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'gifted' children an American trend? - Page 3

post #41 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?
It sounds like you are stereotyping gifted kids and their families. Honnestly, what you are describing sounds more like those parents that are pushing their kids to be overacheivers. Like Angela said (I think it was her) that is not the same thing as kids being gifted.
My parents never had any sort of ego or pride about our giftedness. I am certain my mom was gifted herself, but there were not any programs when she was a kid. My aunt who was a teacher actually provided us with this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Gifted-Kids-Su.../dp/1575420031
because of concern about how being gifted would affect us.
I loved the programs where I could be with the other smart kids because there I didn't have to worry about being picked on. The pressure I got was from the kids who were not "gifted" (they were the ones trying to make me feel inferior).
post #42 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
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.
And herein lies a lot of my discomfort, I think. It's not just 'cool right now,' though, it's not like one day soon giftedness will be out and special needs will be in. There is an inherent value judgment to the label, which coincides with this parental push on children's cognitive development (I've seen it with my DD's peers even pre-walking age), and this seeking out of the label by parents for children because of their own ego needs.

I might see it differently if the label was not value-laden, like some sign of superiority and elite status. Yk?

And if the testing is indeed comprehensive and not just about identifying IQ, which I am not as knowledgeable on as I assumed I was.
post #43 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Yeah, we had a crapload of tests. But my remembering is that it was about determining an IQ number... no?
Well not here. I have all my testing and psych reports. I seem to think that I had an iq test, but no number was written anywhere on the eval or reports. It was also a very involved process- weeks of mornings of tests.

Something does need to be done. I don't know the answer. Regular school bored the hell out of me because it was below my level usually. The same thing happened with my mother and she stopped going in grade eight because of it. I think that is one of the reason the programs were developed.
post #44 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
is this opinion or fact? because if the suicide rates are higher my theories on why would be different than that.
A little of both. Mostly a very watered down version of life as a gifted kid

To elaborate a touch- seeing the world differently than other, no one understanding, being told your dumb while being told you're smart but not working, being told you're lazy, being told the way you are isn't good enough, pressure to save the world/change the world, internal pressure to change things, a feeling of impotence because if no one understands you how can you change things.... etc etc....

These kids are miserable in much larger percentages. The suicide rates show that.

Quote:
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.
It goes beyond a single test.

-Angela
post #45 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Yeah, we had a crapload of tests. But my remembering is that it was about determining an IQ number... no?
It goes beyond a number. And the way to arrive at a number tells you a lot of information along the way.

-Angela
post #46 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_lissa View Post
Well not here. I have all my testing and psych reports. I seem to think that I had an iq test, but no number was written anywhere on the eval or reports. It was also a very involved process- weeks of mornings of tests.
Psych reports! omgz. We had an involved process too, I just assumed it was all to determine IQ. We did get numbers and this was held up as really important.

I guess I maintain that if the value judgment and the value-laden label were removed, I would feel more comfortable with it, because I would see it as more objective and less about seeking a status-laden label.

I also think there can be a lot of pressure on 'gifted' kids *because* of the expectation of high intelligence in every area and resulting expected 'success' in the uncritical way it is framed in this culture, as well as pressure to perform to meet parents' ego needs.
post #47 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
And herein lies a lot of my discomfort, I think. It's not just 'cool right now,' though, it's not like one day soon giftedness will be out and special needs will be in. There is an inherent value judgment to the label, which coincides with this parental push on children's cognitive development (I've seen it with my DD's peers even pre-walking age), and this seeking out of the label by parents for children because of their own ego needs.

I might see it differently if the label was not value-laden, like some sign of superiority and elite status. Yk?

And if the testing is indeed comprehensive and not just about identifying IQ, which I am not as knowledgeable on as I assumed I was.
Parents and teachers of gifted kids have been around this merry-go-round enough to make them puke Yes, it sucks that the word used to describe these kids seems to be a status symbol.

The label is picked though. There are movements (and have been movements for years...) to change the label. Hasn't happened yet. Just because you don't like the words though, is no reason to belittle the children and their needs

Any parent who seeks a label for their own ego needs has problems. But please keep that issue separate from meeting the needs of all learners Like it or not, "gifted" children DO have unique learning needs. Those needs should be met. Even while we spend another 20 years arguing a better name for the issues.

-Angela
post #48 of 204
Interesting thread. I'm surprised to hear about other GAT programs being so demanding and fast-paced. I tested into the gifted program in first grade and stayed in it until eighth grade. And I am in no way "gifted" and I really don't think any of us were except one girl. It was a half-day a week program which basically served as a respite from the classroom for kids who were quick learners and often bored in school. We had bean bags instead of desks and sat around solving "brain teasers" and goofing off.
post #49 of 204
I am not belittling gifted children or their 'needs.' I am thinking critically on the issue. Not the same thing. And IMO in real life the fact that gifted labels are a status symbol and that children IME are made WELL aware of this, cannot and should not be separated out from how the label and the issue are framed.
post #50 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Psych reports! omgz. We had an involved process too, I just assumed it was all to determine IQ. We did get numbers and this was held up as really important.

I guess I maintain that if the value judgment and the value-laden label were removed, I would feel more comfortable with it, because I would see it as more objective and less about seeking a status-laden label.

I also think there can be a lot of pressure on 'gifted' kids *because* of the expectation of high intelligence in every area and resulting expected 'success' in the uncritical way it is framed in this culture, as well as pressure to perform to meet parents' ego needs.
Actually many of the really miserable gifted kids DON'T have parents with any expectations of them. That can make it worse.

An IQ test generally doesn't take more than half a day. So if it takes longer than that, it's more than just one IQ test (how long it takes depends on age also... takes longer when they're older)

-Angela
post #51 of 204
I don't know if it's an American trend or not. I do think that, for me at least, I look at the gifted label as a diagnostic tool rather than a bragging point. It helps me better understand the frustration, the anxiety, the "acting out" my son does.

When Michael was in school, he was in a pull-out program. From what I could see, it was fairly useless. When I was in elementary school, on the other hand, I was in an excellent gifted program and I have great memories of it.

Now that we're homeschooling, the gifted label doesn't seem to matter so much. He's not bored, because if he knows something we move on. He's also able to follow his own interests much of the time.

Sometimes I feel unique in that I don't necessarily see my son's giftedness as something that makes him better than other kids. I don't even see it as a gift. I hate that word, "gifted". His way of thinking really gets in the way of him enjoying life sometimes. He has an anxiety disorder, he's obsessive, he's angry most of the time at a world that doesn't quite fit into his way of organizing it.

So, I feel sometimes like we're talking about two different things. I don't see it as some sort of super special gift that makes Michael better or even smarter than other kids. I see it more as a way of thinking that makes his life difficult. Granted, it can be pretty amazing at times. I'm constantly bowled over by the way his mind works. But I guess I don't see it as something to be braggy and excited about.

Then again, this could just be my own issue. He's a tough kid, and being his mom is hard a lot of the time.
post #52 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by raely View Post
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'm unclear. What would you advise a parent to do. How should they adapt to their child's educational needs and learning styles and how is this incompatiable with gifted programs.

I'll give you a specific example. We are crunchy AP folks, no TV, no "educational toys", just your standard wood blocks, silks, hanging out in the backyard playing in the sprinkler kind of life. And, one day we realized our three year old could read anything and understand it. Not just memorizing books, not having been tutored to read, but he had full comprehension at a level beyond elementary school level. It isn't a goal we focused on. It isn't something we sought out. It isn't something expected or the result or any obsession. It was a gift that we had to find a way to deal with.

I'd love to hear what posters opposed to gifted education would advise under those circumstances - hitting the kid in the head a few times, feeding them some lead paint chips - anything just to avoid acknowledging what the kid needed so as not to appear like an American obsessed with giftedness?
post #53 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I am not belittling gifted children or their 'needs.' I am thinking critically on the issue. Not the same thing. And IMO in real life the fact that gifted labels are a status symbol and that children IME are made WELL aware of this, cannot and should not be separated out from how the label and the issue are framed.
I realize that you don't *mean* to belittle their needs. I know you well enough to know that is as unlike you as possible But realize that that is exactly what you're doing.

Yes, there are parents who are over the top (nothing new about THAT) and yes, there are places that use gifted programs as a dumping ground for high achievers.

BUT, it is a legitimate learning difference. With legitimate needs. And the parents and teachers who work with these kids are fighting an uphill battle. ANY child with learning needs different from the rest is at a disadvantage. It is not the fault of *this* group of children that their needs are "elitist" and non-PC.

-Angela
post #54 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I am not belittling gifted children or their 'needs.' I am thinking critically on the issue. Not the same thing. And IMO in real life the fact that gifted labels are a status symbol and that children IME are made WELL aware of this, cannot and should not be separated out from how the label and the issue are framed.
What part of the country do you live in?

I have met maybe one or two parents who are invested in the label, but the vast majority I've met are not. I haven't met any kids who are invested in having the gifted label. Most kids I know who are gifted know they are different and may be aware they are smart, but have it well in perspective. I've met FAR FAR more parents who brag about their kids being on top tier traveling soccer teams. I find it obnoxious but it doesn't make all people who like soccer suspect to me. And, it sure doesn't make me want to take away competitive soccer for kids who need it.
post #55 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
What part of the country do you live in?
She's in Canada... not sure what part.

-Angela
post #56 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
I realize that you don't *mean* to belittle their needs. I know you well enough to know that is as unlike you as possible But realize that that is exactly what you're doing.

Yes, there are parents who are over the top (nothing new about THAT) and yes, there are places that use gifted programs as a dumping ground for high achievers.

BUT, it is a legitimate learning difference. With legitimate needs. And the parents and teachers who work with these kids are fighting an uphill battle. ANY child with learning needs different from the rest is at a disadvantage. It is not the fault of *this* group of children that their needs are "elitist" and non-PC.

-Angela
No, I'm really not belittling anyone's needs. Perhaps it is a legitimate learning difference, perhaps it is a catch all. I do not know. The label and the status-y nature of it DOES affect 'gifted' children, and also regular children. I would argue that it has many negative effects, and that an approach to labelling that was less value laden would meet the emotional needs of gifted and other children much better than the current framing of the issue.

And once the status element and the 'label chasing' were removed, I think specific needs and issues of this group of children (if indeed they can be grouped as one) might be more clearly observed and better met.
post #57 of 204
I too am Canadian - and was excluded from the gifted program in high school - no clue why, but perhaps I was doing just fine with the class room structure, even if I was bored and drew horses all day. My friends that were in the gifted program found it amusing - got out of class to do other things, but in the end, I ended up doing more post-high school - bright, gifted, harder worker, more motivated, more conforming - I don't know. (OK, one girl went to Princeton - she blew me out of the water!)

I can only add a few questions to the argument.

Why are the parents in suburbia Boston 'red shirting' their affluent children at alarming rates (i.e. holding them back from kindie for one year). I would assume that many affluent children are from high achieving family (not high achieving families are the only affluent ones - don't want anyone to think I am basing it all on money). (My sister lives in suburbia Boston).

Is gifted in some cases (not all) just the show that we have 'dumbed' down schools (American or Canadian) for the average child, where average is too low? I look at the benchmarks for kindie for my daughter (SK for the Ontario types) - and it is ridiculous - she met those on day 1, easily. I think she is bright, but not gifted. Is it that this relatively affluent child, with post-secondary educated parents just simply better off than the 'average' child - where in the city of Toronto is highly highly multicultural, english as second language, and immigrant? [I actually heard that Toronto is the 2nd most multi-cultural city, behind London England - I knew we were multi-cultural, but didn't realize we were that multi-cultural.] Not at all saying that immigrant children are slow, just have more hurdles to overcome.

OK - I got to go make lunch - might add a bit more later.
post #58 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
I don't know if it's an American trend or not. I do think that, for me at least, I look at the gifted label as a diagnostic tool rather than a bragging point. It helps me better understand the frustration, the anxiety, the "acting out" my son does.

When Michael was in school, he was in a pull-out program. From what I could see, it was fairly useless. When I was in elementary school, on the other hand, I was in an excellent gifted program and I have great memories of it.

Now that we're homeschooling, the gifted label doesn't seem to matter so much. He's not bored, because if he knows something we move on. He's also able to follow his own interests much of the time.

Sometimes I feel unique in that I don't necessarily see my son's giftedness as something that makes him better than other kids. I don't even see it as a gift. I hate that word, "gifted". His way of thinking really gets in the way of him enjoying life sometimes. He has an anxiety disorder, he's obsessive, he's angry most of the time at a world that doesn't quite fit into his way of organizing it.

So, I feel sometimes like we're talking about two different things. I don't see it as some sort of super special gift that makes Michael better or even smarter than other kids. I see it more as a way of thinking that makes his life difficult. Granted, it can be pretty amazing at times. I'm constantly bowled over by the way his mind works. But I guess I don't see it as something to be braggy and excited about.

Then again, this could just be my own issue. He's a tough kid, and being his mom is hard a lot of the time.
My 5 year old is similar. I think it's tough being him a lot of the time - he's so sensitive, hyper-reactive and just out of sync with the world around him. DD finds the world marginally easier.

Gifted is absolutely diagnostic to us, and is in fact the word I don't want to breathe to other parents as it just feels pretentious and may give others a false impression about our values. A mom I know whose son is extraordinarily gifted resists accessing gifted programs for him because some of the other parents and the values they're teaching their kids (superiority etc). Some parents are preoccupied by realizing themselves via their children - it happens in all quarters.
post #59 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
No, I'm really not belittling anyone's needs. Perhaps it is a legitimate learning difference, perhaps it is a catch all. I do not know. The label and the status-y nature of it DOES affect 'gifted' children, and also regular children. I would argue that it has many negative effects, and that an approach to labelling that was less value laden would meet the emotional needs of gifted and other children much better than the current framing of the issue.

And once the status element and the 'label chasing' were removed, I think specific needs and issues of this group of children (if indeed they can be grouped as one) might be more clearly observed and better met.
Okay- we all agree (have never heard any real disagreement on the idea...) that "gifted" is not the best word for that label. So what? What on earth does that have to do with providing programs for them?

There are boatloads of research on the needs and issues of this group of children. This is not a new issue. Not a new label. If you would like to do more research, I'm sure Roar has a list a mile long of great places to start

Arguing that we don't like the word used for the label is really pretty silly. And of course has NOTHING to do with providing services for these kids (which is what this thread started out questioning.)

If you would like to get a PhD in gifted ed. and pursue changing the label- Please, go right ahead Really. I'll be behind you 100%. But sitting around calling it elitist doesn't change anything.

-Angela
post #60 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
No, I'm really not belittling anyone's needs. Perhaps it is a legitimate learning difference, perhaps it is a catch all. I do not know. The label and the status-y nature of it DOES affect 'gifted' children, and also regular children. I would argue that it has many negative effects, and that an approach to labelling that was less value laden would meet the emotional needs of gifted and other children much better than the current framing of the issue.

And once the status element and the 'label chasing' were removed, I think specific needs and issues of this group of children (if indeed they can be grouped as one) might be more clearly observed and better met.
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.
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