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Anyone wanna talk about the conception of "gifted" status in children? - Page 12

post #221 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin2004
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.
For many years we have been told by various educators and neurologists that DS # 1 is "gifted". I have struggled with what this means exactly. Is their a reputable test out there to confirm their theory? Who makes up these intelligence tests? When he turned 4 and went into pre-school, I began to investigate our public school system as well as private schools in the area in preparation for kindergarten. In addition to discovering that the school system in our area is subpar for all children IMO, I found that what little "gifted" programs were offered, existed only at a select few magnet schools and that the tuition to attend them is outrageous. In my experience in our area, griffin2004 is right on. By setting up programs that address a gifted child's needs, and then making them unattainable to the majority of the population by virtue of economic status, is wrong. If you can't afford it, then your child is shortchanged. The system sucks.

DC
post #222 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn
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?
See, I hate random social interaction. I really do. I work in a retail job where I have to make nice with customers and do high-pressure selling, and I HATE it. Part of that is because I feel what I do is unethical, but it's also just all the fake social interaction, if that makes sense.

I'm sure most gifted kids feel the same way. I'm not saying that being a little sh*t is willful on the part of 90% of gifted kids who act that way. Usually it's an issue of being expected to deal with difficult social situations earlier than usual because they have the intellectual maturity of a kid who COULD emotionally deal with those social situations. Gifted kids often are MORE emotionally immature than "average" : kids. A lot of it is acting out. Some of it is comorbid factors (ODD, PDD, and the like.)

And sometimes it really is just plain being a brat. Gifted kids can be brats just like regular kids. But the "shy" or "eccentric" label that many get doesn't have to do with being a brat. It has to do with acting, speaking, and thinking differently than their peers.
post #223 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by lasciate
Yeah, that gifted label really helped me a lot :
Do you think that your experience would have been substantially different if you weren't labled? You still would have worked faster and more accurately than other students. Your teachers would have still held you up as an example. Was it BEING gifted or being LABLED gifted that was really the problem?

-Angela
post #224 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil

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?
I think I could have really benefited from homeschooling, honestly, since I think it's inevitable that anyone who goes through the school system will be labeled to a certain extent and for me this did more harm than good.

However, I think that it's not a question of not "knowing" something about ourselves, as you put it, but of the way we categorize people and sort them into groups based on a few characteristics rather than appreciating them as individuals, as whole people. I came to feel rather defined by my "giftedness" as a child and I would really prefer not to have defined myself that way. It was a big stumbling block when I reached an age at which that definition was no longer relevant.
post #225 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
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.
There is a lot of truth to this. In an era where school funding is a major issue, bandaid programs are more and more common. Wa state ranks towards the bottom of school funding, compared to other states, so these types of programs help parents to feel that their children are at least having some of their needs met. But, they also help the children to feel a sense of belonging. I used to get that all the time from children who were new to the program. All of a sudden, they are among like-minded peers. It can be a very uplifting experience for them and often an experience that makes a huge difference in their attitude towards education.

Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin2004
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.
I can see the point about the label of gifted being elitist, but I disagree that it serves a disservice to all children. Can you please clarify how you believe this to be so?
post #226 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by talk de jour

And sometimes it really is just plain being a brat. Gifted kids can be brats just like regular kids. But the "shy" or "eccentric" label that many get doesn't have to do with being a brat. It has to do with acting, speaking, and thinking differently than their peers.
This is the first time I actually agree with you, in part. Gifted kids do think and act and speak differently than their peers. It is not difficult for most people to understand that a person of low IQ is often going to speak, think, and act younger than they really are. In fact, we often hear that so and so has an IQ of a 10 year old, or something like that. With that in mind, truly gifted kids often have a vocabulary and some general understanding much higher than their actual age. But, they are still children and their experience of the world is still limited and they still have much in the way of maturing to do, both physically and socially. And, they often have well-definied bs detectors and hate forced social interaction. Especially as they approach the tween and teen years, they use their bs radar all the time and question the logic, or lack of, in everything. "Why do we have to do it that way? or Why don't we do it this way." are common types of question in classroom full of gifted kids. They look at the rules, analyze them, see the arbitrariness of them, and either refuse to follow them or offer alternative. This is very common. Sometimes, they just shut down and refuse to follow the rules. It is difficult to be a teacher of a class full of kids like this because you spend a lot of time talking about the rules, particularly if you practice GD and don't punish. It can be frustrating.
post #227 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by lasciate
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.
Since about 1.5, people DD1 one meets -- she goes out of her way to do so if they're doing something that looks interesting -- end up telling her she's "smart" after about a minute's conversation. Since she's big for her age, I thought it might happen less often over time, but instead the opposite has occurred. I wish it was otherwise, but there's nothing I can or should do to manage her innocuous interactions with people. We'd planned on homeschooling anyway, but this is one of the reasons we don't want her in school. I think grades are harmful. Likewise holding one child up as an example, either good or bad, is harmful. Pressure to be successful at school rather than to commit to deep thought and hard work. BTDT. DD1 knows she's "smart;" how could she not? Yet she doesn't hear that she's "better." I think that's a big difference. She can do some things better than others and this is an aspect of who she is, but that's not a reflection of her worth as a person.

I'm sorry you had such a bad experiece; it sounds like it was a bad school.
post #228 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by lasciate

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.
Yes, yes, yes! I could have written this word for freaking word. And it's so silly that adults would get so carried away as to tell a child things like this, because they aren't accurate. EVERYONE has limits, EVERYONE. It is really not doing anyone a favor to pretend otherwise.

The other thing was that I had some really specific strengths - namely, learning things very quickly. For instance, I begged for piano lessons when I was in kindergarten and progressed quickly (though not prodigiously), playing pieces from the Anna Magdalena Bach notebook by 2nd grade, with a minimum of practice and attention. I continued to progress easily in piano until I got to the REALLY hard pieces - Chopin Ballades, etc. - and then I suddenly was overwhelmed. My facility for quickly mastering pieces all at once without laboriously learning them part by part was not helpful when I reached the point where that wasn't possible. And then I found I had developed NO perserverance, NO skills for breaking things up and making them manageable, to help me. So I stalled, panicked, crashed and burned. And felt like a fraud.

So why didn't I just ask my piano teacher for help? Well, because she expected me to be as brilliant at the piano as my earlier successes would indicate, and couldn't help but express annoyance and disbelief that I seemed to hit a wall at some point.

This happened with everything I was supposedly talented at. See my GRE/grad school example earlier.

It turns out I had some major deficits in planning actions. I had always worked so quickly that I didn't have to reflect on how I did something or learned something. Now as an adult I have no freaking idea how to do something that doesn't come quickly and easily to me. And the talents which were important in my life as a child, which brought me pleasure and positive feedback from the world - playing the piano, reading big books, writing stories, making up elaborate games - are positively superfluous as an adult. They still bring me pleasure but I don't have much time to devote to them, other things are much more important to me, and I certainly don't get a lot of positive feedback from the world about them. But I do get a lot of NEGATIVE feedback for the things that I have difficulty with - cleaning my house, cooking, paying my bills.

This is not wahh wahh poor me, because I feel very fortunate in my life. BUT my life is not what it was "supposed" to be. I am GLAD of that now - truly! - but I do feel that I have a warped sense of myself and what I "should" be doing, even now, which hobbles me in living the kind of life that *I* want to lead. And I very much wish that the adults in my life had refrained from talking about how much potential I had. It is really too much for a child, and it leads to expectations that are probably impossible to meet. A certain sense of disillusionment is inevitable for those who have been repeatedly labeled as gifted as children, which isn't necessarily devastating, but it's something to consider for parents of "gifted" children.
post #229 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoHiddenFees
Since about 1.5, people DD1 one meets -- she goes out of her way to do so if they're doing something that looks interesting -- end up telling her she's "smart" after about a minute's conversation. Since she's big for her age, I thought it might happen less often over time, but instead the opposite has occurred. I wish it was otherwise, but there's nothing I can or should do to manage her innocuous interactions with people. We'd planned on homeschooling anyway, but this is one of the reasons we don't want her in school. I think grades are harmful. Likewise holding one child up as an example, either good or bad, is harmful. Pressure to be successful at school rather than to commit to deep thought and hard work. BTDT. DD1 knows she's "smart;" how could she not? Yet she doesn't hear that she's "better." I think that's a big difference. She can do some things better than others and this is an aspect of who she is, but that's not a reflection of her worth as a person.
.
It sounds like you are taking a good path with your daughter. Yes, just as some kids are always being told how beautiful they are, or how well-behaved, some kids are constantly hearing that they are "smart", and I don't think it's good for kids to hear any of these things frequently. But if they are allowed to spend most of their time in an environment where they are not being compared to others, I believe it will mitigate the effect of these interactions on their developing sense of self.
post #230 of 927
There's an excellent book by Barbara Kerr called Smart Girls that's basically a case study of a group of adult women the author attended a gifted school with. It includes a huge list of factors that, through case studies and biographies, the author determined to contribute to success/fulfillment of smart girls. I was in tears through much it, with not only the "could have beens" but also recognizing that I wasn't so freakish as I'd assumed (and I'm probably "only" HG).
post #231 of 927
Quote:
I found that what little "gifted" programs were offered, existed only at a select few magnet schools and that the tuition to attend them is outrageous. In my experience in our area, griffin2004 is right on. By setting up programs that address a gifted child's needs, and then making them unattainable to the majority of the population by virtue of economic status, is wrong. If you can't afford it, then your child is shortchanged. The system sucks.

DC
I couldn't agree more. In our district, one of the largest in the country, you're genuinely screwed if your child is gifted and you're poor.

For one, if your child is profoundly gifted and needs services earlier than the beginning of third grade, as many PG students do, they will provide services...if you get your child tested.

Sounds nice...but guess who pays? And if you don't speak English and don't know whom to call? Good luck.

So if you're poor and your kid is PG, he or she is out of luck for the first three years of his or her educational experience -- the really important foundational years that do a great deal to shape a child's overall perception of school and his or her purpose in it.

Nice.
post #232 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil
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?
I'm sure my daughter meets the criteria for a lot of things... but unless or until knowing this is necessary in order to meet her needs, then I don't see any point in knowing. The only time I considered labeling her as gifted was as a way to get into community college (a gifted IEP is the only way to get in before age 16 in our county), when she expressed an interest in that. Otherwise it's just not been necessary. Our happy unschooling world is full of kids who are way outside typical school norms, so the whole concept of asynchrony falls pretty much flat. Labeling children implies that the problem is in the child, not in the schools, and I don't agree with that.

For the record, school was not a very happy place for me. I did spend two great years in a hippie school with flexible mixed-age grouping where I could delve deeply into a lot of the areas I wanted to learn about (I spent a good bit of time on tea-making and the ERA, as an 8 year old) and I was in various "gifted" and "accelerated" "and enriched" programs, but most of them were just more cr*p... and it's clear to me that my peers were no less bored in school than I was. If schools must exist, I'd rather see them focus on meeting the needs of all students, rather than just those with labels.

Dar
post #233 of 927
Quote:
I know of no program where gifted kids get more and better field trips and extras than the regular kids.
We certainly did. And I think that's part of the reason I'm torn over gifted education. Because of my school, I had A LOT of advantages over the kids at disctrict schools. I had opportunities that they couldn't even dream of. And some of them were quite literally life changing (I'm referring specifcally to an exploratory languages class in 4th grade which has led to a life long love of Russian and now a PhD in Slavic Linguistics).

But we had everything at our school! Computers back when they were not common in schools, high tech science labs, "hands on" field trips to explore marine biology and to perform local water testing, yearly trips to Epcot center (to practise language at the country pavilions), free tickets to the opera, guest invitations to local museum openings (and once I remember my art history class was even charged with writing the photo descriptions for the new Walt Wegman exhibit and then got to talk with him at the opening), we even once had a bowling trip with the first violinist of a visting Russian symphony orchestra. Of course, the curriculum was on accedlerated scale and students could tailor it to their interests (if you wanted AP Calculus in 6th grade, you could go for it, if you wanted to focus on language, you could start a third or fourth language in elementary school, etc). Well, I could go on and on and on and on. My point is, the advantage WAS unfair. Sure we were gifted and that could justify the need for additional stimulation, but still....It was NOT fair. Average and even below average kids COULD have benefited from many of the things we had. But they were never given the chance
post #234 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
"Why do we have to do it that way? or Why don't we do it this way." are common types of question in classroom full of gifted kids. They look at the rules, analyze them, see the arbitrariness of them, and either refuse to follow them or offer alternative. This is very common. Sometimes, they just shut down and refuse to follow the rules. It is difficult to be a teacher of a class full of kids like this because you spend a lot of time talking about the rules, particularly if you practice GD and don't punish. It can be frustrating.
I would like to second this, and to say that another problem -- and I'm sorry if this sounds élitist here or snotty -- is that quite often, especially in elementary school, the teachers tend not to be gifted and often tend not to be deeply educated in the subjects they teach. This isn't just random snark, BTW -- I'll be happy to back up my assertions with data if anyone is interested.

Most of the time, for most students, this is never a problem. There's far more to teaching than knowing your subject in depth, especially at the ES level where you're really concentrating on the fundamentals, not on the upper-level functions. What's far more important is to know how to teach those basics and keep your class managed and orderly.

That said, it is a problem for highly (and very highly) gifted students who don't get why the teacher is saying that "there's nothing less than zero," when any negative number (or the teacher's own credit card bill) would be sufficient to prove otherwise, or when she's saying that "only even numbers can be divided by 2" when you know that any number can be divided by 2.

(What's even worse is when the teacher isn't just teaching those simplified concepts for the sake of clarity, but genuinely doesn't know or understand the math beyond that point -- and some of them apparently don't. Again, not random snark: I'll cite more data if you need.)

Exacerbating the problem is when a student points these things out and the teacher gets defensive or angry -- something that the student simply doesn't understand at all, because why wouldn't a teacher (or anyone) want to know the truth? The right answer?

For many gifted students, school is a frustrating and contradictory Alice-in-Wonderland world where things should function one way and actually function another. Teachers should know all the answers -- or at least admit when they don't. Teachers should want to know the truth, should want to be precise, should want to be exact -- but they don't always. And so on. That daily frustration can lead to the exact "shutdown" to which Boongirl referred earlier.
post #235 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
"Why do we have to do it that way? or Why don't we do it this way." are common types of question in classroom full of gifted kids.
I get calls too often because my dd will be sitting in her desk and silently crying. When asked what's wrong, she says 'nothing.' But when she gets home all the questions start and I have no clue how to answer her. Her logic is way beyond me and it makes perfect sense. It is how the world could/should work, but in reality, the world is cruel and unfair.
post #236 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
I would like to second this, and to say that another problem -- and I'm sorry if this sounds élitist here or snotty -- is that quite often, especially in elementary school, the teachers tend not to be gifted and often tend not to be deeply educated in the subjects they teach. This isn't just random snark, BTW -- I'll be happy to back up my assertions with data if anyone is interested.

And so on. That daily frustration can lead to the exact "shutdown" to which Boongirl referred earlier.

I'd like the data, not because I think you're being snarky, but because I'm a teacher (secondary). Also, as I've said before, I began to see the "shutdown" in my dd in Kindergarten.
post #237 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nora'sMama
It turns out I had some major deficits in planning actions. I had always worked so quickly that I didn't have to reflect on how I did something or learned something. Now as an adult I have no freaking idea how to do something that doesn't come quickly and easily to me.
And this is EXACTLY why (well one reason ) that I believe very strongly that "gifted" students should be identified and served as such. This is a common issue with children of this type. IMO a good gifted program would address this and help children gain the skills they need.

-Angela
post #238 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
I would like to second this, and to say that another problem -- and I'm sorry if this sounds élitist here or snotty -- is that quite often, especially in elementary school, the teachers tend not to be gifted and often tend not to be deeply educated in the subjects they teach. This isn't just random snark, BTW -- I'll be happy to back up my assertions with data if anyone is interested.
I don't have research data on it, but I agree wholeheartedly. I was an "elem. ed" major (well, that wasn't a major as such, but I was in the program) The education program I was in was ranked one of the very best in the state at the time I was in it. There might have been one other teacher that I graduated with to whom I would trust my child's education and emotional well being in a classroom. MAYBE one. And she went into special ed.

-Angela
post #239 of 927
Quote:
And this is EXACTLY why (well one reason ) that I believe very strongly that "gifted" students should be identified and served as such. This is a common issue with children of this type. IMO a good gifted program would address this and help children gain the skills they need.
I agree, alegna, that children with this type of learning style should be identified so that their education can be tailored to their needs. I am realizing through this thread how much I HATE the word "gifted" because to me it washes over all the problems that can go along with this type of learning style. It also calls to mind an image of a "gift from God", sent down from heaven, i.e. something you are born with and then responsible for. So it makes it a child's fault if they do not excel. I much prefer "asynchronous development" or "atypical learning style" instead of "gifted".

Think of it this way: if I am Student A and I find out that Student B is "gifted", what does that make me? Not gifted, obviously. What if I find out that Student B learns differently from me and needs a special kind of help? Well, that just makes me...someone who learns in another way! In the second example no one is told by the language used that they should feel superior or inferior - and I think the "gifted" label does just that, gives some kids a gold star and leaves the other kids wondering why they didn't get one. IMO the language adults use to talk to children about themselves is very important, as well as the way in which they talk about children's future potential.
post #240 of 927
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A
I'd like the data, not because I think you're being snarky, but because I'm a teacher (secondary). Also, as I've said before, I began to see the "shutdown" in my dd in Kindergarten.
Yeah, sure. Here's a link to the government report on education known as "A Nation at Risk." In it, the data about teacher preparation and expertise suggests that the educational system is not staffed by the best and brightest from American colleges. Essentially, people who major in education tend to come from the lowest-quartile group of students as measured on standardized tests such as the SAT, the ACT, and Praxis tests -- lower than phys. ed. majors. Those are the same people who become not only professors of education (a true case of the blind leading the blind) but teachers of our children.

(I wanted to add that although one criticism might stem from the fact that this report dates from the early 80s, its conclusions are still valid because very little has changed in this area.)

That leads me to conclude that teachers are not, as a general rule, gifted. Naturally, some gifted people don't present well on tests. However, I'm speaking of the general population, not a few exceptions. Also, there may be gifted teachers who perform excellently on standardized tests, but again, they are the exception and not the rule.

Secondly, most elementary teachers do not major in a core subject such as English or math or science. They tend to major in education. That means that they have what amounts to a very general background (high school plus general undergraduate requirements) for the core subjects they're going to be teaching.

That leads me to the conclusion that they lack in-depth knowledge of those core subjects.

Again, like I said before, in most cases it simply doesn't matter. Teaching is definitely not rocket science, and there is far more to it than subject-area mastery anyway -- and one could make a very effective argument that an ES teacher who did have an undergraduate (or worse, a graduate) degree in a core subject would be completely overeducated for her job and would likely be unhappy and unfulfilled and not as effective as someone who'd basically trained to teach the crucial fundamentals.

It really is a problem, though, with gifted students, particularly the ones who have through experience come to doubt the "expertise" of the teacher and put the teacher through their own version of an IQ or achievement test before they give the teacher any respect. (To placate Talk De Jour, I am not excusing this behavior nor condoning it.) I've had those students on a number of occasions, and thankfully, I guess I've managed to BS well enough to make them believe I actually knew what I was talking about -- plus, I've gotten to the point where the phrases, "I don't know" and "Let me look it up" do not scare me or make me feel as if I lack authority. That helps. However, some teachers get mightily defensive and hostile toward those students, and it can turn hellish from there. Well, more hellish.
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