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Do you buy into the gifted label? - Page 6

post #101 of 123
Americans have so many hangups about the word "gifted". You see it as so much more than a label for a particular stream in education.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabysmom617 View Post
I'm kinda starting to look back and see the effects of what breezing through elementary school did to my middle and high school years.

I never learned to study and to learn what was taught in class. I'd sit there drawing and spacing out because I picked it up so fast, and didn't need all the extra examples, extra practice and so forth and on that the rest of the class needed in elementary school. By the time I got to middle school, I had totally not learned the study skills and learning skills I needed to get by at all. By then, the work got harder, and I needed to actually put my mind down to it to get it, and I never learned to do that...I think I still suffer from the effects of not being able to apply my brain cells to something that I need to learn that I'm not that interested in.
I totally agree, this was what happened to me, too. I have no attention span whatsoever, and the first time I ever did homework was in year 11. By the time I got to a level where there was differentiation (13 years old), it was too late, I wasn't interested.

School doesn't just teach you things, it also should teach you valuable skills like how to rise to a challenge.
post #102 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharr610 View Post
May be slightly off tangent here, but I've always had some issues with the term gifted. My reasons are that I was labeled gifted in school and we got to do really cool stuff like huge independent projects on things that interested us and tons of creative based learning. Overall, I've always felt it was a curriculum that ALL kids would have benefitted from(granted I have no educational background, so perhaps there is something I'm missing) and thought it was really silly it was being saved for certain kids who scored well on some tests.
I was also labeled "gifted" and I feel similarly. I think that all children are gifted, and all benefit from being challenged and accommodated and intrigued. So I'm an unschooler, and my children can be as gifted as they want. In whatever way they want. I am not planning to have them tested at any point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by avengingophelia View Post
As someone who had (has?) this label, no, I absolutely don't buy it.
Well, I think "giftedness" exists... but I would be much more circumspect than some at tossing it around like it's a scouting badge to earn. (Not anyone here. Other people.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
If he's a math genius, though, we're somehow supposed to make him just stick it out with kids who are doing work well below his level so that it doesn't make anyone feel badly.
Harrison Bergeron comes to mind -- strap weights to the strong athletes so that they can't jump higher than the average ones. Or perhaps Ayn Rand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
I have noticed that MANY MANY parents think their child is "gifted". I taught school, I sent my child through 10 years of school, and only ONCE have a met a kid who was Truly "gifted" to the point of standing out among her peers.
I just wanted to quote your entire post! I loved it. In my gifted class, we all seemed pretty ordinary. Not unbright...but ordinary in our brightness. None of us seemed particularly asynchronous, or to be struggling socially or emotionally because of our abilities. We were just smart kids, smart in the ways that they want kids to be smart.

My brother was truly asynchronous, and truly did struggle, and the schools truly did fail him miserably. He was in both special classes for "learning disability" (another label I could write a novel about) and in the gifted program. His IQ score was ... I believe 140, but the range when you broke it down into segments was from <100 to >180. So I do think that the schools should have some way of dealing with a student with those kinds of special needs. He was neither rebellious, nor stubborn, nor difficult... but he struggled in almost every conceivable way. At the time homeschooling was not as visible an option as it is today, but fortunately my mother happened to come across some information and immediately pulled my brother from school.

Gifted is a useful label in that sense, I think. I think that parents who want it to mean "special" and to imply that their child is a "winner" (again, no one here!) are quite unaware of the vast number of very gifted children who are surprisingly unsuccessful as adults. (Possibly due to the school system's bungling of things...)

The label becomes much less relevant in a homeschooling family, IMO, because the individualized education is built-in.
post #103 of 123
Quote:
So I'm an unschooler, and my children can be as gifted as they want. In whatever way they want.
But many of us are not unschoolers or homeschoolers, and need our kids to be able to navigate the school system. Opting out of the system is great, but it doesn't help those who are in it.

Quote:
In my gifted class, we all seemed pretty ordinary. Not unbright...but ordinary in our brightness. None of us seemed particularly asynchronous, or to be struggling socially or emotionally because of our abilities.
Maybe it seemed ordinary BECAUSE you were in a peer group with children of similar abilities. I was kept with the same group of high-ability peers from 2nd-6th grades; this was done intentionally by the schools. It worked very well. I also had gifted pull-out classes, but they were kind of goofy; what helped was having friends who "got" me. My husband is truly smarter than I am but had no such luck, and school was very different for him. You don't have to be doing calculus at 8 to have trouble making friends and being happy in school. Even "ordinary bright" can present real issues.

My own DD is noticably asynchronous and has already had problems in *preschool* as a result; not just according to me, but according to her teachers. But she is not profoundly gifted.
post #104 of 123
Out of interest, what is the IQ definition of gifted? Is it still about 130? It sounds to me like the children given as examples on this thread must be way above that number. I know IQ isn't the whole story but it's probably what is used to define 'giftedness' by many schools.
post #105 of 123
Read the book Mind Set. We choose not to label DD as gifted. She's been reading independently since 2.5 and been reading chapter books since 3.5. We plan to meet DD's educational needs regardless of giftedness. Also, reading Mind Set really validated our decision to not label her.
post #106 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by milehighmonkeys View Post
Read the book Mind Set. We choose not to label DD as gifted. She's been reading independently since 2.5 and been reading chapter books since 3.5. We plan to meet DD's educational needs regardless of giftedness. Also, reading Mind Set really validated our decision to not label her.
Is your child in outside-of-the-home schooling?

I've read Dweck, and her research certainly informs my approach.

Labelling came about in our case because of the schools' inability to meet my children's needs without a label (and we're still not there, by a long shot). My son in particular required labelling related to both his "special" needs and his intellectual needs.

You know, there's a difference between a mom at the playground going "my Bobby is so-o-o gifted..." (label), and a parent trying to successfully navigate their child through a school system (where label = accomodations).
post #107 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Collinsky View Post
My brother was truly asynchronous, and truly did struggle, and the schools truly did fail him miserably. He was in both special classes for "learning disability" (another label I could write a novel about) and in the gifted program. His IQ score was ... I believe 140, but the range when you broke it down into segments was from <100 to >180. So I do think that the schools should have some way of dealing with a student with those kinds of special needs. He was neither rebellious, nor stubborn, nor difficult... but he struggled in almost every conceivable way. At the time homeschooling was not as visible an option as it is today, but fortunately my mother happened to come across some information and immediately pulled my brother from school.

Gifted is a useful label in that sense, I think. I think that parents who want it to mean "special" and to imply that their child is a "winner" (again, no one here!) are quite unaware of the vast number of very gifted children who are surprisingly unsuccessful as adults. (Possibly due to the school system's bungling of things...)

The label becomes much less relevant in a homeschooling family, IMO, because the individualized education is built-in.
My son sounds like your brother. I am only too acutely aware of the fact that gifted does not equal success. There was a great article in one of the news weeklies a while back about how so many of the most successful individuals in the work world were C+ students.

During pre-uni group schooling, where we expect kids to be grouped based solely on age, labelling can become necessary. Is it potentially damaging to kids - you bet. Is it potentially damaging to leave kids in inappropriate settings - you bet. I think it can be handled a whole lot better than has been described by some here.
post #108 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by milehighmonkeys View Post
Read the book Mind Set. We choose not to label DD as gifted. She's been reading independently since 2.5 and been reading chapter books since 3.5. We plan to meet DD's educational needs regardless of giftedness. Also, reading Mind Set really validated our decision to not label her.
We're in a similar position, and it's relatively easy to accomplish not having the label in her consciousness (though she's certainly conscious of being different than her peers) because we're homeschooling. I can't imagine being able to avoid the label were DD in a typical schooling situation.
post #109 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kessed View Post
What I have a problem with is the marginally gifted kids. The ones that either have a slightly higher IQ - or kids who don't meet the IQ requirements, but whose parents bug the school to label them gifted, getting a bunch of special attention.

I think that most of the barely 'gifted' kids should be left in the normal classes and if their parents want 'enrichment' - their parent's should provide it.

Using the numbers from my own childhood - in one of my first posts - I drew the line at ~140. I know the numbers are different now.

But I do agree that kids who are so far above average that they cannot function (not that they are a little bit bored) in a normal classroom - should be placed in special classes.

For most of the 'gifted' kids they do pull-out programs once or twice a week. So obviously - those children are able to function in a normal classroom just fine. If they weren't - then the pullout programs wouldn't work.
I'll share my experience within a district of just under 20,000 kids. Once per year, starting in grade 3, there will be an opportunity for 1 child per grade per school to do a pull out. It will be about 5 full days spread over the course of a month.

My DD attended this year. Next year, another child may be chosen, in order to share the opportunity. So she'll get nothing.

There is no gifted school or classes. DD attends the closest thing available - fine arts specialty. She wonders why she goes to school as she doesn't believe she's learned anything (which is technically incorrect, but it's her perception).

My son, meantime, will be homeschooled next year as he literally cannot be successful in a typical classroom at this point, and is so asynchronous that a skip at this age is not the right strategy either.

I would love it if the district would lower the standard of gifted intake a little and use the increased numbers to build programming. It wouldn't necessarily be the ideal, but it would be a whole lot better for my DD who spends most of her academic time reading a book or doodling on the back of a worksheet.

I'm with you in feeling nauseated when people go on and on at the playground, or mommies group, or wherever, about how special and gifted their kid is. This attitude actually is destructive to all - to their own kid who's being given all kinds of messages about their worth and expectations; to the other parents and kids there; and to the gifted kids who are now made invisible because of some obnoxious braggart.
post #110 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kessed View Post
I already answered that. I think that extremely gifted children should be given special programing. They should have access to special classes and curriculum.

That isn't what I'm questioning.

What I question is the push to identify children who are marginally gifted by testing them over and over and pestering their teachers until they are recommended for the gifted program. One mom we met at the playground last weekend was happy that after 3 years of having her child tested - he finally qualified as gifted and it would mean that his teacher had to spend more time with him.
So, you're not questioning the label per se. You just have a problem with some parents in your neighbourhood.

May I gently suggest that this might be about the social values in your local community, or might stand as a significant warning sign that your local schools are dramatically underserving its students?

Individual parents typically only have the energy, wherewithall, and/or confidence to advocate for their child, using the means available. Educational reform is far outside of the perceived purview of most parents. It's the lack of overall success in creating an innovative and responsive education system that has lead to this rush to label.
post #111 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boot View Post
Out of interest, what is the IQ definition of gifted? Is it still about 130? It sounds to me like the children given as examples on this thread must be way above that number. I know IQ isn't the whole story but it's probably what is used to define 'giftedness' by many schools.
Actually it's not what most schools use. Most schools use some combination of achievement test scores, parental request, and teacher recommendation.
post #112 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post
Actually it's not what most schools use. Most schools use some combination of achievement test scores, parental request, and teacher recommendation.
Yes, schools do label kids based upon a lot of things other than IQ scores.

However, in the point of view of a psychologist, or Mensa, etc. 130ish (98th percentile) is generally about the point at which someone is considered gifted. What I found interesting, is that two people with the same full-scale IQ could have varying degrees uneveness and thus one might have a harder time fitting in and appear more gifted. For instance, the Weschler scales calculate a full scale IQ off of four subtests. One person might be at the 99.9th percentile (profoundly gifted) on two of those subtests and 40th percentile on the other two (low average). His full-scale IQ would be about at the 98th percentile (moderately gifted). That person is going to have a much, much harder time appearing normal and fitting it in a standard classroom than the child with all four subtests around the 80th percentile which may also calculate out to an IQ around the 98th.

For that reason, I don't necessarily agree that all moderately gifted kids fit in well in a standard classroom and don't need accommodations and all highly gifted kids do. It really depends on how high the "highs" are within the various subtests.

FWIW, I have one highly gifted kid and one exceptionally gifted kid based off of IQ scores. Neither one of them read until age 4 and the one who had a higher full scale IQ actually fits in better in a standard classroom. (Moderately gifted is usually around the 98th percentile, highly 99th, exceptionally is above the 99th, but below the 99.9th, and profoundly is 99.9th.)
post #113 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
But many of us are not unschoolers or homeschoolers, and need our kids to be able to navigate the school system. Opting out of the system is great, but it doesn't help those who are in it.
I do agree with that. I think that every single child deserves to be able to freely develop their gifts, and that schools should support and nurture them in that.

Quote:
Maybe it seemed ordinary BECAUSE you were in a peer group with children of similar abilities. I was kept with the same group of high-ability peers from 2nd-6th grades; this was done intentionally by the schools. It worked very well. I also had gifted pull-out classes, but they were kind of goofy; what helped was having friends who "got" me. My husband is truly smarter than I am but had no such luck, and school was very different for him. You don't have to be doing calculus at 8 to have trouble making friends and being happy in school. Even "ordinary bright" can present real issues.
I agree. I might have felt like a fish out of water in one of the "lower achieving" classes. It always did bother me, perhaps because I was one of the only "low income" kids in the higher class, and so I saw clearly that it was the "free lunch" children who were in the mid and low tracks. And the kids with name brand clothes and professional parents who were in my track. The lowest track was all but written off. I find that offensive.

I guess I wish that individualized instruction was available for every single child, at every level, in every area. I understand that because I am not involved with public schools in any way, and have not been since the first couple months of ninth grade, that I am speaking more in hypotheticals than others here. Where schools could be more fully integrated WRT age, socio-economic class, and ability. Where each child is as supported and a stimulated as they need.

So, as I said, I think the label is probably relevant in a public school setting.

With the label... I suppose I feel the same way about it that I do about the "dyslexic" label. Yes, it's a valid label. It is often necessary, and conveys a lot of information in one word. I wish that people would see it as a "learning difference" - not euphemistically, but in the sense that the idea of learning styles expands to enthusiastically embrace and accommodate all ways of approaching the world and processing information. Dyslexic and Gifted and Average alike.
post #114 of 123
This thread is insanely long, so while I could go down the line and respond, I think I'll just leave it at this:

Yes, I "buy into" the gifted label; I think that failing to acknowlege that a child is gifted is just as silly as failing to acknowledge that they have curly hair or extremely pale skin, or that they're very tall or hispanic or... or... or...

It's another characteristic. It's a word that people use which ought to provide a shared understanding on some level. In daily conversation, it probably won't come up too much even if your child is profoundly gifted, but it might and it's just plain disingenuous to pretend otherwise. When people do choose to pretend otherwise (i.e. "Oh, he's not really that smart, he's just a little bright") it has the same effect on a child as does denying any other characteristic (i.e. "She's not really *black* black, she's mixed")-- it leads them to wonder what's wrong with being the way that they are, that adults feel the need to deny and/or qualify their recognition.

The things that are wrong with "the gifted label" have nothing to do with the word "gifted" or it's connotations, and everything to do with the way that schools and some (a remarkably small group, according to the research) parents have responded (or failed to respond) to it. The only people you're harming by refusing to acknowledge giftedness, even moderate giftedness, are the kids who aren't having their educational needs met.

One more thing: I'm absolutely *horrified* by the notion that children ought to sit through mind-numbingly dull school "work" in order to learn to obey and follow directions. That mindset is incredibly disturbing to me, as it's entirely detrimental to children. I mean I find it really scary; If someone told me that I should send my child to a traditional school for that reason (even if he wasn't highly gifted) I'd run screaming in the other direction.
post #115 of 123
I would ask your MIL to treat the grandchildren with equal attention because you don't want your DD to be made to feel she is less special than DN, and you feel that by going on and on about giftedness might make your DD feel bad about herself.

Second, it's not about DD being as smart as DN. I would let her know they are both great kids and everyone has unique things they are good at. I'd also be positive about all the things she can do and proud of her without ever comparing. I would also ask MIL not to make comparisons between the kids because it's unnecessary and potentially hurtful.

Then I wouldn't worry about it.
post #116 of 123
I really cannot understand why this topic is so emotionally loaded. Of course some kids are more intelligent than other kids. Just as some kids are more physically attactive than other kids, some kids are more charming than other kids, some kids are funnier, some kids more affectionate. We're all just people, and our children reflect that. I have an acquaintance with a son with downs, and he is just as valuable as her gifted son. They are both human beings, both loving, both deserving of decent educations that meet their individual needs.

Intelligence is just one thing about our children. We have to be their advocates, so if we have children who may benefit from a label in certain environments, then it may be important to seek that label. Labels are used for giftedness just like labels are used to describe other things with language. It helps to have some sort of shorthand so that we may discuss ideas and make decisions or pursue educational choices.

I hope you find the peace you seek, Southernmama.
post #117 of 123
Personally, I don't get it either. Pretty much everyone in my family has been given the "gifted" label at one point or another through evaluations at school or elsewhere, but I always considered gifted kids to be the ones writing symphonies at three. My dd is "gifted" but can't open our front door without almost ripping the doorknob off. "Twist, THEN pull!!"
post #118 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by maliceinwonderland View Post
I always considered gifted kids to be the ones writing symphonies at three.
These kids don't actually exist. Even Mozart wasn't composing until age 5, and these were "little pieces," not symphonies. FWIW, few people, even profoundly gifted individuals, make meaningful contributions in a creative sense until after years of work in a field. Giftedness, for lack of a better term, is largely a learning style (that's the current buzz phrase, right?). Gifted brains are wired differently and mature (in a biological sense, not an emotional sense) more slowly than their counterparts.
post #119 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoHiddenFees View Post
Giftedness, for lack of a better term, is largely a learning style (that's the current buzz phrase, right?). Gifted brains are wired differently and mature (in a biological sense, not an emotional sense) more slowly than their counterparts.

Would you mind elaborating, particularly WRT the bolded piece, or pointing to me some sites or books? TIA.
post #120 of 123
The original article was in the science journal Nature. Here's an AP article describing it, and the first few lines:

Very smart children, despite their reputation for being ahead of their peers mentally, actually lag behind other kids in development of the "thinking" part of the brain, a new study says.

The brain's outer mantle, or cortex, gets thicker and then thins during childhood and the teen years. The study found that in kids with superior intelligence, the cortex reaches its thickest stage a few years later than in other children.

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