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View Poll Results: Teachers, what is your reaction to a parent who thinks their young child is gifted?
The parents that usually say that are really pushing their kids. 10 13.16%
None of the supposely gifted children were really gifted 18 23.68%
I am skeptical but I have seen a couple of gifted children 35 46.05%
I give the parent the benefit of the doubt after all they know their kid best. 16 21.05%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-19-2009, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Wallace View Post
I'm sure you know, though, that just because a given person doesn't know something doesn't mean it doesn't exist, right? I mean, I've never met a person from Kazakhstan, but I know that Kazakhstanians exist. One's profession has much to do with it also: if a person is a nuclear physicist, she's more likely to meet colleagues with a similarly high I.Q. then she might if she were in a less intellectually demanding profession.
I spent 20 years in engineering and I can count on one hand the gifted adults I met. Gifted children, however, seem to be a dime a dozen. I've met a lot of very smart people over the years but few would qualify as gifted as adults. Many of them were gifted as children. The question is why don't we see the same percentages as gifted as adults we do as children?

My take on this is that giftedness is relative to age and mostly just earliness in children. Just because a child does something early doesn't mean they'll stay ahead of their peers when they start doing it too.

I think my dd and piano is a great example here. She started piano at 3 and was composing by 6. Most kids don't start piano until around age 9 or 10. Now that she's eleven, other kids are catching up to her. She's still ahead but it's not nearly as impressive as it was when she was 6. Why? Because she's passed the normal age for kids to be doing what she's doing. She has a fer years of practice on them but short of working her butt off, they're going to catch up to her. Hour per hour practiced, they make more headway than she does these days so they're catching up.
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
That is a very good question.

I have a theory here. I think everyone else catches up. If you're 5 years ahead at 10, it's impressive. If you're 5 years ahead at 30, it's not.
To a certain extent, this is true, particularly as regards early education. To take a classic example, a child who enters kindergarten knowing his letters will be "ahead" of his peers, but (obviously) when instruction in letters has taken place, this distinction will disappear. This isn't an issue of I.Q., necessarily. It's more of an issue of knowledge, which is different.

However, for intellectual giftedness, this is not precisely true. Think of how wonderful it would be, particularly for lower-I.Q. people, if it were! Then a person with an I.Q.of (let's say) 70 would only have to wait a little while before she could "catch up" and be at the same intellectual level as everyone else. Unfortunately, just as discrepancies in I.Q. at the right-hand end of the bell curve don't resolve to the norm, neither do discrepancies at the left-hand end of the bell curve. Regrettably, the person with an I.Q. of 70 will still have an I.Q. of 70 in five years, and in ten, and in fifteen, and in fifty. I wish it were as simple as waiting awhile, don't you?
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
That is a very good question.

I have a theory here. I think everyone else catches up. If you're 5 years ahead at 10, it's impressive. If you're 5 years ahead at 30, it's not.

Dd#2 is/was considered gifted on the piano. She was writing her own music and entering competitions at 6. It was impressive. Now she's 11 and there are a lot of good piano players she competes with. The older she gets, the more she meets up with kids who are just as or more talented than her. When she played the piano for the church the first time at 6, people were impressed. She's a lot better now but they're no longer impressed. It's very unusual for a 6 year old to play classical pieces on the piano but it's not for an 11 year old. When all is said and done, she'll most likely simply be one of many good pianists even though she started out considered gifted.

I think I lot of what we call giftedness is only earliness and in time others will catch up. I'm the opposite. I was slow all through grade/high school. I bloomed in college. I passed my peers by a mile. I have no idea why. No one thought I was even going to college when I was in high school. I didn't go right away and when I did go, I went with the intention of getting a certificate to get a better job only to discover that school was now very easy and end up in engineering school where I graduated in the top of my class (#1 for my major, #5 in engineering). Compare me to my best friend in high school who was highly gifted who never graduated from college. I think I got more gifts than she did in the end, though I do not consider myself gifted.
You are indeed right...IF the child is not given the environment to do so. This is described as the cookie theory. Every child starts kindergarten and every year they are given two cookie, only two cookies, has to eat those two cookies, and are not allowed anymore. Kids who have the IQ up to 130-135 or so will pretty much be reabsorbed into the norm.
A struggling child will find it hard to eat those two cookies, an average child will be content with two cookies, and the above average could eat more if given. A gifted child is then forced to conform into a subpar learning level.

However, if you look at someone like my daughter, had she gone to public school, this would have happened to her without a doubt. But being at home, she's at the very least 5 years ahead of her public school peers.
Also, kids with IQ's over 140 will pretty much buck the system and all the way of thinking, challenging everything as they go. The school system does not like this and says the kid has problems, not intelligence.
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:47 AM
 
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As far as being 5 years ahead at thirty...that is no longer the way things are measured in adulthood and you know that. Without the restrictions of being grouped with your age and only your age, you have the ability to explore and learn from a much broader group, from many more mediums at your disposal. That is why intelligence in measured by IQ. It does not matter what age you are, if you do not have Hawking's IQ, you never will. Could you possess the knowledge? Sure, but by doing so, you have not "learned" the ability to think independently, how to reason, observe, calculate, speculate, challenge widely excepted theories, or change the world with this ability single handedly like he has by some sort of osmosis on your part. Could you debate his theories? Sure, but someone of your IQ will debate all ready spoken theory against another all ready spoken theory. The information, or intelligence, is not yours and never will be. Instead of teaching the world new ideas, you'll continue teaching the old ones to high school students. That is rather unremarkable when compared to someone such as Hawking.

Intelligence is there whether you want to deny it or not. Most people have an average IQ between 90 and 120. Those from 120-130 are considered above average. From 130-140 are gifted. From 140-150, exceptional and anything above is especially exceptional. When we talk about IQ, those below that 90 may feel inadequate at some point in their lives. The average just do not care about intelligence and are more worried about mainstream trends like fashion and music, parenting trends, ect and put a heavy emphasis on relationships. They pretty much believe whatever they are told, at work, by the media, by advertisers, ect. Those who are between average and 140 often look down on the Intelligence Quotient because, while they are smart, they do not think that IQ should matter. It's a mainstream choice of what you do for society that counts. Those above 140 sometimes will argue the difference of IQ within a couple points. 142 is so much higher than 140.

The more titles they have, the more schooling they have, that makes them somehow smarter than anyone else. Again, while they may have knowledge, that does not mean they have independent intelligence.

ALSO, those with IQ's above 140 can be a singular subject genius or multiple subject genius. When we measure this, the first will only be above 140 in one or maybe two areas, while in contrary, in other subjects they are below, as far down as below average in subjects such as in spelling, ect. But their IQ could still be measured as above 140 as a whole.

A person who is a multiple subject genius will be able to test at above 140 in many or most subjects. Yet their overall IQ could still be measured by the same number as the single subject genius. Does that mean that they are not anymore intelligent? No. They still have more genius and ability within their mind.

The multiple subject genius is a rare being. They have the ability to make connections between all the subjects like nobody else can. Their minds are unmatched, and no matter how much knowledge you consume, you will always have to "consume" it to be able to realize those connections on your own. You do not have the ability, and never will be able, to do it on your own to any real measurable significance.

Last edited by flik_becky; 07-19-2009 at 09:58 AM..
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:48 AM
 
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Compare me to my best friend in high school who was highly gifted who never graduated from college.
This is exactly the problem with our education to start with. The highly gifted to not fit into the traditional mold. You can pound and pound, but they never will. If they are fostered in an environment where they can move and grow as their mind wants to, they will be able to function better as an adult. As far as looking at the highly gifted and higher education, they do not need it. They have the ability to acquire the knowledge on their own because of their ability to make those connections that the professors are teaching to those will lower IQs. While many do go on to finish college, many do not need to fulfill their individual goals. Just look at Bill Gates. He did not need college, period.
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Old 07-19-2009, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
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Originally Posted by Charles Wallace View Post
To a certain extent, this is true, particularly as regards early education. To take a classic example, a child who enters kindergarten knowing his letters will be "ahead" of his peers, but (obviously) when instruction in letters has taken place, this distinction will disappear. This isn't an issue of I.Q., necessarily. It's more of an issue of knowledge, which is different.

However, for intellectual giftedness, this is not precisely true. Think of how wonderful it would be, particularly for lower-I.Q. people, if it were! Then a person with an I.Q.of (let's say) 70 would only have to wait a little while before she could "catch up" and be at the same intellectual level as everyone else. Unfortunately, just as discrepancies in I.Q. at the right-hand end of the bell curve don't resolve to the norm, neither do discrepancies at the left-hand end of the bell curve. Regrettably, the person with an I.Q. of 70 will still have an I.Q. of 70 in five years, and in ten, and in fifteen, and in fifty. I wish it were as simple as waiting awhile, don't you?
I do think there is a bell curve for adults and that IQ limits ability to learn, however, I don't think giftedness means the same thing in an adult it means in a child. Too often gifteness is aheadness in children. My dd is considered gifted and they rank her and her peers by grade level. She's 11, she reads at a 10th grade level, does math at a 9th grade level and science at a 10th grade level. In piano, she's on par with what would be considered normal for about a 15 year old who had been studying for several years. The same kind of ranking can't be done as adults and how much difference is there anyway?

If my dd is 3 years a head in reading ability today, will she still be when she graduates from college and what is the real difference between someone with a PhD reading level or a PhD + 3 year reading level? Is there even a distinction when you get up there?

I don't see gifted adults standing out like gifted children do. They're just not that much diffrerent than their peers until you get way up there in IQ. I've worked with people who have IQ's upwards of 180. Now, THERE you get strange. They tend to see things quicker and in different ways than normal. They tend (this is all based on my experience) to have relationship issues. And they tend to be very good musicians (no idea on this one but I remember one of our researchers being asked to pose for picture for an award he'd won and he wanted to pose with his grand piano so I'm thinking there's a correlation here.).

It seems like most of the gifted children grow up to be bright adults but not to the point anyone would call them gifted. By the time they're graduating from college, they're really not that far above their peers if they are above their peers anymore. Of course they are still above the person with the IQ of 70 who never graduated. Really, for adults you have two camps, intelligent and unintelligent. The fine difference no longer make much difference until you get way up there.

In 10 year olds, the difference between an IQ of 130 and 140 (130 is bright avereage and 140 gifted here) is about one year. What is the difference in adults? Is there really that much difference between an IQ of 130 and an IQ of 140 in adults? Would we even be able to tell them apart without an IQ test? Would we still be able to tell them apart or would what they have learned clouded the picture? I just don't think IQ means the same thing in an adult. Once you lose the age correlation, what are you really comparing besides a score on a test?
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
I do think there is a bell curve for adults and that IQ limits ability to learn, however, I don't think giftedness means the same thing in an adult it means in a child. Too often gifteness is aheadness in children.
I think you're putting your finger on a considerable problem with the notion of giftedness in the first place, which is how to describe it. Should it be described by potential -- potential which may or may not ever be manifested in reality (in which case it's thisclose to both useless and unmeasurable)? Should it be measured by one's "mental age" relative to a norm? Do we measure this by knowledge, by facts known, or by ability to process information, processing speed, or other factors?

There are some excellent articles which deal with these notions specifically, but what I'll say now is that I agree with your statement IF we modify it to the following: "Too often, giftedness is mistaken as aheadness in children."

Just to revisit a form of my earlier example, a child who enters kindergarten being able to count is ahead -- and she may be gifted. Then again, she may not be. As other children also learn to count, her ahead-ness will "flatten," as it were, and she'll regress to the mean.

OTOH, let's take a child who is measurably gifted by a reliable I.Q. test for giftedness -- the Woodcock-Johnson, the WISC, the Stanford-Binet, or some other reliable instrument -- and she also can count by the time she gets into kindergarten. If she's gifted, she'll be able (if given the instruction, and sometimes without the instruction) to progress beyond counting and into (let's say) skip counting, addition, subtraction, and single-digit multiplication by the time she's halfway through kindergarten.

Measured by the yardstick of "Can she count?" this child looks just like everyone else. Measured by the yardstick of "What are this child's mathematical skills?" she blows the other kids out of the water. Ahead-ness? Sure. But in this case, I think you'll see that we're not just talking about ahead-ness, but about the ability to keep being ahead, the ability to process information at a faster rate and retain it longer, the ability to go beyond the fundamentals of the concepts and into the applications of those concepts.

Those traits, I think we might both agree, are more typical of giftedness. Why? Because they can't be taught. You and I can both teach kids information; that's our job. However, we can't tell them how to learn it swiftly and keep it forever or to synthesize information and apply it originally without being instructed. We can tell them about this, sure; we can show how others (Newton, Faraday, Einstein, Curie, Franklin) did so; but bottom line, we cannot impart this ability to our students. I surely wish we could.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,391 posts, read 29,501,513 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Wallace View Post
I think you're putting your finger on a considerable problem with the notion of giftedness in the first place, which is how to describe it. Should it be described by potential -- potential which may or may not ever be manifested in reality (in which case it's thisclose to both useless and unmeasurable)? Should it be measured by one's "mental age" relative to a norm? Do we measure this by knowledge, by facts known, or by ability to process information, processing speed, or other factors?

There are some excellent articles which deal with these notions specifically, but what I'll say now is that I agree with your statement IF we modify it to the following: "Too often, giftedness is mistaken as aheadness in children."

Just to revisit a form of my earlier example, a child who enters kindergarten being able to count is ahead -- and she may be gifted. Then again, she may not be. As other children also learn to count, her ahead-ness will "flatten," as it were, and she'll regress to the mean.

OTOH, let's take a child who is measurably gifted by a reliable I.Q. test for giftedness -- the Woodcock-Johnson, the WISC, the Stanford-Binet, or some other reliable instrument -- and she also can count by the time she gets into kindergarten. If she's gifted, she'll be able (if given the instruction, and sometimes without the instruction) to progress beyond counting and into (let's say) skip counting, addition, subtraction, and single-digit multiplication by the time she's halfway through kindergarten.

Measured by the yardstick of "Can she count?" this child looks just like everyone else. Measured by the yardstick of "What are this child's mathematical skills?" she blows the other kids out of the water. Ahead-ness? Sure. But in this case, I think you'll see that we're not just talking about ahead-ness, but about the ability to keep being ahead, the ability to process information at a faster rate and retain it longer, the ability to go beyond the fundamentals of the concepts and into the applications of those concepts.

Those traits, I think we might both agree, are more typical of giftedness. Why? Because they can't be taught. You and I can both teach kids information; that's our job. However, we can't tell them how to learn it swiftly and keep it forever or to synthesize information and apply it originally without being instructed. We can tell them about this, sure; we can show how others (Newton, Faraday, Einstein, Curie, Franklin) did so; but bottom line, we cannot impart this ability to our students. I surely wish we could.
We're on the same page WRT aheadness not being giftedness. I don't think it is but I think we mark many a child as gifted because they are a head only to leave them struggling with how to be average when it turns out that's what they are. I think we put too much emphasis on age equivalence when kids are young. IMO, it only has meaning WRT structuring a child's education today. That my daughter can read and do science on 10th grade level and do math on a 9th grade level means NOTHING WRT what she will be able to do in 10 years. It's expected she'll be with the higher performing adults but who knows where she'll land in that continuium.

I'm not even sure tests are enough to identify the gifted. There are people like my friend in high school who tested on reliable tests as having an IQ above 160. She crashed and burned in high school. Last I heard she had gotten a GED and was working on a two year certificate. She has raw IQ but what good is it doing her? Does it mean anything?

With my dd, they seem more concerned with the rate she learns than her current learning level. For example, she did not read at 3 like her friend. She was 6 before she started reading but passed her friend by by the time they started first grade. Her friend reading on a 3rd grade level in 1st grade was not impressive because she'd been reading for 5 years. Dd reading on a 3rd grade level at the beginning of 1st grade was because she had only been reading for less than 1 year.

I think it's learning rates that teachers need to accomodate not learning levels. A child can be at a higher level because they are pushed but that doesn't mean they're ready to be pushed farther or that it's even a wise use of the teacher's time to push them farther. Even with a child who has been declared as gifted, I wonder how long she will be considered gifted. Honestly, if she slows the pace in the years to come, she could end up quite close to average. I wonder how to best proceed with her. It is yet to be seen if she's gifted or just going to be one of the first to the finish line.
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Old 07-19-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Charles Wallace View Post
There are some excellent articles which deal with these notions specifically, but what I'll say now is that I agree with your statement IF we modify it to the following: "Too often, giftedness is mistaken as aheadness in children."


My child was tested for the gifted program and was admitted into the program in 3rd grade, yet he did not start reading well until the summer between 1st and 2nd grade. He's a voracious reader now. I am very happy his 2nd grade teacher started the referral process and did not discount him as a dummy because he was behind the curve in learning to read.
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:57 PM
 
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If you think your child is truly gifted, as another poster said, put your child in a good private school (not montessori) if you can afford it.

My in-laws, who both went to impressive IVY undergrad and really "good" post-grad colleges (MIT being one) were so sure their little girl was a genius. Yes, I rolled my eyes each and every time they said it. Once she was in Kindergarten they made a point to meet with the teacher and tell the teacher how intellectual and gifted their little Molly was. Teacher said "ok, thanks for the heads up".

Molly ended up under-performing in Kindergarten. Couldn't sit down, didn't listen to instruction, created issues in the classroom and Molly only excelled at what Molly was good at (her Dad is a huge astronomy freak so she knew all the planets/moons of/etc by 2.5 years). Parents thought she wasn't doing so hot b/c she was so darn smart she needed a better learning environment, one that would cater to how gifted she was. Does the fact that they raised her to think she was so smart and never disciplined her (that would squash her freedom to learn) ever enter their minds? Of course not.

So...Molly goes to a VERY expensive school for 1st grade. $20K per year and only 7 kids in the class.

Molly can't keep up.

Parents self-diagnose Molly as a high-functioning autistic.

School tests Molly.

Molly ends up being a normal sheltered brat whose parents thought discipline would take away from her genius.

Molly is now headed to public school for 2nd grade...and only to get the title of "gifted" that her parents think she should already have and absolutely deserves!!

Molly's parents didn't take into consideration that they WANTED to do well in school. They both KNEW (where is the GAG icon?) they were MIT material from the minute they were born and while they were picking their noses in 5th grade.


Not saying that is every case with every child, but every parent thinks their kid is gifted (unless they still drool at age 10). It does all work out in the wash eventually and if your child still is still excelling at the middle school level, ask the school to send him/her to a grade or two higher in the subjects they excell in. That's what my private school did. In my HS, some of the kids went the the local college (4 year Univeristy) for classes b/c they were beyond private school AP classes. And also, the kids who left the private school, b/c they coudln't hack it, my best friend was one of them, went on to public school only to get straight A's and endd up in "gifted" programs. Hmm.

And...since I went to private school K-12, of course I heard about all my (public school) neighbor kids who were in G&T and on the Prinicpal's list/High honor list all the time. Things changed when they went to college. They had to take remedial math, remedial English. And straight B private school kid (ME) placed OUT of all of those 101 classes.

Keep yourself in check. You're not the only one who thinks their kid is super smart or has watched a child of your own do things waaaay beyond their developmental age-appropriate years.

And as another poster pointed out: what happens to all these "gifted kids"? My friend thought her daughter was the next Nostradamus when she was 7. So bright and did so well. In the Public school G&T classes....10 years later...just getting by.

So be careful of what you hope/wish for b/c where is the title of "gifted" REALLY going to get your kid in the long run?

There is always someone a little more "gifted" and a little smarter.
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