Originally Posted by newmom22
I’m on holidays and have been sporadically reading this thread with no time to respond meaningfully. However, I am surprised that Vygotsky and his Zone of Proximal development have not yet surfaced in the conversation. As a teacher, I think it is a critical philosophy that must be understood before engaging in any kind of classroom instruction. It would be particularly relevant for a homeschooling family as well since the theory depends so heavily on interaction with a significant adult.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lev_Vygotsky
But that's precisely what we've been talking about -- that for many HG and PG gifted students, the teachers don't give a rat's caboose about their ZPD. Oh, in an ideal world, if every teacher actually calibrated their ZPD and taught right in that zone for every student, it would be great -- and in fact, it's one of the super strengths of homeschooling, as you're implying, particularly since the parent can definitely adjust and fine-tune as needed. In a class of thirty, this is far less possible. However, most teachers really don't do that. They teach to the middle, and I certainly understand how come -- but what I find exasperating is that schools, administrators, and teachers are bitterly resistant to the idea of early admission and acceleration -- which would at least get closer to putting the kid in a class that adequately addresses that delicate balance between "too easy" and "too hard" that Vygotsky was talking about.
|I disagree that Gardiner’s theory is hooey. It is a valuable tool for young learners to define and embrace their own style of learning.
Please don't take what I am saying as a personal attack or as snark, because it's not -- I don't know you, and I am assuming you meant what you said with sincerity. What I will say (and this is directed at the discourse you're using, not you personally) is that these very edspeak-inspired statements, whereas they mean to sound lovely on paper and in parent conferences, don't actually mean anything concrete
. I find it about as useful as getting children to define and embrace their zodiac signs or the numerological significances of their names (e.g., "I am a Scorpio with a life value number of 3, so I need more time in math"?)
Seriously, in terms of actual practice, multiple intelligence theory doesn't matter much at all to gifted children, and in terms of non-gifted children, the Gardner-based teaching methods have not
been demonstrated by research to improve the learning of the students for whom they are used. Good teachers -- good professional anyones, actually -- have to base their methodology not on what sounds good or what the latest ed-fad happens to be, but on what actually works as demonstrated by research, and I'm afraid that Gardner really does not meet that test.
|In every grade I’ve ever taught I spend time at the beginning of the year helping students recognize where their strengths are and then develop goal setting through the portfolio process to strengthen their identified weaknesses. Intelligence can not be measured by academic standards alone and, in my experience, students find it comforting to have their individual strengths acknowledged and equally valued in an inclusive classroom.
Again, I'm sure you really mean that and I'm not leveling my criticism at you or your sincerity, but I am distressed by the edspeak and its lack of relevance to reality. In my experience -- and not just mine -- the issue with gifted students, particularly with those who are HG and PG, is that their "individual strengths" are not just not acknowledged and not just not valued in an inclusive classroom, but that they are actively squelched.
Seriously, I have sympathy for teachers who get an extremely gifted kid because they're really not prepared to deal with one and it's not fair to either the teacher or the student to make it fit when it simply won't. I don't know what grade you teach, but let's take a test case: in your classroom -- let's say it's a kindergarten class -- just precisely and exactly
(please, no edspeak, I beg you...please) what would you do with a kid like this:
1. At five, reads at an eighth-grade level. Recently finished the entire Tolkien Lord of the Rings
trilogy on his or her own.
2. Mathematically, this kid is doing long division, addition and subtraction of fractions, and negative numbers. Overall, math skills are at a mid-third grade range.
3. In terms of socialization, the child is happy and works well with others.
4. In terms of composition and handwriting, the child is used to writing one- to two-page compositions on a given topic with minimal scaffolding and all handwriting is clear and neatly legible.
5. On a typical spelling list chosen from the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship list of words (including words such as staphylococci, vivisepulture, and propitiatory
), the child normally gets a grade of 80%-100% on a regular basis.
Really, I would be very curious to find if a child such as Hypothetical Kid here would really be ZPD'd in your classroom or whether this child's abilities would basically mean that you were having to do an entirely separate prep just for them, which (as I think we'll all agree) is a giant pain in the butt.
(Moreover, a bit OT here, the research into gifted education suggests very strongly that inclusion in a heterogeneous classroom for the way-beyond-normal gifted students simply doesn't work
. It works decently well with mildly
gifted students, absolutely, but just like in quantum theory, the rules change the further out you go. )