin Project". This is now the largest and most comprehensive research programme of its kind in the world. What a tool for good this could be!

But will governments commit to the cost of the kind of early childhood special education that will be required...?

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