Originally Posted by Kessed
I say this as both a gifted student and a gifted athlete. I learned how to use my skills to help my classmates. In phys ed - I was paired with weaker kids and I learned how to pass a soccer ball really nicely to make it easier for them to trap it. And in math class I was encouraged to help my classmates who were struggling with the concepts.
Sure - the school could have pulled out the couple of really good athletes (there were a couple of us who played on elite sports teams) and let us whip balls at each other to see how hard we could - or make difficult passes or whatever. But, and I agree with them, that would have made the quality level for everyone less. Instead we learned valuable teaching skills. And we got to push out sports skill to the limits on our own time in whatever sport we liked. (I did skiing and soccer - my good friend was a dancer and gymnast).
Since we're still in the anecdotal level here.
I was a very asynchronous learner (I prefer that term to gifted). I was reading at age 2, and despite being placed in french immersion to slow me down (which helped), by grade 3 I was finished the elementary and junior high curriculum.
Sometimes people came up with the "brilliant" idea to have me teach the other kids. The impact of this on my social standing in the class was that by grade 5, they had to have a meeting about not bullying me.
The teachers COMPLETELY set me up for this. They alternated between 1. Making me a "junior teacher," 2. Sending me to the library to work on my own, and 3. Putting those freaking charts on the wall with the stars for units completed (mine were done at the end of September). No one really knew what to do with me. In order to simply "occupy" me, because they couldn't - some of them literally could not, did not have the knowledge to - teachers torpedoed my daily school life.
However, when I got into a school that was for gifted kids (grade 7), suddenly I was normal (for the school), and had lots of friends. That school saved my life fairly literally.
I don't think you get how soul-crushing it is to be sent every day to somewhere you are not learning anything for 7 hours a day. I'm not sure you understand asynchronicity to the degree that I experienced it.
I don't understand why you are so quick to dismiss the experience of many formerly gifted children who speak about how school that is not at their level is a detriment to their education.
BTW, I am not a particularly "gifted" adult. I have a creative and fun job, and lots of friends, and I know how to work hard and I have a pretty good life. It was NOT ME that was the problem, it was THE SCHOOL SYSTEM.
And if someone with Down's Syndrome said the same - that they had been made fun of and ignored at the back of the class - I think people would "get it." But because gifted children are expected to be more flexible than their emotional age in dealing with boredom, social issues, and navigating school bureaucracy
, we put it on them that they were just "not trying" or that their parents were pushing them. I'm sorry but in being a part of the "gifted child" community (especially through my high school), that's just not the case.
My high school took all those kids from across the public and private systems, put them in a school together, and suddenly - we all ended up miles and miles happier, and weren't somehow "ruined for life."