Welcome to a collection of thoughts, questions and interesting links relating to giftedness ..............
You may also like to check out my website where you will find more information for children, parents and teachers.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's finally here! Gifted Children : Resource for parents and teachers in WA

Just in time for Christmas............ copies of the new Resource Book finally arrived a couple of days ago!!  More information can be found on the website if you are looking for some holiday reading, or getting in early planning for the coming year.

I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season and I will look forward to seeing many of you during next year.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 10, 2010

Are You Gifted? More thoughts on mixed messages

Think for a moment about how you would respond if someone asked you “Are you gifted?”.

Judging by the responses of the many families and teachers I have worked with over the last 10 years the chances are that you would squirm a bit and your answer would probably be a bit evasive. Only about 10% of those who are gifted answer positively with a ‘yes!’

What does this tell your child?

What does it say about how you define giftedness?

Does it communicate that it is OK to be gifted??

I think it would be fair to say that most parents see giftedness as a positive attribute. Yet many are reluctant to talk about it openly, even within their own family. Few talk about the implications, both positive and negative of being different, thinking faster, being more aware.

Sometimes parents have not come to terms with their own giftedness, sometimes they worry that mentioning it will encourage their child to become ‘big headed’ or conceited.  Some worry that mentioning it might make their child ‘feel different’. (The reality is that many gifted children are aware of a sense of difference often from a very young age but can’t put their finger on ‘why’, especially if it is not talked about)

Would we worry in the same way about the possibility of an inflated ego if the child was highly skilled in sport, or music or dance?? Discussing these abilities surely also carries the chance that other children might feel bad if they aren’t as capable.

Being gifted doesn’t make someone ‘better than’ anyone else. They are simply ‘better at’ some things than most other people are going to be.

By not mentioned giftedness, or discouraging your child from mentioning it, you send a confusing message. That being gifted is a good thing and you should be proud of your abilities but don’t let anyone know too much about them….

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

What message do we give gifted children?

Consider for a moment a local school. It is much like other schools you might encounter, with mixed ability classes but this one does have some pull-out opportunities for gifted students (or perhaps for talented students – see a previous post from Aug 30 ).

Now consider another school, also fairly typical of other schools you might find nearby where you live. Classes at this school are also mostly mixed ability groups, with a little more challenge offered to the highest performing students in some subjects. A wide array of co-curricular opportunities are offered after school for students. Many of these involve competition at some point against other schools or teams.

Now think about yet another school. Like the ones already mentioned, it has mixed ability classes. A parent of a child who has been identified as gifted talks to the teacher about her child’s need for greater challenge and complexity to re-engage him in learning. The teacher responds with a well thought out package of work to be completed at home over a number of weeks.

Whether they are aware of it or not, each of these schools is giving a clear message to their gifted students. Although they recognise that their gifted students need something different which is positive, they are communicating the message that it is not important enough or perhaps that it is inconvenient to meet those needs during the school day.

While you think about what message your child might be picking up from the setting they find themselves in, here is one last (local) school to consider. What does a school communicate when the out of class opportunities are held in a building called "The Learning Centre"?? That ‘learning’ happens here, but not in the classroom? (while I first heard about this Learning Centre from a parent, the final comment was made by a student who told me she had figured out why she didnt seem to learn much most of the week)

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