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'gifted' children an American trend? - Page 9

post #161 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post
May I ask what about the programming was detremental to you? It is always hard to know the outcomes of our actions until much later, but thus far I think that the label and programming has been beneficial for my dd in terms of her self-image and enjoyment of learning.
There is an essay out there by a famous writer, I can't remember who, but his phrase stuck with me: "A gifted child is a gifted learner. A gifted adult is a gifted doer." My experience with gifted programs is that they focus primarily on learning or the acquisition of knowledge at the expense of teaching other extremely useful life skills, like persistence, or determination, or even basic study skills. The emphasis is on how far a kid can work ahead, how good their test scores are (e.g., IQ), how much better they score on this and that. They're also extremely competitive, with very little emphasis on teaching teamwork or cooperation. The programs I was in didn't teach how to work through challenges or how to push past your intellectual comfort zones. Nor did they encourage teamwork, charity, or other really useful life skills. I mean, they claimed they did, but they didn't. It was all about the working ahead and, yes, who had the highest IQ. Everybody knew who tested the highest, which I think as an adult is really pretty awful. :

If a kid is a gifted athlete, they're usually described as "a gifted athlete." Not just plain "gifted." It's a big difference. I think one of the major problems of the label as it's currently used is that kids are given the label as if it applies across the board. But it is almost impossible to find children who universally gifted across the board. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. But if you're "gifted," why would you have weaknesses?

As I got into high school and college, and the differences between me and my supposedly non-gifted classmates narrowed, I suddenly had to really work hard. I was at a huge disadvantage when I started some very difficult science courses and essentially flunked out, because by the time I figured out how to study and work through adversity, it was too late. I remember feeling so humiliated when I was talking with a bright girl from my high school (NOT in the gifted program) who said (about organic chemistry), "You shouldn't find it hard. It doesn't take a genius -- you're way smart enough for this." She was actually trying to be nice, but I realized she was right: organic chemistry doesn't take a genius. All it requires is discipline and hard work, skills that I had never developed despite being in gifted programs since early childhood. At that point, it was too late to catch up. I had to drop out of my science classes, something I still regret.

Anyhow, we're not going to get my DS's IQ tested at this point. We're supplementing extensively at home right now and it is working so far. Maybe we'll change our minds later, but given my experience I'm very, very wary.
post #162 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
My experience with gifted programs is that they focus primarily on learning or the acquisition of knowledge at the expense of teaching other extremely useful life skills, like persistence, or determination, or even basic study skills.
Do you think you would have learned these skills in a mainstream setting?

I remember being told multiple times in my mainstream classes that "the purpose of homework was to help you learn." Since, I had figured out the material with little or no effort already I learned that I didn't need to work. I certainly never learned persistence, determination, and basic study skills.

I'll admit I didn't learn much of those things in the gifted enrichment programs I attended either, but at least I did learn a bit about thinking. Since the various gifted programs I attended were always extra on top of regular mainstream class work, they rarely required homework or studying.

It sounds like the program you attended was just poorly designed or simply not advanced or challenging enough for you.
post #163 of 204
Although I am late in the game here, just wanted to share:
My dd's school is one of the first "magnet" school in our county. Parents can apply to have their children tested into the magnet program at 2nd grade. My dd's 1st grade teacher recommended that I look into it for my dd, b/c she was bored, did extra things, etc. She is now in the magnet program and she LOVES it. One of the things her teacher said at the beginning of the year was that the thinks it is unfair to give kids who are gifted more work to do. She believes kids don't need more work and shouldn't have to give up being a kid just b/c they may be a little more advanced than another kid. Needless to say, she does not give a lot of homework. (As a matter of fact, one of my dd's friends that is not in her class gets more homework than she does.) My dd's teacher teaches them to not just think, but to think outside the box. It's nothing for her to take the kids out to the courtyard or on the playground to study the trees, weather, plants, whatever.
post #164 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
They're also extremely competitive, with very little emphasis on teaching teamwork or cooperation. The programs I was in didn't teach how to work through challenges or how to push past your intellectual comfort zones. Nor did they encourage teamwork, charity, or other really useful life skills. I mean, they claimed they did, but they didn't. It was all about the working ahead and, yes, who had the highest IQ. Everybody knew who tested the highest, which I think as an adult is really pretty awful. :



Anyhow, we're not going to get my DS's IQ tested at this point. We're supplementing extensively at home right now and it is working so far. Maybe we'll change our minds later, but given my experience I'm very, very wary.
that's too bad. my gifted program spent a lot of time working in teams and was completely ungraded until jr. high school. a matter of fact, when i read your list of what wasn't in the gifted program you attended, i see exactly WHAT was in mine.

with that in mind, i'd encourage you to look at the gifted programs available for your child before having them tested or not. if it's just aqbout pushing more work, then why bother? if it's about teaching critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as all the other things you mentioned above, go for it.
post #165 of 204
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post #166 of 204
I find the whole "gifted" thing amusing.

I was put into "gifted" programs in school. Straight As and I don't recall ever opening a textbook. ( I just graduated form College and got straight As and I KNOW I never opened a text book, lmao) I'm your typical encyclopedia of useless information. Later in life we find out I'd be labeled as Autistic (and the mom of an Autistic child). Yet "gifted" parents usually get offended if you mention Autism.

But Gifted is sought after and Autism is feared. Strange concept IMO. lol
post #167 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
Do you think you would have learned these skills in a mainstream setting?

I remember being told multiple times in my mainstream classes that "the purpose of homework was to help you learn." Since, I had figured out the material with little or no effort already I learned that I didn't need to work. I certainly never learned persistence, determination, and basic study skills.

I'll admit I didn't learn much of those things in the gifted enrichment programs I attended either, but at least I did learn a bit about thinking. Since the various gifted programs I attended were always extra on top of regular mainstream class work, they rarely required homework or studying.

It sounds like the program you attended was just poorly designed or simply not advanced or challenging enough for you.
I think it was poorly designed, for sure, but I did go to this gifted summer school program for several summers with kids from other programs, and I didn't see much improvement in their programs either.

I think I would have learned persistence more in the mainstream classroom. I'm not a fan of useless homework, but at the same time, a lot of really interesting and powerful adult passions and careers do involve a lot of boring tedious work at times. You know that saying, genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration? I felt like the gifted programs that I had experience with focused on that 1% inspiration to the exclusion of the 99% perspiration. Not good.
post #168 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdlover View Post
that's too bad. my gifted program spent a lot of time working in teams and was completely ungraded until jr. high school. a matter of fact, when i read your list of what wasn't in the gifted program you attended, i see exactly WHAT was in mine.

with that in mind, i'd encourage you to look at the gifted programs available for your child before having them tested or not. if it's just aqbout pushing more work, then why bother? if it's about teaching critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as all the other things you mentioned above, go for it.
That's good to hear that there are good programs out there. I don't think we're going to automatically shut down all possible programs for DS. It's just that I'm going into it extremely skeptical, and I will not permit IQ testing until he is old enough to understand that he is a lot more than a number.
post #169 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristine233 View Post
But Gifted is sought after and Autism is feared. Strange concept IMO. lol
I would say that a good portion of the kids that were in the gifted program I attended would qualify for a dx of something on the spectrum by today's standards- Asperger's, maybe. I don't know if they actually were autistic, but I think they could have "tested" that way.
post #170 of 204
I find all of the labeling just.....well.......sad. I was a "gifted" child according to the "testing" in the schools. I always felt excluded from the other kids, like I was weird or something. Shouldn't it have had the opposite effect? This is what labeling of all kinds does to us as humans.
post #171 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamsmama View Post
I find all of the labeling just.....well.......sad. I was a "gifted" child according to the "testing" in the schools. I always felt excluded from the other kids, like I was weird or something. Shouldn't it have had the opposite effect? This is what labeling of all kinds does to us as humans.
I understand the downsides of labeling, really I do.

How do you suggest children with different needs have those needs met in the current system?

-Angela
post #172 of 204

Wow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
There is an essay out there by a famous writer, I can't remember who, but his phrase stuck with me: "A gifted child is a gifted learner. A gifted adult is a gifted doer." My experience with gifted programs is that they focus primarily on learning or the acquisition of knowledge at the expense of teaching other extremely useful life skills, like persistence, or determination, or even basic study skills. The emphasis is on how far a kid can work ahead, how good their test scores are (e.g., IQ), how much better they score on this and that. They're also extremely competitive, with very little emphasis on teaching teamwork or cooperation. The programs I was in didn't teach how to work through challenges or how to push past your intellectual comfort zones. Nor did they encourage teamwork, charity, or other really useful life skills. I mean, they claimed they did, but they didn't. It was all about the working ahead and, yes, who had the highest IQ. Everybody knew who tested the highest, which I think as an adult is really pretty awful. :

If a kid is a gifted athlete, they're usually described as "a gifted athlete." Not just plain "gifted." It's a big difference. I think one of the major problems of the label as it's currently used is that kids are given the label as if it applies across the board. But it is almost impossible to find children who universally gifted across the board. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. But if you're "gifted," why would you have weaknesses?

As I got into high school and college, and the differences between me and my supposedly non-gifted classmates narrowed, I suddenly had to really work hard. I was at a huge disadvantage when I started some very difficult science courses and essentially flunked out, because by the time I figured out how to study and work through adversity, it was too late. I remember feeling so humiliated when I was talking with a bright girl from my high school (NOT in the gifted program) who said (about organic chemistry), "You shouldn't find it hard. It doesn't take a genius -- you're way smart enough for this." She was actually trying to be nice, but I realized she was right: organic chemistry doesn't take a genius. All it requires is discipline and hard work, skills that I had never developed despite being in gifted programs since early childhood. At that point, it was too late to catch up. I had to drop out of my science classes, something I still regret.

Anyhow, we're not going to get my DS's IQ tested at this point. We're supplementing extensively at home right now and it is working so far. Maybe we'll change our minds later, but given my experience I'm very, very wary.
You made some really, really great points!!! I am just now "seeing the light" on how important it is to teach my DS *how* to learn, or as you said, push past his intellectual comfort zones. Things have always been so easy for him, and he has always been one of the "smartest" among his peers. I have JUST noticed that he isn't able to go out of his comfort zone at this point. When something is really challenging (like a math word problem that is even hard for me), he won't try, but rather say it is too hard and he can't do it. We are working on this. Do you have any advice? How do you, or other parents here, plan on getting their "gifted" children to accept challenges that don't make them feel so "gifted?"
post #173 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristine233 View Post
I find the whole "gifted" thing amusing.

I was put into "gifted" programs in school. Straight As and I don't recall ever opening a textbook. ( I just graduated form College and got straight As and I KNOW I never opened a text book, lmao) I'm your typical encyclopedia of useless information. Later in life we find out I'd be labeled as Autistic (and the mom of an Autistic child). Yet "gifted" parents usually get offended if you mention Autism.

But Gifted is sought after and Autism is feared. Strange concept IMO. lol
I think giftedness is neurodivergence of some kind, and I think my son is a hair's breadth away from being diagnostically "on the spectrum." As though there's some sort of line - this side you're in, this side you're out. Two peds have said he's not, and such a label would have meant additional resourcing. What I've learned in my local district is that without a label a child with different needs gets nothing.

As you say in your siggie: Meeting a child's needs is never wrong. I want my kids to have to open a text book in order to keep up with the material.
post #174 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
It's just that I'm going into it extremely skeptical, and I will not permit IQ testing until he is old enough to understand that he is a lot more than a number.
Letting him have an IQ test doesn't have to mean telling him what the test is for, or what the number is. I didn't find out until I was in high school that when I went to the office back in 3rd grade and that guy asked me a bunch of questions, that was an IQ test. I was in a gifted class for 4th - 6th grade, but my parents and the teachers were really low-key about it, and I never felt like it meant I was super special or anything. I was also really unpopular and other kids (in the gifted class) were mean to me. So much for the idea that being with other gifted kids cuts down on the teasing.
post #175 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamsmama View Post
I find all of the labeling just.....well.......sad. I was a "gifted" child according to the "testing" in the schools. I always felt excluded from the other kids, like I was weird or something. Shouldn't it have had the opposite effect? This is what labeling of all kinds does to us as humans.
What threads like this always demonstrate to me is that every school and every jurisdiction does it differently, and often don't seem to get it right. I had a good experience; many here did not.

I don't understand why you think the label should have had the opposite effect?

I will say that while we've pursued labelling, simply as a means to access service/differentiation, we don't discuss it among other parents and try to find accomodations within the classroom that don't make our kids stick out. BUT - our kids know they're different, their peers know they're different, and our kids know that they have the support of their parents. We haven't told them "you're gifted" (insert vomit smilie here), but we sure spend a lot of time talking about every individual having their own distinct preferences, needs, abilities and ways of being in the world.
post #176 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamsmama View Post
I find all of the labeling just.....well.......sad. I was a "gifted" child according to the "testing" in the schools. I always felt excluded from the other kids, like I was weird or something. Shouldn't it have had the opposite effect? This is what labeling of all kinds does to us as humans.
Did the label change the way your brain works? A differently wired brain is differently wired, no matter what you call it. It's likely you would have felt excluded even without the label.
post #177 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlemomma View Post
You made some really, really great points!!! I am just now "seeing the light" on how important it is to teach my DS *how* to learn, or as you said, push past his intellectual comfort zones. Things have always been so easy for him, and he has always been one of the "smartest" among his peers. I have JUST noticed that he isn't able to go out of his comfort zone at this point. When something is really challenging (like a math word problem that is even hard for me), he won't try, but rather say it is too hard and he can't do it. We are working on this. Do you have any advice? How do you, or other parents here, plan on getting their "gifted" children to accept challenges that don't make them feel so "gifted?"
Jumping in - for me actually it was getting into a "real" gifted school that helped. The gifted LABEL was (mostly) dumped at that point in many ways. I mean there was some stuff around 'leaders of the future' and all that that was nauseating, outside of the classroom.

But inside the classroom it was just learning, fast and furious, and that was the best part. At that school it was the norm to learn in different ways and that was really the main thing - there was room to learn in different ways, ways that suited academically gifted students. Some examples include:

Every year there was an independent study component. These were carefully mentored to push people out of their comfort zones - but entirely privately.

One year I went on an Arthurian kick, and my English teacher suggested that I do a fairly extensive comp lit project on that rather than one based on the works read in class. That kind of "seize the interest" thinking permeated most of the classrooms so that although one had to master the presented curriculum, the class did not END at what was on the syllabus.

When a group of students became interested in/brought to the school an understanding of the history of China, the school brought in a university prof to do a semester on East Asian Studies. The school did that a lot, making connections with subject matter experts.

When teachers made mistakes the accepted practice was that students pointed them out and the teacher merely handed the chalk over and let those students both correct the mistakes and explain them without getting all upset about "discipline." Talk about modelling!

And perhaps most importantly, generally speaking things were not learned by rote or by breaking them down UNTIL students needed that. Instead whole modes of thought were presented - learning from the big picture in, so to speak. Grade 11 intro philosophy was a great example - one semester on philosophy from the early Greeks to I think around Locke; one semester on symbolic logic.
post #178 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
There is an essay out there by a famous writer, I can't remember who, but his phrase stuck with me: "A gifted child is a gifted learner. A gifted adult is a gifted doer." My experience with gifted programs is that they focus primarily on learning or the acquisition of knowledge at the expense of teaching other extremely useful life skills, like persistence, or determination, or even basic study skills.
Kids learn life skills, persistence, determination, study skills, by being exposed to work they don't already know how to do. If the gifted student in the regular classroom already knows how to do 99% of what is being offered they just don't have the opportunity to learn the rest. It is impossible to learn hard work or comfort with trying something difficult for you in the abstract. You actually need to be exposed to something hard to develop those skills. For some kids that is only going to come about through a gifted program, grade skipping, acceleration, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
It was all about the working ahead and, yes, who had the highest IQ. Everybody knew who tested the highest, which I think as an adult is really pretty awful. :
Obviously that sounds like a terrible program. I wouldn't generalize from this experience to deny all gifted kids access to educational opportunities they need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post
If a kid is a gifted athlete, they're usually described as "a gifted athlete." Not just plain "gifted." It's a big difference. I think one of the major problems of the label as it's currently used is that kids are given the label as if it applies across the board. But it is almost impossible to find children who universally gifted across the board. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. But if you're "gifted," why would you have weaknesses?
I think that is just semantics. Intellectually gifted is cumbersome to say. I'm sure pretty much everyone would agree we aren't thrilled with the word "gifted" and if we got a do over we'd call it something else. But, it is the generally accepted term now. When we say someone is a gifted athlete we don't mean they are good at every sport from archery to shot put. The expression "gifted athlete" is regularly used to refer to someone who is only good at basketball or football.
post #179 of 204
I am not gifted. Neither is DH.
Our daughters are not gifted.
I don't believe we even KNOW any gifted children (by Angela's definition, which I trust is accurate), although three-quarters of my daughters' friends are in our district's gifted program.
We know a couple of high achievers. Two, to be exact. Their parents believe they are gifted, and they are in our district's gifted program.
My daughters are not high achievers, either.
Nor are they learning challenged.
They are students who gets A's and B-plusses, whose test scores are in the 80th to 90th percentile, do their homework, who are kind to their classmates and polite to their teachers and organized about their schoolwork. They don't need help. They don't act up. They don't shine above and beyond everybody else. They just go to school and do their work, they don't make a fuss, we as parents don't make a fuss. We volunteer in the classroom a few hours a week, our girls are well-liked by their teachers and their classmates, and every couple of days, some reference is made to the gifted program with an implication that our daughters are in it and that if they're not, we need to be pushing for them to be.
Why? Is it so bad to be what they are? My girls aren't always happy at school, or challenged, nor are they always bored and underchallenged. Some days they work really hard; some days they slack off. They have good days and bad days. But they can cope. They're well-adjusted. They're not a drag on anybody else's time or resources. That, from what I see in the classroom when I volunteer, is a gift in itself!

Some might wonder what compells me to reply to this thread if I don't believe I'm gifted/high achiever or that my children are. I'm motivated because I hear the terms every. single. day. in my community and they leave me astonished that there seems to be so little value placed on being whatever it is we are. Normal. Average. Invisible.

To the OP, yes, it is an American trend. I don't know about anywhere else, but it's the gifted movement is definitely alive in America!
post #180 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
Obviously that sounds like a terrible program. I wouldn't generalize from this experience to deny all gifted kids access to educational opportunities they need.
I'm not sure where you get a plan to deny all gifted kids access to educational opportunities they need out of what I wrote. I don't really care what other people do with their kids.

All I'm saying is that based on my personal experiences with a variety of gifted programs (totally independent summer programs and my school's programs), I am going to be very, very cautious when it comes to letting my DS anywhere near them. So far we are doing fine with considerate teachers and supplementation at home. Maybe later that will change and I'll tiptoe cautiously towards the gifted programs or homeschool. For now, I prefer to stay far away.
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