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Old 10-04-2011, 08:03 PM
 
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Please understand, Aconite, that I live in the fictional Lake Woebegon where there are many wonderful people, but there also exist parents who are not only deluded about their children's intellects, but also actively exclude those they consider less worthy.

I do understand that there are legitimately gifted children, and it would appear that you have one, but when I see a story like the one that inspired this thread, it absolutely turns my stomach. Sixty percent of a class qualifying for g/t makes my inner statistician recoil. This story reeks of elitist parent politics, and I hope public outrage brings APS to its knees for kowtowing to the Volvo vigilantes.

By the way, the obnoxious eight-year-old is definitely precocious, but I do not think he is truly gifted. Unfortunately, the adults in his life are giving him the wrong message. What he needs to hear is that being smart does not excuse him from hard work. I see him headed for a hard fall, and it's not his fault. His parents and our school district are doing him a great disservice by feeding him the message that being smart gives him a free pass. And when he eventually discovers he's not really so special, it's gonna hurt.

All this said, I do realize that there are gifted kids who have a much healthier sense of self, children whose parents work hard to keep them grounded. And thank goodness for that, because programs like the one outlined in the OP are very destructive.

Last edited by formercalifornian; 10-04-2011 at 08:17 PM..
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by formercalifornian View Post
Please understand, Aconite, that I live in the fictional Lake Woebegon where there are many wonderful people, but there also exist parents who are not only deluded about their children's intellects, but also actively exclude those they consider less worthy.

I do understand that there are legitimately gifted children, and it would appear that you have one, but when I see a story like the one that inspired this thread, it absolutely turns my stomach. Sixty percent of a class qualifying for g/t makes my inner statistician recoil. This story reeks of elitist parent politics, and I hope public outrage brings APS to its knees for kowtowing to the Volvo vigilantes.
The story in the OP is stupid. But it in no way typifies gifted kids, or gifted kids' parents. (And actually, at last count, I had four, though only three made it into the post you referenced. I take no credit for it, by the way; it's nothing I did on purpose or anything. They just are who they are. Sometimes that's good, sometimes...the jury's out.)
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Aconite View Post
Our school system does that. They take the kids they deem likely to be lost in the middle and put them into advanced classes to challenge them. Only problem is it's beyond most, and "advanced" has become dumbed down to the point of uselessness as a result. Meantime, the kids who really should be in advanced classes sit there, bored out of their skulls.
I never understood why gifted kids must be "bored out of their skulls" when they are exposed to challenging material. I am afraid this is such an inflated argument, it simply doesn't hold water.
So regular kids cannot try to tackle challenging material along with the gifted children, because all of a sudden, the gifted ones become "bored" as soon as mere commoners try along with them?

Why can't they just perform and deliver amazing results that will make the amateurs' work fade by comparison?

I still don't understand why the "amateurs" can't try along with the gifted. Where does this boredom come from?

If you're arguing that even the GT part of the curriculum would be automatically dumbed down if regular kids were included, then well...THAT PART shouldn't! This is the only thing schools would have to watch over and make sure it doesn't happen - and not that the sacred curriculum reserved for intellectual Gods would never be seen by mere "regulars".
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:19 AM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
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Originally Posted by syracusa View Post


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aconite View Post
Our school system does that. They take the kids they deem likely to be lost in the middle and put them into advanced classes to challenge them. Only problem is it's beyond most, and "advanced" has become dumbed down to the point of uselessness as a result. Meantime, the kids who really should be in advanced classes sit there, bored out of their skulls.

I never understood why gifted kids must be "bored out of their skulls" when they are exposed to challenging material. I am afraid this is such an inflated argument, it simply doesn't hold water.
Well, no. Your point doesn't hold water because you're reading something that isn't there. If the advanced class is dumbed down, it isn't exposing the gifted kids to challenging material. Which is the part in red, and bolded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post

Why can't they just perform and deliver amazing results that will make the amateurs' work fade by comparison?
IME, they do. And they're still bored with school, because chances are, this is the third time this week they've had to go over the same material, which they also covered last year. It's the equivalent of putting a PhD to work as a WalMart greeter. He could probably do it for awhile, but ultimately he wouldn't do as good a job as the guy who never got out of tenth grade. The job is absolutely stultifying and his mind is elsewhere by 9AM, and he's figuring out how the percentage of women with black shoes fits into the Golden Ratio. Meantime, people are complaining he didn't hand them a shopping cart.
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:26 AM
 
11,614 posts, read 19,711,659 times
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Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
I never understood why gifted kids must be "bored out of their skulls" when they are exposed to challenging material. I am afraid this is such an inflated argument, it simply doesn't hold water.
So regular kids cannot try to tackle challenging material along with the gifted children, because all of a sudden, the gifted ones become "bored" as soon as mere commoners try along with them?

Why can't they just perform and deliver amazing results that will make the amateurs' work fade by comparison?

I still don't understand why the "amateurs" can't try along with the gifted. Where does this boredom come from?

If you're arguing that even the GT part of the curriculum would be automatically dumbed down if regular kids were included, then well...THAT PART shouldn't! This is the only thing schools would have to watch over and make sure it doesn't happen - and not that the sacred curriculum reserved for intellectual Gods would never be seen by mere "regulars".
The gifted kids do not need the amount of time to tackle challenging material that average students need. My middle son had a boy who went to elementary school with him who was not gifted. However, his mother insisted that he was gifted and badgered the administration to put him in the gifted class (this was a charter school).

From that point on all the mother did was complain about how much homework her son had in the gifted class, how much work the projects were in the gifted class, etc.....It was nauseating. However, the truly gifted kids did not spend a whole lot of time on homework, did not find the projects to be overwhelming, etc.....A class with truly gifted students will move faster than an average student can handle, and will have a workload that they may find daunting.

In private schools they handle advanced classes differently from public schools. Placement is not done by IQ test. A combination of standardized test scores and teacher recommendation is used instead. Some kids really need a different placement. I was totally shocked when I got my son's 7th grade recommended class list and Algebra I was on the list for him. He is taking it for high school credit in an 8th grade honors class. With 200 kids in his grade only about 5 are offered that placement (there is no limit that's just how many there were).

It would be crazy for the other 195 kids to be offered Algebra I in 7th grade.

There is a similar placement for Spanish I (also high school level). 6th graders are given a language reception test and the highest scorers are placed in HS Spanish in 7th grade. There are about 50 kids with this advanced placement in the school. It would be crazy to offer it to every single 7th grader because they can't all handle it.
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Momma_bear View Post
The gifted kids do not need the amount of time to tackle challenging material that average students need. My middle son had a boy who went to elementary school with him who was not gifted. However, his mother insisted that he was gifted and badgered the administration to put him in the gifted class (this was a charter school).

From that point on all the mother did was complain about how much homework her son had in the gifted class, how much work the projects were in the gifted class, etc.....It was nauseating. However, the truly gifted kids did not spend a whole lot of time on homework, did not find the projects to be overwhelming, etc.....A class with truly gifted students will move faster than an average student can handle, and will have a workload that they may find daunting.

In private schools they handle advanced classes differently from public schools. Placement is not done by IQ test. A combination of standardized test scores and teacher recommendation is used instead. Some kids really need a different placement. I was totally shocked when I got my son's 7th grade recommended class list and Algebra I was on the list for him. He is taking it for high school credit in an 8th grade honors class. With 200 kids in his grade only about 5 are offered that placement (there is no limit that's just how many there were).

It would be crazy for the other 195 kids to be offered Algebra I in 7th grade.
This is all so true. When you have exposure to truly gifted people, you quickly see their brains work differently. When I was in graduate school, I worked as a teaching assistant. I remember one day I was trying to explain something to a group of students. One of those students was gifted, and he wanted to fly through the material. I could barely get a word out of my mouth, and he was pushing me to talk faster and move through the material faster. The average student does not process or understand material as quickly or as well. This actually can be quite difficult for a teacher to handle when the class is really mixed.

My kids' school does the same thing momma_bear's school does. My struggling daughter has worked so hard that she is tracked into the average math class this year (Yay for her!). However, a few of the gifted math students are about two years ahead of these average students. I know most of these students and their parents, along with the gifted students, and I am telling you there is no way the average student could handle what these gifted students can handle at this point in time. This is not to say the average student is not pushed. They are encouraged to advance faster than the class if they are able. (There are five levels of math in their grade).

This reality also seems evident as my academically advanced middle child moves up through the system. She had a book report given to her last week. She read half the assigned chapter book in school on a Friday while the other kids completed their regular work that she had already done. She finished the book on Saturday, and then immediately wrote her report. She handed it in on Monday--22 days early. It would not be fair to give all the students one weekend to complete a major project that involved reading a long book, but that is all she needed. Different people--different realities!
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Aconite View Post
Well, no. Your point doesn't hold water because you're reading something that isn't there. If the advanced class is dumbed down, it isn't exposing the gifted kids to challenging material. Which is the part in red, and bolded.
I am sincerely not sure why you're having a hard grasping the model I am arguing for. It's done all over the place in other countries at the k-12 level - what exempts the US? Or do they just "know better"?

I am simply arguing that the part of the curriculum considered GT/advanced/very difficult SHOULD be included in a regular class and should STAY THAT WAY without any attempts to make it accessible and easy to everyone. If most kids will not be able to perform well on that part, that's OK. It is expected and understandable - but they were at least given a chance to be exposed to it and try.

You seem to entertain a very extremist and black-and white vision of intellectual talent. You are either gifted or you're not. Perhaps because you are convinced that the child either "reads Sylvia Plath and writes angst poetry at 6" (like yours supposedly did) or they don't.

Well...reality is a bit gray-er than this. There are tons of children who are very bright and who could COMPLETELY benefit from a GT type of curriculum, even perform very well on it ...but who nevertheless DO NOT make the very rigid cut for the "GT club". Some kids simply cannot score in the 99th percentile on standardized tests; but they CAN score in the 75th; or 85th; how about 94th? That still means very intelligent.
How about someone at the 50th percentile? Why can't an average Joe try a more challenging problem? Remember, he is not a struggling student. Just very average. Why can't he try something hard?

Do you think so many perfectly intelligent children should be deprived of a higher quality, more sophisticated curriculum simply because someone slapped a NON-GIFTED label on their forehead in early elementary?

And if the GT kids are indeed bored with EVERYTHING that is regular curriculum, why can't they be given more of those hard problems to work on while regular kids do their regular curriculum? And when time comes for the entire class to do GT, they will have the opportunity to shine.
It's really not that complicated.

Creating this type of hierarchies so early in the educational process is simply indecent. Anyone who argues otherwise is very much the wrong kind of elitist. The kind that refuses equality of opportunity - and that's just a nasty thing to be, no matter how you twist it. I am all for the market picking the elites and establishing inequalities of outcome in adulthood. Yes, this is part of life. Elites DO exist and all average Joes can hope for is that these elites will also grow up to be ethical and interested in the common good, not just smart for themselves (a hard one to ensure nowadays).
But to start creating inappropriate hierarchies DURING the educational process, this is simply wrong.

As for pretending that GT kids are not getting any privilege in the curriculum, only something "different", is sheer, smelly hypocrisy.

Last edited by syracusa; 10-05-2011 at 10:06 AM..
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Momma_bear View Post
It would be crazy for the other 195 kids to be offered Algebra I in 7th grade.
Algebra is a discipline like any other. It starts with very easy and ends in painfully difficult. It is what it is. The teacher teaches all levels of difficulty and then lets the kids perform. Why can't all children be exposed to Algebra A-Z? Why can other countries do that? Explain that.

Last edited by syracusa; 10-05-2011 at 10:06 AM..
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:07 AM
 
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The Algebra thing is fascinating to me. My daughter, who is hard-working but not GT, took a pre-algebra class at a community college this past summer between 6th and 7th grade. She is now independently learning Algebra I on her own time while coasting through pre-algebra class at school. Given her success and average intellect, at least given her standardized tests results, I'm not so sure being able to study Algebra in seventh grade truly makes one gifted.
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Midwest transplant
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Gifted population in an average school should be no more than 5%. In some exclusive areas/populations you might get closer to 10%. High IQ is only one characteristic, many more are exhibited by other factors; rate of acquisition and rate of retention being the most important. Many students level off at puberty, others later in their school years. Student's should be re evaluated each year to see if they are still meeting the criteria for remaining in the program.

After working as a gifted resource teacher in a high school setting for one year, I can speak volumes on who and who should not have remained in the program, who was a motivated student, who was in it for the label (often the parent's more than the student) and the ramifications of the classification on those charged with educating the child.
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