Anyone wanna talk about the conception of "gifted" status in children? - Page 25 - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-10-2006, 04:33 AM
 
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.2. Mathematically, this kid is doing long division, addition and subtraction of fractions, and negative numbers. Overall, math skills are at a mid-third grade range.
Math is another subject that is easily addressed because I teach almost the entire curriculum using games. The follow up activities span the curriculum expectations from Pre- K understanding to advanced intermediate math whiz. I have students keep Math journals and while some students will draw out their explanations, others will write lengthy “essays” describing their learning process. But see, I’m open to that because I think it is important to value different types of learners and not assess them based on the correct numerical answer alone. How they got there is just as important to me.

And I know that this is not the "usual" way of doing things... I'm just telling you how one renegade does it!

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Old 08-10-2006, 04:35 AM
 
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3. In terms of socialization, the child is happy and works well with others.

I think I’ve addressed socialization. The whole centres thing works really well for me. Keeps the kids on task and allows the ones who want to talk and play and work together to do so while I work one on one with the kids who need me for that particular task

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Old 08-10-2006, 04:37 AM
 
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4. In terms of composition and handwriting, the child is used to writing one- to two-page compositions on a given topic with minimal scaffolding and all handwriting is clear and neatly legible.
Composition would be treated the same as reading. You write well? Good for you, where are your skills and lets build on them. Literacy can effectively be integrated into all curriculum areas and Subjects such as Science, Social Studies and Math provide ample opportunities to take advantage of proficient writers.

With regards to handwriting, I’ll assume you mean that the child has learned cursive and is bored with formal instruction in that arena. So next step? Calligraphy! Kids love it and it is perfect for those artsy types who excel in fine motor skills. I usually teach it in art anyways so all the kids can have a crack at it. There are so many styles they can go on and on perfecting their skills. Kindergarten would be too young for this as a whole class activity, but for this particular child it might be worthwhile.

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Old 08-10-2006, 04:39 AM
 
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5. On a typical spelling list chosen from the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship list of words (including words such as staphylococci, vivisepulture, and propitiatory), the child normally gets a grade of 80%-100% on a regular basis.
Every study I've ever read says that spelling tests do not produce long term retention of correct spelling. I don’t use them. If the child was spelling that many difficult words correctly and their vocabulary was equally as high then they would have more time to focus on their creative expression rather then technical errors. However, in Kindergarten I would not be correcting any spelling since it is developmentally normal for children at this age to use invented spelling. As an extension, I have many dice games that the child could play to expand their understanding of our bizarre English language rules and spelling irregularities.

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Old 08-10-2006, 04:45 AM
 
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Seriously, in terms of actual practice, multiple intelligence theory doesn't matter much at all to gifted children, and in terms of non-gifted children, the Gardner-based teaching methods have not been demonstrated by research to improve the learning of the students for whom they are used. Good teachers -- good professional anyones, actually -- have to base their methodology not on what sounds good or what the latest ed-fad happens to be, but on what actually works as demonstrated by research, and I'm afraid that Gardner really does not meet that test.
Finally, I have to say that I agree with your assessment that educational theories are a fad. They are repackaged and sold as “new” when they often have a basis in older theories long forgotten. The pendulum swings and teachers jump on the bandwagon to keep themselves up to date with the newest “fashions”. However, I would prefer to see teachers doing that then pulling out their “September” box and handing out the same tired worksheets year after year.

Interestingly, you are very judgmental of educational theory and I think you are wrong to dismiss those of us who appreciate the Science behind it (regardless of whether it is qualitative or quantitative) as insincere. The thing is you have to have something to cling to in this job, just like parenting, or you are no more effective then a sail flapping in the wind. Without any sort of rigging to steer you (general you) in some direction you will become paralyzed with analysis paralysis and your students will suffer without leadership. I think any teacher who questions philosophy and teaching methodology is taking a step in the right direction! We all try out new styles and toss the ones that don’t work for us. No one is suggesting that one is better then another. To each his or her own...

I sincerely am interested in your personal philosophy. I’d love to hear more about it, but if it is taking this thread OT then PM me. I have a feeling I have already gone too far off the garden path. I have a specific interest in this since my graduate thesis was on this topic.

Whew! I hope that answers your questions. Bring on the flames!:

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Old 08-10-2006, 09:17 AM
 
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Telling teachers that educational theory or philosophy is “crap” is like telling parents that parenting philosophy is nonsense. How can you parent without a philosophy?
First point: I didn't use the word "crap." Second, I didn't say all educational theory or philosophy was "crap," I said that Gardner's theories -- which, for the record and according to Gardner himself, were never intended for application in the educational system -- were "hooey." By no means do I believe that all educational philosophies are either hooey or crap, but I tend to need to see actual data as measured in unbiased studies over time before I actually implement it in my classroom or else I'm being entirely unprofessional. One would never want a surgeon to use an untried technique because it was the politically correct thing to do, and one should not expect a teacher to do the same.
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:25 AM
 
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In order to do so, however, I will have to use some “edspeak” as it is the vernacular of our profession and is necessary to some extent in order to speak coherently about these issues. I’m not sure why you take issue with “edspeak” in proper context since all professionals have their own terminology for dialogue within the parameters of their “job”.
I have a particular problem with edspeak -- and a related problem with the various shibboleths used in a variety of professions -- because the primary goal of any "terminology," for want of a better word, is not to communicate, but to obfuscate; not to clarify, but to obscure.

Edspeak, however, is distinctive in a variety of ways, specifically because its intent is not just to obfuscate, but to do so in order to make the speaker sound more professional and more educated and more intelligent than she actually tends to be. Teachers suffer greatly from the fact that their profession is inhabited and taught by some of the least capable students and professors on any given campus, so in order to achieve that lovely professional glow, they dress up common-sense words and phrases in edspeak so that even the simplest task becomes buried in and obscured by the jawing jargon. Give me any edspeak term, and there is a simple, commonsense word or phrase that it actually means and that real people actually use -- and, I will argue, the commonsense word or phrase tends to convey the meaning in a more concrete, specific, and succinct fashion than the edspeak ever could or does.

I'm very fond of concrete specifics and clear communication for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that I feel no need to dress up what I do as a profession to make it sound more impressive or technical than it is. I do not teach "communication in a variety of language arts processes." I teach reading and writing.
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:29 AM
 
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A Kindergarten scenario? Geez, I haven’t taught primary in years, but here goes…

Generally speaking...Since said student is socially amiable, I would likely ensure that centers were an integral part of the day. They create an environment that permits students to work cooperatively or alone, according to individual preference. Also, it frees me up to work one on one with individual students throughout the day, as need be. I am also interested in Dr. William Glasser’s finding that:

We learn
10 percent of what we read,
20 percent of what we hear,
30 percent of what we see,
50 percent of what we both see and hear,
70 percent of what is discussed with others,
80 percent of what we experience personally, and
95 percent of what we TEACH to someone else.

We must understand something in order to teach it and gifted students often struggle with explanations of their understanding. Centres allow these students an opportunity to solidify and make sense of their knowledge while socializing at the same time. Two valuable skills.
Ah. So what I'm actually hearing is this. Please correct me if I am wrong. If I were the parent of Hypothetical Johnny here, you would have HJ do the following:

1. Play by himself
2. Teach other kids
3. Not bother you while you're teaching the struggling ones.
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:35 AM
 
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If the child was reading advanced text then let him continue to read advanced texts. The foundational skills of literacy still must be taught and it is unlikely that this child knows the conventions of print in the context of what s/he is reading.
What does this actually mean? The conventions of print, or the conventions of literature? Quite obviously, if you're referring to the blunt, mechanical act of reading (edspeak: decoding), Hypothetical Johnny can certainly do that. Surely you don't think they're sitting there turning the thousand-odd pages of Tolkien one by one without knowing what the words mean?
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So instead of discussing the characters that are in whichever text “average kid” is reading, we would look at the protagonists/antagonists and their relationships within the story “HG” kid is reading.
How, exactly, would you "look at" the character relationships? By what means would this looking be accomplished? In short, how would you determine -- and by what demonstrable or concrete means -- what the child knows or doesn't know about the characters in this book?
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Really, I don’t think it is all that complicated. Take a skill and scaffold it for whatever level the learner is at. The individual attention and time spent with that learner is the most critical part of the equation.
I don't think it's all that complicated either, but the problem is that a teacher has only so much time during the day. A sustained discussion on a piece of literature can and does take a great deal of class time, and one of the problems that I have with heterogeneous classrooms is the fact that the teachers, for NCLB reasons that Canadians can blissfully count themselves free of, are compelled to spend any extra time with the lowest-scoring students in the classroom. I don't blame them for that, but if I were the parent of Hypothetical Johnny, I wouldn't be delighted by the fact that HJ was being left on his own to educate himself without significant challenge.
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:40 AM
 
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Every study I've ever read says that spelling tests do not produce long term retention of correct spelling. I don’t use them. If the child was spelling that many difficult words correctly and their vocabulary was equally as high then they would have more time to focus on their creative expression rather then technical errors. However, in Kindergarten I would not be correcting any spelling since it is developmentally normal for children at this age to use invented spelling. As an extension, I have many dice games that the child could play to expand their understanding of our bizarre English language rules and spelling irregularities.
So you'd have Johnny playing dice games.

How would that actually challenge him?
What new words currently existing in the English language would that actually teach him?
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:55 AM
 
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Interestingly, you are very judgmental of educational theory
This is a serious misreading. I am not judgmental of all educational theory as a whole. I am very judgmental of unproven educational theory that is based on insufficient research, not intended for use in the classroom, and generally ineffective as an educational method.
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and I think you are wrong to dismiss those of us who appreciate the Science behind it (regardless of whether it is qualitative or quantitative) as insincere.
Again, I am afraid you have misread my statements. Please quote precisely where I dismissed anyone as insincere, actually, much less people who appreciate the science behind educational theory. Indeed, if you consult what I said earlier regarding Gardner, you'll see that I distrust and dislike his theory precisely because it is bad science, and moreover, gave you the benefit of the doubt precisely for being sincere.
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The thing is you have to have something to cling to in this job, just like parenting, or you are no more effective then a sail flapping in the wind. Without any sort of rigging to steer you (general you) in some direction you will become paralyzed with analysis paralysis and your students will suffer without leadership. I think any teacher who questions philosophy and teaching methodology is taking a step in the right direction! We all try out new styles and toss the ones that don’t work for us. No one is suggesting that one is better then another. To each his or her own...
Some should suggest that one is better than another. Although I certainly agree that no one method works with all students all the time, there is a substantial body of research to demonstrate that some techniques work well most of the time and others do not. Therefore, logically, one definitely IS better than another for the majority.

Again, to yank this discussion back on topic here, I do have the feeling that you mean what you say and that you're a conscientious teacher who cares about her students, but with all due respect, what concerns me greatly about the hypothetical gifted student in your inclusive classroom is that you're not providing this student with actual challenge to improve and stretch his skills or teaching him new things. I apologize for being blunt here, but you're really not, at least in the data you gave me.

For what it's worth, I think most teachers would and do respond as you did, and also for what it's worth, I think it's very difficult for many teachers to have a HG or PG kid in their class because that child is so different from the norm that the teacher's having to scramble around looking for what amounts to an entirely different curriculum for them. However, speaking as a parent here, the centers-and-games solutions you're proposing really wouldn't teach anything new. Yes, you'd have them teaching others and -- to slide in some edspeak here -- metacognitively reflecting on their own learning process, but that doesn't actually teach them new content. It doesn't give them anything new to read, any new math concept to learn, any new writing skill to practice. Bottom line, you'd have them learn better what they already know. Very sorry, but that only goes so far so long.

Post script: I have a very strong objection to using gifted children as peer tutors. For one, they're not union. For another, and more seriously, the research demonstrates abundantly that this solution only works for children who are advanced or mildly gifted -- one step ahead of their classmates. The classmates perceive the advanced student's achievement as a realizable goal and don't feel patronized, and the advanced student really does clarify their understanding of a concept. However, with the HG or PG student, the struggling student feels talked down to and "stupid," while the HG student feels penalized for learning fast and then socially excluded otherwise.

Again, this is said with all due respect to you. I have no doubt that for the vast majority of the students in your class, you're a great teacher.
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Old 08-10-2006, 11:06 AM
 
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: This discussion is becoming quite interesting to read.
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Old 08-10-2006, 12:45 PM
 
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So instead of discussing the characters that are in whichever text “average kid” is reading, we would look at the protagonists/antagonists and their relationships within the story “HG” kid is reading. Really, I don’t think it is all that complicated.
Umm, I went through the Ontario school system and have friends working there, and I would be very suprised if the majority of K teachers in Ontario even know what an antagonist or protagonist is (and lest you think I'm picking on Ontario, I'm not). I'm assuming you've either read LOTR or seen the movie; what if HJ's reading choices was less familiar?

It looks like you're really talking about keeping HJ in a K level class to be used as an unpaid assistant for the sake of a few minutes each day of one on one time. Even with a teacher as dedicated as you appear to be (and I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt on the antagonist/protagonist thing ) that doesn't appear to be very beneficial to HJ. CB has already addressed most of the other issues, but it's worth reiterating that what is good for the moderately gifted child is not necessarily of benefit to HG/EG/PG kids.
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Old 08-10-2006, 01:22 PM
 
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However, with the HG or PG student, the struggling student feels talked down to and "stupid," while the HG student feels penalized for learning fast and then socially excluded otherwise.
In my experience, the biggest problem with being used as a peer tutor is that as soon as the teacher's back is turned, the struggling student turns to the gifted student and says, "you're smart, this is easy for you, can't you just do my work for me? I don't really want to learn this." And if the gifted student tries to say, "no, that's not my job, I'm just supposed to help you," they're resented as being on the side of the teacher. (Which means that most of them pick up these social dynamics pretty quickly and get in the habit of just doing the other kid's work in situations like these instead of actually teaching them anything.)
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Old 08-10-2006, 01:28 PM
 
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In my experience, the biggest problem with being used as a peer tutor is that as soon as the teacher's back is turned, the struggling student turns to the gifted student and says, "you're smart, this is easy for you, can't you just do my work for me? I don't really want to learn this." And if the gifted student tries to say, "no, that's not my job, I'm just supposed to help you," they're resented as being on the side of the teacher. (Which means that most of them pick up these social dynamics pretty quickly and get in the habit of just doing the other kid's work in situations like these instead of actually teaching them anything.)
This was me all the way through university. And how I hated those group projects; everyone else relied on me for the grade. If I hadn't had to keep my scholarship, I'd have been tempted to write up something truly ridiculous and let them all fail. Bwah, ha, ha ha.
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Old 08-10-2006, 03:27 PM
 
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This was me all the way through university. And how I hated those group projects; everyone else relied on me for the grade. If I hadn't had to keep my scholarship, I'd have been tempted to write up something truly ridiculous and let them all fail. Bwah, ha, ha ha.
Yeah, yeah, same here, which partly explains my prejudice (and then the research substantiated it). I'm not claiming any particular giftedness for myself, but I am saying that I hated being the group donor for the brain vampires, KWIM?
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Old 08-10-2006, 04:17 PM
 
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I'm not claiming any particular giftedness for myself, but I am saying that I hated being the group donor for the brain vampires, KWIM?
I liked it...after all I was the only one I could trust to do it right!

And back to the topic...this really IS getting interesting. CB, you don't need edspeak; your posts, in your natural voice, usually come across as the epitome of eloquence. And so natural.

What about Guided Reading at the elementary level? This requires stratified (heterogeneous) groupings at appropriate literature for the students at each level. In my classes, groups at the "average" level usually consist of 5-6 students. In the lower and higher ranges, smaller groups. Occasionally, a student from a lower grade level will bump up into my classroom for readng, to work with peers at her level. I generally feel I do meet the needs of my gifted and accellerated readers; moreover, their parents feel the same, and the students are lively participants in class. But, I feel that most of my skill as a teacher to gifted readers comes to me naturally, in my questioning style and my desire to engage the students in meaningful written and oral dialogue, because I generally love the stuff myself. I am not sure how a teacher can be "taught" to teach this way...it's just in me.

I make no claims for bring a great math instructor to gifted students. But I am super flexible and willing to go with parents' suggestions about how to tailor the program to their students' specific needs. I am open-minded and wil listen to anything reasonable.

Just looked at the title of this thread...how did we get HERE?
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Old 08-10-2006, 04:45 PM
 
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I liked it...after all I was the only one I could trust to do it right!

And back to the topic...this really IS getting interesting. CB, you don't need edspeak; your posts, in your natural voice, usually come across as the epitome of eloquence. And so natural.

What about Guided Reading at the elementary level? This requires stratified (heterogeneous) groupings at appropriate literature for the students at each level. In my classes, groups at the "average" level usually consist of 5-6 students. In the lower and higher ranges, smaller groups. Occasionally, a student from a lower grade level will bump up into my classroom for readng, to work with peers at her level. I generally feel I do meet the needs of my gifted and accellerated readers; moreover, their parents feel the same, and the students are lively participants in class. But, I feel that most of my skill as a teacher to gifted readers comes to me naturally, in my questioning style and my desire to engage the students in meaningful written and oral dialogue, because I generally love the stuff myself. I am not sure how a teacher can be "taught" to teach this way...it's just in me.
Well, if Hypothetical Johnny were with other kids whose reading level was comparable, I think it would be great because then the teacher could conduct a group discussion with "meaningful written and oral dialogue" and constant reference to the actual text, e.g., "Why does Jack go up the beanstalk a third time?" "Because he's greedy." "What in the text makes you think so?"
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I make no claims for bring a great math instructor to gifted students. But I am super flexible and willing to go with parents' suggestions about how to tailor the program to their students' specific needs. I am open-minded and wil listen to anything reasonable.
I think acceleration might work here too -- I see it not as a panacea (nothing is!) but it's the one that causes the least amount of grief and extra planning for teachers: they can just teach what they're teaching already to the upper-grade group and work with the accelerated student if needed -- and it may not be needed. I wish more teachers were as open to that option as you obviously are: speaking for myself, I would have no problem as a senior AP teacher in high school with teaching a Hypothetical Johnny who was still reckoning his age in the single digits.
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Just looked at the title of this thread...how did we get HERE?
!
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:03 PM
 
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Do your kindergarten really do that much "teaching" like the teacher sits there and explains concepts to the kids for alot of the day?

At my school that is not how it seems to be. First of all in kindergarten, there is nothing being "taught" by the teacher. It is heavily project based. "Let's build an art museum" kind of thing. I don't think a social HG kid would be that much better or worse at making some of the decisions that are made then most of the kids. (how many paintings should we put up. for how long do we dispaly them...theme...work on painting etc...) Other than that the short 2 hr day is made up of being read to by the librarian (a real storyteller, no matter your level you'd enjoy her stories, I do), show and tell, computer time (easily adapted to the needs of the HG, just ask the district for an appopriate level program, my hg niece got a Zoo Tycoon program that she worked her way through and then a Sims program, and play time running around like a maniac on the play ground and then a nature walk.
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by newmom22
A Kindergarten scenario? Geez, I haven’t taught primary in years, but here goes…

Generally speaking...Since said student is socially amiable, I would likely ensure that centers were an integral part of the day. They create an environment that permits students to work cooperatively or alone, according to individual preference. Also, it frees me up to work one on one with individual students throughout the day, as need be. I am also interested in Dr. William Glasser’s finding that:

We learn
10 percent of what we read,
20 percent of what we hear,
30 percent of what we see,
50 percent of what we both see and hear,
70 percent of what is discussed with others,
80 percent of what we experience personally, and
95 percent of what we TEACH to someone else.

We must understand something in order to teach it and gifted students often struggle with explanations of their understanding. Centres allow these students an opportunity to solidify and make sense of their knowledge while socializing at the same time. Two valuable skills.
I haven't the slightest clue what centres are, but I think it's unfair to both children to make a highly gifted child peer tutor an average child. If the HG child can't easily explain what they already know, the average child isn't going to learn from them and will probably end up calling the HG child stupid and teacher's pet. I don't see why people assume HG kids would be good tutors - they don't usually know how they themselves learn, let alone how someone else needs the material presented in order to learn.
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Old 08-10-2006, 10:16 PM
 
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here is one of my biggest issue. being HG, MG or whatever doesnt make them good teachers does it?!!! why does one assume that just because you can figure something out that you would be able to explain it to others.

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Old 08-10-2006, 10:48 PM
 
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here is one of my biggest issue. being HG, MG or whatever doesnt make them good teachers does it?!!! why does one assume that just because you can figure something out that you would be able to explain it to others.
Based on my experience and observations, I think HG kids would be lousy teachers at best. But I also think peer mentoring/tutoring and group work is all garbage.
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Old 08-10-2006, 10:51 PM
 
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Sorry, CB. It was this post I was referring to…

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Originally Posted by alegna
I agree. Gardner has a tiny bit of usefulness as I see it- remind teachers that they need to do DIFFERENT types of activities- sometimes get kids up and moving, talk, show, demonstrate, encourage practice, let them talk and teach. Beyond that, like so much education theory, 'tis crap IMO.

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Old 08-10-2006, 10:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
Ah. So what I'm actually hearing is this. Please correct me if I am wrong. If I were the parent of Hypothetical Johnny here, you would have HJ do the following:

1. Play by himself
2. Teach other kids
3. Not bother you while you're teaching the struggling ones.
This is unfair. You set up the scenario with a social child who interacts well with others. I based my response on that information assuming the child was agreeable to the situation. I totally agree that many children are not interested in peer tutoring and I would never ask a child to “teach” on my behalf if they were not already chomping at the bit to do so. That was the easiest response considering I have limited time right now and wanted to be sure to answer your questions. Many kids enjoy the opportunity and are good at it. It was just a suggestion…

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Old 08-10-2006, 10:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
I have a particular problem with edspeak -- and a related problem with the various shibboleths used in a variety of professions -- because the primary goal of any "terminology," for want of a better word, is not to communicate, but to obfuscate; not to clarify, but to obscure.

I'm very fond of concrete specifics and clear communication for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that I feel no need to dress up what I do as a profession to make it sound more impressive or technical than it is. I do not teach "communication in a variety of language arts processes." I teach reading and writing.
I see what you are saying about “edspeak” becoming a barrier between parents and teachers, but the vast majority of “edspeak” is made up of acronyms and catch phrases that best describe the scenario at hand. I’m sure anyone new to this board would be boggled by the abbreviations and terms used here to succinctly describe commonly used phrases. Once you spend a little time reading up and asking questions you can join in. I think it’s the same thing in educational circles. Imagine a doctor coming out to you and telling you your loved one was “very sick” but refused to indulge you in the details for fear of making you feel inferior or overwhelmed. You would demand a proper diagnosis, even if you didn’t understand the true meaning of what the doctor was saying at the time, and then would read your heart out to know everything about it.

I think there is certainly a time and a place for “edspeak” and communication with other teachers is at the top of my list of appropriate contexts.

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Old 08-10-2006, 11:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
Well, if Hypothetical Johnny were with other kids whose reading level was comparable, I think it would be great because then the teacher could conduct a group discussion with "meaningful written and oral dialogue" and constant reference to the actual text, e.g., "Why does Jack go up the beanstalk a third time?" "Because he's greedy." "What in the text makes you think so?"
Scary...you've been lurking somewhere inside my classroom recently!
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Old 08-11-2006, 12:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by newmom22
This is unfair. You set up the scenario with a social child who interacts well with others. I based my response on that information assuming the child was agreeable to the situation.
But interacting well with others and enjoying or liking to teach them are not the same thing, especially since right away, that establishes a hierarchical relationship based on intellect that few children are comfortable with on either end.

Secondly, haven't we all heard how class time isn't for socialization? I'm only being slightly facetious here; I don't think class time is primarily for socialization at all, though that might occur. I think it's primarily for learning and practicing new knowledge and skills. A child may be "agreeable" to the prospect of being an unpaid, nonunion, untrained teacher's aide who's not learning anything new while performing a free peer tutorial service, but that doesn't make it professionally or ethically right.

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I totally agree that many children are not interested in peer tutoring and I would never ask a child to “teach” on my behalf if they were not already chomping at the bit to do so. That was the easiest response considering I have limited time right now and wanted to be sure to answer your questions. Many kids enjoy the opportunity and are good at it. It was just a suggestion…
Whether chomping at the bit or no, the research is very clear that HG kid tutor paired with struggling learner is a dreadful combination and it doesn't help either one. Moreover, like I said earlier, it doesn't make it ethically or professionally right. Finally, you're hearing several posters offer their anecdotal evidence as students in this situation, and in all frankness, it parallels mine.

All students deserve to learn new content in a classroom, not just be left largely on their own to play at centers for a large part of the day or to tutor their peers and not learn anything new. It's simply unfair. Just to be clear here, I think you might have thought (and maybe still think) that this method appropriately meets the needs of a hypothetical highly gifted child, but I'm trying to show you that it really doesn't, despite what I honestly believe is a sincere desire to have a class in which all different types of students are accomodated.
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Old 08-11-2006, 01:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by newmom22
I think it’s the same thing in educational circles. Imagine a doctor coming out to you and telling you your loved one was “very sick” but refused to indulge you in the details for fear of making you feel inferior or overwhelmed. You would demand a proper diagnosis, even if you didn’t understand the true meaning of what the doctor was saying at the time, and then would read your heart out to know everything about it.

I think there is certainly a time and a place for “edspeak” and communication with other teachers is at the top of my list of appropriate contexts.
But it's not quite like that -- using edspeak is more like a doctor explaining that they've discovered a benign lipoma on C3 that needs excision due to cellular dysplasia and not explaining what the heck she just said: you have a fatty tumor on your neck and they need to cut it out before it gets all out of whack.
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Old 08-11-2006, 01:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
Secondly, haven't we all heard how class time isn't for socialization? I'm only being slightly facetious here; I don't think class time is primarily for socialization at all, though that might occur. I think it's primarily for learning and practicing new knowledge and skills.

All students deserve to learn new content in a classroom, not just be left largely on their own to play at centers for a large part of the day or to tutor their peers and not learn anything new. It's simply unfair. Just to be clear here, I think you might have thought (and maybe still think) that this method appropriately meets the needs of a hypothetical highly gifted child, but I'm trying to show you that it really doesn't, despite what I honestly believe is a sincere desire to have a class in which all different types of students are accomodated.
We are not talking about your high school English class here. You gave me a scenario in which a highly gifted child was in a regular Kindergarten classroom. I’m not sure I’d want to see what a Kindergarten that offered no socialization or play time looked like. Definitely not something I’d want to be involved in.

I think we disagree on what it looks like IRL to have a cooperative learning environment in a Primary classroom. Frankly, if you have not seen it in action it would be hard to describe the beauty and rhythm of the children all working and playing together. We all learn from one another. It is no different with children. They observe, listen and copy one another all the time. (With good and bad results!) Some children seek out opportunities to teach their peers and others shy away for various reasons. I think peer tutoring works wonderfully if everyone involved is agreeable and willing. Remember we are talking about a Kindergarten class here, these kids are not teaching their peers abstract or difficult concepts. They often simply seek to clarify what may not have been understood the first time.

I know that this is just a conversation about a topic that has no definitive answers, but it distresses me how pessimistic everyone seems to be. I know many, many teachers who work day and night to ensure their students needs are being met. (And yes, I’m aware that not all needs can be met all the time…) Perhaps the situation is much worse in America, but I’ve (thankfully) always worked in schools with terrific parental support. I can’t imagine how disheartening it would be to be constantly bombarded with negative stereotypes about your chosen profession.

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Old 08-11-2006, 01:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by teachma
Scary...you've been lurking somewhere inside my classroom recently!
How I wish your discussion style were the norm...
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