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Gifted in Europe

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

http://www.bmbf.de/pubRD/gifted_education_21_eu_countries.pdf

 

This page took about 2 minutes to load on my computer, but well worth it. If you are in europe, a fascinating read. Well, unless you are in Denmark; then it is just depressing. 

post #2 of 5

That report is very dated for the UK, at least, I think it was written in 2005 so 8 yrs old already.

Some of the things it says were never very true, anyway.

Extracurric programmes?  Grade-skipping (not convinced necessary because differentiated teaching is the norm, but anyway): No, no no.

 

G&T in English schools is mostly an accounting exercise.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

If there is something newer, I would be interested in reading it. 

 

Yes, I had a feeling by the text for Denmark that they were fishing for anything that could be positive at all. It's interesting to read that perhaps they did this in other countries as well. Denmark is clearly at the bottom of the list though. Go through the charts and most countries have something, most of Denmark is just a big blank. It is very against the culture, janteloven, to have any sort of individuality or uniqueness.

post #4 of 5

I live not too far away from you, just outside Lund in southern Sweden. I'm originally from Australia, my husband is Swedish and we have an advanced four year old son. When I told my husband about this article, he joked "OK, just let me know where we'll be moving." wink1.gif I agree it's a pity that the article isn't a bit more recent. For example, the Swedish national curriculum has changed since the article was published.

I think Sweden and Denmark have at least historically had quite similar attitudes to giftedness and achievement... We also have "the law of Jante" (jantelagen) and accommodations for gifted/advanced students have been widely regarded as unneccesary. My husband had a pretty horrible experience as a gifted child in his local elementary/middle schools - he was constantly bored and even mocked by some of his teachers for "showing off" when he made contributions to class discussions etc. In fact, before we had our son, we were quite convinced that we would have to move to another country (presumably not Denmark!) before our future children reached school age, to be able to access better educational options for them.

However, when we actually did start researching, we thankfully found that there are a lot more options available now compared to when my husband was a child, at least in our area. Our son is currently thriving in a Montessori preschool (which we simply couldn't afford in Aus). The staff genuinely respect DS and his abilities and let him work through the materials completely at his own pace. The preschool is connected to a Montessori school, which currently continues to grade 5. When/if he runs out of challenging materials, the preschool staff have said they are happy to borrow materials from the school. Our current plan is to have him continue at the school. We have also put him in the queue for a middle school in Lund, called Kunskapskolan - while not specifically for gifted kids, all students are assigned mentors who help them develop individualised educational plans. It seems to have a lot in common with Montessori (personalised, with an emphasis on the student's responsibility for their own learning), but with more emphasis on grades and achievement... I'm not a fan of focusing on grades for younger kids but am thinking by that age that DS will hopefully have the maturity to see grades as a means to an end and still have a love of learning as his primary motivation.

Of course, that's not to say we'll never have any schooling issues that will require us to advocate for DS - just that we've been pleasantly surprised so far with the options available and also that way that DS has been treated by the staff at his preschool. The Swedish national curriculum doesn't specifically mention gifted students (to my knowledge) but there are quite a few sections which emphasise that schools have an obligation to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs to individual students... so that seems to be a starting point for advocacy if issues were to arise.

I should add though, as a bit of disclaimer, that I don't think DS is "off the charts" gifted. He's advanced enough, particularly in maths and reading, that I'm convinced he'd be painfully bored in a standard kindergarten class without any special accommodations... but he's not reading Harry Potter or solving differential equations (yet!). He's also very social and gets along quite well with a range of ages (though admittedly often drawn to an older sibling when we meet other families). I imagine we might have had a harder time finding a good fit if his giftedness was more extreme.

Linn
 

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by linn7799 View Post


I should add though, as a bit of disclaimer, that I don't think DS is "off the charts" gifted. He's advanced enough, particularly in maths and reading, that I'm convinced he'd be painfully bored in a standard kindergarten class without any special accommodations... but he's not reading Harry Potter or solving differential equations (yet!). He's also very social and gets along quite well with a range of ages (though admittedly often drawn to an older sibling when we meet other families). I imagine we might have had a harder time finding a good fit if his giftedness was more extreme.

Linn
 

Glad to hear sweden has some options. This is what is allowing us to be here. Neither DD or DS are off the charts, they are more bright-gifted. We are putting DD in a private school that is very academic, not because I am in love with all the homework she will have, but because the regular school has done her a huge disservice. So I am grateful there is now another option, though I am extremely in the closet. I was optimistic, until my children actually started in school. There has been animosity and complete inflexibility. DS is actually going to stay in the public until 6th when he will go to private. The public is meeting his neeeds socially, which I think at this point is much more important. Also DS is extremely visual-spacial, to the point where his auditory is almost a handicap (to him, not on the scales, I am guessing he would test as average in auditory-sequential, but for HIM it is a handicap because it is so much lower than his spacial). So he appears quite average, people don't see the visual. But he is happy at school and very social, and the public is best for him right now.

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