Anyone wanna talk about the conception of "gifted" status in children? - Page 23 - Mothering Forums
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#661 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 12:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maya44
Okay, I have heard this argument before and I am not being snarky but then can you say:

"Just as it is obvious to most people that an ADULT with an IQ of 70 or below needs different social services and other assistance than an average IQ adult , so it should be obvious that an ADULT with an IQ of 130 or above also needs different social services than the average adult."
Right. And just as there are awards for gifted children (Davidson), whereas there are awards for curing children's issues that contribute to the IQ of 70 and below (i.e. autism, developmental issues along the spectrum, etc). I haven't ever heard of someone saying they needed their gifted child to be cured of giftedness, lest it create an undue difficulty in adulthood. If you go by what IQ tests are intended to measure, they're measuring likelihood of success in adulthood and society via schooling. Not too shabby.

I guess I'd be more sympathetic to the plight of the gifted child in the classroom and society if I often heard the parents arguing for better, expanded, and more wonderful services for all children, instead of continually saying "For NORMAL/AVERAGE children, the system works great! No problems for them! Now, what about my kid, who's gifted, and needs to be with her peers..." When in fact, we know that for many/most children who aren't in honors/gifted programs, the "system" does not work great for many of the same reasons - the kids are bored, NCLB and standardized testing is a zero-sum game, and there aren't enough creative teachers - or teachers in general - to go around for individualized attention.

Many children aren't lucky enough to get the label of "gifted" and have the exact same sorts of issues that parents of gifted children describe - intensity, OCD, introversion, rebelliousness, etc., but don't achieve or have clearly-defined academic interests? Take a look at the discipline board sometime. What about them? I used to think my daughter's issues were special as well, but they're not. It's like the story of the Buddha (hey, it's MDC- at some point in every discussion, you get to the story of the Buddha, don't you? I think I get points on my Crunchy Card for it) - suffering visits every household.

I also would not chalk this up to the personal emotion of jealousy, because that's often what parents who question The Way Things Are are accused of... It's why I made an effort to mention that my daughter would qualify for our district's gifted program. It's not sour grapes here. Is Alfie Kohn really "jealous?" I doubt it.
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#662 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by eightyferrettoes
I also don't think that "gifted" programs, as they function in most PSes, are actually even providing the level of individualized attention that most kids in general really ought to have, if we're in the business of providing good education for all kids.
Firstly, there is no such thing as truly individualized instruction. Gifted kids are often given a pullout enrichment class as a cheap way of saying that their needs are being met. These often involve projects differing from classroom instruction so as to not interfere with classroom instruction. Some gifted programs track kids into special classes, like advanced math. Some track them into being in a gifted classroom all day, every day. As gifted programs are paid for directly out the district's pocket, they are often programs which are not as good as they could be. Special ed programs get federal funding on top of local funding. Gifted programs get only local funding and they get short-shifted all the time.

Secondly, of course all children deserve their needs to be met. From the link cited below:"Children in the top and bottom three percent of the population have atypical developmental patterns and require differentiated instruction. Children in the top and bottom 10 percent of the population are not statistically or developmentally different from children in the top and bottom 15 percent, and it is not justifiable to single them out for special treatment." This is what school districts follow and is most often how they use their money, to educate the top and bottom 3% differently and the rest all the same. School should be more individualized for all but that does not mean gifted kids should be denied an appropriate education merely because regular kids are not getting specialized instruction for their exact intelligence level? School should chnage. Classes should be smaller. Instruction should be more individualized. Denying the gifted their needs is about as constructive as denying the special ed their needs and neither does anything to improve the quality of education overall.



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Originally Posted by eightyferrettoes
I think that's what it boils down to... a question of deservingness.
Every child deserves to have an education appropriate to their needs. Denying gifted children that does nothing to improve the education of all children.



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Originally Posted by eightyferrettoes
Where are the tests to "measure" kids like that? If you had a quiet, irritable kid with "no special talents" in the classroom, what programs would serve him?
Most teachers I know, including myself, try very hard to identify the gifts of all the kids in their classroom. Children who are great artists are encouraged to use their art skills in projects. Children who are great musicians are channeled into music instruction or the music teacher will use them to help teach music concepts. Children who are very good at math and reading are used as peer mentors in the classroom. There are many ways to try to individualize instruction in the regular classroom. However, just as it is difficult for one teacher with 20-30 kids to have very special ed children in the classroom without help or other programming, it is also very difficult to have a child with a very high IQ.


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Originally Posted by eightyferrettoes
I asked how "gifted" kids biologically differ from their "average" peers. Lots of people have offered me touching personal cultural anecdotes, but nobody has gotten into the nitty-gritty of how, chemically, a kid with "giftedness" is in any way different from any other child whose needs are not being met by the System.
l
Here is an overview of the research about gifted children.
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Over 60% of gifted children are introverted compared with 30% of the general population. (there is more)
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Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama

I guess I'd be more sympathetic to the plight of the gifted child in the classroom and society if I often heard the parents arguing for better, expanded, and more wonderful services for all children, instead of continually saying "For NORMAL/AVERAGE children, the system works great! No problems for them! Now, what about my kid, who's gifted, and needs to be with her peers..." .
Why is it so hard to understand that a child with an IQ of 150 is just as difficult for a teacher in a regular classroom to teach as a child with an IQ of 50? Why is that so hard to understand? Why do we have to justify that gifted kids deserve special programming when they are so different? I have never said anything along the lines of regular school being just great for regular kids. School in the USA needs to change radically in order to be truly meeting children's needs. But, harping about the gifted program and saying that gifted kids do not deserve progamming does absolutely nothing to improve education in general. If we ended all gifted programming today and channeled all the money saved into all the classrooms around the country, what would change that would benefit the regular classroom? What exactly would make that better? The paradigm needs to shift, that is for sure, but negating the needs of gifted children is not going to do anything to improve education all together. It is just going to short shift kids who really do need special programming.


To everyone who is denying that gifted kids need special programming, please find me some research that states that gifted kids do not need special classes. Find me some research saying that giftedness is non-existant.
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#663 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 12:57 PM
 
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slightly OT, but I think it isn't all that great to be extremely smart. I don't have a measure of what extremely means, but I'm thinking of the people I've known who stood out like neon lights among other very smart people. Maybe its because society reinforces that intelligence is great, but I know a handful of people who over-rely on their intelligence to the detriment of social and emotional skills. They also unintentionally alienate people around them, because their thought processes are so hard to follow.

I'm not a doctor, and I don't know much about official ideas about intelligence. I just know I've thought that their intelligence was getting in their way - that it was a kind of handicap to living a balanced life.
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#664 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 01:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boongirl
Why is it so hard to understand that a child with an IQ of 150 is just as difficult for a teacher in a regular classroom to teach as a child with an IQ of 50? Why is that so hard to understand? Why do we have to justify that gifted kids deserve special programming when they are so different? ...

To everyone who is denying that gifted kids need special programming, please find me some research that states that gifted kids do not need special classes. Find me some research saying that giftedness is non-existant.
Ah. The ol' logical fallacy of then negative proof. How shall we prove that? About the same way we prove that there isn't a flying spaghetti monster. Find me a place where people actually agree on what constitutes "giftedness," who qualifies, and what services they should get out of the label.

I don't think "it's so hard to understand" that we aren't saying that gifted children shouldn't be served, it's just that all children should be served, without a fairly affluent, vocal, self- or institutionally-defined group getting to take cuts to the better programs. If I could channel all the money, I'd do something similar to what you proposed earlier - two teachers for every classroom, individuated instruction not based on grade-based curriculum (or heck, make it grade-based if that floats people's boats). I just find asking for acceleration or enrichment is doing little but reinforcing children's experience of the System. Man (I feel I should add that in).

Ok, I have to go answer my little inquisitor as to why I bought a jar of Earth's Best when we are so obviously trying to boycott them due to their faulty information on cosleeping. I can't wait until she becomes someone else's prosecutor. Must a mama be on trial every morning?
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#665 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 01:31 PM
 
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[QUOTE=boongirl]Why is it so hard to understand that a child with an IQ of 150 is just as difficult for a teacher in a regular classroom to teach as a child with an IQ of 50? Why is that so hard to understand? Why do we have to justify that gifted kids deserve special programming when they are so different? /QUOTE]



Well like I said ONE of the reasons is that while no one would deny that an ADULT with an IQ of 50 needs special services and allowances from the government/social services/employers pretty much everyone woud find it VERY hard to understand why an ADULT with an IQ of 150 would be entitled to anything "special".

So since there is no question that adults with high IQ's are clearly expected to manage and fit in with the "rest of us" people find it hard to understand why children with high IQ's should not be expected to do the same.

I am NOT saying that I am against gifted education just that your analogy rings false for many people because of this....that's why its "so hard to understand"
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#666 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 02:04 PM
 
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Well like I said ONE of the reasons is that while no one would deny that an ADULT with an IQ of 50 needs special services and allowances from the government/social services/employers pretty much everyone woud find it VERY hard to understand why an ADULT with an IQ of 150 would be entitled to anything "special".

So since there is no question that adults with high IQ's are clearly expected to manage and fit in with the "rest of us" people find it hard to understand why children with high IQ's should not be expected to do the same.

I am NOT saying that I am against gifted education just that your analogy rings false for many people because of this....that's why its "so hard to understand"
Well said.

You cannot lift an issue out of it's social context in order to make your point.

You will not get the support and understand you need that way.

"My child's IQ is 150 and he needs a special program just as much as a child with an IQ of 50".

Just as much? By what standard of values?

The child with a low IQ is NOT put in a program that succeeds by lowering him down to 30!

There is a current moving under any discussion of IQ and the positive values only flow in one direction.

You will always piss people off with comparisons that deny it.

Which brings me back to my point about a medical diagnosis.

Press doctors to identify the underlying condition some believe exists for the gifted child, and you won't need a value loaded comparison. Don't let doctors brush parents off with a term like "gifted" if they say a child has an abnormal MRI. Something is going on there that could be named for what it is, and should be named, so that everyone can understand it.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#667 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
I just find asking for acceleration or enrichment is doing little but reinforcing children's experience of the System. Man (I feel I should add that in).
So, we should do nothing for kids who test gifted, according to the measurements and definition of the school or district?
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#668 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by maya44
pretty much everyone woud find it VERY hard to understand why an ADULT with an IQ of 150 would be entitled to anything "special".

So since there is no question that adults with high IQ's are clearly expected to manage and fit in with the "rest of us" people find it hard to understand why children with high IQ's should not be expected to do the same.

I am NOT saying that I am against gifted education just that your analogy rings false for many people because of this....that's why its "so hard to understand"
Well, first of all, I have only been discussing gifted education, which presupposes that I mean pre-grad school, not life in general.

Secondly, how can you justify making a differentiation between those who deserve services and those who do not? If we do not have a means of measuring who needs special services in school, then should everyone be treated the same? If there is research pointing to kids with high IQs having difficulties in school as well as those with low IQs, what is wrong with offering them services?

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Q Professor Torrance, we hear stories of suicides and other tragedies befalling gifted young people. Why does this happen?
A Almost all highly gifted youngsters do experience problems of adjustment that are accompanied by emotional upset. The majority learn how to handle them one way or the other, but for many, being gifted brings lifelong struggle with their giftedness and with the high expectations that people have of them.
You see nice little boys and girls who are afraid to say anything, and others who become very aggressive and obnoxious. Some end up as psychotic or delinquent -- even criminal or suicidal, as in those stories you mention.

Q Can special schooling for the gifted take place on a wide scale without raising charges of elitism?
A I think so, although this is certainly an area of wide disagreement. I think it's a matter of giving all students a fair chance. If we put out as much effort to give gifted children a chance to do the things that they can do as we provide for children in some other categories, we really won't have any trouble. Societies have always had to depend upon a creative, gifted minority for its images of the future, and I think we always will. I'm willing to accept some charges of elitism to accomplish that.
from an interview with E. Paul Torrance, Educator and Psychologist on the website of The National Foundation for Gifted and Creative Children
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I want to point something out to all you from H.R. 6, Improving America's Schools Act of 1994

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``SEC. 10202. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

``(a) Findings.--The Congress finds and declares that--

``(1) all students can learn to high standards and must develop their talents and realize their potential if the United States is to prosper;
``(2) gifted and talented students are a national resource vital to the future of the Nation and its security and well-being;
``(3) too often schools fail to challenge students to do their best work, and students who are not challenged will not learn to challenging State content standards and challenging State student performance standards, fully develop their talents, and realize their potential;
``(4) unless the special abilities of gifted and talented students are recognized and developed during such students' elementary and secondary school years, much of such students' special potential for contributing to the national interest is likely to be lost;
``(5) gifted and talented students from economically disadvantaged families and areas, and students of limited-English proficiency are at greatest risk of being unrecognized and of not being provided adequate or appropriate educational services;
``(6) State and local educational agencies and private nonprofit schools often lack the necessary specialized resources to plan and implement effective programs for the early identification of gifted and talented students and for the provision of educational services and programs appropriate to their special needs;
``(7) the Federal Government can best carry out the limited but essential role of stimulating research and development and personnel training and providing a national focal point of information and technical assistance that is necessary to ensure that the Nation's schools are able to meet the special educational needs of gifted and talented students, and thereby serve a profound national interest; and
``(8) the experience and knowledge gained in developing and implementing programs for gifted and talented students can and should be used as a basis to--

``(A) develop a rich and challenging curriculum for all students; and
``(B) provide all students with important and challenging subject matter to study and encourage the habits of hard work.

``(b) Statement of Purpose.--It is the purpose of this part--

``(1) to provide financial assistance to State and local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and other public and private agencies and organizations, to initiate a coordinated program of research, demonstration projects, personnel training, and similar activities designed to build a nationwide capability in elementary and secondary schools to meet the special educational needs of gifted and talented students;
``(2) to encourage the development of rich and challenging curricula for all students through the appropriate application and adaptation of materials and instructional methods developed under this part; and
``(3) to supplement and make more effective the expenditure of State and local funds, for the education of gifted and talented students.
So, if the is research defining the nature of giftedness. (See this thread) and the federal government acknowledges it and the need for specialized instruction, how can you justify stating that gifted kids do not deserve specialized education? And, please do not use as your answer the dea that all kids deserve specialized instruction. Of course they all do but when funds are limited, and they are, school focus their specialized instruction dollars on the extremes.
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#670 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 02:52 PM
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So, obviously, I am a rant. But, it just floors me that people continually question the need for gifted education. When I was teaching a pullout program for gifted kids in a public school district, I was constantly dealing with teachers who had no respect for the program and were trying to talk parents out of letting their kids leave class for my program and were also lobbying the district to cancel the program because it disrupted their efforts to teach their curriculum. This was counterbalanced by parents who were extremely happy that their child was finally in a program that acknowledged their difference and provided a place for them to learn at their skill level and pace. And, the classroom teachers were constantly trying to thwart my efforts to get the kids accelerated curriculum, which of course they were actually required to do by district mandate but they did not want to do. Of course this was not all teachers, but a good majority. There were some teachers who were just thankful that the weird and intense kids finally had a place where they were not weird anymore since they actually cared about the kids and knew that the program was good for them.

But, it just kills me to have to constantly be part of a debate about whether or not kids deserve to have special treatment in school merely because they have a higher IQ. Of course everyone deserves a school experience that is outstanding, but why do people persist in wanting to dismantle gifted education? What do you think is going to improve in public schools if there was not gifted education. (Which, by the way, I think is actually against the law. At least it is in my state. Districts have to prove they are providing for the needs of gifted kids in WA state or risk loosing state funds. So, any attempt to dismantle gifted ed is actually illegal here.)
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Originally Posted by boongirl
from an interview with E. Paul Torrance, Educator and Psychologist on the website of The National Foundation for Gifted and Creative Children
But see, the evidence isn't really in on that. There aren't actual studies that say that gifted people are more at risk for suicide. There are certain correlations drawn (i.e. gifted people get depressed, and depressed people commit suicide at higher rates, so therefore gifted people commit suicide at higher rates), but those are questionable, as correlations are. However, many people get depressed, or have bipolar, or schizophrenia, and it's not a unique issue to the gifted community.

For example, here:
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ide...al_tendencies/

is a study that states the opposite - the lower your IQ score, the more likely you are to commit suicide. There are also other studies cited in the article that back up the opposing argument - that rising IQ has led to increased suicide, but they are - once again -based on correlation rather than following a population. There could be many elements that lead to suicide in developed nations, and giving a culture-bound IQ test is probably not going to expose the underlying issues.

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The study also suggested a complicated relationship between IQ, suicide, and education. Men with low IQ scores and only a primary education were no more likely to kill themselves than men with high IQ scores and a higher level of education. But men with low IQ scores and higher education were at a greater risk of suicide. And men with low IQ scores and highly educated parents were at the highest risk of all.

''If you can't live up to the expectations of well-educated parents,'' said Rasmussen, ''it could make you more vulnerable.''
And

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"We looked at the association between scores of intelligence tests and later suicides," Gunnell said. "There was about a two- to three-fold difference among those scoring best on the test and those scoring least well, with the higher risk being those at the lower end of the scale."
BUT speaking of suicide, did anyone here read the New Yorker piece on Brandenn Bremmer from Jan 16, 2006? If your library has full-text resources, it's a great read. That to me, was the ultimate harbinger of reality where labelling and parental pressure is concerned, and the questionable nature of the gifted industry (Davidson Institute, Linda Silverman, etc). Other people can obviously have a different reading of the article.

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Societies have always had to depend upon a creative, gifted minority for its images of the future, and I think we always will. I'm willing to accept some charges of elitism to accomplish that.
Um, this makes me sorta queasy. Because we're labelling and tracking our "creative, gifted minority" as children. And we're setting up the gifted, creative minority for potential failure (and the sense of not meeting others' expectations, as we've heard from people on this board) and the "average, noncreative majority" for just...no potential at all. Maybe we could send all the average kids into, I dunno, wood shop at 3rd grade, so they can learn to be good little worker bees? They'll never amount to anything worthwhile anyhow...indeed, as we've seen from the previous articles, giftedness and creativity are not usually even measured with the same tests.
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#672 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 03:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boongirl
So, if the is research defining the nature of giftedness. (See this thread) and the federal government acknowledges it and the need for specialized instruction, how can you justify stating that gifted kids do not deserve specialized education? And, please do not use as your answer the dea that all kids deserve specialized instruction. Of course they all do but when funds are limited, and they are, school focus their specialized instruction dollars on the extremes.
Because the government isn't always right, but legislation and policy usually bends to whatever special interest group has the money, means, and time to campaign to get those needs met?

There is not really research defining the nature of giftedness, beyond the gifted industry (i.e. special institutes and think tanks that specialize in promoting the idea of giftedness and advocate for resources to be channeled to gifted issues). There is research that shows correlates between high IQ and future success in schools and larger society. And much controversy on all other related topics. I don't think we'll agree on this board, if psychologists themselves cannot even determine what "intelligence" IS.
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But, it just kills me to have to constantly be part of a debate about whether or not kids deserve to have special treatment in school merely because they have a higher IQ.
Well, part of the problem is your failure to accept that being at the low end of the IQ spectrum has no social value, while a high IQ has great social value. So your position is one of arguing to give something extra to children that already have greater social value. You are not leveling the playing field, you are widening the gap. "Low level learning programs" are accepted because they are working towards a level playing field, not away from it (working towards normal, not away from normal, by giving something extra to the "have nots").

So yes, yours is a controversial position.

The only way to get out of this debate, if you want out, is to find a non linear definition of your child's needs (ie a medical diagnosis), or to advocate for a system that does not use a linear value scale like IQ to identify educational needs.

I am doing the latter because, while I have no doubt ds would meet all criteria for the "profoundly gifted" and that his IQ would be above average if tested, I believe nurture has a greater influence on "intelligence" than nature.

But if I thought his brain was actually biologically different, and I needed a name for that, I would
advocate for a medical definition of the different function in his brain.

I would not, in either case, define needs according to a value loaded scale such as IQ.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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#674 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 04:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by heartmama
Well, part of the problem is your failure to accept that being at the low end of the IQ spectrum has no social value, while a high IQ has great social value. So your position is one of arguing to give something extra to children that already have greater social value. You are not leveling the playing field, you are widening the gap. "Low level learning programs" are accepted because they are working towards a level playing field, not away from it (working towards normal, not away from normal, by giving something extra to the "have nots").
Yup, pretty much. Good explanation.
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Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama

BUT speaking of suicide, did anyone here read the New Yorker piece on Brandenn Bremmer from Jan 16, 2006? If your library has full-text resources, it's a great read. That to me, was the ultimate harbinger of reality where labelling and parental pressure is concerned, and the questionable nature of the gifted industry (Davidson Institute, Linda Silverman, etc). Other people can obviously have a different reading of the article.

.
I've read the article.

So let me understand... Other folks are posting studies with correlations and you respond that it isn't causation and not acceptable proof. But, on theo the other hand you consider it appropriate to question everyone involved in working with gifted children, because of one case?
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#676 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 04:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
But see, the evidence isn't really in on that. There aren't actual studies that say that gifted people are more at risk for suicide. There are certain correlations drawn (i.e. gifted people get depressed, and depressed people commit suicide at higher rates, so therefore gifted people commit suicide at higher rates), but those are questionable, as correlations are. However, many people get depressed, or have bipolar, or schizophrenia, and it's not a unique issue to the gifted community.

For example, here:
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ide...al_tendencies/

is a study that states the opposite - the lower your IQ score, the more likely you are to commit suicide. There are also other studies cited in the article that back up the opposing argument - that rising IQ has led to increased suicide, but they are - once again -based on correlation rather than following a population. There could be many elements that lead to suicide in developed nations, and giving a culture-bound IQ test is probably not going to expose the underlying issues.



And



BUT speaking of suicide, did anyone here read the New Yorker piece on Brandenn Bremmer from Jan 16, 2006? If your library has full-text resources, it's a great read. That to me, was the ultimate harbinger of reality where labelling and parental pressure is concerned, and the questionable nature of the gifted industry (Davidson Institute, Linda Silverman, etc). Other people can obviously have a different reading of the article.



Um, this makes me sorta queasy. Because we're labelling and tracking our "creative, gifted minority" as children. And we're setting up the gifted, creative minority for potential failure (and the sense of not meeting others' expectations, as we've heard from people on this board) and the "average, noncreative majority" for just...no potential at all. Maybe we could send all the average kids into, I dunno, wood shop at 3rd grade, so they can learn to be good little worker bees? They'll never amount to anything worthwhile anyhow...indeed, as we've seen from the previous articles, giftedness and creativity are not usually even measured with the same tests.
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#677 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 04:33 PM
 
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I've read the article.

So let me understand... Other folks are posting studies with correlations and you respond that it isn't causation and not acceptable proof. But, on theo the other hand you consider it appropriate to question everyone involved in working with gifted children, because of one case?
Um, no, it's statements in the article by Linda Silverman like this:

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"Well, I can tell you what the spirits are saying," [Hilton Silverman] said. "He was an angel."

[Linda] Silverman turned to face me. "I'm not sure how much you know about my husband. Hilton is a psychic and a healer. He has cured people of cancer."

"It kind of runs in my family: my grandfather was a kabbalistic rabbi in Brooklyn, and my father used to heal sick babies with kosher salt," Hilton said. "Brandenn was an angel who came down to experience the physical realm for a short period of time."

I asked Hilton how he knew this. He paused, and for a moment I wondered if he was pulling my leg and trying to think up something even more outlandish to say next. "I'm talking to him right now," he said. "He's become a teacher. He says right now he's actually being taught how to help these people who experience suicides for much messier reasons. Before Brandenn was born, this was planned. And he did it the way he did so that others would have use for his body. Everything worked out in the end."
That cause me to question her. And the fact that she has rather "unconventional" methods of testing children, that result in absurdly high IQ scores. The suicide had nothing to do with it.
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#678 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 04:35 PM
 
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Well, part of the problem is your failure to accept that being at the low end of the IQ spectrum has no social value, while a high IQ has great social value. So your position is one of arguing to give something extra to children that already have greater social value. You are not leveling the playing field, you are widening the gap. "Low level learning programs" are accepted because they are working towards a level playing field, not away from it (working towards normal, not away from normal, by giving something extra to the "have nots").
Well if that's all that special ed is about let's go ahead and figure out a way to cause some brain damage to those annoying "high IQ" kids so we can all have an even playing field. What'll it be? Drugs? A big rock?

: : : :

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OK, I was gonna stay out of this, but it's such an infuriating muddle that I can't help it.

1. The argument of how to determine who should be in a gifted program is entirely separate from the debate about whether gifted programs should exist at all. You can't say that because some gifted programs right now don't actually service gifted kids, none should exist. It doesn't flow logically.

2. Most school systems don't cater to ANY talents or interests students might have outside what schools normally teach. Even then, children rarely get specialized art or music education outside of special school, in the few jurisdications such exists. For the agricultural example, I'm not sure the question is acceleration so much as specialization. Those are not the same thing. I'm not sure how the lack of existence of an agricultural specialization in schools negates the need for acceleration or other accomodation for children who are exceptionally capable in areas that actually are taught in most schools.

3. Studies of "gifted" children do not necessarily apply to the highly gifted.

4. Finally, after almost 700 posts, I think we are getting to the essence of the real debate:

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Originally Posted by heartmama
Well, part of the problem is your failure to accept that being at the low end of the IQ spectrum has no social value, while a high IQ has great social value.
Hmmmm. Social value? However is THAT defined? Potential social value is probably more difficult to measure than potential or realized intelligence. Most classrooms that currently exist service highly gifted children less well than other children. How does that wasted potential impact social value? Are we all supposed to have the same social value?
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So your position is one of arguing to give something extra to children that already have greater social value. You are not leveling the playing field, you are widening the gap. "Low level learning programs" are accepted because they are working towards a level playing field, not away from it (working towards normal, not away from normal, by giving something extra to the "have nots").
Wow. Thank you for being so frank. I happen to believe that everyone deserves the chance to realize their potential. The fact that many highly gifted children do not do so within the public school system is worrisome to me, whether or not they are being measured according to their social value.
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#680 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 04:46 PM
 
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Um, no, it's statements in the article by Linda Silverman like this:
The question isn't can you find something crazy that Linda Silverman said. Or, is Linda Silverman a person we should listen to. The question is how can you question other people citing a study that doesn't prove causation and at the same time attempt to isolate one individual and proclaim they speak for or represent all involved with gifted children? This is inaccurate and irresponsible.
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#681 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 04:52 PM
 
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Well, part of the problem is your failure to accept that being at the low end of the IQ spectrum has no social value, while a high IQ has great social value. So your position is one of arguing to give something extra to children that already have greater social value. You are not leveling the playing field, you are widening the gap. "Low level learning programs" are accepted because they are working towards a level playing field, not away from it (working towards normal, not away from normal, by giving something extra to the "have nots").
Define social value - I have no idea what that is but apparently I have a lot of it :

Also, I had always been under the impression that special ed programs were to help learning disabled kids function in the world around them.
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#682 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 04:53 PM
 
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Well, part of the problem is your failure to accept that being at the low end of the IQ spectrum has no social value, while a high IQ has great social value. So your position is one of arguing to give something extra to children that already have greater social value. You are not leveling the playing field, you are widening the gap. "Low level learning programs" are accepted because they are working towards a level playing field, not away from it (working towards normal, not away from normal, by giving something extra to the "have nots").
My position is that EVERY child deserves to be able to learn. Every child who attends school deserves to have new material introduced that they don't already know and that they are capable of learning. When a kid is ready to learn calculus they deserve to be allowed to learn calculus no matter how old they are because learning should be a basic right of all children in school. Obviously we are nowhere near that for kids at any IQ level - but for some kids we are farther from hitting the mark than we are for others.

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I am doing the latter because, while I have no doubt ds would meet all criteria for the "profoundly gifted" and that his IQ would be above average if tested, I believe nurture has a greater influence on "intelligence" than nature.
Is this belief based on anything - like research or just a general feeling? Believing it is nurture is the equivalent of saying that you are an exceptionally wonderful and brilliant parent to have nurtured such a brilliant child, isn't it?

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But if I thought his brain was actually biologically different, and I needed a name for that, I would
advocate for a medical definition of the different function in his brain.

I would not, in either case, define needs according to a value loaded scale such as IQ.
Are you aware that there is research now finding that brains scans of kids who score as having higher IQs mature differently.
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#683 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 05:20 PM
 
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Most classrooms that currently exist service highly gifted children less well than other children.
Hmm - I'm not sure I agree with that. I hate to pick on you, because I agree with most of what you've said, but I do think maybe some of us (including me) can get so caught up in thinking about all the ways schools fail gifted kids that we forget how many "non-gifted" kids are failed by them, too.

If you think about a gifted kid who already reads well, who is in a class full of other kids who don't know how to read and are learning, it's easy to come to the conclusion that most of the kids are getting appropriate instruction, while the gifted kid is not. But then think about all the "non-gifted" kids in the class who aren't going to end up getting useful instruction in reading for one reason or another - maybe they have such troubled home lives that they can't concentrate on learning, or they have so much physical energy they can't handle sitting still for as long as they're expected to, or they're not yet interested in learning to read, or so bored by the teaching methods that they refuse to participate. And then there are the kids who go along with what they're supposed to do and learn enough to meet the teacher's expectations, but don't enjoy it and decide they hate reading. None of those kids are getting appropriate instruction. None of them are getting any closer to reaching their potential than the gifted kid. If there are a lot more of those kids in a typical classroom than there are gifted kids (and I wouldn't be surprised if there are), then does it really make sense to say that gifted kids are, in general, in greater need of special treatment than other kids?

I'm not saying special programs for gifted kids are a bad idea. I'm just saying that we might be stretching it if we claim that gifted kids have greater unmet needs than most other kids in school.
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#684 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 05:32 PM
 
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The question isn't can you find something crazy that Linda Silverman said. Or, is Linda Silverman a person we should listen to. The question is how can you question other people citing a study that doesn't prove causation and at the same time attempt to isolate one individual and proclaim they speak for or represent all involved with gifted children? This is inaccurate and irresponsible.
Where is this proclamation that you speak of? Where did I say she spoke for all involved with gifted children? I said I thought she was nuts. Were you reading this thread or another? Perhaps I should have said that [This article] for me, was the ultimate harbinger of reality where labelling and parental pressure is concerned, and the questionable nature of the gifted industry (Davidson Institute, Linda Silverman, etc).

I obviously said it was a harbinger of reality for me, not for you or her or Krusty the Klown. I didn't say it was a study that attempted to prove anything to anyone, unlike other research that has been provided by the Gifted Industry. It was an anecdotal article that had some very interesting anecdotes that shed insight (for me) on the pitfalls. But now I remember how you do like to twist words so that they say what you want them to say, and that's why I avoid responding to you generally. It's not a good debate tactic, as everyone can easily scroll back and see what was said.

Regardless, Linda Silverman is cited positively 65 times on Hoagies, and is certainly well regarded in the G/T community. And what of the Davidson Institute, indeed? Here is another recent article from the NY Times.

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Nobody, of course, expects to handpick the next Einstein. Still, it is worth remembering that the solicitously individualized "scaffolding" for the highly gifted that experts currently recommend, and the pre-professional alacrity that programs like the Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and the Davidson Fellowships often reward, are themselves experiments in progress. Look at eminences in the past, and what stands out in their childhoods is an animus toward school, a tolerance for solitude and families with lots of books. What also stands out is families with "wobble" - which means stress and, often, risk-taking parents with strong opinions - rather than bastions of supportiveness where a child's giftedness is ever in self-conscious focus.
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#685 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 05:43 PM
 
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Hmm - I'm not sure I agree with that. I hate to pick on you, because I agree with most of what you've said, but I do think maybe some of us (including me) can get so caught up in thinking about all the ways schools fail gifted kids that we forget how many "non-gifted" kids are failed by them, too.
I'm not making the claim that most children's needs are adequately met by schools. Quite the contrary, which is why I'd decided to homeschool even before DD1 came on the scene. I was referring to material (and should have said so... we've been talking about soooo many things in this thread); if a child in a classroom has already mastered all the material to be presented that year (except perhaps a few factoids from social studies, etc.) then she isn't going to learn anything sustantial in the classroom outside of free reading. Having gifted classes or school or specialist teachers or enlightened teaching methods would be wonderful, but if the material isn't new, there's nothing to learn. Wholesale or subject acceleration is the least we should be doing for gifted kids because all children deserve to be challenged.

I think we can fight to change the school system too; advocating for gifted programming and improved overall education are not mutally exclusive.
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#686 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 05:46 PM
 
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Where is this proclamation that you speak of? Where did I say she spoke for all involved with gifted children? I said I thought she was nuts. Were you reading this thread or another? Perhaps I should have said that [This article] for me, was the ultimate harbinger of reality where labelling and parental pressure is concerned, and the questionable nature of the gifted industry (Davidson Institute, Linda Silverman, etc).
Okay thanks for clarifying. I am personally not going to characterize all of the thousands of people involved in working with gifted children from one article I read in the New Yorker or based on the actions of one person. Nor, will I see a sign of terrible things to come based on one article I read in the New Yorker. I recognize there are crazy people every where and prefer to give them less, not more of my energy.

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But now I remember how you do like to twist words so that they say what you want them to say, and that's why I avoid responding to you generally. It's not a good debate tactic, as everyone can easily scroll back and see what was said.
I prefer to talk about the issues not personalities.

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Regardless, Linda Silverman is cited positively 65 times on Hoagies, and is certainly well regarded in the G/T community.
Gosh did you read all 65 times just to make sure they were positive? That must have kept you really busy!

Are you involved in the gifted community? What is the basis for your inside information about how people feel about Linda Silverman? My personal observation is that she is considered a highly controversial figure in the gifted community. She is loved by some and not particularly well respected by others. I personally haven't met her, have never read anything she's read, haven't had my child tested by her and can't think of any way in which she is relevant to my experience as the parent of a gifted child so I can't see why she'd be worth giving the energy to spend a lot of time thinking about anymore than I'd consider any one individual to be representative of the way that homeschoolers think no matter how many times they were cited on a homeschooling site.

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And what of the Davidson Institute, indeed?
And, what of them? Folks who decided to dedicate their fortune toward helping kids with scholarships and support. Not a lot evil there in my book.
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#687 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 05:53 PM
 
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And what of the Davidson Institute, indeed? Here is another recent article from the NY Times.
I've read Cradles of Eminence (the NYT paragraph quoted was most likely cribbed from the back cover) and I wouldn't advocate psychological abuse for the sake of producing an eminent individual. Giftedness doesn't necessarily produce eminence (if this were the case, we wouldn't need to fight for gifted education), but eminence more often than not rests on giftedness. Giftedness may not have been labeled as such in many of those families, but the expectation of performance was usually there... and talk about pushy parents!

IIRC, that NYT article was pretty hostile, albeit in a passive aggressive way, what with the hints of the "freaks" in the background, not trotted out for public consumption.

I'm not sure what your criticism of the Davidsons is intended to be.
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#688 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 06:03 PM
 
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I prefer to talk about the issues not personalities.

Gosh did you read all 65 times just to make sure they were positive? That must have kept you really busy!
Yes, Roar, you really take debate to a brand new level, in every discussion I've observed. All while simultaneously taking the high road. Quite the feat. I'm all done with you.
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#689 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 09:26 PM
 
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I think recognizing giftedness is important, as a gifted child won't do well in a traditional school setting (generalizing, but this is more or less true) and it's vital to offer that child alternatives, whether it's homeschool or a gifted program.

Personally I don't think any truly gifted child should be in an instutionlized setting like school... I too was labelled gifted and it just stigmatized me further among my schoolmates. And there was a lot of pressure to perform.

However, I think it's unfair to make a child capable of fifth grade work sit in second grade.
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#690 of 927 Old 08-08-2006, 10:48 PM
 
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if a child in a classroom has already mastered all the material to be presented that year (except perhaps a few factoids from social studies, etc.) then she isn't going to learn anything sustantial in the classroom outside of free reading.
Yeah, but I think there are probably a lot of other kids who aren't learning anything substantial either, for different reasons. If the gifted kid who's learning nothing is just one of many kids who are learning nothing, it's hard for me to see her as uniquely at risk just because she's gifted. I do think it would be a good idea for the school to put her in a situation where she can learn something useful, though.

But, you know, I also wonder whether the idea that schools ought to be doing whatever it takes to help all students reach their full potential is one that ought to just be abandoned as unrealistic and unworkable. Maybe the job of schools ought to be seen as simply trying to get as many students as possible to a basic level of proficiency, and kids who want more than that should largely be left to their own devices to achieve it. You could argue that that's what's happening now anyway in most schools. Sure, that would mean school didn't have much to offer to gifted kids - but maybe we shouldn't see that as a problem any more than we see it as a problem if speech therapy doesn't have much to offer to kids without speech difficulties. (But we shouldn't make kids sit through instruction they don't need, any more than we should make kids go to speech therapy if they don't need it. If we're not going to offer them something useful, they should be free to do what they want at their desks or in the library.)

: :

Don't hate me for any of these ideas, please! I'm not committed to them - just, you know, exploring. (It's easy for me to suggest we give up on expecting anything great from schools, since I gave up on them long ago and want to homeschool my kids.)
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