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'gifted' children an American trend? - Page 2

post #21 of 204
I'm in Canada. In grade 3, I had several tests, including an iq test. I was labeled as gifted and had enrichment programs.

I'm torn on labels. On one hand, I benefited from gifted enrichment programs. On the other hand, the label was damaging to me.
post #22 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_lissa View Post
I'm in Canada. In grade 3, I had several tests, including an iq test. I was labeled as gifted and had enrichment programs.

I'm torn on labels. On one hand, I benefited from gifted enrichment programs. On the other hand, the label was damaging to me.
It's certainly complicated. I did not attend schools with GATE programming and I had never heard of the word "gifted" until I was an adult. As an adult, I am aware from past tests that I would have been considered "gifted" as a child if I lived somewhere that tracked for that. So, I never had a label and I never had differentiated education but I had another label assigned to me: lazy. I never had to study in school so I didn't and I just daydreamed for the most of the time. I was constantly berated for being "lazy" and for having my "head in the clouds" so I developed poor self-esteem. My notes were a confusing maze of pictures and arrows pointing to scrawled words; they made sense to me but it was considered horribly unorganized and just poor. I never made really high grades because it just didn't seem important to me to apply myself to tasks that were unchallenging. I left school with zero work ethic and I fell flat on my face in university when I actually had to work for the first time in my life.

I have no experience with use of the gifted label and how it might be detrimental. I read what people have to say about that, because I learn from other's experiences. But my own experience is that the lack of the label didn't fix the problem; rather, it created a different problem altogether. I still have to work inside myself to assure myself that I'm not lazy and sloppy. Because I wasn't invested in school work for grades, I also assumed that I wasn't very smart at all (otherwise I'd be a high-achiever, right?) and that had long-lasting effects.

The whole thing is just very complicated.
post #23 of 204
Despite being labeled as a "gifted" child, I am somewhat baffled by the system as it stands now - for many of the reasons the posters above have listed: identifying children in kindergarten, foreign language tutoring for 3 year olds, parents focusing on this as a goal, instead of adapting to their children's educational needs and learning styles, etc.

I grew up in a very AP home with a very crunchy mom. She certainly wasn't "training" us, simply exposing us to all kinds of experiences and nurturing us. I went to an open elementary school (no tests, no grades, no homework, self-directed work) through 3rd grade which totally fostered a lifetime love of learning. When we moved and I switched to a very conservative school, they were doing work I'd done on my own 2 years prior, immediately IQ tested me and put me in the "gifted" program. For my own benefit, I'm very glad that I was simply pulled out for additional classes, etc instead of encouraging the skipping of a grade or two, since I think this would have been very difficult, being even more different than everyone else.

I did high school (and college and MS) in the South of England, where a totally different type of educational system prevails. Though I was not in gifted classes, I was indeed enrolled in a grammar school. Though completely state funded, children are tested in the last year of primary school. Those who pass go to grammar schools. Those who don't go to comprehensive schools.

I guess I see schools using gifted programs as a way to do some streaming of children in order to provide educational opportunities to fit their needs, much in the same way as if I was learning disabled, while staying within the constraints of a very mixed group of children within a single building.
post #24 of 204
I was "tracked" in school (the word used more in practice since "gifted" was offensive to some students), and it was absolutely perceived as an "elite" group of students, who got more advanced material, extra field trips, more fun learning opportunities, etc. In truth, we were probably no more than fast learners who do well in a traditional school environment and on standardized tests.

We did appreciate learning more and learning faster, but by the end it created a very unhealthy environment with rampant competition and self-esteem issues and a warped perception of the rest of the academic and social environment.

Unfortunately, as LeftField mentioned, the "gifted" programs I see today don't seem very different at all. There's a big difference between "quick learner who's advanced for his age" and truly "gifted"; for the former, "gifted" is a label parents like whereas for the latter, it is an indication that a standard education could be almost detrimental to the child given his unique needs.
post #25 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.
Oh, don't get me wrong, personally I think they should throw out the whole system and start over again. BUT as long as they are using the current system then "gifted" children (same as "learning disabled" children) NEED something different to succeed.

Suicide rates among gifted kids are sky high and rising last I saw.

-Angela
post #26 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redifer View Post
Do I think there is much-too-much emphasis on giftedness, and the major PUSH I notice every to "make" gifted kids in our country? Absolutely. My daughter (going on 4) has peers who are taking French, ballet, classical instrument lessons, in math tutoring, etc. These kids are 3 and 4 years old. All because their parents want to ensure their kids grow up to be 'gifted'. When really, most of the 'gifted' kids (and their ideas/thought process) aren't all that appreciated in a regular setting.


High achieving and gifted are two VERY different things. Any decent testing program for identifying "giftedness" does quite a bit to account for differences due to social and economic status. Is it still a developing field? (the testing) Absolutely.

For example, the test used in my district is entirely non-verbal to account for a large percentage of non-native-English speakers.

-Angela
post #27 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftField View Post
In our area, the gifted program includes such a broad range of children, way below the IQ parameters for clinically gifted. So it's essentially a program for high-achieving children (most are privileged), most of whom are not clinically gifted. I had a relative in one of these programs and she was so incredibly miserable there because she was operating many grade levels above and her needs were not being met in the gifted program. When her parents spoke with the gifted coordinator about it, the coordinator said that she was aware the child was very bored there but that she had so many children in the GATE program who couldn't operate on that level that she simply could not meet the child's needs. In that case, what is the point of the GATE program? Rather than providing an essential program for the few who think very differently and who *need* something different, it becomes a status symbol and reward for the parents of high-achieving, normal children. I am against this sort of program but I am in favor of true differentiated education for clinically gifted children.


Absolutely. We run into this especially around here in the more suburban districts.

-Angela
post #28 of 204
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). I was in the top level, then there was the middle level for kids reading on grade level, and there was the lowest level for kids who needed help to catch up. I had taught myself to read by the age of 4 and I am sorry but I would have been bored to tears if I had to stay learning at the same level as the kids who didn't know their alphabet yet in kindergarten. I remember that they used the same books, when I was in first grade the middle level was using the book that I used in kindergarten. So, it wasn't that I was getting special perks or "priviledged" (by the way, my family was middle class) they were just teaching kids to their skill level. I was reading adult books by the fourth grade, clearly I needed some sort of enrichment activity.

I did get to participate in some special after school programs. These were Omnibus (a science program), Junior Great Books (reading), and Odessey of the Mind. I think I was chosen for these based on test scores and how I did in school. We also had a Summer Academy for gifted students that I went to a few years. I call it "summer school for nerds." I don't remember what the financial aspect was, or if students with greater need got discounts or scholarships. I do know that my mom (who was a SAHM) volunteered for many of the programs because both my brother and I were in them.

I grew up in Minnesota, and now I am raising my daughter in Florida. I am seriously concerned about the education she will get in the public school system here (current situation is such that I have to work and we can't afford private). Florida is big on teaching to the FCAT and every time I talk to teachers here they are so disgusted by the fact that they cannot really teach.
post #29 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
Gifted programs are not really "superior" to regular class room education as simply different, and more intense. Also, in most places it isn't replacing the regular classroom, but instead is an additional work load on top of the classroom. Gifted students often choose to give up free time during recess, after school, or on weekends to participate in gifted programs. Though sometimes they are fun and exporitory, more often they are just another classroom experience with longer bigger harder text books.
IME 'gifted' programs tend to be actual classes in schools, so kids dont go to 'regular' class but to a special gifted class. Alternatively there are pull out programs but IME the kids who go to these programs are not usually expected to catch up on the regular schoolwork they miss.

And IMO the programs are indeed superior, more creative and interesting, and more self directed. It's nice to say they are 'equal but different' but I don't believe that to be the case.
post #30 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_lissa View Post

I'm torn on labels. On one hand, I benefited from gifted enrichment programs. On the other hand, the label was damaging to me.
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post

Suicide rates among gifted kids are sky high and rising last I saw.
Seriously? Any studies on why?
post #31 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
IME 'gifted' programs tend to be actual classes in schools, so kids dont go to 'regular' class but to a special gifted class. Alternatively there are pull out programs but IME the kids who go to these programs are not usually expected to catch up on the regular schoolwork they miss.
That's the opposite of the schools I attended.
post #32 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_lissa View Post
That's the opposite of the schools I attended.
Oh really, eh? That's interesting since we live so close! I have less experience with the pull out programs and more with the 'gifted school' concept where it's all one big school of kids with the label, though.
post #33 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
IME 'gifted' programs tend to be actual classes in schools, so kids dont go to 'regular' class but to a special gifted class. Alternatively there are pull out programs but IME the kids who go to these programs are not usually expected to catch up on the regular schoolwork they miss.

And IMO the programs are indeed superior, more creative and interesting, and more self directed. It's nice to say they are 'equal but different' but I don't believe that to be the case.
And programs for kids with learning disabilities tend to be more focused with a lot more one on one attention. I don't hear anyone saying *that's* not fair.

Really I don't understand the difference. Children labeled "gifted" (again, truly labeled accurately, not high achievers) have DIFFERENT learning needs.

Don't they deserve to have those NEEDS met?

-Angela
post #34 of 204
Yeah it is all about pulling kids out, which is bad for a lot of reasons too.

I also went to art school one afternoon a week, which was for any kid who showed any artistic interest or talent, but the school got closed down with the arts slashing of the harris years.
post #35 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
And programs for kids with learning disabilities tend to be more focused with a lot more one on one attention. I don't hear anyone saying *that's* not fair.

Really I don't understand the difference. Children labeled "gifted" (again, truly labeled accurately, not high achievers) have DIFFERENT learning needs.

Don't they deserve to have those NEEDS met?

-Angela


See, I dont really see high scores on an IQ test (the testing method used here) as a good catch all to decide a group of students has different learning needs than other students.

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.
post #36 of 204
Quote:
And IMO the programs are indeed superior, more creative and interesting, and more self directed. It's nice to say they are 'equal but different' but I don't believe that to be the case.
I think education at all levels needs to be more creative, interesting, self directed.

My gifted programs were self directed, but they were really crappy. I mean, they were a more appropriate level for me, but freaking crappy- not creative or interesting at all.

Gifted students were determined by a battery of test and wasn't just about high iq in our board, at least when I was a kid. I don't know about now.
post #37 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Seriously? Any studies on why?
Because they are miserable. "Traditional" education does not serve them. They are berated by teachers for not "working up to their potential" They are ostracized by classmates for being smart or nerdy or throwing the curve.

They learn DIFFERENTLY. Not better. Not always faster. In a different manner. Their brains skip around from one thing to another- often missing gaps in between.

-Angela
post #38 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
Because they are miserable. "Traditional" education does not serve them. They are berated by teachers for not "working up to their potential" They are ostracized by classmates for being smart or nerdy or throwing the curve.
is this opinion or fact? because if the suicide rates are higher my theories on why would be different than that.

Quote:
They learn DIFFERENTLY. Not better. Not always faster. In a different manner. Their brains skip around from one thing to another- often missing gaps in between.

-Angela
See, it just doesn't make sense to me that a kid who scores high on an IQ test necessarily learns differently than the kids who don't, and the same as the other kids who score high on an IQ test.
post #39 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_lissa View Post
Gifted students were determined by a battery of test and wasn't just about high iq in our board, at least when I was a kid. I don't know about now.
Yeah, we had a crapload of tests. But my remembering is that it was about determining an IQ number... no?
post #40 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
See, I dont really see high scores on an IQ test (the testing method used here) as a good catch all to decide a group of students has different learning needs than other students.

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.
Here a matrix is always used. Never a single test.

But hey, a single test (or actually a combo of two tests) identify learning disabilities. So how is that different?

That's the problem- the parent hype. (and often the parents of high achievers, IME) But truly gifted children have different needs, same as children with learning disabilities. One is just "cool" right now. Not fair to punish the kids for having the "cool" learning difference.

-Angela
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