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'gifted' children an American trend? - Page 7

post #121 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I know nothing about learning disabilities so I cant really make a comparison. But for giftedness it becomes this *thing* that includes all this high status and parents' ego investment and insistence on their child's brilliance and yada yada... you dont see the same thing with learning disabilities.

Oh, I think parents of children with learning disabilities are frequently very highly invested in their children's educations and very active in advocating for their needs and their opportunities. I actually see a lot of similarity from that standpoint.
post #122 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdahoMom View Post
My kids are just as unique as everyone else's.
Yes to that. I've seen parents range from very laid back to very involved and in-between. I don't think it's wrong at all if a friend's daughter learned to read early and she's concerned about finding a school envrironment that will nurture that.

I know another parent who may be a little hypochondriac, to be fair, she's invested in medical issues, both hers, and her children's. Her oldest daughter has "panic attacks" but I come from another perspective and frankly "panic attack" is not the kind of language that ever comes to my mind. I might see the same behavior and read it totally differently if it were my child. Her son also has sensory issues, and had some problems adapting to eating. I believe that the behaviors and struggles are there, but I think the way things are perceived and framed can be very different based on the parents' personalities. Even with the same diagnosis, the way a parent responds and reacts and views the child will be individual.

I seem to have lost my point. Well, of course, all kids are special. But some parents are more invested in specialness than others, and others are more invested in seeing their kids as average.
post #123 of 204
Xxxxxx
post #124 of 204
Quote:
And I think people who think I have a problem, or I'm elitist or hot housing or whatever, just don't get it.
Some of us get it. We're homeschooling, by the way. Speaking of homeschooling, I can imagine that this is going to put even more pressure on schools to provide special services for gifted kids.
I was in TAG as a child (top 2% IQ-test) and it was often the only thing that was getting me out of bed in the morning. School bored me to tears.

And, it's not only an American thing. They do some IQ-testing on children here (in Germany) but the government doesn't really do anything with the information. There's a three-tier school system here (Hauptschule, Realschule, Gymnasium) with Gym being the highest and reserved for kids on the "academic" track. Most gifted kids end up there (although only if they're well-behaved and good students) and it's quite a challenging school, so they don't get terribly bored. However, it's still not enough, so the government is starting to build extra gifted-Gymnasiums and special summer programs.
And I have friends from Britain and India whose children are in similar programs.

The biggest difference, I think, is that the American programs select at the beginning of school, whereas the others wait until the children are older (after elementary, mostly). And that Americans prize unusual children while in most European (and Asian?) countries nobody wants to stand out.
post #125 of 204
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In my GAT program, there was a car theif, several "burners" and the requisite number of goody-goodies (straight A students). And a few middle of the road kids. It had nothing to do with grades but had more to do with "IQ" and the psych assessment.
Same here. Purely IQ and psych assessment. I vividly remember my first day in the high school GT Literature class. I walked in and was shocked by who was sitting there. And they were shocked to see me! Let me see... we were the circa top 2% out of a class of about 600. Let me try to remember the makeup:

* 2 cheerleaders (me and another Marilyn-Manson, Garbage, and Soundgarden fan who ended up becoming my best friend -- the rest of the cheerleaders thought we were WIERD)
* 1 football player (who I'd always thought was as dumb as dog shi* but who turned out to be a freaking genius)
* 1 baseball player (and class clown. Genius and my date for the senior prom.)
* 1 alternative-type and amazing actor/performer
* 1 yearbook editor (and valedectorian)
* 1 goody-two-shoes who sat in the back, barely said a word, but when she did everybody LISTENED
* 1 born-again Christian who could turn every debate into a conversation about Jesus and could write the most romantic poetry and really tear up some Shakespeare
* The ROTC leader (and salutatorian)

It was an AMAZING class and the kids were awesome. It (and my AP Calculus, AP World Geography, and AP History) was what I lived for, KWIM?
Our teachers were great and I sometimes wonder if they weren't gifted, as well. They could definitely keep up with us and we were... difficult.
post #126 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by KBecks View Post
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.
We had the three reading group levels too. In 2nd grade, the teacher made a separate reading group for me and one other child. When it was disbanded, I always felt like I was being punished for daydreaming too much. I know this particular teacher was constantly telling my parents that I daydreamed for like 80% of class and I felt she disbanded the group b/c of my "laziness".

Then, in 6th grade, some of the kids were pulled from the top reading group to make what was perceived as an elite reading group. I remember we did a project on the stock market and we had to track stocks. It was fun. The group was quickly disbanded, however.

That's my limited exp with tracking b/c our school didn't have GATE (state of Mass, no GATE required).
post #127 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanessaS View Post
And that Americans prize unusual children while in most European (and Asian?) countries nobody wants to stand out.

Of the whole seven pages of stuff, this is the thing that really sticks out to me. I understand parents seeking the label for their gifted child who is really struggling in school for one reason or another (there are lots of reasons gifted children don't thrive in mainstream education). But I cannot understand why a parent would want their child who was not gifted to be labeled? For me, labeling was both a blessing and a cruel joke. At least I got to spend one day a week with a group of people who were equally geeky. But boy were we geeky, and putting as all in a room together was social suicide. And we also had to make up the work that we missed during our pull-out program - extra work (and extra headache), not replacement.

But I guess everyone's experience is different. This thread was very enlightening. I really appreciate the opportunity to read the debate. It has offered me food for thought about our own situation and how to deal with the next decade or so, and also some direction on further reading.

Thanks again!
post #128 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by freistms View Post
But I cannot understand why a parent would want their child who was not gifted to be labeled?
Because it is a positive sounding term; because a lot of parents associate gifted with advanced and advanced with "I am a good parent/I did something right."

Our local schools have tons of kids ided as gifted who, IMO and from a statistical likelihood perspective, are not. Regardless of how well off your neighborhood is, the likelihood that somewhere btwn 10-50% of your students are gifted is very, very slim statistically. Nonetheless, that's the percentage of kids ided as gifted in our local schools. The school with the fewest kids with the GT label runs around 10%. Some schools have deemed all children to be gifted.

The biggest problem with this is that the special programming for these kids is no longer programming for gifted kids. It becomes programming for kids who have pushy parents, or for high achievers in a standard academic setting.

As far as the original question, I haven't lived overseas, so I don't have any first hand experience with that. I do know that Mensa (a high IQ society) has many branches in countries other than the US and was formed in England. They do have an international gifted children's coordinator and about 50,000+ members in countries other than the US. However, they also have about 50,000 US members, so there certainly are more American Mensans than international ones and I truly doubt that is b/c we are brighter here in the US .
post #129 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
I agree with this. I think part of it is that it's hard to carve out resources to create something meaningful for 2% of a school population (further stratified by age/grade level), so by offering it to 5 or 10 % of the school population, you get the funding to achieve critical mass. Now you've created something that 10 out of 100 kids can attend, and many parents are going to be pursuing that, perhaps due to perceived status, or perhaps as an escape from an ineffective typical classroom.

If the gifted label is lauded as though they should have jerseys, then yeah, it's damaging. For some gifted kids, however, having an explanation for the differences they perceive about themselves can be a relief.
I went back and read most of the rest of the thread and :.

That is our experience exactly. When we went through the process of getting dd#1 "identified" in 2nd grade it was a relief for her to know that there wasn't something bad about herself. She spent the prior year being yelled at and demeaned by her teacher and had the impression that she was slow and stupid. (She's generally not faster than average, just more abstract and different in some ways.) She also got the "you're lazy" speech at school. The gifted label has been a diagnostic tool that helps her teachers and her relate to her and understand her differences without belittling her.

I also wanted to agree with the mention of reaching "critical mass." We were told the exact same thing when I spoke with the GT coordinator at our neighborhood school to understand why they were doing so little for the kids who had different needs like dd and instead just pulling them out for a few hours a week to do puzzles with a lot of other kids. I questioned her about why the #s were so high when my understanding was that we were looking at around 2%, not 25%. She told me that there would be no program if they were only going to provide it for kids like dd since she had a handful of kids like that in the school, at most, and they weren't all in the same grade.
post #130 of 204
I was educated almost entirely in separate schools with a hard and fast entrance requirement of the top 2/10s of the top 1 percent of IQs. (Huge urban district where being that selective still left a sizeable group of kids to work with.) I was at the low end of that spectrum on paper, but in real life I was one of the two or three smartest kids in the school. Probably about 70-80 percent of the kids were what I would consider garden-variety high achievers, including kids who had IQs 20+ points or more higher than mine (yes, we knew our stats and discussed them). There are kids who really are very different, special, intellectually advanced to the point of weirdness....I know 'cause I was one of them.....but I don't believe formal testing identifies them. Even 'diagnostic' testing with a real live psychologist. The only way to meet ANY kids' needs is one on one attention focused on the actual kid and not some category or classification. If your kid is smart and you are stuck with public ed, go ahead and use proof of their smartness to work the spoils system. Which is what it is. But the combination of 'but my kid is one of the super special scary smart weird PROFOUNDLY gifted ones, not one of those *sniff* mere good students' with insistence on getting the school system's labels and programs and services - it rings false to me. Because I have known way too many plain vanilla high achievers who happened to test 'profoundly gifted'...and classes, programs, etc do nothing to help the really different ones, such as I was.

Don't even get me started on the socioeconomic aspects. It makes me cry to see the people who are most able to provide enrichment demanding that it be done for them on the public dime. I can take my kid to the museum any time - I would be ashamed to insist that my kid cut to the front of the line for limited public field trip funds, in front of the many children who would otherwise never get the chance.
post #131 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Same. That's why I think that labelling certain kids and providing enrichment programs only for them is not a great strategy. The kids who are 'gifted' have this label and often their parents' egos and pride to live up to. The kids who are not 'gifted' get to feel inferior. Woohoo.



Seriously? Any studies on why?
There are studies that show that gifted students never find where they belong within society. Also, many believe that there are huge unrealistic standards that they must meet or they are hit with the imposter syndrome (often girls) where they believe that they will be found out that they really aren't as smart as everyone believes them to be. It's sad, there are a lot of emotional issues that are often connected with gifted learners and few know how to deal with them.

After reading quite a bit of the thread, I think that there is a lot to be learned about gifted ed. Yes, everyone is unique and has something special to share within a classroom, but no...not everyone is gifted. For many gifted was just the nerdlings who did their work and were great students.
To me, there is a whole different set of processing and connectedness to material for gifted students. In middle school, for example, get a bunch of gifted students in and that is a whole lot of WEIRD! *happy dance* If done correctly, the gifted classroom is a place where a student can be themselves and be able to blossom within the learning realm. If the teacher of the gifted kids does their PR correctly, more teachers will see it that way and not as the elitest snobbery as it is often thought. A gifted classroom is NOT filled with all the stereotypical "good" students, they are the students who want to test the boundaries and want to be pushed back to learn something a different way.


*steps off the soap box* Hmm, I think I lost the point somewhere in there. As I learn more about gifted education, I think I have found my career
post #132 of 204
coming from a family of "gifted" children i have a few points to add:

i know other people have said it but gifted and smart are not the same things. gifted and book-learned are not the same things. gifted and studious are not the same. like others have said gifted is about a style of learning. "gifted" kids oftentimes learn very quickly, so quickly they have trouble processing all they learn. for me, this manifested itself in that in order to grasp a concept all i had to do was look at it or hear it once.

oftentimes gifted kids don't have to study at all to do well in school. that's one way to differentiate between a gifted kid and a hard-worker.

but a true gifted program is about way more than enrichment and just doing neato acticites. i think my pull-out gifted class was really teaching us about processing information. we spent a lot of time honing our logic and analysis skills. we did many logic exercises in many differnt forms, and we were doing pre-algebra and algebra in 4th and 5th grades. in the 80's we were writing computer programs based completely on logic. we read and discussed books years ahead of our regular classmates. could some other students have benefitted from what we did? maybe but probably not. i went to a poor rural school so pushy parents with disposable income and those arguments don't really apply to my situation. we were all lower middle class or flat out poor.

but there is a whole other side to gifted ed. oftentimes gifted kids ALSO have true learning disabilities. dyslexia is extremely common for instance. and many others that i don't know about that make teaching quite challenging.

but i'd like to pose another question: one of the arguments for mainstreaming all students is that those that do well help those that aren't doing well, they in effect teach help teach them. this argument is made time and time again and i've seen it in my home county officially on the books. my mother who is a high school english teacher deals with it daily.

so, do you think it is the responsibility of those that do well, not just "gifted" and i do HATE that label, to sacrifice their own education so that others may benefit? i'm not wording this in a way that's unbiased because i'm scrambling to type it fast before my little ones attack my pc, but i mean it in asn unbiased way. are they sacrificing? if not, when do the ones at the top get to further themselves if always having to use their classroom or teacher time for those that take a little longer to learn? what does everyone in the class get out of mainstreaming? i'm looking for answers as i struggle to think about this.
post #133 of 204
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdlover View Post
but i'd like to pose another question: one of the arguments for mainstreaming all students is that those that do well help those that aren't doing well, they in effect teach help teach them. this argument is made time and time again and i've seen it in my home county officially on the books. my mother who is a high school english teacher deals with it daily.

so, do you think it is the responsibility of those that do well, not just "gifted" and i do HATE that label, to sacrifice their own education so that others may benefit? i'm not wording this in a way that's unbiased because i'm scrambling to type it fast before my little ones attack my pc, but i mean it in asn unbiased way. are they sacrificing? if not, when do the ones at the top get to further themselves if always having to use their classroom or teacher time for those that take a little longer to learn? what does everyone in the class get out of mainstreaming? i'm looking for answers as i struggle to think about this.
OP here again. I don't have the answer but I just wanted to give my humble experience. I feel as if I don't have much right to say anything as I am not 'gifted' so please give me a little leeway.

I am a teacher in a Waldorf School. We don't do streaming. We have small class sizes and a lot of very dedicated staff but not a lot of resources. No classroom assistants and aides are only for children who qualify for a grant or whose parents can pay for it. I have never come across a child who is 'gifted' to the level that some of you describe but in my own classroom I have had a very wide range of abilities. Yes, it is hard not to short change the quicker students when they seem to not need as much time as those who are struggling. My experience has been, however, that the children who are academically advanced often need support in other areas (art, music, social exchange, etc). A child who is particularly gifted in math, for instance, will enjoy helping others and will also want to complete extra challenges that I would set him or her. But in another lesson they will be the ones receiving extra help. I think this is really important as the children come to understand and respect everyone's strengths. A bright child will do well academically in almost any school but they may have other areas of their education neglected in order to 'hothouse' their academic progress. Also, the content of the curriculum should be of interest to all levels. It's meant to address their stage of development, not their ability. I've never know a child 'too bright' for a Waldorf School but, as I said, I haven't met a child whose level of 'giftedness' was as high as some described here. Maybe, for such a child, mainstreaming really isn't the answer. I don't know.
post #134 of 204
I think that most parents with highly gifted kids would tend to stay away from Waldorf. I know I didn't even consider it for ds because (aside from the cost) of their views on literacy - he was reading at 3, and I didn't want to deal with some of the additudes I've come across within the Waldorf community about kids with advanced early literacy skills.
post #135 of 204
A program like Waldorf can be better AND worse for gifted children.

How does your school approach children who are ready or already reading at say 4 or 5?

-Angela
post #136 of 204
Thread Starter 
I don't want to get into a 'you should send your gifted child to Waldorf because...' discussion. That wasn't my intention. I was merely giving my experience of how a range of abilities can work together in a classroom setting. I agree that Waldorf is not for all families and not all families are for Waldorf. Most Waldorf schools do not have the resources to meet the needs of children at either extreme of the learning spectrum.

On the reading issue, the Waldorf pov is that although most children are capable of learning to read before 6, their bodily forces are needed elsewhere until the change of teeth. Therefore children are not introduced to letters until grade one. In my experience, an already reading child has been delighted by discovering the letters anew in an imaginative and rich manner.

A lot of children are reading fluently by the end of Grade One, by the way. But if not, that's OK too. It's not about holding them back but about letting them blossom in a natural and developmentally appropriate environment.
post #137 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boot View Post
OP here again. I don't have the answer but I just wanted to give my humble experience. I feel as if I don't have much right to say anything as I am not 'gifted' so please give me a little leeway.

I am a teacher in a Waldorf School. We don't do streaming. We have small class sizes and a lot of very dedicated staff but not a lot of resources. No classroom assistants and aides are only for children who qualify for a grant or whose parents can pay for it. I have never come across a child who is 'gifted' to the level that some of you describe but in my own classroom I have had a very wide range of abilities. Yes, it is hard not to short change the quicker students when they seem to not need as much time as those who are struggling. My experience has been, however, that the children who are academically advanced often need support in other areas (art, music, social exchange, etc). A child who is particularly gifted in math, for instance, will enjoy helping others and will also want to complete extra challenges that I would set him or her. But in another lesson they will be the ones receiving extra help. I think this is really important as the children come to understand and respect everyone's strengths. A bright child will do well academically in almost any school but they may have other areas of their education neglected in order to 'hothouse' their academic progress. Also, the content of the curriculum should be of interest to all levels. It's meant to address their stage of development, not their ability. I've never know a child 'too bright' for a Waldorf School but, as I said, I haven't met a child whose level of 'giftedness' was as high as some described here. Maybe, for such a child, mainstreaming really isn't the answer. I don't know.
I wonder a bit how long you have been teaching too, but I do think that parents of gifted kids may self-select out of Waldorf. My husband and I explored it and we decided it was not for our son because of the very rigid views about when children are ready for specific things.

The "hothouse" aspect made me laugh. You can hothouse for a high achiever, at least until they rebel out of the hothouse.

But a gifted child is in my experience really the reverse - you cannot put the breaks on them. You can TRY to teach them other things all you like and you can certainly PRESENT other areas of interest, but if they are obsessed with whatever, they will learn that.

Sure, no one (or very few people) is gifted in all areas at once. But even in the areas I am NOT gifted in, which are many, I learn the way I learn. Any help I get in those areas needs to take that into account. I'm one of those people that gets the 'aha' moment and then works backwards into the details. Even when learning things like drawing in perspective.

Also many gifted kids, like many kids in general, enjoy helping others. But oh my is what you said here: "A child who is particularly gifted in math, for instance, will enjoy helping others" is a HUGE issue for me as a Formery Gifted Child(tm). No, I did not want to help others all the time. The idea that the gifted child should be used as a helper is just - blah.
post #138 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boot View Post
I don't want to get into a 'you should send your gifted child to Waldorf because...' discussion. That wasn't my intention. I was merely giving my experience of how a range of abilities can work together in a classroom setting. I agree that Waldorf is not for all families and not all families are for Waldorf. Most Waldorf schools do not have the resources to meet the needs of children at either extreme of the learning spectrum.

On the reading issue, the Waldorf pov is that although most children are capable of learning to read before 6, their bodily forces are needed elsewhere until the change of teeth. Therefore children are not introduced to letters until grade one. In my experience, an already reading child has been delighted by discovering the letters anew in an imaginative and rich manner.

A lot of children are reading fluently by the end of Grade One, by the way. But if not, that's OK too. It's not about holding them back but about letting them blossom in a natural and developmentally appropriate environment.
No worries- I know you weren't debating- I was just saying that you're right- in a lot of ways waldorf IS respectful of the gifted child.... however, some waldorf schools are very harsh towards the early reader- something often seen in gifted children.

-Angela
post #139 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I wonder a bit how long you have been teaching too, but I do think that parents of gifted kids may self-select out of Waldorf. My husband and I explored it and we decided it was not for our son because of the very rigid views about when children are ready for specific things.

The "hothouse" aspect made me laugh. You can hothouse for a high achiever, at least until they rebel out of the hothouse.

But a gifted child is in my experience really the reverse - you cannot put the breaks on them. You can TRY to teach them other things all you like and you can certainly PRESENT other areas of interest, but if they are obsessed with whatever, they will learn that.

Sure, no one (or very few people) is gifted in all areas at once. But even in the areas I am NOT gifted in, which are many, I learn the way I learn. Any help I get in those areas needs to take that into account. I'm one of those people that gets the 'aha' moment and then works backwards into the details. Even when learning things like drawing in perspective.

Also many gifted kids, like many kids in general, enjoy helping others. But oh my is what you said here: "A child who is particularly gifted in math, for instance, will enjoy helping others" is a HUGE issue for me as a Formery Gifted Child(tm). No, I did not want to help others all the time. The idea that the gifted child should be used as a helper is just - blah.


-Angela
post #140 of 204
Thread Starter 
To GuildJenn - You sound a little offended. Please don't be. I was only speaking to my own experience of a non streamed class. As I said, I don't have any experience with children who are 'highly gifted' or whatever we call it. I think we all know by now which kids they are. Since you ask, I have been teaching for about 4 years so I am still relatively inexperienced. And I agree, a child shouldn't be used as a teachers assistant. I only meant that many children are eager to help and actually ask whether they can and I see benefits in allowing them to. This seems to be getting a little off topic so I'll stop here. Very interesting discussion. I've learned loads.
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