The term "gifted"

Discussion in 'General Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Do you think the term "gifted" is thrown around too much in education? The G/T specialist at my school, who is very experienced, said that very few students are actually gifted. She said that only 1 student in our entire district is truly "gifted."

    It seems as though any child who is advanced for their age is considered to be "gifted." Do other schools use a different word to describe advanced children?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    In grade 3, all of our students complete a "gifted screening". Those who reach a certain standard, undergo more comprehensive testing. Our "cut-of" for identification is overall scores on the standardized testing administered by our psychologist above the 98th percentile (I believe, although it could be a little higher). Our gifted programs begin in grade 4 and students do not attend their home school; gifted programs are centralized because of the small number of students. Our "high achievers" are simply that, and the classroom teacher is expected to provide appropriate programming for all of their students.
     
  4. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

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    Different states (and sometimes, districts) have different definitions of gifted, so it really does vary. So, it can be used to describe students who are advanced, or are simply "good little students" who try hard and succeed, but are not actually gifted (having an IQ three or more standard deviations above the mean and also having some of the characteristics of gifted learners). This can also go the other way, too. Some students who truly are gifted may not be recognized as such because they don't care about doing well in school for one reason or another.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    We don't really use the word. Our program is called 'enrichment'.
     
  6. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    The school I worked at last year had a gifted program. It was mostly based on test scores and teacher recommendations. I must admit that several students if not most of them, were not truly gifted, but they all worked very hard and had an unbelievable dedication that sometimes they scored better than some the truly gifted students.

    Interesting enough, the two students who were truly gifted had emotional issues. One of them was known to get in trouble quite frequently and the other one had anxiety issues that prevented him from getting good grades as he would get overwhelmed with all the work required.
     
  7. bros

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    This is what I was going to say
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Many of our gifted students have a dual identification--Giftedness along with a Learning Disability, ADHD or an anxiety disorder. Teachers are often surprised when certain students aren't gifted under our criteria and when others are; it very, very often is not the high-achieving "A" students.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that words on both ends of the spectrum are thrown around far too much.

    Apparently ther are no more average kids anymore.
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

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    I often think high achievers are lumped in with the GT students. But I don't think that's necessarily harmful. If a child is working above the level of the other students in the class, I think a teacher should make accomodations for them, but not all do. If they are labeled GT, at least in our district, the teacher is supposed to have different activities included in their plans for them.

    Many truly gifted kids are odd in their personalities-whether that comes through as emotional issues or in other ways. I've also heard teachers say that child is not gifted, simply because they come with another issue-it's just simply not true. There is a lot of literature on underachievement in GT kids.

    I also believe there are different ways to be gifted-whether it's an innate creativity or innate ability with spatial reasoning-not all of them are "gifted" in all areas.
     
  11. TeacherApr

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    Just because a child has A's on their report card doesn't mean they are gifted.
    We have a screening for our students to see if they are gifted. However, we have no gifted program. We have had 3 gifted students in the past 3 years where there was no curriculum nor a specialist to challenge them. They ended up moving and I was thankful because they really did need to be in a school specifically with a gifted program.
     
  12. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    In my opinion, a student with outstanding grades probably is not gifted. My top student this year is bright, aces every test, but that's mainly due to the fact that she has an attention span considerably longer than most kids her age, an incredible work ethic, and knows exactly when to ask for help.
     
  13. Reality Check

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    Yes, I agree that the term is misused and abused.

    If a kid is left alone in an empty room for an hour and you find after that hour has passed that he/she has somehow managed to split an atom in that empty room, THEN they are gifted!
     
  14. mrachelle87

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    I have a gifted ed background. If you go by IQ, most gifted students have other issues. When I taught gifted, they were the most challenging students I ever taught. It was mentally draining to have them in class. Most truly gifted children I worked with had social issues. They did not do well in artist or creative activities. They hated things that weren't black and white. I got out of gifted education after dealing with students that tried to commit suicide because life was not so black and white. When I had a student succeed, I knew that this was not the job for me. Parents want their kids to be gifted; but if you truly research some of the greatest minds we have seen, it is not a life I want for my child.

    BUT SAYING ALL OF THAT>>>I would never give up the experience. I loved working with kids that challenged me in so many ways. It was just a job that took a lot out of me mentally. :dizzy:
     
  15. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Pure statistics suggests it's misused. A standard cutoff score of 130 would eliminate 98 students of 100. The gifted programs I've seen have often easily had 10 or 12 students in a 60-student grade. Moreover, a very typical justification for keeping kids out of a program is that they're not mature enough, would be too much of a distraction, or that they're not already getting top grades (it seems most here realize the fallacy in that).
     
  16. TeachingHistory

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    It is thrown around a lot. When I was in elementary school I was considered "gifted" after being tested twice. The only reason I wanted to be in the program when I was little was because my sister was in it. I know I am not truly gifted in the literal sense of the term. I think I knew it back then. I was smart, read way above my level, could think fast, and I'm pretty sure my mom pushed to get me in. By high school, I didn't even want to be part of the program. Most of the kids in the program were really smart and could achieve the most with doing the least amount of work.
     
  17. holliday

    holliday Comrade

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    In my state, gifted falls under special education, so testing is required before admittance. I teach 6th grade gifted language arts (in a middle school) and my students go to regular ed classes the rest of the day. I find that I have mostly well-adjusted kids (although I definitely have some underachievers).

    In my state, the term is not overused, since the testing keeps teachers/parents from tossing the label around willy nilly. Either a child qualifies (2-3 standard deviations above the norm) or he doesn't. Qualifying results in an IEP and special education services.

    I'm not as familiar with how "gifted" works in other states (although I started a thread about it maybe a month ago) so I can only really speak for New Mexico. I was in the gifted program back when I was a student in Louisiana, but I don't really remember the details of how the program was set up.

    I do believe that truly gifted people exist and should have the opportunities to be challenged and stimulated, so that they (and society) can benefit from those gifts. It saddens me when I see evidence of anti-intellectual bias that some people suffer from...why is it so threatening for some people to acknowledge that some people's brains are capable of operating on a higher level? These same people often have no gripe or argument about athletically gifted people. We seem to understand that not all bodies are cut out for gold medals, but when it comes to intellectual capacity, it's elitist to admit that some people can out-think the rest of us.

    In my opinion, gifted students are a national treasure. We shoot ourselves in the foot by denying our brightest children a meaningful education - and by meaningful, I DON'T mean sitting in the back of an overcrowded classroom, being ignored by a well-meaning but overworked teacher who has not been given the time and tools for effective differentiation.

    *LOL - I guess this is my area of passion! Sorry to rant! :)
     
  18. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

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    I totally agree! I love working with gifted students, and it frustrates me that so many others see programs for these students as a "luxury."
     
  19. YoungTeacherGuy

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    I currently teach 2nd grade (regular ed). Anyway, as a former 2nd grade GATE teacher I can definitely say that most of the students who entered my classroom were extremely bright but few were truly "gifted." I always thought that my class should've been called "2nd Grade--Advanced" rather than "2nd Grade--GATE".
     
  20. TiffanyL

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    My 4th grader is suspected to be gifted (I have not had her formally tested). It poses a problem for her in many ways because she does not fit into the square box that "good students" are expected to fit into.

    Give her a humanities subject, one in which she feels that she can change the world, and she will be the highest scoring in the class. Expect her to care whether or not her math quiz is higher than the kid next to her....not a big deal to her so her effort will be quite low.

    My husband and I have to coach her DAILY, helping her to understand that responsibilities and schooling will always be there. She will always have to prioritize, even if something is not interesting to her.

    She spends her time creating, creating, creating. Last week, it was an entire New York community made completely out of paper (she has never been to New York), complete with the Twin Towers (she is passionate about the aftermath of 9/11).

    Anyway, gifted students are soooo different than the general population. And it is certainly not always easy, especially being a gifted kid living amid the big emphasis on standardized testing.
     
  21. EdEd

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    This is the second time recently that the gifted conversation has come up on this forum, and its been really interesting to read people's experiences with this population. I'm curious though - there is a lot of mention of being "truly gifted" - some people have operationalized this to mean IQ above 130, but I haven't heard many others mention specific criteria for what they would consider to be "truly" gifted - is everyone referring to just IQ being higher? I do realize that there are often social/emotional issues that people are referring to that come with the experience of having a high IQ, but since many kids with high IQs who qualify for gifted do not have these issues, the presence of these issues can't be considered a prerequisite for being "truly" gifted.

    Does anyone out there have specific criteria beyond a high IQ in their understanding of what it means to be "truly gifted?" If so, how have you experienced these criteria being operationally defined and measured?
     
  22. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Interesting... in my district, an IQ above 130 gets you into gifted. I was in the gifted program as a child. As someone else stated, I read fast and had excellent comprehension and demonstrated creative thinking skills. But I stunk at math - not because I'm inherently bad at math (all aptitude tests have shown I'm actually better in geometry than anything else... and I failed geometry twice in high school) but because I have math-phobia. I was extremely lazy and rarely did homework. I got good grades. Am I truly gifted? I don't feel that way.

    I look at some people I went to school with and my brother - people whose intelligence and innate critical and creative thinking skills were so far above mine I feel silly being lumped with them. I've had kids in my elective class who are in gifted and so obviously have "it" - whatever the definition is we're looking for - and others labeled gifted who just... don't.

    It goes beyond sheer intelligence - they're quirky, interesting, passionate, quiet, loud, funny little souls. It is just too hard to define.
     
  23. KinderCowgirl

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    Chebrutta-I completely agree with that definition! :thumb: Many teachers just don't "get" GT kids. It can be really frustrating to work with that population and especially frustrating because most teachers assume it's easier because they are so bright. "What are you complaining about, you have the smart kids!" ;).

    We test kids in the spring of their Pre-K year with the WIATT-II and the Woodcock Johnson and there's a formula that's calculated in with their age to see if they qualify. In Kinder they take the NNAT (which is a non-verbal spatial relationship test) and the Stanford-those scores hold the most weight but the evaluations that both the teacher and parent fill out ask about: leadership skills, emotional-ness, critical thinking, curiosity, etc. They also take the NNAT in again 5th Grade so they can be identified before entering middle school.
     
  24. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I guess one of the reasons I posted my thoughts about the definition is this: In this thread and the previous thread, there seemed to be a lot of folks who have worked with gifted kids, parented gifted kids, or even had been labeled gifted themselves at some point who feel strongly that many people don't "get" gifted kids, meaning that they feel others don't understand what it truly means to be gifted, or to experience giftedness. I think one thing that might be helpful in educating others about such experiences is to think of language, test scores, specific behaviors, etc. that gifted kids express/experience. If you can convey a precise definition, others may start to "get" these kids more.

    Right now, the only operational definition that all gifted kids meet is an IQ over 130. There have been some other traits thrown out, but they are not prerequisites for being gifted. In addition, the research is not clear that simply by having a high IQ, that negative behavioral, social, and/or emotional experiences are experienced. See this excerpt from an abstract of a study in Psychology in the Schools that was posted by another forum-goer in the past thread:



    This article, and other research, definitely suggest that gifted kids can experience problems. However, it seems to suggest that these difficulties stem not from inherent problems with the kids themselves, but with environments that are unsupportive in one way or another.

    Also, the National Association for Gifted Children sets forth the following definition:


    This definition certainly broadens the concept of giftedness beyond IQ, but I'm wondering if any states/districts operationalize such as "creative" or "artistic?" Does anyone work in a district where "artistic aptitude" is measured is any way other than discussion in a meeting or other informal means?

    My main point with this post is to encourage people to see now only how but why giftedness may be not be understood by others unfamiliar with kids in the category, and to perhaps encourage some discussion that leads to a better understanding of how to communicate what exactly a gifted child is without saying that people just don't "get" them. For example, you were trying to learn more about Autism, I would be able to list a variety of assessment instruments and corresponding scores on those instruments that would provide evidence that a child had Autism. I would also list common behaviors, and ways to measure those. These behaviors would be linked by research studies to show that such behaviors were experienced independent of environmental conditions - in other words, kids aren't Autistic because of their environments, but because of an internal process. The only internal process identified so far for giftedness is high IQ, and expanded to positive traits such as artistic, creative, and leadership abilities. This paints a very positive picture, unless the child finds himself/herself in an unsupportive environment. However, all kids who find themselves in highly mismatched and unsupportive environments can experience a range of difficulties.

    Thoughts?
     
  25. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Well, one thought this prompts is that you, EdEd, tend to like the empirical. I get that. But some things are more closely related to flexibility than to structure.

    So, for example: When I was in high school I qualified for the national championship tournament in debate twice. The first time, I was at a public school that was your basic school. It had a gifted program, though, and they used money from that pool to send my coach and me to the tournament.

    The second time I qualified I was at a school for math and science. I was still "gifted" whatever you choose to mean by that. But this time my particular gifts didn't fit into the school's priorities. They refused to allocate any money so I could not go.

    Obviously: still bitter!

    But my point is that sometimes these categories are best left amorphous. At a school that made little attempt to codify "gifted," I got what I needed. At a school where the parameters of "gifted" had a great deal more definitional force, they had no interest in my particular needs.
     
  26. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I attended a training for gifted students and we read a book title "Once Upon a Mind" by James R. Delisle. In this book, it indicates that most schools identify gifted students just by high IQ's but parent and teachers observations should also matter as much, if not even more, than the IQ score.
     
  27. EdEd

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    Hey Katherine - I do like numbers :). I also appreciate what I sense is your value that each child is different, and that we should be responsive to those differences - even qualitative, non-empirical ones. But, I would consider my responses/questions above not to be so much empirical as specific. One of the most important components of helping any child academically or behaviorally is being specific about what difficulties they encounter, what skill they lack, and what interventions they need. In addition, one big issue folks have brought up is that gifted kids aren't "protected" and they don't "have access" to certain privileges. In the domains of legal protection in education, having specific criteria can help guarantee that children who meet that criteria are protected. Also, developing a shared language about what we mean when we say "gifted" can be helpful in communicating with each other, with parents, and with other educators about the importance of issues that some children face. If we continue to say that others just don't "get' these kids, we don't move any closer to a shared understanding of how to help, or even who it is that we're talking about helping in the first place.

    Also, I wasn't at either of your schools you mentioned obviously, but my sense is that it had less to do with how they defined gifted, and more to do with the values behind you and what you needed, which is quite unfortunate!
     
  28. holliday

    holliday Comrade

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    Maybe this will be helpful. Here's an excerpt from NAGC's website about what "gifted" means (there's not really one universal definition, hence the ambiguity):

    The quick response is that there is, as yet, no universally agreed upon answer to this question. Giftedness, intelligence, and talent are fluid concepts and may look different in different contexts and cultures. Even within schools you will find a range of personal beliefs about the word "gifted," which has become a term with multiple meanings and much nuance.

    NAGC does not subscribe to any one theory of the nature of human abilities or their origins. We assert that there are children who demonstrate high performance, or who have the potential to do so, and that we have a responsibility to provide optimal educational experiences for talents to flourish in as many children as possible, for the benefit of the individual and the community.


    Current Definitions

    Although interpretations of the word "gifted" seem limitless, there are a handful of foundational definitions that may be categorized from conservative (related to demonstrated high IQ) to liberal (a broadened conception that includes multiple criteria that might not be measured through an IQ test).

    National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
    Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).

    The development of ability or talent is a lifelong process. It can be evident in young children as exceptional performance on tests and/or other measures of ability or as a rapid rate of learning, compared to other students of the same age, or in actual achievement in a domain. As individuals mature through childhood to adolescence, however, achievement and high levels of motivation in the domain become the primary characteristics of their giftedness. Various factors can either enhance or inhibit the development and expression of abilities. To read the NAGC position paper, Redefining Giftedness for a New Century: Shifting the Paradigm click here.

    A person's giftedness should not be confused with the means by which giftedness is observed or assessed. Parent, teacher, or student recommendations, a high mark on an examination, or a high IQ score are not giftedness; they may be a signal that giftedness exists. Some of these indices of giftedness are more sensitive than others to differences in the person's environment.


    The Javits Act (1988)
    This definition is taken from the Javits Act, which provides grants for education programs serving bright children from low-income families:
    "The term gifted and talented student means children and youths who give evidence of higher performance capability in such areas as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the schools in order to develop such capabilities fully."


    US Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) (1993)
    In the report titled National Excellence and Developing Talent, the term "gifted" was dropped. This definition uses the term "outstanding talent" and concludes with the sentence:
    "Outstanding talents are present in children and youth from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor."


    Other Definitions from the Field

    Columbus Group: "Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally."

    Gagné: Gagné proposes a clear distinction between giftedness and talent. In his model, the term giftedness designates the possession and use of untrained and spontaneously expressed natural abilities (called aptitudes or gifts) in at least one ability domain to a degree that places a child among the top 10% of his or her age peers. By contrast, the term talent designates the superior mastery of systematically developed abilities (or skills) and knowledge in at least one field of human activity to a degree that places a child's achievement within the upper 10% of age-peers who are active in that field or fields. His model presents five aptitude domains: intellectual, creative, socioaffective, sensorimotor and "others" (e.g. extrasensory perception). These natural abilities, which have a clear genetic substratum, can be observed in every task children are confronted with in the course of their schooling. (Gagné, F., 1985)

    Renzulli: Gifted behavior occurs when there is an interaction among three basic clusters of human traits: above-average general and/or specific abilities, high levels of task commitment (motivation), and high levels of creativity. Gifted and talented children are those who possess or are capable of developing this composite of traits and applying them to any potentially valuable area of human performance. As noted in the Schoolwide Enrichment Model, gifted behaviors can be found "in certain people (not all people), at certain times (not all the time), and under certain circumstances (not all circumstances)."


    A Brief History of Giftedness


    Although people with exceptional ability have been celebrated across the ages, the use of the word "gifted" in an educational sense is relatively recent. In the late 1800s, Dr. William T. Harris, Superintendent of Schools in St. Louis, discussed a plan for the acceleration of gifted students so they would have more challenging work and not fall under the spell of laziness.

    By the early part of the 20th century publications such as "Classes For Gifted Children: An experimental study of method and instruction" (Whipple, G. M., 1919) and "Classroom Problems in the Education of Gifted Children" (Henry, T.S., 1920) used the term "gifted" to describe students who are able to work through the curriculum faster, and whose work is measurably different from that of average students. Then, in 1921, Lewis Terman began his famous study of genius. He believed that nurturing academically exceptional children was essential for our country's future. He used the term "genius" in the title of his book, but later referred to the subjects in his study as "gifted," which established that label in our educational vocabulary.
     
  29. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Thanks holliday! So, do folks see this lack of an agreed-upon decision as something that is helpful, hurtful, or neutral? Given that many here think kids who are gifted aren't protected or given the services they need, would further attempts to define this group be helpful? Or, should we approach "gifted" as a diverse, heterogeneous group that can't be defined, and move toward a system where all kids - regardless of label - receive the services they need? In the case of the latter, if there is no agreed upon definition, and perhaps no set rules for inclusion in the group, what do others find helpful in maintaining the term "gifted?"
     
  30. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Ed, "specific" makes sense to me as a way to see your quest for definition, but what worries me is that idea that once we can agree on specifics we rule *out* other things.

    So I'm happy to see Holliday's document, because its ambiguity is exactly what I like about these terms.

    And does it matter if it's "gifted" or something else? Ultimately, words only have the meanings we give them. So if we create a definition for gifted and it lacks something, folks will invent a new term to cover what's missing.

    For me, all of this is much more process-oriented than outcome-oriented. So I'm not very concerned about definitions but I've been following this discussion carefully when it focuses on actual students and what they think, feel, and experience.
     
  31. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Can you come teach at my eldest son's school? This is the child who reads authors such as Victor Hugo and Leo Tolstoy and has taught himself some basic abstract algebra because he got bored and started reading my graduate text books, but who is also earning D's in both English and Math. Oh, and he's 11.
     
  32. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Yeah, mmswm. That's the thing.

    When I was in first grade, I didn't read. I didn't read. I didn't read. Then, one day, I learned to read.

    And that night I read the entire book. The next day my teacher saw what had happened and gave me the second grade book.

    I read it that night. So she gave me the third grade book. It was much longer and I used that for the rest of the year.

    The whole thing was about her flexibility. She (and that entire school, run by a fabulous principle who I love to this day and about whom my parents still talk about 30 years later) just did what I needed whatever that was.

    Victor Hugo is great! Tolstoy I find depressing. As my mother would say (and I mean this about "gifted" too): diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.
     
  33. giftedforlife

    giftedforlife New Member

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    Mar 24, 2011

    Giftedness Characteristics

    There is actually a really great list of gifted characteristics that help make gifted students easier to understand. If you Google Characteristics of Giftedness compiled by Annemarie Roeper you should be able to find it.

    You won't get empirical data to work with there, but you'll see the kinds of things that these children experience every day. Some are rather off-beat, but for these kids they're very real nonetheless.
     
  34. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I definitely agree with you here - that definitions and labels are essentially useless, because if you're truly differentiating a child's educational experience as an educator, you base it off individual traits, skills, preferences, motivations, etc. - exactly how you mentioned your teacher did with the 1st grade book, then 2nd, etc.

    I think this is - in a way - the larger point of my recent posts: that if we're going to talk about "these" kids, let's define who we're talking about. But, in reality, children with IQs above 130 are as diverse a group as kids with IQs below 130. While they may share some similar experiences in terms of not having educational needs met, one may be quite different from another, and that's something that can get lost in conversations that refer to general groups of people without defining the group, or who is a part of it.
     
  35. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    In the UK we have to identify up to 10% of our students as G&T. This is regardless of the overall ability of the kids in the school! So we get each subject to identify the top 10 or so kids in each year group. Then the lists are all put together. Any kid that appears in 5 or more lists for academic subjects is labelled as 'gifted' and child that appears on lists for Phys ed, art, craft (shop) etc is labelled as 'talented'. Then we have to track those kids as they go through school to make sure they get extra opportunities and also exceed their targets for grades! Woe betide us if they don't. But like many on here the staff do not recognise this definition of gifted. Mozart was gifted, there are no Mozarts in my school.
     
  36. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    In our system now, we focus on the struggling kids. If we think a kid can pass the state tests they are kind of left to their own devices. Reading instruction for them might be "go read a book"-in Elementary teachers might meet with those students once a week and all other students daily. Now with budget cuts-our Magnet (gifted) programs were the 1st on the block and I know it was like that in many places. They can save a couple hundred thousand by cutting those programs-so why not.

    When I said teachers don't always "get" GT kids. I think I meant because you can't just put a clearcut label on them. I have students like mm's son-who are clearly gifted in their innate thinking abilities and vocab but on paper an untrained professional or someone just looking at test data might not see that. They are emotional, inquisitive and often quirky-some teachers like the "good" students where you hardly know they are there-that's not most GT kids. I really think it's a hard thing to define in one sentence.
     
  37. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I agree with this. Only, our magnet programs are entirely separate from our gifted programs.

    I spend each summer with gifted students. Some of them struggle academically, some struggle socially, some struggle emotionally, and some don't struggle at all. I love getting to know each one! Over the years, it's been great to see them grow up to be the artists, thinkers, builders, etc. of the world. Yes, they are doctors, teachers, lawyers, and soldiers, but, they are also bar tenders, real estate salespeople, and waitresses. Some of them finish college in three years, some in seven, and some never go to college. They do all bring something unique to the world. It is my job to make sure that wherever they are, they are content, and have the skills they need to succeed.
     
  38. EdEd

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    Alright, so temporarily giving up on the definition angle, for those who believe that kids considered to be gifted aren't receiving appropriate services and aren't well understood, what do you think would be helpful to these kids in becoming better served and more well-understood?
     
  39. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Mar 26, 2011

  40. EdEd

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    Alright, now I've got to go back to the definition thing again with that Mesa list :). First, a shortcut to this list for those curious: click here.

    The characteristics listed under both bright and gifted are characteristics that many learners have, even ones that do not have IQs. For example, here are some characteristics that supposed are found only with gifted kids, not bright kids:

    - has wild, silly ideas
    - enjoys learning
    - prefers adults
    - is highly curious
    - draws inferences
    - is highly self-critical
    - good guesser

    Here are some characteristics found only with bright kids, not gifted kids:

    - enjoys peers
    - grasps the meaning
    - works hard
    - has good ideas
    - is attentive
    - is interested
    - absorbs information
    - is a good memorizer

    Theses characteristics are not exclusive by any means to the identified group. For example, are no kids other than gifted kids curious? Do none of them have wild, silly ideas? None of them draw inferences? None are good guessers? All of these traits describe potential characteristics of learners in any area, including kids with lower IQs. If they weren't, no teacher would ever expect a non-gifted child to be curious, draw inferences, or enjoy learning. They wouldn't even expect "bright" kids to do these things, because - according to the author - they are fundamentally opposite characteristics that how bright students are.

    Beyond this list, I'm curious how the author arrives at the distinction between "bright" and "gifted?" I know the author lists these characteristics, but is the author saying that both are kids with high IQs, but that there are simply learning differences/preferences between the two groups? Is anyone familiar with any research out there confirming the existence of two tightly defined and qualitatively/quantitatively different groups of kids that have the same IQ?

    More broadly - beyond the discussion of this post or thread - it can be dangerous when people publish educational theories and offer them as fact without testing them out, because it can offer misleading information to educators and parents who come to believe that certain things are true because they read it somewhere. I see this happening in a number of areas in education - not just with this author in the link. Another complicating factor: the information in the link may actually make some intuitive sense, so people might find it and say, "Ah, that's exactly what I thought!" However, if there's no support for that theory, it creates false information, and leads to teachers across the country acting on this false information, which ends up hurting kids. There are many things in education that make intuitive sense, but in fact are not true. Many things feel good, but aren't.

    Also, some of these theories are partially - or even mostly - true. For example, I'm sure that someone could point to the "bright vs. gifted" link above and find certain things that are true, and that might have even been confirmed by research. But, everything? How would a parent, after reading this link, start to formulate thoughts about his/her child based on this information? How would you - as an educator - start to think differently about kids in your class after reading this? Many will likely start to think of a few kids they've taught, and start applying the "gifted vs. bright" chart to those kids. They might even make more referrals for gifted placement, or make less, because of that chart.

    Sorry to distract - it seems we might have been moving past the definition question, but when this was brought up, I thought it was important to address.
     
  41. TeacherGroupie

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    Mar 26, 2011

    EdEd, you're quite correct that if you take these characteristics one by one, any one of them can be found to some degree in some high-achieving child as well as in a gifted child.

    And that's where you're getting stuck. These characteristics are continua, not on-off switches: it's not that other kids don't draw inferences, show curiosity, etc., it's that the gifted kid of age X does so in ways that exceed our expectations for age X - and, with some regularity, jaw-droppingly. (A dad I know had taken his daughter outside to paint on the patio with water. The paintings were disappearing very fast that day; the girl wondered why, and the dad explained that the water was evaporating. The girl digested this, then said, "Daddy, let's go paint in the shade." She was four.) What's more, they cluster - not every gifted kid manifests all of them all the time, but most gifted kids manifest a decent subset of them a lot of the time... and at levels that are challenging to differentiate for.
     

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