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'gifted' children an American trend? - Page 6

post #101 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
Personally I don't think the choice should be smart or hardworking. I'd like my physician to be both. I certainly recognize there are people who make it through medical school who aren't particularly bright, that's nice for them but it isn't what I'm looking for in a doctor.
No, I don't think it should be either. . .and I don't think it is. Medical school is designed such that you have to have some intelligence. It's just too fast-paced that a there wouldn't be enough hours in the day to simply "work hard" if you didn't have the capacity to absorb material quickly.
Medical school is just a very challenging place, where everyone is bright. . some just more than others. It's the hard work and dedication that fills in the rest.

The point I was trying to make, however, is that intelligence doesn't guarantee success. The brilliant guy I talked about was book smart, sure, but he certainly wasn't dedicated and he quickly found out that his smarts alone wouldn't get him through school. He's still very arrogant and quick to judge his patients. . whereas the girl, while not as brilliant as the guy, is a better physician because she takes the time to listen to her patients and research anything she's not familiar with.
post #102 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydiamond View Post
No, I don't think it should be either. . .and I don't think it is. Medical school is designed such that you have to have some intelligence. It's just too fast-paced that a there wouldn't be enough hours in the day to simply "work hard" if you didn't have the capacity to absorb material quickly.
I believe you said the person had an average IQ. I want a physician who is more intelligent than average.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydiamond View Post
The point I was trying to make, however, is that intelligence doesn't guarantee success.
I'm sure everyone would agree with this statement. I see that as a strong argument for gifted program. Every child deserves to be able to face new obstacles, find they can't do something on the first try, learn how to be persistent, etc. For some kids the only way to make that happen is to offer then something very different from what they could get in the traditional classrooms. I believe we all benefit as a society if every student gets to be challenged - not just the ones in the middle of the class.
post #103 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
I believe you said the person had an average IQ. I want a physician who is more intelligent than average.
She does have an average IQ. But I guess for me, I don't think intelligence is everything. I much prefer a physician who can admit when they don't know something and is willing to listen to me and do research instead of being arrogant. But that's just me. There's certainly a wide-range of doctors out there, so thankfully we can all find someone who meets our needs.


Quote:
I'm sure everyone would agree with this statement. I see that as a strong argument for gifted program. Every child deserves to be able to face new obstacles, find they can't do something on the first try, learn how to be persistent, etc. For some kids the only way to make that happen is to offer then something very different from what they could get in the traditional classrooms. I believe we all benefit as a society if every student gets to be challenged - not just the ones in the middle of the class.
I'm in agreement here. I just don't think everyone would agree. There seems to be a lot of confusion over intelligence and achievement. . .that the overachievers are intelligent (and not just a product of their overbearing parents) and that underachievers are unintelligent (and don't deserve to be in a gifted program).
post #104 of 204
Thread Starter 

OP here

Wow - didn't realize my original post would spark such debate! It's certainly interesting and I've learned a lot. I think the label 'gifted' was what I didn't understand. I thought it just meant 'very bright', but apparently not. The kids who are academically advanced but may struggle socially, behaviorally or emotionally I am very familiar with. I've never worked in a system that has called these kids 'gifted' or anything else. I, and other teachers, have always just tried to find ways to help each individual child in the way that seems best for them. But I'm not trying to work from within a huge public school system so I suppose I've had that luxury.

On a side note - I was put in the bottom stream of Grade 4 in the States. I'm not 'gifted' but I'm not slow either. It was just that the teachers and testers did not understand that I had come from a completely different educational background. I had never taken a test before, I had been in a school of 60 not 600, etc. C'est la vie.
post #105 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
This is the route we've taken, and it is not sufficiently challenging for either child. DD did FI kindergarten, then fine arts school. I am thankful that she's had these opportunities, but they have not been the panacea we had hoped. When you're capable of doing work years ahead of what's being presented, it's great that you spend 30% less time doing the academics, but it doesn't meet your need for engagement. ATM, this seems to be the best available.
For sure, I wasn't trying to suggest that we have the perfect solution, just pointing out that we seem to have more options to challenge students without resorting to giving them labels to jusify special programs.

I'm a good example of how it sill isn't enough. I started French in preschool, moved to an alternative school in grade 3, re-did grade 6 in order to go back to French for Late Immersion, continued with French into Highschool at a school that aslo offered self-directed studies for my English classes, and I still dropped out in grade 11 because I felt like I was wasting my time

But hey, at least there are options! I'm sure without the challenge of French I 've given up much earlier than I did
post #106 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydiamond View Post
She does have an average IQ. But I guess for me, I don't think intelligence is everything. I much prefer a physician who can admit when they don't know something and is willing to listen to me and do research instead of being arrogant. But that's just me. There's certainly a wide-range of doctors out there, so thankfully we can all find someone who meets our needs.
You are equating highly intelligent with arrogant. Those two things don't have to go together at all. There are arrogant stupid people out there. Given it can be a life or death thing, I'm hoping everyone would get a doctor of above average intelligence.
post #107 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
You are equating highly intelligent with arrogant. Those two things don't have to go together at all. There are arrogant stupid people out there. Given it can be a life or death thing, I'm hoping everyone would get a doctor of above average intelligence.
Only equating it in the guy I'm talking about, is all. And that's because he was both. I'm just making a direct comparison between two people I know, is all.


In general, I honestly don't care if my doctor is of average intelligence. I really don't. That's because medicine is more about training than it is about smarts. I've had doctors who were very kind and brilliant, others who were very kind and less brilliant. Both kinds were good at their jobs. I've also had those who were brilliant and arrogant and those who were I wondered how they got through medical school and arrogant too. Neither kind were good at their jobs.

All I'm saying, is that for me, I'm much more concerned with bedside manner and treatment than I am intelligence.
post #108 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Well but standardized tests and the like are not what is best for anyone IMO. The gifted kids get to escape it into a world of more creative, self directed learning. which is great for them, but IMO it would be great for everyone. And truth is kids who test 'gifted' tend to come from more privileged families, so they are 'elite' in terms of being identified as being 'smarter' and many have class privilege as well.

I think the whole thing could use a re-analysis, is all. I mean, if my kid tests gifted I will be thrilled that she has access to superior programs. But i think all the kids should have access to decent education.
The type of gifted education you're talking about is the type I received (although I didn't' come from a "privileged family" by any means - single mom, three kids, two dads, dad in prison, mom with some college education, but no degree and minimum wage job, on and off welfare/food stamps, living in an economically depressed neighborhood, etc - I was the exception to the rule though) and I've always thought that all kids could benefit from it. However, and it's a big however - the school my 1st grader now attends provides that kind of education to all their students. And it's great for the students who would be in an average class in a standard public school and the kids who would be struggling to keep up in a standard school. It's not so great for my son, though. Better than it would be if HE were in a standard classroom, but not as good, I don't think, as it would be for him if he were in a class where other kids were operating at the same speed and level that he is capable of. The biggest reason for this is that he is very self conscious about "standing out." He's also aware that other kids are doing work that is easy for him, and he often chooses to do that instead, because he is concerned about the fairness to him having to do something "harder" than the other kids. And, while his teachers work hard to meet every child where they are, I think there's still a lot of "teaching to the middle," where kids at either end of the spectrum get overlooked.

I do think there's a difference between "bright and motivated to succeed" and "gifted," but I'm not sure where that line can be drawn. I don't know how my son would fair on the gifted tests they give - I suspect that my daughter might come up with higher scores because she's bright and more motivated to please people than my son is. But the truth is, he's brilliant, and that's not "proud mom" talk - it's just the truth. My daughter would probably easily be put into and succeed in a GATE class in a couple of years, whereas my son is the type that would NEED that type of class to stay sane.
post #109 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydiamond View Post
The point I was trying to make, however, is that intelligence doesn't guarantee success. The brilliant guy I talked about was book smart, sure, but he certainly wasn't dedicated and he quickly found out that his smarts alone wouldn't get him through school. He's still very arrogant and quick to judge his patients. . whereas the girl, while not as brilliant as the guy, is a better physician because she takes the time to listen to her patients and research anything she's not familiar with.
My thought on this is simply that there are different levels of giftedness, if you will. Maybe you've answered this elsewhere and I missed it, but how do you *know* that she's of average intelligence? Her willingness to research anything she's not familiar with is a sign of higher than average intelligence. Giftedness doesn't look one certain way, and giftedness in general has very little to do with book smarts as such.
post #110 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by theatermom View Post
My thought on this is simply that there are different levels of giftedness, if you will. Maybe you've answered this elsewhere and I missed it, but how do you *know* that she's of average intelligence? Her willingness to research anything she's not familiar with is a sign of higher than average intelligence. Giftedness doesn't look one certain way, and giftedness in general has very little to do with book smarts as such.
You're right, I don't know. It's just what she told me. All throughout school she had a hard time keeping up, so she was held back quite a bit. They thought she was of below-average intelligence and gave her an IQ test to find out if she qualified for special ed. It was then that it was discovered that her IQ was right at average.

I don't know the details of why she had such a hard time in school (maybe an undiagnosed learning disability?), but I know that she had to work about twice as hard as everyone else to get the same grades. When we got to the upper-division biochemistry classes, where it seems that just about everyone is overachieving, type-A, and gifted, she had a seriously hard time. But she wanted to be a doctor so bad that instead of partying on Friday nights, she stayed in and studied, and it paid off for her.

But personally, I'm not sure that a desire to learn more is necessarily a sign of giftedness. I think there are plenty of people who wouldn't be considered gifted, but still have a personal drive to better themselves.
post #111 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydiamond View Post

All I'm saying, is that for me, I'm much more concerned with bedside manner and treatment than I am intelligence.
Memory, critical thinking, ability to spot patterns - these are all parts of intelligence I want my doctor to have in abundance because they improve her ability to treat me. I don't want an average memory or average critical thinking ability. Maybe my perspective is different because I've dealt with unusual medical problems that were hard to solve, but I'd take a brilliant person who can really figure out what is wrong over anything. If what I want is someone just to be sympathetic I've got friends and pets for that.
post #112 of 204
Going back to the OP (sorry, I haven't read past page 3 . . . ):

My dh and I are both "gifted" and we attended a magnet school for gifted students. Unfortunately, this "magnet school" was housed within another inner-city school, so there were lots of clashes within the school admin over whether treating the gifted students differently (i.e., having more freedom and responsiblity) than the other students was a good idea, and eventually, the admin decided to take a firm hand and severely limit all students. It's a long story that I don't want to get into, but suffice it to say, it was incredibly frustrating that the school admin could not wrap their heads around the idea that we were different and had different needs. We were a very good group of kids who would have thrived more if we had been recognized as able to handle more responsiblity. As it was, even if we were forced to walk with our teachers to lunch in high school and not talk to each other between classes, etc., it was so nice to "fit in" with others and not be labeled as a bookworm, nerd, geek. We had teachers who respected us and let us learn "outside of the box." It was wonderful.

Now, my dh and I have a 2-year-old dd. For anyone wondering if giftedness can be hothoused or if it is innate, you should come to my house. Ever since birth our daughter has been different. It's just the way she is. At 2 months old, she was trying to walk. She never slept as a newborn and still doesn't. Her mind will not shut off. She spoke her first sentence at 4 months old, and would giggle at our adult jokes. At 3 months old, we discovered that she had a photographic memory. When I would take her to the playground at 6 months old, she didn't want to "play" but rather she was obsessed with the bolts and screws of the equipment and wanted to watch how the swings worked. At age 1, she could read her own name and was having tantrums because she didn't have the coordination to write it herself. She just turned 2, and she does simple addition and subtraction, thinks very abstractly, and is currently learning to read. We did not treat her any differently from birth than any other AP family of "normal" children. Everything she has done has been self-driven. So yes, she learns very differently than other kids her age-level, and this in and of itself is a very "special need." It is incredibly isolating being the parent of a gifted toddler because no one believes the stories you tell about your child, and even if they did believe there is always a judgment attached to it ("Well, you must drill her to learn her letters!," or "Well, book smarts doesn't equate to a happy life!," etc.). Ultimately, my child doesn't fit in with other toddlers, and that's hard for both me and her.

Really, gifted people just process information differently than average, and they are just hard-wired that way. I get so frustrated with people who say, "Well, I don't believe in or support giftedness because all children have gifts." Of course, all children have unique gifts, but understanding giftedness is so much more beyond what these people attribute to it. It is not just about smarts or about being musically/artistically-talented, or being able to work a Rubic's cube, etc. To label a child as "gifted" should not belittle any child who doesn't have this label, but merely should be recognition that the gifted child has different learning needs than average.
post #113 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydiamond View Post
You're right, I don't know. It's just what she told me. All throughout school she had a hard time keeping up, so she was held back quite a bit. They thought she was of below-average intelligence and gave her an IQ test to find out if she qualified for special ed. It was then that it was discovered that her IQ was right at average.

I don't know the details of why she had such a hard time in school (maybe an undiagnosed learning disability?), but I know that she had to work about twice as hard as everyone else to get the same grades. When we got to the upper-division biochemistry classes, where it seems that just about everyone is overachieving, type-A, and gifted, she had a seriously hard time. But she wanted to be a doctor so bad that instead of partying on Friday nights, she stayed in and studied, and it paid off for her.

But personally, I'm not sure that a desire to learn more is necessarily a sign of giftedness. I think there are plenty of people who wouldn't be considered gifted, but still have a personal drive to better themselves.
It's very, very possible that she is twice exceptional -- that would have depressed her overall IQ score, making it appear to be average. It is a sign of her intelligence that she was able to overcome those obstacles to get to where she is.

At any rate, a desire to learn more is *often* a sign of above average intelligence, and is almost always a gifted trait. I do think, though, that you've hit the nail on the head when you say that there are plenty of people "who wouldn't be considered gifted" -- there are many, many problems with the way that we, as a society and as schools, choose to categorize and identify gifted individuals. Many people fall through the cracks because they don't fit the mold that we have in our heads -- there are some great articles on the Hoagie site about this.

And, of course, there are many, many variables that play into a person's success in life. Intelligence is but one factor, and it's sometimes difficult to tease it out from the others.
post #114 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boot View Post
I think the label 'gifted' was what I didn't understand. I thought it just meant 'very bright', but apparently not.
That was my thought too, based on my own school experiences. I went to school in the 70's and 80's. I had good grades in the 8th grade which did prompt them eventually to test me for giftedness. They decided I wasn't gifted based on that one test, because I was so absolutely bad at math tests, especially with a time restraint. I actually feel that I had a sort of learning disability when it came to math or other certain types of learning, but because I could plod along and do the work in class, my grades were OK. When I was younger and there were various news stories on people who were savants, I joked that I was a savant and my extraordinary ability was to appear mediocre. Years later I realized I probably have some sort of ADD. I think if schools are tailoring things around different abilities of the students, that's a good thing, and maybe that is why parents do push for more various labels, but I have witnessed children really just skating along in school with clear problems and no services, and then they eventually drop out.
post #115 of 204
To the OP - I think this is reflective of U.S. education requiring labelling.

Having lived and taught in several countries myself, I can attest to the fact that "gifted" children exist in all cultures and socio-economic groups, whether they are labeled as such or not.

"Giftedness" occurs independent of the full time pursuit of enrichment activities or the "luck" of being born into a certain socio-economic class. It is not a U.S. American phenomenon.

ITA with angela and the rest of the crew - different learning styles make for different educational needs.
post #116 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
I don't know if it's possible to remove all label chasing I've seen parents chase LD labels too... say nothing of ADD and ADHD labels. Sure, not to the extent that some parents want a gifted label, but I think that is a completely different issue than serving the needs of the children.

-Angela


This has been a peoblem in some of the wealthier suburbs around here. Parents and school adimnistartions push for testers to label many children as LD, so that the child gets accomadations like untimed tests in order to boost scores on important standardized tests. There was a news story a few years back about how in one town something like 20-30%, IIRC, of the students were being given accomodations on tests like the SATs. It was veiwed as an unfair advantage of wealth since most schools can not afford to pay for the extensive testing and phycological assement involved in making a LD diagnosis.
post #117 of 204
My kids are just as unique as everyone else's.
post #118 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boot View Post
My question is, do you think this is a uniquely American obsession and do you think it is helpful to label a child as 'gifted'?
I've only lived in America so I don't know how unique to America it is. I do think that "gifted" has been emphasized very much among American public school educators and even more so, parents.

I don't care for labeling children, I don't think its useful. That said, I very much believe in giving children customized and flexible educational experiences to, as much as possible, give each student a learning environment that helps them succeed. And, I do think that labels take away from seeing the individual, which I don't like. I don't like the labels and diagnoses for that.

I feel that traditional style education is too one size fits all, and that gifted programs were / are an attempt at changing that, but I think they have not necessarily helped, and they possibly have added elitism to the classroom.

To truly know whether gifted programs work or not, we'd have to look at research.
post #119 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viola View Post
I don't know how long the term gifted has been around, but it seemed at one point there was much more of a division in society as to who would get what education.
Gifted and talented programs weren't around in my area (Midwest) when I was in elementary school (late 70's). I think they blossomed and grew in the 80's.
post #120 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtlewomyn View Post
I was labeled as Gifted and Talented in school, and I am almost 33 years old- it has been around longer than a decade. In kindergarten they started splitting us into math and reading groups. There were three levels (for both, but the one I remember more clearly was the reading).
We had reading level groups in elementary school but I never associated this with a Gifted and Talented program because it was focused only to reading and the rest of the time everyone was doing the same things. I didn't hear the term until I was out of elementary school. I thought G&T programs were more comprehensive than just reading or math.
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