We are currently trying to figure out what to do with my gifted 9 yo. I have been to numerous charter schools that full time and part time home school and I have had several meetings with teachers and principals at his current public school. He really wants to stay where he is because of his friends but is so frustrated with all the "review". He pretty much picks things up instantly and finds it a waste of his time to have to go through it over and over throughout the week. As I was talking with his principal about him, the principal said "I don't care how bright you are, you still need to go over things at least 7 times to have it stick." Thoughts on that statement?
I would have probably looked like this replied like this and went home and did this . lol Actually, I probably just would have said, thanks for your time, and walked out, because (IMO) that statement implies the principle obviously has no idea what he/she is dealing with.
I would probably try to gather some good resources on the learning styles of gifted children and try to provide the principle with them. I would then have a meeting and say something like....I know that conventionally a child needs XYZ, however it has been studied and observed that the needs of a Gifted child (which is NOT a "bright" child) are ABC, and if forced to follow the XYZ learning style, will actually cause a loss of interest, rebellion, and/or deceleration of learning.... (things that seem to already be taking place) I would really like to be able to keep my son in the school because he wants to be here, but we have to be able to reach a realistic understanding of the kind of child he is, and that he does have some different needs, so that we can compromise on how he can still participate in this school.
On a side note: What bothers me the most about the statement the principle made is "I DON'T CARE how BRIGHT (you are....)" My Father always said you can learn a lot about someone when you listen to the first 5 words they say...and I think this statement speaks volumes (unfortunately). Good Luck in whatever you decide to do.
Just my .
"average children need nine to twelve repetitions of a new concept in order to learn it, bright children need six to eight repetitions, but gifted children can learn new concepts after only one or two repetitions."
thank you:) as i was typing this, i was reflecting more on our conversation and quite honestly, i think he had a gifted brother and he could be holding on to some baggage in regards to that. he also doesn't believe in differentiating kids according to level of ability because he thinks they all need to learn how to interact with one another. which i get to a point. but, when my 9 year old notices that kids that are behind get pulled out and are taught according to their pace and then asks me why that doesn't happen for him, i have a problem with that.
I have noticed that the people who are the most vocal on that " every child taught according to their pace" thing seem to have an unsaid parenthesis in mind that goes ("unless their pace is above average").
It is interesting that the principal seems to have a need to close off your discussion with a statement that is demonstrably false (and I am sure your son is one of those children that have demonstrated its falseness in this school before) in order not have to defend his stance on differentiated instruction. It doesn't sound like you'd get any further with him. So I am wondering why you were talking to the principal in the first place? Did his classroom teacher say that he/she isn't allowed to have your son do stuff on his own during review time? Because s/he is the one having to deal with the fallout, not the principal, of having an increasingly restless child in class that will start to either withdraw or act out. Have you tried to implement stuff at the classroom level like bring in books or workbooks at his level that he can work on without the principal being the wiser? If the culture at the school is such that she is as adamant in refusing any differentiation as the principal even though she is the one seeing the idiocy of this in action as it were, you may have to explore those other options for him.
I wonder how much of the resistance is the teacher/principal not having the time/inclination/understanding to seek out appropriate enrichment materials. I know when my DS was in public K(where the principal and his K teacher both had the attitude that gifted kids don't thrive and lose interest in learning when challenged), I could ask for differentiated material, and nothing would happen. Or I could bring in extra work and say, "Oh, he was working on this at home, could he keep it in his cubby for when he finishes his regular work?" and they would allow it. There are so, so, so many great and interesting things to send in, from library books to geography workbooks to code breaking books to great history books to editing work to logic problems..........
I loved the pp's suggestions for what to say, and wonder also about suggesting a trial of giving him challenging work and watching his grades to make sure that he can retain information without seven repetitions (!).
Do you have a learning resource person on staff? Even in the district you can access?
My daughter went through this last year.
At an initial IEP meeting my daughter (then aged 11) heard the learning resource person say, offhandedly, that she wasn't sure kids who were good at math needed to do all the questions. It was not put in the IEP at that time.
Fast forward 6 months. DD has grown weary of doing all the math questions. She tries to tell the teacher she is not sure she should have to. The teacher flipped and told DD she had to do all the work or she would be marked wrong. DD, the learning resource person, and I re-met and it was written into her IEP that she only had to do 1/4 of the math questions, and the teacher would circle the important ones. I actually would have been happy with 1/2, but DD face lit up at 1/4, so I decided to let it lie on the condition she did more work if she was struggling in an area. She is also supposed to get harder questions, but that hardly happens :(
This is my long way of saying: enlist the help of the learning resource specialist - gifted kids needing less repetition is well established, maybe you can get it in your sons IEP?