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Please forward this error screen to sharedip-10718044127. Editor’s note: Carolyn Coil is a speaker, educator and author. She works with teachers, administrators, parents and students, offering strategies for raising achievement, developing creative and critical thinking skills, motivating underachievers, differentiating curriculum and assessing student performance. American educators have struggled for more than 40 years to define giftedness. Yet even now, there is no universally agreed upon definition of what it means to be gifted. Beyond that definition, there are no specific national criteria for identifying gifted and talented students nor does federal law provide funding or mandates for identification of these students or programming for them. This definition is left to the states.
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The result has been a wide variety of state definitions and methods for the identification of gifted children. Some states have specific definitions for giftedness, while others have none. Some states require programs for gifted students, while others do not. In other words, the availability of programs and services for gifted students depends for the most part on where a student lives and what state, school district or school he or she is in. These varying perspectives have led to much misinformation about gifted students and what programs for gifted students should look like.
1: Intelligence is inherited and does not change. Gifted students, therefore, do not need any special services. All of us do inherit certain traits, intelligences and talents. But these need to be developed and nurtured throughout life for them to grow and reach their full potential. A beautiful flower inherits certain traits. But if it is not watered and fed and if it does not get the right amount of sunlight, it does not develop as it could.
The same is true for gifted children. 2: Giftedness can easily be measured by intelligence tests and tests of achievement. This is why schools and school districts try so many different ways to identify gifted students. Tests are often culturally biased and may reflect ethnicity, socioeconomic status, exposure and experiences rather than true giftedness.
Other children may be gifted but are not good at taking tests. They may not score well on standardized tests but may be gifted, especially in creative and productive thinking. 3: There is no need to identify gifted students in the early grades. Many school districts do not begin identifying gifted and talented students until third grade. There is a belief among some educators that giftedness cannot be properly identified in the early grades.
However, the National Association for Gifted Children programming standards start with pre-kindergarten. But like all other kids, gifted children come in many varieties. Some are successful in sports or music, and some are physically attractive. Some have many friends, while others have only a few. Some are extreme extroverts, while others are introverts. There is no one type of person or personality we can pinpoint as gifted.
This statement reflects another stereotype about gifted students. Some gifted children are model students. They are compliant, follow directions, never misbehave and make straight A’s. But many others challenge teachers, do their own thing instead of the assigned work, procrastinate until the last minute when doing long-range assignments, get low grades, are disorganized and have poor study skills. 6: All gifted students work up to their potential. Most schools have their share of gifted underachievers.
These students have the potential for excellence but – for a variety of reasons – do not fulfill that potential. Gifted underachievers may decide they will only do the minimum requirements and choose the easy work instead of more challenging tasks. They often lack study and organizational skills because in the early grades they don’t need to develop them. 7: Teaching gifted students is easy.
Some believe that a good teacher can easily teach any student. If this were the case, good teaching with no special training would be all that is needed to teach gifted students. However, in my many years of teaching graduate-level courses in gifted education, I have found that good teachers add to their skills and learn new strategies and techniques targeted particularly to meeting the needs of the gifted. 8: Gifted students will get by on their own without any special help from the school. I hear this myth often, especially in times of budget cutting. Some people claim that gifted students come from wealthy families who can meet their children’s needs.
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Others assert that the expense of providing gifted programs cannot be justified. In general, the assumption is that gifted students will succeed regardless of the quality of the education they receive. 9: It never hurts gifted students to teach others what they already know. If gifted students already know the grade-level standards, it may seem logical to have them teach others.
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It assumes that teaching struggling students is something gifted kids innately know how to do. Most gifted students do not know how to tutor others. They often are frustrated that struggling students don’t understand what they perceive as easy. If all kids are gifted, then there is no need to identify gifted students and no need for any special programs for gifted. I strongly believe that all children have distinctive and unique qualities that make each one valuable. This does not mean, however, that all children are gifted. Being identified as gifted simply means that certain children have needs that are different from most others at their age and grade level.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carolyn Coil. I know we all like to believe that we are special, unique, smart in our own way, always somehow a step above the “other guy”. But let’s face it: we can’t all be gifted. In order for some people to be gifted, others have to be average or below average.
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Outside of that, who cares if one is gifted if they don’t apply themselves? Furthermore, once again returning to our belief that we are all unique individuals, that doesn’t mean that we all deserve to have life tailored especially for us. The teachers do not exist to cater to each students unique “needs”. There needs to be a certain amount of cooperation, meeting in the middle.
If the students don’t want to put in the effort, why should the teachers? The students’ success is dependent largely on them and how they choose to treat their education. I believe the majority of students who are identified as “gifted” in the early academic years are products of good households: two parents who are educated, parents who often read to them, and parents who encourage growth and learning on a daily basis. A kid from that background has a huge advantage on the first day of school compared to some kid who can’t even spell their own name because their parents were too lazy to teach it to them.
I was identified as a “gifted” child as a toddler. My parents were emotionally and physically abusive people with nothing higher than a high school diploma. I wasn’t tested for a gifted program until after my parents were divorced. My parents definitely did not read to me every night and were not the ideal parents by any means. Your beliefs on “gifted” children are highly flawed.
You would do well to consult a dictionary on the meaning of the work “majority. There is no hard rule on these things and perhaps you are the reason why. The point of my post was in the majority of cases, what is called “gifted” is in reality nothing more than a child who is a product of a strong, educated, supportive household. Kids who come from hard backgrounds, like yours, may be already too far behind and can never get caught up emotionally or learnedly in school. Gifted education is not a joke in my district, but it has problems and the identification process leaves much to be desired. My son was tested in the second grade and missed the cutoff in spite of adding columns of 3 digit numbers in his head for fun. He took a standardized IQ test, and based on this was accepted into the gifted program.
However it appears that many that enter the program are more likely overachievers than gifted. I was bored with school from an early age, actually identified as ‘slow’ in math, and got into trouble frequently I eventually dropped out, got my GED and started college a little early. I eventually obtained a graduate degree in physics. I ended up OK, but I missed out socially and academically due to my inappropriate education. Even with the flaws in his gifted program, my son is far better off. I was sure my child was gifted and her teachers did not seem think she had special talents.
chanchala.singh.58 3 years ago
I took her out of school at the age of 8, midway through 2nd grade, and gave her an academically rigorous, secular home education,custom tailored to her interests and abilities. At 12 she went back to public school and did two years of middle school. She learned a lot about social drama and helped the teachers teach the other students. One size fits all education does not work, especially with gifted students. They need to be allowed to work at their level. Whenever possible, parents need to step in and help their child get what they need. The government can’t do this for you.
After reading the article and some of the comments I have concluded that much of our school system and many of its administrators lack giftedness let alone wisdom. Every single person on here is either “gifted” or has a “gifted” kid. His maturity wasn’t up there yet to advance him into another grade. He hated school never wanted to go. Kids teased him teachers expected the most out him and thus he dropped out if school at 15 because of being teased as a brown noser teachers petblah blah blah. You are the only one that can help your child. You know him better than anyone and will figure it out.
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Trust your instincts and don’t give up on him. Relatively, the difference in IQ from a gifted child to an average citizen is more than the difference between the average citizen and a mentally disabled person. Must get frustrating to live in a world filled with idiots. As a ‘gifted’ student, I can tell you from experience that more often than not I was the object of the teacher’s ire. I always read ahead in first grade because I read at a fifth grade level. Many gifted kids are scolded for their advanced abilities because they’re not “following the herd”. Actually Donna, this statistical information you gave iis completely untrue.
You should familiarize yourself with a bell curve. Not True, you’re missing what donna posted. She didn’t post a percentage of population, but the point difference in IQ between a gifted person, an average person and a challenged person. I can tell you this is frustrating. I tested as gifted as a child, IQ of 135.
The average IQ is 100 in the US. As an example Forrest Gump was a 76 according to the book. Most gifted programs in public schools are a joke. Only in the ‘highly gifted’ programs do you see actual gifted kids. My daughter was a precocious reader, not necessarily ‘gifted’ but she was reading at a 2nd grade level entering kindergarten.
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A long time public school teacher in our district told us that public school was not an option for our child, not even if she got into a ‘gifted’ program. I certainly identify with the article. I was placed in GT early in elementary school and it was worthless. It’s deplorable that the system does not care to properly teach GT students. THE SOLUTION- Contact other GT parents in your district and conspire to have all GT students fail the standardized tests.
Believe me, filling in endless bubbles is like pulling teeth for those ‘ahead of the curve’. This would throw a monkey wrench into the entire standardized testing system rendering the results absolutely useless. Districts and schools then have some serious explaining to do when asked why NONE of their GT students tested as proficient. 1 is extremely gifted, one is bright and academically ahead but average and the last is a typical toddler. The gifted child has been my biggest struggle in school because he is so quiet and well behaved his teachers basically ignored his academic needs. 0 of the kids I went to school with did well as adults. The people who were in the middle all came out on top.