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Anyone wanna talk about the conception of "gifted" status in children? - Page 11

post #201 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
Profound giftedness is more like this: Your child strikes other people as unsettling and weird, and when she or he was young, people criticized you for hothousing or pushing, not understanding that it's not your "fault" they learned to read fluently at age 2. They just picked it up. Other parents isolate themselves from you and may give negative comments, including words like "monster."

They have interests in highly specific, rather abstruse areas of interest that don't really appeal to most people and certainly not to peers. In school, they are viewed as freakish or disruptive because they're so often bored to tears by the constant condescension from teachers, the irritating busywork that seems to have absolutely no purpose: "But WHY do I have to color in the number '5' in all my answers? WHY?", the fact that they're simply not allowed to read ahead to the next chapter...and the next..and the next while the other kids labor through the first one.

They're not allowed to skip the spelling test whose words they knew five years ago, so they blow it off and write down stupid sh*t, because that's an expression of the hatred they feel toward the teacher and the school where no one cares about the real stuff, the words that stretch the mind and feel "hard" and cool.

They're driven insane by the fact that the teacher mispronounces and misspells words and gets facts wrong and doesn't seem to care when she does -- and gets irritated, even to the point of referring them to the principal's office for correcting them when they're wrong.

These kids have no friends, or very few, and quite often really don't know why. People often seem strange and mysterious in the sense that they're concerned with absolute trivia and get worked up about events or issues that are absolutely irrelevant. If they're an angry personality, they can start lashing out either at others or at themselves.
So, why isn't "profoundly gifted" referred to as the more accurate "profoundly burdened"? Oh wait, that has a negative connotation, doesn't it? Just like if you're not "gifted and talented" then you're...what..."not gifted and untalented"?

I am not denying that children we are shorthandedly referring to as "profoundly gifted" have unique learning needs and styles. But the label and common usage of "gifted" in the education system reeks of elitism and superiority that serves only to segregate children and disserve all of them in the process.
post #202 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nora'sMama
I have no idea about Siobhan's IQ, of course, but I just had to because one of the results of having been told constantly how smart I was is being terrified that I will make a grammatical mistake or typo! I confused things like that with intelligence for a long time.

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I don't confuse the two. Trust me. However, it was ironic, and a little suspicious. The error wasn't something like an apostrophe, which I wouldn't think twice about. Typos are nothing. Basic use of the English language is another- yet we all make mistakes, even profoundly gifted people. I completely understand that.
post #203 of 927
Well, to start with, I am of the mind that the whole school system should be thrown out and restarted from scratch. I think it's too far gone to fix in it's current state. Do I have any delusions that that will happen in the next 100 years? No, not really.

That said: With the school system as it is now, labels are needed. They are needed on both ends (and about a thousand in the middle....) I have not heard anyone claim that children with learning disabilities shouldn't be served. I have not heard anyone say that children with low IQs should not receive special services. Even IF we want to pretend that "gifted" children have no other needs than that, we should still serve that need.

I agree with CB and others that a different label would serve them better. Alas, the education system changes slowly. I expect that "gifted" or "gifted and talented" will be the label used for at least the next 20 years.

-Angela
post #204 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by talk de jour
Hell, I dropped out of high school to go to college as soon as it was legal for me to do so, is that antisocial and defiant enough for you to consider me "gifted"?
Sorry your needs were not met.

My dd is 10, and she has been begging to go to college for the past 3 years. There is a program in the city that will let her do so. I think I will listen to her and try my best to get her needs met or at least provide what she wants.
post #205 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by glendora
Except that, if memory serves, most kids end up in GT and other programs because the kids get tested at the parents request.
When I had my run-in with CPS, that was one of their requirements, for my dd to be tested. I don't know what tests they gave her along with the I.Q. test, but they labeled her extremely gifted and told me to put her in programs. At the time I thought it was 'bad' to label her and thought it was another way to say something was wrong with her.
Now, that I have been reading, I am leaning towards changing my mind and figuring out how to meet her specific needs that are so different than everyone in my family.
post #206 of 927
Along the lines of the problems with lower socioeconomic groups being under-represented in gifted programs, it is a BIG problem. Here they have been working on attempting to improve the situation (of course causing as many problems along the way as they solved....sigh) In the big school district here the identifying test for G/T programs is entirely non-language based. It's based on spatial talents. Great for finding non-english speakers. Rotten for gifted kids that aren't strong in the spatial area. Dreadful for gifted kids with LD in the spatial area.

BUT they are trying. We also have a dual-language (Spanish) G/T program.

Another aside- on gifted schools, I happened to be reading last week, there are a few in TX, one in Houston (Private).

-Angela
post #207 of 927
This discussion is kind of fascinating to me, especially because I've had people from "both sides" agree with me (and I've agreed with them). I do think no one here disagrees with the idea that complete school reform would be best, and that the current system is not helping everyone the way they deserve. Honestly, to me (and this is ONLY to me, I am aware, not belittling anyone else's passion on this subject), the rest is just quibbling. Not that it's not important - it's just the details.

(Just today, DP and I were, once again, single handedly designing the complete fix for all the problems with our national government. We do this on a regular basis, and the bits we spend the most time on are the details, like what we would call the new style of government, the minutae of how it would be run, etc. It's all fantasy, of course, because none of it's going to happen, although it's not unimportant, either, because it gives us ideas of where to put our efforts for social and governmental change. The only thing we agree on every time, and the thing that somtimes gets lost in our quibbles over details, is that the current system doesn't work, and something needs to change.)
post #208 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by bri276
I don't confuse the two. Trust me. However, it was ironic, and a little suspicious. The error wasn't something like an apostrophe, which I wouldn't think twice about. Typos are nothing. Basic use of the English language is another- yet we all make mistakes, even profoundly gifted people. I completely understand that.
Seriously, I could go through that post and find every grammatical and stylistic mistake I made. There are several - definitely more than one.

Why nitpick that much, though? I was referring to situations in which the teacher would write, say, "You're Lesson For Today" on the board - or get very confused when a geography book referred to the "Hearth of China" and say "Weird. They must have meant 'heart.'"
post #209 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
I think that this article is very interesting regarding labelling and motivation that someone posted on here a while ago, and it played a huge role for me in making a decision to keep my child out of gifted programs and either homeschool or seek out programs that catered to the individual.

http://www.educationworld.com/a_issu.../chat010.shtml
I wouldn't say that article necessarily shows that there is a problem with gifted programs or identifying kids as gifted. A quote from the article:
Quote:
A classroom that teaches students to equate their intelligence and their worth with their performance will, in general, stifle the desire to learn and will make students afraid of challenges.
I totally agree with this, but to me, that's simply an argument against teaching kids to value grades (or any other measure of school performance.) What if you identified some kids as gifted, but encouraged them to believe that their school performance had nothing to do with their intelligence or worth? What if they got to attend a school where no one even attempted to measure or judge their performance? (Not likely, I know - that's one of the big reasons why I want to homeschool my kids.)

Of course, if the gifted programs in your area are more along the lines of the "equating intelligence and worth with performance" model, it might make sense to keep your kid out of them. But it doesn't mean the whole idea of special classes for gifted kids is necessarily bad.
post #210 of 927
On the subject of asynchonous developing children, aka "gifted", and social graces, it has certainly been my experience that they tend to lack them, and if they don't, it's generally because of hard work on their part. And yes, ADaka"G" does tend to go along with other nonstandard mental traits (aka mental disorders) - I'm bipolar, as is my brother and much of my paternal family. It does seem like a bit of a chicken and an egg question, though - are AD/"G" kids social rejects because they lack social skills because they're AD/"G", do they lack social skills because they're social rejects because they're AD/"G", are they rejects and lacking because they've been LABELLED AD/"G", because of some other "disorder" that tends to go along with AD/"G"? I don't know, but I suspect, just like with intelligence itself, it's a combination of factors - inate and environmental and comorbid factors.

I do think it's wrong BOTH to say "hey, you're intellectually gifted, you don't have to be a nice person" AND "if you're not a nice person, you're just choosing to be a bastard and can get away with it because you're intellectually gifted." I didn't get along with most of my peers until, well, maybe adulthood. I DID find that I COULD get along with some people (the fellow freaks, mostly - those of us who valued creative thinking whether or not we were labelled "gifted". didn't actually get along with most of the GATErs - they were too focused on getting the grade), and that it was worth it to learn to do it, round about adolescence.

Most of the really, really smart kids I knew (and I did know a few) didn't get along well with the other kids. Or me, for that matter, although we could relate, being freaks. There's one person in particular I remember, who frequently made ME feel dumb (he excelled at spelling, among other things, something I didn't pick up until highschool), who dropped out of highschool, moved in with an aunt in another state (not entirely by choice, I think), and as far as I know could be dead by now... I worry about him, because he didn't have it easy. He was socially awkward, not because he couldn't figure out the rules, but because the rules are so stupid he couldn't figure out why they were the rules.

So no, I don't think it's OK to say "you're smart you don't have to be nice", but it's also obviously, to me, true that there is something inherent in the experience of being "gifted" that makes social interactions, social niceties, especially in childhood and adolescence but potentially throughout life, particularly difficult. Can we overcome that difficulty? Yea, probably. But it is more difficult.

Someone for whom social interaction comes easily saying to someone for whom it doesn't that it's nothing, they should just do it, there's nothing stopping them but willfullness, is like someone with an inherent math ability telling someone with a math block that calculus is easy, they should just do it, there's nothing stopping them. Social intelligence is a different type of intelligence, and that skillset can be learned by almost everyone, and I agree it should be valued, but it doesn't come equally easily to all of us. We're not all natural ambassadors, just like we're not all natural physicists. Everyone, however, can learn some basic social niceties and some basic physics, and probably should. What's so wrong with that?
post #211 of 927
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post #212 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by girlie_librarian
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Ok, maybe I'm only saying this because it's 12:32 AM and I really, really shoulda been in bed hours ago, but I LOVE that smilie! I could just sit here watching it for hours. Well, minutes, anyway.
post #213 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlpumkin
And I also think it's key for parents to note that it is those that were once labelled as "gifted" themselves that are the most opposed - or so it seems.
It does seem that there are several posters who were labelled gifted and who felt it was damaging. I'll contribute my point of view as someone who was labelled gifted and didn't find it damaging. The gifted program I was in for 4th - 6th grade (separate all-gifted class) wasn't perfect, but it was better than regular classes. (I think many of the things that made it better are things that could be applied to any class - but that's a whole different discussion.) I guess I was lucky, because no adult ever said or implied to me that I had greater potential than anyone else, or that I was expected to do anything special with my life. (My "gifted" status was barely discussed with me by parents and teachers. It wasn't until I was in high school that I found out I had had an IQ test, and saw the score.)

Would my life have been substantially different if I hadn't gotten the gifted label? Probably not. Is knowing I'm "officially" gifted important or useful to me? I'm not sure. I feel pretty confident that my daughter would be considered gifted, too. Is it important to know that? If I were sending her to school, I think it would be, because I think a gifted program might be likely to suck less than regular school classes. (Sure, I think all kids deserve a good education, not just gifted kids - but I wouldn't go so far as to deny my kid a better school experience just because it's not available to everyone.) But I don't want to send her to school, so I don't know . . .

Here's a question for the people who were identified as gifted, and don't like the label. You know you meet the criteria for giftedness. Some of you have kids who you know would also. Would you really rather not even know that? Do you think it would be better if you didn't even realize that this discussion was about kids like you and yours? Why or why not?
post #214 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil
I guess I was lucky, because no adult ever said or implied to me that I had greater potential than anyone else, or that I was expected to do anything special with my life. (My "gifted" status was barely discussed with me by parents and teachers. It wasn't until I was in high school that I found out I had had an IQ test, and saw the score.)
You were lucky.

I'd been told by teachers ever since I skipped a grade that I was smart and gifted. That I could do or be anything in the world, I had no limits. What good did that do me? It paralyzed me with fear. I wasn't better at any one thing, I was good at everything. I didn't know how to choose, and the people who were supposed to help me decide kept telling me to go with my talents and interests. They didn't understand that they were making things worse for me, not better.

My parents are still pissed at my teachers for how they handled things. Apparently there were numerous afterschool meetings about me within a week after I started school (explains why all the teachers, even the ones I didn't have, knew my name - I had thought they knew everyone's name!) and my parents only had one thing to say - don't tell her she's different. Don't tell her she's smarter. And yet, they did. I knew my IQ had been tested, but I never did find out the score so I told people my score was 198. I'd been told I was so smart so I figured that was a good enough guess.

I was put in an 'academically talented' program from grades 5 to 8. I had to change schools away from all my friends to do this, and I didn't want to but my parents talked me into it. I had already skipped one grade and the teachers didn't know what else to do with me. I agreed because my parents told me I could change my mind and come back to my old school after 1 year. They lied, but they were desperate and thought this program would help me.

Unfortunately, it was too late. My grade 4 teacher was a horrid shrew who would yell at slower students and hold me up as an example to them, saying I was done all my work so why weren't they? I began to learn to 'dumb down' my work and to take as much time as I could doing it. I stopped caring about grades and lost respect for my teacher and teachers in general (unfair yes, but I was only 9).

Even in the AcTal program I didn't fit in. I could do work faster and more accurately than most of the class, but I had already lost motivation. I began not doing homework assignments but still acing tests, so my grades were spotty but it didn't seem to matter. I remember arguing with my teacher in grade 5 or 6 (we had the same teacher both years, so I don't remember exactly when it was) that not everyone could have an education, because school cost money. She told me I was wrong because everyone has the right to an education, and I told her that that wasn't the same thing - that because school cost money, people who could not afford it did not have access to that same education. She greatly disliked me after that, and my opinion of her plummeted.

In an effort to motivate me, I had teachers (mine and others at the same school) as well as the principal tell me that I could do better work and I was just being lazy. That I had a lot of potential and I should use it because it was a shame to waste it. My grade 8 teacher would actually yell until his face turned red and a vein pulsed in his forehead about how I was wasting my potential and there were so many kids who aren't capable of half of what I could do but they tried so much harder and here I was lazing about. How I could do or be anything I wanted and here I was choosing not to do or be anything. By that time I had figured that there wasn't a chance in hell of them not passing me so I had stopped all classwork completely. My teacher thought maybe others in the class were distracting me (ha! I had no friends in this class, despite being stuck with the same kids for 4 years) so my desk was moved out into the hall for months. I actually liked that, but got moved back into the classroom when it was clear I wasn't doing more work when I was alone.

My high school career was filled with teachers who 'heard about me' and tried their damnedest to get me in their classes and make me motivated to do all the wonderful things I could do if I only tried. All of them failed. It's not their fault really, I did love being in some of their classes but it was just too late. I had good marks overall and graduated with more credits than needed, went on to University and promptly dropped out. Waited two years, tried going back, but dropped out again.

Yeah, that gifted label really helped me a lot :
post #215 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by talk de jour
No, I just don't think advanced intellectual development is an excuse for acting poorly.

Either there's something else there besides giftedness (like PDD or ODD) or they weren't expected to use proper manners and be polite. I don't buy that being profoundly gifted excuses rudeness in a child emotionally developed enough to know that it's against cultural norms - in fact, I would expect a profoundly gifted child to be HYPER-aware of accepted norms of behavior.
You mistake "excuse" for "cause." Moreover, those same "cultural norms" to which you referred in and of themselves constitute an expectation of proper behavior. Third, awareness of accepted norms of behavior does not equal the ability to conform to those norms.
post #216 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by glendora
I suppose I'm just not understanding how these "programs" are supposed to help in a public school.
I think they currently give status-hungry parents of bright-but-not-gifted kids a feeling of prestige and act as pacifiers (however temporary and ineffective) for parents of actual gifted kids. As they currently stand, I don't think that the vast majority of them, particularly the pull-outs, really do much at all. I think it's a mechanism to shut up parents who clamor for their children to be put in the gifted program -- but without the intellectual rigor and academic demands of a program tailored to the needs of gifted students.
post #217 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristaN
It just occurred to me as I was responding to a bunch of these posts that this thread does seem to be going off track from the original question which was, if I recall correctly, whether labeling some children as gifted was detrimental to both those children and other children.

I do believe that there is some merit in that concern especially in regard to those children who are bright hot housed children who are not dealing with the same issues as the highly gifted. A child who would do fine in a standard classroom environment is not benefited IMO from being pushed to achieve more and being falsely IDed as something he is not. If funds are diverted from other more needy children to serve the non-existent needs of this cohort, then there is fault to be found.

On the other hand, identifying children who are truly very different creatures as what they are and then trying to create programs to meet those different needs is not elitist or harmful IMO unless these children and the other children who are not part of that group are then led to believe that the label confers some prestige or sense that the gifted children are better. The few gifted individuals I have known did not develop a sense of superiority even in GATE/TAG programs. These programs were filled with the aforementioned bright, but not gifted, kids and they still didn't fit in. They still felt that there was something askew and most of them came to the ultimate conclusion that something was wrong -- not with the situation, but with themselves.
Well put.
post #218 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin2004
So, why isn't "profoundly gifted" referred to as the more accurate "profoundly burdened"? Oh wait, that has a negative connotation, doesn't it? Just like if you're not "gifted and talented" then you're...what..."not gifted and untalented"?
In some ways, for some people, I think it can be a profound burden. I don't know if you read the whole thread -- and who could blame you if you hadn't? -- but earlier, I expressed my wish that "gifted" could be replaced with something that smacked far less of élitism and privilege, like "asynchronous development," or some such term. I agree that "profoundly burdened" has a negative connotation, but the profound advantage that that term would confer would be, again, to remove some of the cachet from the category. Heck, you can call it "Fred" for all I care.
post #219 of 927
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bri276
I don't confuse the two. Trust me. However, it was ironic, and a little suspicious. The error wasn't something like an apostrophe, which I wouldn't think twice about. Typos are nothing. Basic use of the English language is another- yet we all make mistakes, even profoundly gifted people. I completely understand that.
Are you serious??? I can't believe people here think it is okay to question somebody who states that they have been ID'ed as profoundly gifted, especially because they apparently made a grammatical error. Nobody who has labelled their child as gifted has been directly challenged, and I bet everyone would freak if someone were!
post #220 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by lasciate
You were lucky.

I'd been told by teachers ever since I skipped a grade that I was smart and gifted. That I could do or be anything in the world, I had no limits. What good did that do me? It paralyzed me with fear...
I can't say that my experience with being labeled as gifted was wonderful and I did share some of the same problems that you described in your post -- there were so many possibilities that I developed no direction, things were so easy that I never developed any study habits, I felt like an oddball and the other kids seemed to feel the same way...

However, I feel that those issues were more inherent to who I was/am than related to my teachers making me feel that way. Yes, I could have been much better served if someone had helped me learn how to work and not coast b/c I wanted to good grades and was terrified of trying something outside of the box b/c it might not get the A. Yes, I would have been better served if someone had helped me sort through all of the possibilities and figure out what I wanted to do with my life before I was in my 30s. Yes, I would have been a much happier teen (I hope) had I not felt like some strange being who was incomprehensible and therefore likely intrinsically flawed.

Again, however, I don't think that completely "mainstreaming" me into college prep classes rather than AP or not offering GATE programs or never labeling would have solved any of these problems. Doing it better is what I am looking for. We have dds enrolled at a charter school for next year that offers flexible grouping, personalized educational plans for all students and subject acceleration. Helping dd take risks in her school work was a major goal of mine last year. Her teacher worked with me to make that happen and it has been good for her in all aspects of her life. Subject accelerating her is vital, IMO, to helping her learn to work for what she wants. If the work is consistently so easy that she can do it with her mind turned off, she will develop exactly the problem you describe -- being so paralyzed with fear of failure b/c she has never experienced it that she never does do anything with her life.
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