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'gifted' children an American trend? - Page 4

post #61 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnD View Post
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.
You will find most educators who have background in gifted ed to actually be quite supportive of SKIPPING grades. Quite the opposite of "red shirting"

So I say, once more, that *that* has nothing to do with giftedness and everything to do with achievement.

Gifted does NOT = high achieving. In fact, in research that puts gifted kids into different "types" the great majority of gifted kids are NOT high achieving.

They don't make As.

As for the dumbing down- sure, that is an issue for all kids. But gifted still exist by the same criteria and identifying guides that they did before. There IS a line between bright and gifted. (I know, I know, elitist terms, but the ones currently used)

-Angela
post #62 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftField View Post
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.
RIGHT there with you. Every word.
post #63 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post

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.
My two children are both labeled gifted, and are both "underachievers." I will likely never see a straight A report card - but if you want to know some fine detail about some arcane topic... Gifted as a diagnostic criteria can really support understanding where a kid is coming from, but certainly doesn't (or shouldn't) define all that they are or will be or should be.

The gifted thing as cultural trend is just another form of the cultural preoccupation with "making more than my father did." An extremely annoying treatise on this topic is the book Hothouse Kids.
post #64 of 204
DD is in grade 3 at a magnet school. I recently went through the intake process for DS to attend gr1 there next year. Presumably due to the preoccupation with standardized testing, there has been a dramatic shift to a hyper-emphasis on literacy skills. Having spent a lot of time with DD's class working on literacy skills, I think I have a fair idea of the range of skills 6 year olds have. This new system is disastrous IMO - a whole bunch of kids are just not developmentally ready for what's now being expected, so they're going to get the message that they're not good at school/reading and that school/reading is not fun. For the kids who are reading - just what will they be doing while all that "b-a-t" is going on? Learning that school is unengaging, and not receiving much or any direct instruction that's meaningful to them.

We're 90% sure we're homeschooling.

I think there are a whole lot of reasons why many of today's schools aren't working for a whole lot of kids.
post #65 of 204
I agree with Angela 100%

Just wanted to throw in my thoughts also as a former GAT student....

In the US, we have this weird federally mandated school system that filters how it works through state and local jurisdictions. So the way "gifted" is defined can vary greatly depending on the district. In TN, where I grew up, I remember the year they implemented the GAT program - what a broohaha! LOL

I had to pass the standardized IQ exam. Then I had to pass a psychological assessment before I was put in the program. My mom requested the test. Does that make her pushy. Well yes.

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.

In my experience, some of the biggest trouble makers in class ended up being in the GAT program...which indicates that their needs were not being met - thus the trouble making. Even as a good student myself, I encountered teachers who were openly hostile to me - I would do the work too fast, I asked for more, I wasn't fitting into their "plan". I also experienced extreme bullying/teasing for being a "teacher's pet" because my 6th grade teacher compared everyone else to me. It was a relief in 7th grade to be have a pull-out class with others "like me" where I could actually begin to make friends.

My needs were NOT being met with regular classes. I'm not sure they were fully met with the newly developed GAT program - but it was helpful to have teachers teaching that class who were also gifted (I remember one teacher saying "my IQ is higher than all of your all's so don't get any ideas....it was really funny) - they could share experience and sympathy - something I didn't get from "regular" teachers. And for the first time I could study ANYTHING I wanted. So I taught myself to program my first ATARI computer As a girl, I might have been pushed away from that in a regular program. But here we could do whatever we wanted to.

Anyway, I do think there are learning differences with gifted kids. And I think the idea that "they are smart so we don't need to worry about them" was disproved by the number of maladjusted smart kids in my classes....

just a though
peace,
robyn
post #66 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
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.
Absolutely.

I was one of those "miserable" gifted kids who always felt out my element in school. My parents had me tested in kindergarten (as a requirement for skipping a grade) and I was put into the gifted program. But nobody told me So for years, I just knew I was a grade ahead. And then I skipped another grade because I was still bored in class. The "gifted" program at my very tiny school was pretty much non-existent, so I wasn't doing anything different than any other kids. Probably the reason I was skipped so many grades, was because that's the only thing they could offer.

Anyway, I had to retake all the tests in 7th grade for some reason and I re-qualified for the program. This time, I was old enough that my parents told me my IQ score and how I was in the gifted program. It was such a relief, honestly, because it explained a whole lot about myself.

Then I went to high school, where the gifted program was slightly less lame. But make no mistake. . there were no extra field trips, no creative opportunities, etc. Just once a month meetings during lunch period. I totally could have done without.

Because of the lack of opportunities as my schools, my parents did what they could to keep my spirit alive. I was already feeling like a freak, being interested in stuff my friends thought was too geeky or nerdy. I started pretending I was dumb, so I didn't get noticed. I intentionally didn't turn in homework so that I wouldn't be the one with the highest grade. I skipped a lot of class and got involved in drugs and alcohol at a very early age (11). And yup, depression and suicide were a big part of that too.

Thankfully though around that time, though, my parents found extra opportunities for me. For several summers I went to a summer camp for gifted students where I took college-level classes and lived in dorms. They also bought college-level text books to read for fun. I still felt like a freak most of the time, but cherished my time with other gifted kids during the summer months at camp.

And finally, my turning point was college -- a place I could actually meet people at my level (and many levels above!). I could take classes at whatever difficulty I desired. And for the first time in my life, I experienced coursework that was actually challenging! LOL I think growing up without being surrounded by people of similar ability, I developed an arrogance about my intellect. Thankfully college knocked me down a peg or two, which was a very humbling experience. I'm not a genius by far, but I do realize that my public school education was definitely not appropriate for someone with even a mild gifted ability.
post #67 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by hippymomma69 View Post
I agree with Angela 100%



In my experience, some of the biggest trouble makers in class ended up being in the GAT program...which indicates that their needs were not being met - thus the trouble making. Even as a good student myself, I encountered teachers who were openly hostile to me - I would do the work too fast, I asked for more, I wasn't fitting into their "plan". I also experienced extreme bullying/teasing for being a "teacher's pet" because my 6th grade teacher compared everyone else to me.

Oh boy, this summarizes many of my experiences as well. In addition, I had a few teachers give me a lower grade to "teach me a lesson or two". When doing group work, they always stuck me with the underachievers because they though that I, somehow, could motivate them to work. I ended just doing all the work for everybody because I actually cared about my grade. And the teasing. . I hated being the "teachers pet" so much that, as I wrote in my post above, intentionally screwed up so I would no longer be made an example.
post #68 of 204
I really dont think the value laden 'gifted' label and the resulting/related label chasing is impossible to change so why talk about it, nor do I think it is an aside to how kids with the label experience themselves and whether their needs are met.

I also really question the idea that the label as a catch all, in its current form, fits. That 'gifted' kids are indeed one monolithic group with a lot in common, and with shared differences from 'regular' kids. This was not my experience in a 'gifted' school. I was so bad at math I was in my own math group in gifted school! Seriously! And I sucked at science too, and art. But I loved languages, writing/reading, social sciences, and critical thought. Other gifted' kids excelled in exactly the opposite areas, and their brains worked in varied and different ways from my own and from each other. So... where are these huge commonalities? There was a lot of eccentricity, but the degree of even that was pretty diverse among kids with a shared label.

One thing we all had in common was that every one of us knew we were 'super smart,' 'geniuses,' 'smarter than the other kids.' It had a LOT to do with our identities as children, and there was definitely an overemphasis on continually proving that. The value laden element of the gifted label was perpetuated by both parents and teachers IME. I really dont think the effect on 'gifted' children of the status-y nature of the label is merely an aside to the issue, I think it is something that is very integral to how 'giftedness' is framed and I think it requires addressing.

There was a lot of social immaturity too I would say. Other than that I cant think of many real similarities among the group of kids I was with when I was in 'gifted' school.
post #69 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
My two children are both labeled gifted, and are both "underachievers." I will likely never see a straight A report card - but if you want to know some fine detail about some arcane topic... Gifted as a diagnostic criteria can really support understanding where a kid is coming from, but certainly doesn't (or shouldn't) define all that they are or will be or should be.
I hear you on this point, also. I think a lot of it comes down to personality and drive, as well.

It's funny, but my brother and I were both in the gifted program. In fact, we scored exactly the same on IQ and achievement tests (down the the point!). Yet I've always loved learning and am very driven. Him, on the other hand, not so much. We're just night and day, personality-wise.

Success in life has more to do with perseverance and hard work than it does intellect. Intellect can help, but it's not everything. I've mentioned this before, but I'm in the middle of applying to medical school and I know quite a few people who are doctors (many of whom I took undergraduate classes with years ago). I always think of this one particular guy -- very brilliant and an extremely high IQ. Figured he was a shoe-in. . and while he did get accepted, he had a lot of trouble putting in the work med school required. Another girl, friends with this guy, actually, has a very average IQ. Struggled a lot in college, but worked very hard to get good grades. Got accepted to med school also, and actually did better than her friend, because she was willing to put the time and effort into it. I think a lot of people would be surprised to find out that many in our "esteemed" professions are regular, ordinary folk who just had the drive and dedication to make their dreams come true. "Giftedness" is not a requirement in the least.
post #70 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I really dont think the value laden 'gifted' label and the resulting/related label chasing is impossible to change so why talk about it, nor do I think it is an aside to how kids with the label experience themselves and whether their needs are met.
Answering in bits as I'm feeling more than a bit attention-challenged today

Okay- I didn't say impossible- but it is VERY difficult. There have been several pushes to change this from within the education community. It hasn't happened. If you're interested in doing the research and working to change it- go right ahead. As I said, I'm 100% supportive. But it's not something I have time to tackle this year

-Angela
post #71 of 204
Yeah, I am an 'underachiever.' I also question how we define 'success' so uncritically in this culture... you know, I question it casually as I sit on my sofa.
post #72 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post

Okay- I didn't say impossible- but it is VERY difficult. There have been several pushes to change this from within the education community. It hasn't happened. If you're interested in doing the research and working to change it- go right ahead. As I said, I'm 100% supportive. But it's not something I have time to tackle this year
xposted, but uh... see my post above about being an underachiever. You wont find me doing any research.

It's kind of a copout to say 'oh go change it, dont sit around and complain about it' though... because this is after all an internet discussion board. We could just say that about any critiques with which we disagree, kwim?
post #73 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I also really question the idea that the label as a catch all, in its current form, fits. That 'gifted' kids are indeed one monolithic group with a lot in common, and with shared differences from 'regular' kids. This was not my experience in a 'gifted' school.
There are differences within any group. If you have a whole group of LD labeled kids you will have kids with dyslexia and dyscalcula and dysgraphia. All very different issues with very different needs.

Gently, I ask that you do a bit of research into gifted children and gifted education before making too many more jumping conclusions. The research is out there and well supported.

-Angela
post #74 of 204
I agree w/Angela 100%.

A great read for a different perspective on giftedness is And Still We Rise: The Trials and Triumphs of Twelve Gifted Inner City High School Students by Miles Corwin. It's a great look at what it means to deal with giftedness when you're not one of the elite, and makes it clear that giftedness as a trait has nothing to do with hothousing.

I would also suggest checking out Hoagie's Gifted Education Page. There are tons of articles there that should help clear up some of the common misconceptions about giftedness.

As has been said before, there is a tremendous difference between high achievement and giftedness. Just because the school systems and certain parents (usually of high achievers) muck up the issue with their own agendas, and just because the identification of gifted students and handling of the problem within the school systems is sucky, that does not deny that there are children who we choose to call "gifted" for lack of a better term who have significantly different needs than the average child.

IME, parents of gifted children *aren't* usually the ones running around screaming "Look at my kid -- he's so brilliant." Usually, they're either too busy trying to meet his/her unique needs and deal with his/her personality quirks or they're "gifted" themselves and don't find what their child is doing to be all that unusual. Society's hype around the label is damaging and hurtful, and makes many parents unwilling to acknowledge that their children have unusual needs.

On top of that, if you haven't experienced the torture of a typical American classroom, with or without a pull out program (which is often more of the same), you can't begin to understand the pain. 12 years is a long time to be bored out of one's mind.
post #75 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
There was a lot of social immaturity too I would say. Other than that I cant think of many real similarities among the group of kids I was with when I was in 'gifted' school.
Here's a good website to start you off on gifted research:

http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/

-Angela
post #76 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydiamond View Post
I hear you on this point, also. I think a lot of it comes down to personality and drive, as well.

It's funny, but my brother and I were both in the gifted program. In fact, we scored exactly the same on IQ and achievement tests (down the the point!). Yet I've always loved learning and am very driven. Him, on the other hand, not so much. We're just night and day, personality-wise.

Success in life has more to do with perseverance and hard work than it does intellect. Intellect can help, but it's not everything. I've mentioned this before, but I'm in the middle of applying to medical school and I know quite a few people who are doctors (many of whom I took undergraduate classes with years ago). I always think of this one particular guy -- very brilliant and an extremely high IQ. Figured he was a shoe-in. . and while he did get accepted, he had a lot of trouble putting in the work med school required. Another girl, friends with this guy, actually, has a very average IQ. Struggled a lot in college, but worked very hard to get good grades. Got accepted to med school also, and actually did better than her friend, because she was willing to put the time and effort into it. I think a lot of people would be surprised to find out that many in our "esteemed" professions are regular, ordinary folk who just had the drive and dedication to make their dreams come true. "Giftedness" is not a requirement in the least.
THIS is what I try to share with my children. Every individual is a combination of all sorts of things, and that in large part it's our attitudes that make the difference to achieving "success."

My kids are young yet, so we'll see what happens as they get older. A big part of their "under achievement" comes from the fact that they're both very self-directed and divergent thinkers. I embrace this, and try to support them and their schools in seeing that this isn't a defect.
post #77 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
xposted, but uh... see my post above about being an underachiever. You wont find me doing any research.

It's kind of a copout to say 'oh go change it, dont sit around and complain about it' though... because this is after all an internet discussion board. We could just say that about any critiques with which we disagree, kwim?
What gets me though is that the conversation never starts with- "gosh, I hate that 'gifted' is the label they use, it doesn't accurately describe the learning needs and it makes parents all wacky"

It starts with- "why the heck do the SMART kids need anything extra anyway?"

:

Start a conversation with the first, instead of the second (and preferably leave the second out all together...) and you'll get a much different reception.

-Angela
post #78 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
What gets me though is that the conversation never starts with- "gosh, I hate that 'gifted' is the label they use, it doesn't accurately describe the learning needs and it makes parents all wacky"

It starts with- "why the heck do the SMART kids need anything extra anyway?"

:

Start a conversation with the first, instead of the second (and preferably leave the second out all together...) and you'll get a much different reception.

-Angela
:

Meeting the needs of all children begins with understanding that children have different needs. We're really a long, long way from truly understanding this, and the "fairness" aspect really impedes our progress. What's fair is not that everyone get the same, but that each person get what s/he needs to develop fully. Our current system isn't set up to handle that, and the additional programs we set up are really just bandaids.
post #79 of 204
I agree with Angela.

A personal anecdote about "gifted" versus "high achieving": I was diagnosed as gifted. Some years I would get all As, some years I would get more Ds and Fs than I care to remember. My counselors loved to blame the latter on me being bored, but I blamed it on the fact that I escaped the boredom by obsessively reading. I spent my high school years in a southern California city with a large East Asian population (Korean and Chinese) which has the reputation of doing Really Well in school. In ninth and tenth grades, the classes were still called GATE classes - students had to test in to take them. Those classes were pretty diverse, ethnicity-wise. In eleventh and twelvth grades, the classes were AP - students could choose to take them. In those two years I was one of the only non-Asian students in the classes. Although they were smart, they were not necessarily gifted (though some were brilliant). Instead, they worked really hard to get stellar GPAs. Many of the non-Asian gifted kids from previous years worked hard at different things (like drugs or taking the GED in order to escape). Luckily for the sake of my children's current existence, I let the GPA peer pressure influence me enough to mostly do my homework(, get into the university of my choice, and meet their smart, high-gpa Asian father). But the difference between smart-and-high-achieving and gifted-and-not-working-so-hard-for-the-grades was enough to leave those in the latter category rather ostracized.

There are real differences in cognitive ability. Maybe the terms are a stumbling block, but they shouldn't be enough to detract from the need for something different. Every student deserves to have his or her needs met. Everyone should have the right to differentiated instruction. Every person is unique. However, social constructs are not infinitely adaptable. Out of necessity, groups will always exist .
post #80 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I really dont think the value laden 'gifted' label and the resulting/related label chasing is impossible to change so why talk about it, nor do I think it is an aside to how kids with the label experience themselves and whether their needs are met.

I also really question the idea that the label as a catch all, in its current form, fits. That 'gifted' kids are indeed one monolithic group with a lot in common, and with shared differences from 'regular' kids. This was not my experience in a 'gifted' school. I was so bad at math I was in my own math group in gifted school! Seriously! And I sucked at science too, and art. But I loved languages, writing/reading, social sciences, and critical thought. Other gifted' kids excelled in exactly the opposite areas, and their brains worked in varied and different ways from my own and from each other. So... where are these huge commonalities? There was a lot of eccentricity, but the degree of even that was pretty diverse among kids with a shared label.

One thing we all had in common was that every one of us knew we were 'super smart,' 'geniuses,' 'smarter than the other kids.' It had a LOT to do with our identities as children, and there was definitely an overemphasis on continually proving that. The value laden element of the gifted label was perpetuated by both parents and teachers IME. I really dont think the effect on 'gifted' children of the status-y nature of the label is merely an aside to the issue, I think it is something that is very integral to how 'giftedness' is framed and I think it requires addressing.

There was a lot of social immaturity too I would say. Other than that I cant think of many real similarities among the group of kids I was with when I was in 'gifted' school.
So, you're extrapolating from your personal experience and drawing conclusions you would assert are generalizable? .

I think that the experiences of "gifted" kids are widely diverse - both in relation to the context they find themselves in and their individual personalities and needs.

Perhaps the school you attended, along with the parent and teacher culture that went along with it, didn't get it right. Doesn't mean that there isn't a percentage of kids that need/would benefit from qualitatively different educational environments (and I wholeheartedly believe that most schools could be doing a whole lot better by all kids).

IME, some parents are, well...jerks. Pick your poison - their kid is gifted, their kid is a star athlete, their kid is class president. The gifted kid thing stands out because most kids are in school, with some explicit expectations for normal development. It's a prime avenue for "my kid is better than all the rest." All of that does not negate that there is actually a wide variation in the needs of kids.
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