Teaching at-risk students as though they were gifted

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TeacherGroupie, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It makes perfect sense to me as well.

    When I hear about teachers who have terribly low expectations for their students, it makes me sad. No one rises to meet low expectations. If we treat them like they can't accomplish something, they probably won't. It stands to reason that the reverse must also be true.
     
  4. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    I agree with Caesar!
     
  5. peachacid

    peachacid Companion

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    Now consider that information with many people's prejudices when it comes to certain groups of children...whether they know they have these prejudices or not...and think about the impact of this on education.
     
  6. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    I'm doing this...and most are not doing well, mostly because they refuse to do homework or participate in class, or behave appropriately (for example, not putting one onother down)
    ...sigh...tough year...
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

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    Your students are older, though, right, CindyBlue?

    I mean, it's got to be the case that the effect of this is cumulative.
     
  8. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Thanks for sharing TeacherGroupie, and an interesting twist on recent discussions of gifted education on this forum. I'd be interested to see a bit more of the study details - I may try to find it. For instance, I'd be curious to see:

    - Were students equally assessed before and after? I wonder if part of that increase came because more children were considered and tested - in other words, could it have been more on their radar to even test them in the first place?

    - Was there actually a statistically significant increase in IQ scores? I'm not aware of any research that suggests that there are interventions that increase IQ scores with children above age 6. Would be very interesting if this had happened!

    - What were the experimental vs. control conditions? How tightly "scripted" were the experimental conditions - not referring to a literal script such as in a DI program, but the use of specific techniques. I'd then be curious what those specific techniques were, or if there was just general principles?

    - I'd be interested to see if they had 2 experimental group - one that received highly detailed training with specific instructional ideas, and one group that was just told to teach children "as though they were gifted" - would be interesting to see what teachers in that second group did, and if the training made a significant impact. Also, it would be interesting to see how much the results were due to - as others here have pointed out - high expectations, as opposed to specific instructional strategies.

    This study definitely speaks to some thoughts I've had when I've been involved in gifted/talented education before. I remember being in those rooms, and wondering why other kids didn't get to do the really exciting, fun, hands-on, project-based kinds of activities, and why other kids didn't get that level of differentiation. It's good to see that people are starting to say, "Hey, let's try some of this with all kids!"
     
  9. MathJourney

    MathJourney Rookie

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    To a certain extent I agree to another extent I disagree.

    I agree with the part of having higher expectations for children who are typically expected to under perform. I personally think it is reprehensible to believe that because of a student's socio-economic status something less than exceptional should be expected of them.

    The part of me that disagrees is the part of me who grew up in a gifted program from elementary to junior high and then was mainstreamed into regular high school--be it at an advanced level.

    In the gifted program, everything was about self-motivation and versatility in learning.

    So for example, I remember at the beginning of the school year we all had to write goals for ourselves. The teacher would review our goals to ensure they were achievable. The tendency for most of us was to try to do more than was possible.

    In terms of versatility, we were largely asked to choose what to learn regarding a subject. So for example, the teacher may discuss the general concept of a play. We were then asked to read a play, research the play and do a report on it. Again, most of us had a tendency to do the most challenging project possible. I personally chose to read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

    When I started high school everything changed. I remember being a Freshman in biology with students who were as old as Seniors. It was really a drag. My peers would talk all throughout class or pass notes. Meanwhile, I was trying hard to listen to the teacher or study sections through the madness. The teacher was really, really overly concerned with unnecessary detail in terms of our assignments which were highly structured.

    Never having a structure imposed upon me it was tough to deal with at first but I adjusted. Also, it was not all that bad. We were assigned seats based on our last name; I lucked out and sat next to two really attractive juniors. One girl in particular nicknamed, "Kevin Arnold," the kid in Wonder Years, because she said I looked like him. So that was pretty cool.

    By Sophomore year I was in AP classes, so luckily I was back to a more familiar learning environment. I clearly remember a girl, who was in regular classes, walking into our class and making the comment, "Wow, you are all quite." For her it was completely strange we would be studying on our own instead of talking.

    The point I'm making through my experience is that typically gifted students thrive when there is little structure. The tendency for a gifted student is to seek out challenge. Too much structure is confining for a gifted student, especially when they feel the structure is slowing them down and they know they can achieve better results their own way.

    However from my experience, regular students need structure. Without structure they have difficulty learning; instead, they will use the lack of structure as permission to talk and otherwise play. Everything has to be written out for them step by step. Regular students may know the beginning and the end but without a map they will not figure out how to make it to the end.

    That is just my experience.

    So for these students I would have high expectations, but I would have very structured approach to reaching the better than expected goals.
     
  10. Blue

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    I worked with at risk high school kids for nine years. I can understand how a relevant education can change these kids. When we provided them with a job -- they excelled. There is so much we don't know about learning, teaching, and kids.
     
  11. KinderCowgirl

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    Right after I went through my first GT training I came back to my "regular" classroom and implemented all those ideas. My colleagues thought I was crazy. But let me tell you-those kids rose to the expectations.

    Thanks for sharing the article TG. I forwarded it to my P because our school has a separate program and they are always talking about doing things with just those kids (part of justifying the program) but she is always saying everyone should be included and have that rigor in their curriculum.
     
  12. KinderCowgirl

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    Not all programs use straight IQ scores. It may have been based on different testing.
     
  13. MissCeliaB

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    I'd have trouble doing this because so many of my general level students are missing so many basic skills they would need to do the types of activities my gifties know how to do. We move very quickly, and in a very unstructured way in gifted classes. General students just need more structure and support. For example, with my gifties, when we start writing essays, they already know how to write an essay, and we're really just fine tuning. In general classes, I have to go step by step with them through the entire thing each time we write essays. Some of them have trouble with paragraphs, or even sentences still. That doesn't mean I don't have high expectations, and use project-based learning, and groups, and all those wonderful strategies, but they look different in a general level class.

    It's the same thing with ESL. When I took ESL classes, the strategies they were telling me to use were the same strategies I was learning in all of my other classes. It just had a different label or some tiny different twist.
     
  14. holliday

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    I saw this article a few days ago and made my student teacher read it (she is not sure she'll wind up teaching gifted after she's done student teaching...and I thought it was inspiring for her to see that she can still use many of the strategies she's learning with me even if she winds up working in regular ed.).

    Anyway, they don't go into much detail about WHICH strategies they are using, but I definitely agree that much of what we do as gifted teachers is usable in regular ed. - just as much of what teachers who work with the other end of special ed. is usable.

    What makes gifted education different (and probably always will) is that it's not just about strategies for delivering material and asking questions. It's also about accelerating, compacting curriculum, and pacing. Many general education students would be lost in the gifted classroom because we move so quickly through the content, often skipping things that those students need.

    So, I think it's awesome that teachers are pulling ideas from gifted education and using them in regular classes. Kids at all levels can do so much more than we typically ask of them. Raising standards and rigor across the board is a huge step in the right direction (ESPECIALLY if it gets more kids/teachers away from the heavy hand of standardization in favor of more open-ended, inquiry based kinds of learning!!).
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    The article mentioned this:

    The authors are saying that one of the benefits was an increase in identification of kids as gifted both academically and intellectually. Typically, "intellectually" refers to IQ. Is there another way you've seen intelligence measured?
     
  16. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Reading holliday's post, I also agree that, while adding components of gifted-type instruction may be helpful, research is pretty clear about other things at-risk/struggling students need, such as direct instruction. It would be really interesting to see a teacher use direct instruction with basic skills and areas of skill deficit, but incorporate some of the gifted-components such as self-directed learning and project-based learning into the classroom. I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on some other components typically found in gifted education that would be helpful in regular ed...
     
  17. KinderCowgirl

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    Well I think using multiple intelligences would be helpful-all kids learn in so many different ways. We use Kaplan's depth and complexity and I did that with my regular/at-risk kids all the time. Seeing things from other perspectives, ethics, patterns across the curriculum. Using a universal concept like "change" or "conflict" that you identify in everything throughout the year. You can discuss those things in whole group and then have differentiated work for them in the small group instruction and target their needs directly.

    I also think they benefit from being able to apply knowledge in different ways with advanced level products-writing a song, doing an interview, a play, etc. It lets them really show what they are learning, but is also so much more fun!
     
  18. Rockguykev

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    So, does this really point out how poorly we teach our at-risk kids or how poorly we teach our gifted kids?

    The fact that gifted ed so frequently translates into "higher expectations" is ridiculous. Gifted kids are different not because they are high achievers but because their brains fuction differently.
     
  19. KinderCowgirl

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    I think it's how poorly we teach our at-risk kids.

    I read an article once years ago about a study they did between an honors class and what was considered the lowest-level class in the same school and they found the same lessons taught and graded with completely different expectations. The lower kids' work was assigned and graded as "well, this is all they are capable of". The researchers thought this affects the students-if I can give you "C" work without really trying, then why try.

    I just think it's all very interesting.
     
  20. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    My cousin is an English professor at a major university, and one that puts a heavy emphasis on football. One of her first years there, she had one particular football player. When he turned in his first paper, she was horrified, graded the paper like she would any other student, and gave him back his paper with more red ink than black, and a big, fat, zero for a grade. A little while later, he turned in his second paper. My cousin was absolutely convinced he cheated. The second paper seemed to have been written by an entirely different person. The vocabulary was more mature, the grammar was correct and the analysis of the literature in question was deep and insightful. She called him into her office and confronted him. He insisted he wrote the paper himself and to prove it, engaged her in a discussion of his sources, the technical points of his analysis, and further opinions on the topic. My cousin was shocked beyond words (and this is a woman who makes me look like an unopinionated wuss). She asked the young athlete "if you can write like this, why did you turn in the garbage you did for the first paper?" His response? That no teacher had ever insisted that he turn in quality work. Since he never had to, he never did. Football, parties and girls were far more important than putting in effort for a teacher who wouldn't care either way.

    That young man eventually changed his major and became one of my cousin's best students. All because one teacher insisted that he work at the same level expected out of anybody else.

    To say I could be less surprised at the article in the OP would be an understatement.
     
  21. EdEd

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    That's a pretty cool story!
     

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