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Do you buy into the gifted label? - Page 5

post #81 of 123
A general response to the thread question- Insofar as the classification helps to address the needs of such children, yes, I "buy" into the term 'gifted'. However, the implication/assumption that being gifted is somehow better/superior is a bit daft. What could be special about having been lucky enough to hit the genetic jackpot in terms of beauty/intelligence? The ability (besides other characteristics such as kindness, integrity and the like) to shine and achieve , despite odds , is what is truly admirable. JMO!
post #82 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kessed View Post
Even though my classmates had "learned" to do it - they'd forgotten. Examples like that were all over the place.
See, I'm not going to agree w/ much of what you say because my "schooling" philosophy is that of unschooling/child-led learning.

Your classmates had learned it? They were taught it but if they didn't want to learn it yet, of course they aren't going to remember it. You can't force someone to learn.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YesandNo View Post
I don't know how it's done now, but when I was in elementary school (late 80s), I was tested for the gifted program. And was told I "just barely" didn't make it. I remember the test, it was: "If an apple is a fruit, then a carrot is _____", stuff like that.

I don't know if the "just barely" was true or just to spare my feelings, but it hurt:
  • ONE test determined whether I was gifted or not, no fair, it was orally given by a creepy guy who I didn't like.
  • To learn you aren't smart enough to hang with the 'gifted' set was a bit crushing for a 10 year old.
  • My brother was in the gifted program!!!!

So I'm not a fan of segregating kids, especially based on a single test. Maybe they don't do it that way anymore.
: x 100!!! Several of my sibs tested G&T but I didn't. I have always felt dumber because I didn't get that distinction. Yes I realize this is my thing and I'm not blaming my sibs. And it did take several years to realize that I am extremely talented in music. That's my nitch.
post #83 of 123
I've only gotten to pg 2 of this thread, so I hope that I am not repeating things that have already been said. I'll try to be brief !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kessed View Post
(by grade 4 or 5 everyone was 'gifted)
I understand the sentiment here b/c our neighborhood school does much the same thing. Way, way too many kids have a gifted label and it does no good for anyone except to allow the kids in the GT program to feel superior and put down the other kids and to serve as a status symbol for the parents. However, everyone doesn't actually become gifted by grade 4 or 5 anymore than everyone becomes naturally blond when they dye their hair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kesses
But here's my question for you - what's the harm? What's the worst that happens? The kid already know the answers by sight - and quickly writes them down and moves onto something else? That doesn't sound to bad.
I wouldn't have realized the issue with this until we ran into it with dd and it made me realize that there really is harm. I learned to play the game, do the routine work and get by and I paid for it in college when I had no study skills b/c I had never had to put in any effort. In my older dd I started seeing the harm in 1st grade. Yes, she does need to learn to do things that bore her and deal with it. However, at age 6, she was too young to spend 7 hrs a day being bored out of her mind with a teacher who punished her for responding in her 6 y/o way -- working very, very slowly. Dd developed severe emotional problems to the point that I was very concerned b/c she was telling me she wanted to be dead. For this kiddo of mine, spending the majority of her day doing rote drills results in very slow work and extreme depression.

And, yes, I do buy into the label gifted b/c I have seen how it has affected me and my children even though no one told me what it was that was affecting me when I was younger. Having kids has been a tremendous growth opportunity to realize a lot of things about myself and I am grateful to my children for that. I don't go around touting the term gifted to their cousins, though, b/c it isn't necessary and wouldn't benefit anyone.
post #84 of 123
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.
post #85 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristaN
And, yes, I do buy into the label gifted b/c I have seen how it has affected me and my children even though no one told me what it was that was affecting me when I was younger. Having kids has been a tremendous growth opportunity to realize a lot of things about myself and I am grateful to my children for that. I don't go around touting the term gifted to their cousins, though, b/c it isn't necessary and wouldn't benefit anyone.
ITA. I see just life in general through different eyes now that I have a child vs/ when I didn't. I am so much more appreciative of just the simple things and that is what being a mother has brought me.
post #86 of 123
Yes, there are people who have a (genetic origin) set of traits that classify them as gifted.
post #87 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I find with myself whenever I am reacting strongly to how someone else is labelling themselves or others, it's a sign that I myself have something unresolved going on.
WOW. I don't have time to read this whole thread, although I will come back to it when I am not at work....

I just had to stop and say that your statement above really resonated with me. You have given me so much to reflect on this afternoon! Thank you, I think I am going to print out what I quoted from you, amazing how parenting can bring so much of our own childhood up to the surface for us, isn't it?
post #88 of 123
When my 14 yo dd was going to school in VA, they tested her and said she was gifted. And put into the gifted program, which if i remember right was a once a week separate class. Then we moved to PA, i told them she was in gifted, they said they had to re-test her for PA standards, and afterwards i got a letter saying that she wasn't gifted and "unremarkable." : That kind of turned me off to the whole thing. And i didn't really see this amazing stuff happening in the gifted class anyway.
post #89 of 123
I haven't read most of this post, but to reply to the OP, I don't buy into the 'gifted' label.

I think that it is a label used by schools as an excuse to not meet the needs of bored kids (and there are other, less flattering labels that are used in the same way for kids who are are having difficulty with materials).

I also think that 'gifted' is a term used by parents who want to live out their own sense of self-genius vicariously through their kids.

All kids have different abilities; labels are unhelpful.
post #90 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MizLiz View Post
I also think that 'gifted' is a term used by parents who want to live out their own sense of self-genius vicariously through their kids.
And for those of us parents who *are* geniuses?

I've heard this sentiment my entire life, and to me it reads as jealousy and nothing more.

For some reason, if my child were an amazing athlete or a brilliant musician, that would be wonderful - celebrated even. 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.

I think what a lot of people are reacting to is the way gifted programs play out in schools, which is an entirely different issue from intellectual distinctions. Many schools also use "gifted" as synonymous for "ambitious" or other terms rather than pure IQ. Many of the test examples people have given aren't IQ tests at all. It really helps to have this discussion with everyone on the same page in terms of what's being discussed.
post #91 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post

For some reason, if my child were an amazing athlete or a brilliant musician, that would be wonderful - celebrated even. 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.
Yes, but is it appropriate to label an amazing athlete as "wonderful"? Doesn't this type of labeling put all the other less athletic kids in the "not-wonderful" category? Most skills and talents' level of significance are quite subjective. Just because someone can read at a very young age this makes them gifted? Perhaps they walked very late... would this also make a very early walker "gifted"? Many skills are subjective in terms of their importance... categorizing kids for their accomplishments is useless.

I totally agree that some kids naturally pick up on math, reading, etc., faster than others, and I think it is wrong to not acknowledge this and make sure that they are challenged appropriately in school, at home, etc. But the same goes for kids on the flip side who end up feeling 'stupid' because they, perhaps, don't pick up on a math concept, reading, etc., as easily as some other kids.

All kids have different abilities and need to be worked with as individuals. AGain, I don't think that labels are helpful.
post #92 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MizLiz View Post
Yes, but is it appropriate to label an amazing athlete as "wonderful"? Doesn't this type of labeling put all the other less athletic kids in the "not-wonderful" category?

yes, it makes all the other kids not wonderful ATHLETES. calling a genius a wonderful intellect is both an appropriate judgement and a statement that implies the other kids do not have wonderful intellects. i fail to see the problem unless one holds the disturbing opinion that one quality determines the worth of an entire person. most of us here at MDC are blessed to live in times and places where there is not the temptation to break with the incredibly important moral principle of refusing to judge people based on cold economic principles (do i let this guy starve because he can't do anything special for ME in favor of feeding the village doctor?). it's never ok to do that but some situations really tempt us (ok, i'm a lost addict).

what is it we're afraid to say here? that being smart is better than not being smart? have we fallen so far from logic and good sense? being strong and fit is better than having low muscle tone. being smart is better than struggling to learn. being fit and smart provide more options than their opposites and unless you're freakishly smart, both have undeniable, indisputable survival benefits. maybe the problem is not calling things what they are but treating those judgments as if they have an equal truth value and importance as a holistic value judgement of a person. the two are not equal. gifted children are not better people, they are better at learning. they are. no lie.

it makes absolute sense to judge a child's potential in an area of skill based on accomplishments. that's how we know we're not over or under taxing students for one. it makes no sense to like someone better than another or to say they have greater rights because they could walk early.

of course one evaluation or one test has very little to say about a persons functional intelligence. people have bad days. some geniuses are dyslexic or have social anxiety that makes testing hard. but there is nothing wrong in the world with having an "unremarkable" set of analytical skills (the only kind of skill that IQ tests measure semi reliably. forget about other things that are just as important in terms of producing original, interesting work. my most brilliant art proff scored a 12 on the ACT). most people do. that's what the word unremarkable means.

what if judging the value of a person were a moot point? what if, as a matter of course, we assumed that all people had an equal value and an equal right to pursue their dreams and interests? that intelligence was something that helped dictate what those interests might be and the difficulty of perusing them? what if that were it?

i find the idea that being smarter than most people could make anyone "worth more" or "better" truly disgusting and it bothers me when people on either side of the equation do it. buying onto the idea enough to argue on its terms counts as holding the opinion. functionally they're the same. i am smarter than most people. i am not better than most people. so the hell what?
post #93 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebarkingbird View Post
yes, it makes all the other kids not wonderful ATHLETES. calling a genius a wonderful intellect is both an appropriate judgement and a statement that implies the other kids do not have wonderful intellects. i fail to see the problem unless one holds the disturbing opinion that one quality determines the worth of an entire person. most of us here at MDC are blessed to live in times and places where there is not the temptation to break with the incredibly important moral principle of refusing to judge people based on cold economic principles (do i let this guy starve because he can't do anything special for ME in favor of feeding the village doctor?). it's never ok to do that but some situations really tempt us (ok, i'm a lost addict).

what is it we're afraid to say here? that being smart is better than not being smart? have we fallen so far from logic and good sense? being strong and fit is better than having low muscle tone. being smart is better than struggling to learn. being fit and smart provide more options than their opposites and unless you're freakishly smart, both have undeniable, indisputable survival benefits. maybe the problem is not calling things what they are but treating those judgments as if they have an equal truth value and importance as a holistic value judgement of a person. the two are not equal. gifted children are not better people, they are better at learning. they are. no lie.
The problem with your approach is this...

Kids are required by law to be in some sort of athletic program for 7 hours each day.

They are required to be in some sort of education.

I have no issue with having the 'wonderful' athetes play on special sports teams on their own time and to get to revel in their 'wonderfulness'. Because they don't do it if front of all the other kids. It's not like we make ALL kids go to the soccer fields 3 times a week.

I would also have no problem with gifted kids being in special 'gifted' programs on their own time. Just like the 'wonderful' athletes - they could go to special clubs and meetings and practice their 'special' skills.

The 'wonderful' athletes have to attend the normal physical education programs. Due to new laws here - that's at least 30 minutes EVERY DAY for elementary aged kids.

If they want a 'challenge' there parents are expected to provide it through out of school programs. The government's responsibility is to provide a 'reasonable' standard of physical education to all students. So kids with physical disabilities are helped to try to meet that standard. And the super duper athletes are expected to play along no matter how frustrating it is.

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).
post #94 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kessed View Post

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."
post #95 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post

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.
And you seem to keep discounting that I have no issue with kids as gifted as you were having special services. Personally I think that a gifted school is the way to go.

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.
post #96 of 123
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 have a two year old daycare girl who can do back walkovers and cartwheels all over the house. That's pretty gifted.

My own daughter can write amazing stories. They are truly worth reading kind of stories. I think that's a gift. (However, she spells like a third grader)

I have a four year old daycare girl who can arrange names in alphabetical order, no matter how many name tags she has, she will arrange them in alphabetical order, then in order of the age of the kids, then in order of how much she likes the kids. She's gifted.. But, she's also autistic.

I think parents love to say "My child is gifted" Many parent will label their own child as gifted without really knowing. Then, they are disappointed when school starts and they find that their child is doing great.. but, nobody is reccomending them for the gifted program at school.

It's great to have a normal, average well rounded kid. I'd rather have a kid who gets good grades, has lots of friends, has activities that she enjoys and does her best at.

But, I say that because she's 15. She's happy. She's a good kid.

WHen she was little, I wanted her to be the smartest kid in school though!
post #97 of 123
Kessed & nextcommercial,

I don't think that most of us would disagree with what you said in your last posts -- at least I wouldn't. There are too many kids labeled gifted b/c their parents think that it is a status symbol and/or b/c the schools need to reach the critical mass to run the pull-out programs. A school for the gifted would be great for the kids who need it. My girls (one in particular) are at or well above the 99th percentile on most tests (IQ included). I do believe that they think and learn differently and truly need different schooling as a result.

A school for the gifted flat-out doesn't exist where I live. The closest one is 45+ minutes away and private -- out of our budget. It also only runs through elementary school. We've tried everything else we can think of to get dds' needs met -- charter school, two neighborhood elementaries, subject acceleration, and a pull-out program. We are also, of course, doing enrichment things that are available out of school like a marine biology summer camp as a university for one of my girls. At this point, we are resorting to sending a child who is not yet 10 to middle school next year b/c it is all we have left to do other than homeschooling and I work.

I don't disagree with you that the label is abused and misused in some instances. I do believe that it is a valid label that labels valid needs for some children, though. My dd should not spend 7 hrs a day helping to teach other kids and/or getting straight A+s with little to no effort. The great athletes do get stuck with standard PE in school, to use the analogy from above, but PE is not an all day, every day class.
post #98 of 123
I've only read a few pages of posts but wanted to say this -

This could be a wonderful opportunity to teach your daughter to be gracious and happy for others. There will always be someone smarter or less intelligent, richer or poorer, more athletic or less....(you get the idea), there will always be someone in a better or lesser position in life to your daughter. This is a great opportunity to help her learn that her worth is not defined or dependent on the labels/abilities/financial status of others and to be content and fulfilled in herself.

And you can't always shield them from every hurt feeling. They *will* get their feelings hurt. The public school system thrives on a competition, as does most companies that people work for. (OT, but is the main reason we will be hs'ing our Aspie, "gifted" son)

Your nephew's abilities or lables have nothing to do with your DD and your DD will take your lead by seeing how you handle the situation.

You can also use this to teach her that while we do use labels in life, they aren't always useful or necessary and that our worth does not depend on them.
post #99 of 123
MomJoseph, very well said. Exactly.

As for the "how gifted is gifted"... well, that's not so easy. A single numerical IQ defitition is very limiting. There may be things that depress IQ scores (learning disabilities, sometimes a deprived background can make such an impact as to depress them, etc.). A student may be a math whiz but not an overall "gifted" child to whatever standard you've set, preventing teachers from having any flexibility in subject area placement.

And I find parents being soley responsible for "enrichment" activities for mildly and moderately gifted children a sad state of affairs. These children actually may have the most potential. As children "go up" the gifted scale, so do social issues, psychological issues, and other educational issues that bring complexity to their lives. There are some studies out there that actuallly say that the group of mildly to moderately gifted students tend to be the most successful and happy overall (because they are "good at things" but not out of the loop, confident, and well-rounded). What happens to children where teachers may see talent but can't address it? What happens especially if that child's parents are not in a position to give these "extras"? If the goal is truly "each child to the best of her ability and potential" we should support these mildly/moderately gifted students as well instead of penalize them.

Again, like some PP have said, it seems more that the issue is that schools are not meeting the needs of all children. And it seems that people are still equating giftedness with somehow being "better at life". Trust me. It's just not the case.
post #100 of 123
Quote:
Do I think that the 'gifted' label is over used? Yes. Do I know that that the label tends to be linked to socio-economic status and education level of the parent? Oh yes. But that doesn't mean that there aren't gifted kids. It just means that pushy parents get their kids more resources. Since when is that news?

I don't think by pretending that all people are the same, we solve the problem. It's like the arguments for diversity. Pretending people are all the same doesn't help diversity a bit.
Yes to all of this (I always seem to agree with you, LynnS!)

I grew up in a community that was wealthy and very focused on achievement and success. Yes, there were kids in the GT program who were more high achievers than "gifted." Yes, there were a LOT of kids in the GT program, some (not many) because of pushy parents, and the whole system was a bit rotten.

I experienced this personally, but what I don't understand is how the heck this then translates to a belief that gifted kids should not receive accommodation and need to suck it up and sit still and go dead between the ears. Or, for that matter, to the belief that giftedness is the rarest of beasts-- some mythical white tiger we see once in a lifetime, and therefore basically irrelevant. The kids who were sort of iffy for the program at my school represented maybe 20% of the kids at most. :The other 80% were genuinely really bright kids.

Also, I have to agree yet again that being "gifted" (it IS a crappy term) does not mean you win the Happiness Olympics or the Best Kid Ever prize.
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