Author Topic: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not? - Horn O'Plenty Play Update (Reply #447)  (Read 72388 times)

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Seraphia

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #90 on: October 23, 2013, 11:09:57 AM »
/snip/

I think that what we see more often today than ever before is kids who are given that label and then suddenly nothing is good enough for them because of the parents.  Either they get away with murder because no one wants to reign them in or they're pushed to achieve at cost to their personal comfort and criticized for not being as smart as the parents were lead to believe.

That can be applied to any label though, not just academics.

The "Super Star" football player in 8th grade who subsequently refuses to work out with the team or train in any way because his parents "just know" he's going pro.

The Pretty Girl who is just sooooo cute and beautiful and will be a model someday, that she doesn't need to worry about silly old things like grades or social skills.

The Singer/Dancer/Performer who is going to make it big in Hollywood, no matter how little practice they put in.

The Funny One who can coast on his charm...right up until he meets a teacher or boss who is immune.

Heck, even the HS Soulmate Couple who are totally meant for each other and are the love of each others' lives, who needs to make friends other than Him/Her?

It's when a label becomes an identity that's the problem, not the specific instance of being marked as academically accelerated.
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Twik

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #91 on: October 23, 2013, 11:24:29 AM »
Pod, Seraphia.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Thipu1

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #92 on: October 23, 2013, 11:39:01 AM »
I thoroughly agree.

The problem isn't being labeled Gifted.  The problem is buying into it and believing all the Booshwah you're told about being 'special'.  The competition among parents seems to be a big part of the problem.  Like Lake Woebegone, all children are above average.   

During his childhood and youth, nobody considered Einstein gifted. 

Insisting on common courtesy and civility is not going to crush the creativity of a child.  If anything, giving a child a sense of responsible behavior towards others can only help him or her in adult life. 

Twik

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #93 on: October 23, 2013, 12:19:45 PM »
Basically, there are a lot of labels that parents use as an excuse for why they're not teaching their children to behave in a civilized manner. In reality, most children, all across the intellectual spectrum, can be taught to behave (at least better than Connor) if their parents are willing to work at it.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Lynn2000

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #94 on: October 23, 2013, 01:29:22 PM »
A surprisingly high percentage of gifted people end up dropping out of high school, and most achieve average things with their life, so the label is their one "claim to fame." I was in a gifted program as a kid and am now a Ph.D. student. Most of the successful academics I know are bright (not necessarily gifted) but much more importantly, motivated. Honestly I think being able to work so fast/efficiently holds me back because what might take another student 40-50 hours takes me 30, and I'm just not motivated to have more than an average/high average work output, so I end up leaving early to go socialize or pursue hobbies. I'm very content with that balance, but I know if I put in 60 hours/week I could probably achieve tons more and there's a bit of guilt there. The students I know who are both gifted AND highly motivated are rare, but they are definitely super stars academically.

My advisor is arguably a genius but he is not motivated towards the traditional type of achievement in his field (publishing tons of papers in important journals, the respect of his peers, etc.) - he cares more about just doing good science whether people notice or not. So he is moderately successful (tenured professor, director of a research center with ~$5 million in equipment) but he is not a "big name" in the field per se.

Those of us who are comfortable with being above average intellectually but around average achievement wise don't need to fall back on a label to prove that we have worth.

POD. I am, I like to think, pretty smart ;) but I'm definitely not an ambitious person. Sometimes I get motivated to really focus on something at work and I amaze myself at the progress I make. I think, wow, if I worked this hard all the time, instead of surfing eHell ;) imagine what I could accomplish! Then I think... eh, no, I'd rather read novels and write my stories and not have that much stress in my life. It feels weird saying this because it's such the opposite of what we're "supposed" to be like, and it can also seem uncomfortably like bragging--like, "I can be phenomenally successful whenever I want, I just choose not to right now." Is that bragging? It seems obnoxious, anyway. Personally I am just so glad that there are, say, brilliant and ambitious people who want to be leaders and make the world a better place, because I am not one of those people and I think I would be terrible at it if such a job were forced on me.

And I do think some of it stems from being labeled early on as a "smart" kid, and having all the pressures and expectations that went along with it. Although I didn't have as bad a time as some people have described, it really wasn't that much fun being "smart." I find it much more enjoyable to be creative, for example, but I very consciously don't do anything creative in a public way, like trying to get a novel published or selling crafts or something. And, to tie it back in with etiquette, I am actually very proud of myself for being, as a 30ish adult, a more polite and understanding person than I was as a child/teen/young adult--from being able to see things from different perspectives, to saying "please" and "thank you" to servers at restaurants. Possibly more proud of this and my private creative accomplishments than I am of my professional/intellectual achievements, as the latter seemed almost inevitable and the former seem more like conscious choices I've had to work at. Eek, sorry if this all seems horrible; I just feel like, as I get older and I'm surrounded by "high-achieving" people, I find it more important to be a good, happy, polite person than to be a smart one.
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Yvaine

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #95 on: October 23, 2013, 01:40:55 PM »
And I do think some of it stems from being labeled early on as a "smart" kid, and having all the pressures and expectations that went along with it. Although I didn't have as bad a time as some people have described, it really wasn't that much fun being "smart."

Yeah, I remember things like spelling bees, which I was naturally good at, not really being fun past a certain point, at least on the school level. If I won, it was ho-hum to everyone and no one was happy about it; it's what I "should" have done anyway. If I lost, it was cause for whooping and cheering and giving me endless grief in the halls.  ::) The ones at the metro-area-level were way more interesting, because everyone there was probably just as naturally good, preparation made a difference, and I never had any idea if I would win or not (and indeed only won once) and it was more "acceptable" to lose. Grades were kind of the same way; if I made an A, it was no big deal and I should have done that anyway, and if I made a B, I'd obviously done something horribly wrong.

I find it much more enjoyable to be creative, for example, but I very consciously don't do anything creative in a public way, like trying to get a novel published or selling crafts or something. And, to tie it back in with etiquette, I am actually very proud of myself for being, as a 30ish adult, a more polite and understanding person than I was as a child/teen/young adult--from being able to see things from different perspectives, to saying "please" and "thank you" to servers at restaurants. Possibly more proud of this and my private creative accomplishments than I am of my professional/intellectual achievements, as the latter seemed almost inevitable and the former seem more like conscious choices I've had to work at. Eek, sorry if this all seems horrible; I just feel like, as I get older and I'm surrounded by "high-achieving" people, I find it more important to be a good, happy, polite person than to be a smart one.

This too; probably very few people in my "real" life know the full extent of my childhood nerdity, and now I'm just glad to have found my own way that doesn't really have much to do with that stuff. (Sci-fi geekery is a whole other thing! LOL) It was a lot of pressure to wonder if my every life decision was "good enough for someone with All That Potential" and it's easier to just live my life and make choices based on what I actually want to do.

Twik

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #96 on: October 23, 2013, 02:24:58 PM »
A surprisingly high percentage of gifted people end up dropping out of high school, and most achieve average things with their life, so the label is their one "claim to fame."

Well, that's the point as far as educators go. Why do smart kids get bored, drop out or just tune out, and not use their talents more fully? Many educators believe that it's because they are not engaged in learning when, to these kids, it's dragged out painfully slowly and bores them to tears. If the smartest kids are not being served by education, shrugging and going, "they're smart, they'll get by somehow," isn't terribly helpful. Boredom is the greatest killer for initiative, curiousity, and all those cool things we want our kids to develop.

When I was in Grade 2, I didn't want to read about D ick and Jane Play with Spot and Fluff. I wanted to read about Archeopteryx and Pachycephalosaurus. Fortunately, my teachers eventually gave up trying to stop me from slipping the Golden Guide to Dinosaurs inside my reader, and recognized that my reaction of "Huh? Wha?" when asked about Jane's latest predicament meant I was reading something else, rather than that I couldn't read at all. But I might have learned more about cooperative work, if, say, I had been matched with children at the same reading level.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Shea

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #97 on: October 23, 2013, 02:34:25 PM »
I question what the purpose of labeling children as "gifted" is.  Are they placed in accelerated classes?  Do they do statistically amazing things as adults?  I guess I just don't see the value in labeling a child as "gifted" unless there is some heightened expectation or performance that is typical of those labeled in this way.  Personally, like some of the other parents on this board, I have uncontroverted proof that my child is beyond amazing in every way (;-)) but I see no reason to make an issue out of this because it would either place a lot of undue pressure on her or make her extremely socially awkward and likely unhappy because she would not be able to relate to her peers.  I confess I just don't get it.

In the US Gifted kids are special needs and part of Special Ed. Teachers are required to provide differentiated activities to challenge them, they are grouped together with other high performing students in classes and  in my district are pulled out for specialized instruction once a week.   FYI - kids who are Gifted (not Honors) tend to see the world upside down and backwards - they don't give a fig about subjects that don't interest them, tend to obsess about subjects that do interest them. They also tend to have a higher than normal rate of LD's which might point towards their brains just being wired differently. 

Are they actually required? I was identified as "gifted" in early elementary school (actually I only have a high verbal intelligence; I have dyscalculia and can barely count) but my school district didn't have any gifted or honors programs, even in high school. I spent my school career frustrated and bored out of my mind (except in math class, where I was frustrated and confused, because my learning disability wasn't diagnosed until I was 20). A couple of teachers would allow me to read different books and do reports on them, but that was something they did because they understood how bored I was, not because it was required by the school.


If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, librarians are a global threat.

Hmmmmm

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #98 on: October 23, 2013, 02:59:56 PM »
A surprisingly high percentage of gifted people end up dropping out of high school, and most achieve average things with their life, so the label is their one "claim to fame."

Well, that's the point as far as educators go. Why do smart kids get bored, drop out or just tune out, and not use their talents more fully? Many educators believe that it's because they are not engaged in learning when, to these kids, it's dragged out painfully slowly and bores them to tears. If the smartest kids are not being served by education, shrugging and going, "they're smart, they'll get by somehow," isn't terribly helpful. Boredom is the greatest killer for initiative, curiousity, and all those cool things we want our kids to develop.

When I was in Grade 2, I didn't want to read about D ick and Jane Play with Spot and Fluff. I wanted to read about Archeopteryx and Pachycephalosaurus. Fortunately, my teachers eventually gave up trying to stop me from slipping the Golden Guide to Dinosaurs inside my reader, and recognized that my reaction of "Huh? Wha?" when asked about Jane's latest predicament meant I was reading something else, rather than that I couldn't read at all. But I might have learned more about cooperative work, if, say, I had been matched with children at the same reading level.

I so agree with Seraphia's post. Labels are labels and discounts individuality.

I also disagree that "gifted" kids don't excel because they aren't being challenged.  That can be true in many instances. But you also have really intelligent kids who just don't like academics and there is absolutely nothing you can do to motivate them to like something they don't.

I was a smart kid. In second grade I was reading/comprehending at 5th-7th grade levels. Subjects I liked I excelled in and enjoyed doing the work. Subjects I didn't like, I did enough to "get the A" as in I turned in my homework and study the notes for 20 minutes prior to the test. I don't like science. I don't care how many ways you try to engage me and make "science fun" it is not fun. Some things are interesting to me, but only about 10% of it. The rest I learned for the test and then quickly forgot. It drives my science husband crazy as he can't understand not finding it intellectually stimulating. I tell him when he decides that spending an hour discussing the history of hemlines is stimulating (and it is because it relates so much to popular culture and social changes of the day) I'll spend an hour discussing rock formations.

I'm very good with a rifle. You will never motivate me to use that skill to enjoy shooting a deer. I'm not against hunting and I really enjoy venison. But I don't personally want to do it.

blarg314

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #99 on: October 23, 2013, 09:14:05 PM »

I do think it's important to identify the gifted/prodigy and very bright kids, in the same way it's important to identify kids who is mentally disabled, or is struggling with basic academics or has a learning disability - so they can get the education they need.

If a kid is disabled, or a prodigy, it's a case of not being able to function in the normal system. They need special education tailored to their needs, or going to school can be pretty useless. On the less extreme - a kid who is struggling with basic reading or has a mild learning disability needs extra help or they will tend to fall farther and farther behind, failing grades, until they drop out. A kid on the other end, who is not a genius but finds academic work very easy and is working above their grade level has different problems - they can get bored and get into trouble, for example. Another issue is that they can get by and get good grades with terrible work habits. This is fine until they actually start hitting work that is challenging their abilities and needs effort (often at university). I've seen more than one very bright student tank at university because they had never learned to work, and were now at a stage where it was assumed they had mastered basic study skills.

If a bright kid gets work that is adjusted to their achievement level, that makes them have to work, and is expected to perform to that level it can make a huge difference in their interest in school, and the parts of academic achievement that aren't just ability, compared to the same kid who is unlabelled and drifting through the normal classes with a library book hidden under their desk at all times.

citadelle

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #100 on: October 23, 2013, 10:59:39 PM »
The trend in education has been toward "differentiation". Classroom teachers are supposed to prepare lessons that are accessible to a wide range of abilities. It is great when it works, but poses many logistical issues when you have a 7th grade class with readers ranging from 2nd grade to college level.

iridaceae

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #101 on: October 24, 2013, 05:01:07 AM »

Well, that's the point as far as educators go. Why do smart kids get bored, drop out or just tune out, and not use their talents more fully? Many educators believe that it's because they are not engaged in learning when, to these kids, it's dragged out painfully slowly and bores them to tears. If the smartest kids are not being served by education, shrugging and going, "they're smart, they'll get by somehow," isn't terribly helpful. Boredom is the greatest killer for initiative, curiousity, and all those cool things we want our kids to develop.


All children should be kept engaged and interested. Not just the gifted.

perpetua

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #102 on: October 24, 2013, 05:32:38 AM »
Oh, this is all sounding familiar. Being 'gifted' wasn't a thing when I was at school because several centuries have passed since I was there :) Also I think our system is different in the UK and as far as I know we don't have 'honours programmes' and the like. We have top streams in subjects like maths and english where people who are better at it than others are in different classes - again this may have changed since I was at school.  But anyway, at primary school I was always the kid who breezed through spelling tests without revising and who the other kids used to come to for help, yet always had 'must apply herself more' written on her school reports.

I passed the 11+ exam and went to grammar school but I was lazy. I rattled off my homework and assignments at the last minute and got top marks for them despite putting in very little effort and I spent most of my classes being bored and unengaged and waiting for the bell to go so I could get out of there. Teachers didn't really pay me much attention, because they knew I could do the work without it, so I had even less engagement.

When I did my GCSEs, again, I was lazy. Much of our marks were based on coursework, and again I left all my assignments till the last minute. Had a bit of a minor panic about having to rattle off 20 essays in two weeks, but did it. Still got good grades.

I was also very involved in music - I played several instruments to a high standard but never really did much practice because I got away without it.

This all came back to bite me in the backside when I started college and found out that the method of learning was completely different and I had absolutely *no* idea 'how to study'. I lasted six months before I dropped out in frustration. I've tried several times to take courses in the years since - I tried to do a diploma in my pet subject at one point, but again, I didn't know how to study.  I would read the material, but it never sank in in terms of applying it. Again, I dropped out, because if I wasn't good at it immediately I didn't want to know.

So now I'm in my 40s and fairly directionless. I never trained for a specific line of work and have got by by 'picking things up quickly' and slotting into various kinds of jobs over the years, some of them quite technical, and all of which bore me rigid after a few weeks.  I've always felt like a bit of a fraud at work.

I wonder if this has something to do with it.

*inviteseller

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #103 on: October 24, 2013, 08:46:10 AM »
The label..no matter what it is, is not the magic key to a child's life.  A label doesn't mean everything in life is easy, or that they are to get special treatment but sososo many parents think that label means their child walks on water.  I have met many talented athletes who thought that the world revolved around them because they could throw a football or sink a 3 pt shot.  And the adults around them were no better..coaches who turned a blind eye to misbehavior, teachers who passed them when they weren't doing any work, parents who dreamed of their childs pro career (that less than 5% of all child athletes even have a shot at) and never take the time to teach them how to live without athletics.  And when they get into the real world, they are unpopular jerks who can't understand why no one is falling all over them because in high school, they WERE the star.  My older DD is a gifted athlete and once she scored 3 goals in her soccer game..on the way home she started saying "well, I had to do that because so and so was barely playing and such and such wasn't playing well."  I stopped her and said "You had a game to be proud of, but you may tank on your next game and the other girls may be carrying you in the game.  You are good, but you aren't the team."  She says she still remembers that little talk when she gets a bit big for her britches.  Younger DD is a gifted student and was complaining last year about a girl she had to always help with her reading because the poor thing was struggling.  I told her "It is the right thing to so to help others who struggle in something you are good at.  Remember, you can read but I bet there is something she can do that you can't."  She quit complaining.  We need to encourage our kids when they are gifted in something, while teaching them humility and grace.

Winterlight

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #104 on: October 24, 2013, 09:29:40 AM »
Or - you "are" athletic. You "are" beautiful. You "are" talented. You "are" a high achiever. It can be said in many ways.

What I am saying (and I think EllenS is too) is that the "athletic/talented/smart" people are honored for their achievements - Jack hit a homerun! Abbey sang the National Anthem at the televised rodeo! Jane won the spelling bee!  I am all for honoring academic achievement as well.  I think if a child is gifted that child should be honored for using her gift, not told she is special and doesn't have to try because she has this gift.

Agreed. Connor may be very intelligent, but he's clearly been allowed to get away with being a brat.

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To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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