|Prof R. Douglas Fields NIH|
|Typical Structure of a Neuron & Myelin Sheath (C.G. Morris, 'Psychology: An Introduction', 12th Ed, Pearson)|
The short answer is no. It isn't just about 'deep practice', genes still matter. We need to remember that there are alternative views to Coyle that place far greater control of genius in the hands of genetic make-up. But what the new brain research shows us is that practice is very important and that when you view any outstanding individual, their performance will reflect a mix of genetic predisposition, motivation, opportunity and practice.
|Leonardo da Vinci's Helicopter|
This should temper our ambitions with children. While it's good to encourage children to aim high, as parents and teachers, we shouldn't assume that if we just put any child in the best school, with the best teacher and give them all that they need for 'deep practice' in whatever area they choose, that they can achieve. Nor should we assume that if we can just accelerate their learning that they will sustain their achievements and end up better than everyone else. The latter is the folly of programs like 'Your Baby Can Read', which assumes that teaching sight words to a child 6 months old will one day lead to them becoming geniuses.
What the above work also indicates is just how important quality teaching and parenting is. Teachers matter!