One remarkable student with progressive ideas can elevate an entire class.
"....It is not uncommon for true visionaries to perform poorly in the constraints of a classroom. No matter how progressive the teacher, a classroom has a certain level of restriction. Teachers have preconceived notions about what students need to learn and how they should learn it. The most forward-thinking, creative students often tend to be frustrated by those restrictions. As a result, they are limited by instructors who cannot accept, or do not want to accept, new possibilities.
Shortly after Sir John Gurdon won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine this year, a report circulated that had been written by one of his high-school biology teachers. The report lambasted the young scientist, stating: "Several times he has been in trouble, because he will not listen, but will insist on doing his work in his own way." This perfectly illustrates how teachers can fail to recognize a new way of thinking. In our most obstinate moments, the mere suggestion that a student can do something contrary to the way we teach it and still become successful is inconceivable.
The list of visionaries who struggled academically or dropped out altogether is a long one. Thomas Edison left school after his teacher described him as "addled," and his mother taught him at home. Winston Churchill and Bobby Fischer were restless students who received poor grades. More recently, being a college dropout seems to be part of the formula for becoming a successful tech innovator.
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company developed an Entrepreneurial Quotient (EQ) Test to determine if individuals had the skills to become successful entrepreneurs. The test says: "Successful entrepreneurs are not, as a rule, top achievers in school." Being a top student costs the test-taker four points from her overall score. Another question reads: "Stubbornness as a child seems to translate into determination to do things one's own way—a hallmark of proven entrepreneurs. If you were stubborn as a child, add one. If not, subtract one."