The reality is at least 5% of gifted children fail or drop out of school. P.17This was shocking to me, as I just assumed that the majority of all gifted children loved school. They always wanted to strive to do their best no matter what type of class or subject.
In response to Amy L. I am also very surprised that 5% of gifted students fail or drop out by 17. This is ridiculous to me. We need to figure out how not only to reach these kids in a meaningful manner but also how to show them that they can have a fantastic future. Just because they don't learn the way others learn only means that we as teachers need to support their individual emotional needs in a way that leads them to have success in our school system.
In response to AmyL. and Laura Boyd...I am not surprised at all. As a matter of fact I believe the number could be higher in schools where poverty is the focus. Some the GT students I have had truly want a curriculum with rigor and relevance. They need for us to see passed teaching as the mere absorption of information. Since I teach elementary school, I must be extra mindful of this fact.
In response to AmyL- The statistics really did not shock me as I know many adults that are gifted and they never did finish school. They are brilliant at their jobs and happy with whom they are.
In response to Laura Boyd, I think the dropout rate has very little to do with gifted students learning differently. Unfortunately, we teachers often just bore them to death. Most of my GT students must see meaning and purpose in an assignment before they will complete it. Worksheets and inauthentic writing assignments? "No, thank you. I'll take the zero." It is hard to differentiate in a class of thirty or more students, but if we don't, we lose many of our GT kids. I taught a GT student with so much talent this year. He knows what career he wants, and his writing was insightful - when he wrote. At home and in teacher meetings, I often commented, "--- will be so successful, if we can just get him through high school." Grades did not motivate him. The judge at Truancy Court did not motivate him. Many of my carefully scaffolded assignments were not appropriate for him because he had missed classroom instruction, so I couldn't expect him to synthesize all the pieces. I don't have all the answers, but I know that we must know our students' interests to be able to motivate and educate them.
In response to AmyL et. al. : I too think that more than 5% dropout. It is a disheartening statistic to state the least. I once had a student tell me that he did not like school. He went on to explain that he liked learning, but he did not like school. This was very tough to hear. This students statement lead me to believe that he was "playing school" (complying with societal expectations) rather than actually learning, and had been doing so for a while. I suspect some highly able students decide that playing school is not of any value to them and dropout.
It is amazing how even administrators feel that we as GT teachers have an easy job. I think they feel we walk into the classroom and there are 40 little sponges just eager to soak up information. I think every administrator should teach one semester of GT to really understand the challenges and rewards of working with these kids.
Page 45..."Does the child seek social contact in order to rejuvenate himself, or does he require solitude?" as a way of looking at introvert/extrovert. I liked the teacher section because understanding this concept and applying to grouping of g/t students is smart. I have grouped children in hi/lo, m/f, etc, I did not think about introvert and extrovert in such clear terms. As an introvert to rejuvenate, some group setting send me over the top-and I am not even g/t. While in my teaching of g/t students, I have recognized students going to a book for comfort, I never thought of it for rejuvenating themselves. Interesting, as I allow children with inexhaustible energy to jump on a trampoline, I never thought to say to a g/t student-go read a book and come back to me in 10 minutes. Learn something new everyday!
In response to skippyjohn jones posted on June 6, 2012, 3:57 PM, I, too, like the way the author sums up each main idea and/or chapter and applies these concepts to a classroom situation. We get a view of both the home dynamics *and* the classroom dynamics. Also, differentiating for the G/T identified introverts and extroverts by providing opportunities for extroverts to refuel by social interaction and introverts to refuel in a solitary activity keeps student energy levels high, frustration levels low, and a better emotional balance for all.
In response to Skippyjohn jones posted on June 6, 3:57, I also like the Teacher sections. One of my GT students was totally immerse herself in a book and I too thought it was for comfort. At times it didn't really make sense, but now I understand that it was probably a way for her to rejunvenate herself. This will definitely give me new ways of viewing these children.
I never made the specific connection about how gender impacts GT students. On page 50, the author talks about boys seeing achievement as something external that they achieve through hard work and girls see achievement as intrinsic and part of who they are. I thought this was interesting, and by reading about Emily and Andrew, I understand how gender plays a role in how they respond to their giftedness and perform in school. I also think the comment on page 54 about making sure the classroom and the school do not send a “hidden message” about achievement is important. We need to make sure we are showing GT students that we appreciate their giftedness when they are successful and when they are not successful. When they are not successful, we should reinforce the positive choice they made for taking the risk to try something out of their comfort zone.
In response to KMuske, I am so intrigued by information on how boys and girls learn in different ways. These pages are definitely going to give me a different point of view on how my students learn and feel achievement.
In reply to KMuseke, June 8th, I agree that I never thought about the differences in how gender impacts GT students. I work with the elementary children, so I don't if it shows up as much as it does in the HS. However, I have seen this up close and personal with my own family. My neice's perception and view of achievement is so much different and displayed so differently than her brother's view of himself. Both GT and a year apart.
The gender discussion on pages 50-53 seemed to offer a new perspective to many of us. Mine was the difference between how the child percieved their academic success. The males "as something they had achieved through hard work." The females evidently personalize it more as related to who they are, not something they have done. Fascinating!
When I teach my class of gifted students, I often try to find opportunities and examples of gifted students or gifted adults who for a myriad of reasons don’t do well, or fail at something. Working through difficulties or failures is a necessity for everyone, but especially for the often perfectionist gifted child. They must learn strategies to cope with difficulties and realities of life. Often times, educators and the general population assume that because a child is gifted, then they should breeze through school and don’t require special support or educational modifications. We know that is not the case and underachievement among the gifted population is an issue to consider. For this reason on page 17, the statement about 5% of GT students failing or dropping out of school left me thinking about the loss to the individual person who had potential, but also the loss to society.
In response to PKassir, I agree with this as I know many GT students who as adults have not 'achieved' because when they went to college, they were ill prepared for the challenge of real learning. All children should have the opportunity to have challenges that allow them to deal with failure. It is from failure that we grow to be well rounded adults- risk takers and challenge accepters. I noted that GT students should be able to receive support similar to those on the spectrum.
In response to PKassir, I agree that coping strategies must be used by GT students. They are vital. Coping strategies should be taught both at home and at school.
In response to P Kassir's post of June 10th, I feel that it is important to share with my GT students about other GT students who met with challenges and struggle. One could build self-esteem when they know that they are not alone.
“Gifted children are intense in *all* aspects of their lives.”(p.37) It never occurred to me that in addition to being passionate about learning, these students might have exaggerated mood swings, excessive anxiety, intense sensory input reactions, uncomfortable physiological reactions, a strong affective memory, feelings of being out of control, etc… There have been a few instances when I’ve questioned why a student was identified G/T when his/her work didn’t indicate it. Now I know to look deeper and consider what might be going on emotionally. The example of the perfectionist “shutting down” (p. 35) because the assignment is too open-ended/flexible and he/she doesn’t understand what the teacher expects, could be easily misconstrued by the teacher as inability or obstinacy on the part of the student.
To FMoore’s post on June 10.The example of the perfectionist “shutting down”, because an assignment is too open ended is an interesting insight from the book. I have thought many times that having an open ended activity or even an open ended question on a test would give the freedom to the GT student, so that that they can respond to it in the way that they feel most comfortable and are most creative. I can now see how sometimes having something too open/not enough directions or specific expectations from the teacher can sometimes frustrate the child and therefore make him/her want to “shut down”. My hope is that GT students will push through this issue as they work throughout their time as a student and progressively into the work place.
To FMoore's post: I, too, was surprised when I took a GT class a few years ago that discussed this type of student...it made me realize that those students (particularly ones in my grade level classes) who I assumed to be incorrectly labeled fit into a GT mold just as much as those A students did. I cringe to think of how I just let some of those students fall through the cracks instead of recognizing their giftedness and attempting to address it.
pg. 23 & 34 I was drawn to "Emily". I have not had a student like Emily before. She is both gifted and a high achiever. I was taught in an earlier class the difference between gifted students and high achievers. I assumed (wrongly)that the students that were high achievers were just that because they wanted to please. I have not stepped back to see that these children could also be gifted. A fellow teacher of mine had a student like Emily. She was constantly outdoing everyone else on assignments and expectations. It was to the point that when there was a project the other teacher would tell me "just wait until you see what _____ will turn in". I can see how this can be totally overwhelming and lead to emotional outbursts at home. Trying to be all and do all is not a healthy balance. This would seem very hard for the parents to understand how to cope with the emotional side that she shows at home.
In response to Laura, I have seen students like Emily. It can be tricky because the students in our class would always say something like your fellow teacher did, but in this case it made Emily feel like she always had to out-do her previous assignment. It was a peer AND self inflicted response. We need to nurture "Emily's" drive to perform at her highest potential, but make sure to let kids like her know that it's ok to fail as well.
The whole concept of depression and anxiety associated with gifted kids' personalities was new to me (page 22). the book said that the depression and anxiety-like behaviors that seem to go hand in hand with many gifted children may not be a disorder as much as a natural aspect of the gifted child's personality."
In response to elizabeth h on June 11: I can see where a student would feel pressured (no matter where the pressure comes from) to do well, especially if they always did well and everything came easily to them in the early years of school. Then, as they advance to the next grade level, they may not be as strong in a content area and get frustrated because they may need to study or ask for help. Then, they may have more pressure because they think that everyone expects them to do well. We, as teachers, have to build that trusting relationship with them and be sure we are careful about not adding any additional stress to them with our comments. Even though we may think a comment is a compliment to the student, the student could take it as an expectation that we think they have to do well all the time.
In response to Elizabeth h on June 11-I was surprised also to read about anxiety and depression in gifted children. Many times we expect everything to be easy for them, and we forget how frustrated they can become when everything is not so easy.
To elizabeth h June 11, 2012 I found this passage interesting as well! When I read it at first I was surprised, but really it makes perfect sense. Everyone experiences depression or anxiety from time to time. For gifted students, these emotions are inherent. It's up to educators parents to recognize this and teach them coping strategies.
I teach in a school with all GT students so this book is right up my alley. As I read the information on page 17, about 5% of GT students failing or dropping out of school, I was shocked. After I thought for a few minutes I realized that GT students are just like other kids in the sense that they get overwhelmed. When my gifted students struggle with an activity in class, I try to help them figure things out using problem solving & stepping back to think. This is definitely something to keep in mind.
What was a new thought/idea for you from this reading section? Remember to give the page number(s) as to where this idea was generated.What really was new to me was the statistic on page 17 that at least 5% of gifted students fail or drop out of school..After i got over the shock and started thinking back, i have had at least 1 g/t student each year who either fails science/or was very close to failing..I guess i need to realize they are just like my other students who don't want to do extra homework OR may have little family suppport at home. I need to make sure that i offer them the same support that i offer my other academic students and keep in mind that the g/t students are very much like my academic students...
In response to elizabeth hJune 11, 2012 11:56 AM comment about depression and anxiety of g/t students, really made me think about how true this must be..I feel like i put more pressure on my g/t students to be "more successful"..it really made me think that I maybe need to change my "way of thinking" about my g/t students..
On page 39, the statement “failure in school means not gifted at all” opened my eyes to the reality that some gifted students may not truly understand what is to be gifted. It seems for the child described on page 39, gifted is defined by academic achievement. I would guess that this child probably devised this definition from personal observations and cultural connotations of the word “gifted”. This scenario speaks volumes about the need for our gifted students to be overtly informed about their unique social and emotional characteristics. It is possible that such an understanding coupled with coping strategies presented in this text could aid them navigate social and emotional challenges they may experience as a result of their gifted nature.
To S. Acevedo June 12, 2012 Many gifted students are perfectionists, and once they fail at something they believe they are not gifted at all. This leads to self-doubt and anxiety. I agree that students should be aware of their unique characteristics. I believe it is the first step in developing coping strategies for their social and emotional characteristics.
On page 37 it speaks about gifted kids being intense . There are so many times teachers may misconstrue the behavior of a gifted child and identify their actions as misbehavior. The emotional and social characteristics of the GT child is so broad and all –encompassing! Patience, understanding, and interpretation of their behavior is the key to understanding and working with this student successfully.
On page 17, it brings up the idea of lazy v. bored or frustrated. Students are getting "frustrated by the mundane and repetitive processes found in many classrooms. Driven by boredom, they fall out of sync with school and withdraw from the learning environment." This is going to cause the behavior issues and even the 5% drop-out rate, as their emotional intensity levels rise. I am unsure how to do this since with new Social Studies curriculum there is much more rote memorization of , but when even my frustration level is high, I would imagine the students are through the roof.
I am working on my Masters degree in School Counseling and the information on page 22 really spoke to me. Many gifted students experience depression and anxiety. What I find interesting is that many times their depression and anxiety is a part of their personality, not symptoms of a disorder. These gifted students don’t need for this part of their personality to be changed; they need coping strategies for dealing with this depression and anxiety.
The concept of what rejuvenates the GT student (pages 36 and following) was a new idea for me. We usually talk of introverts and extroverts being shy or out-going, a loner or a people-person, but extroversion and introversion was explained differently here. For years, I've watched a GT male be Mr. Personality in groups. He meets everyone and works to remember his/her name. He makes people feel special and important. He entertains and encourages everyone with witty remarks, spontaneous raps, and insightful comments. And then he needs a break from that responsibility and work. He needs to be alone to read, write, or play a video game. Chapter 4 helped me understand him and myself better. For days or weeks I'll be amazingly productive, and then I need a day of quiet in my pajamas with books. Interesting!
Stacey L On page 29 & 30 - Characteristics and School I found it interesting that the emotional development can inhibit their educational performance. As they become so worried about their performance in school they can develop physical symptoms. That is troublesome when it says that some can have a phobia of coming to school.
My thoughts as I read through this section was "WOW! I know kids like this!" The part that got my attention was in Chapter 1- Emily's case study - when the parents observed her on the playground being bossy and accusatory with her friends. (I am on an e-reader so my page numbers are off, but for me it was page 33 case study on emily the 8 year old.) The part that is so frustrating as a parent/teacher is that her "friends" don't have a clue as to what is going on. They only see a "mean" girl. These children go home and tell their parents what is going on and then the term "bully" starts to get thrown around. It is tragic on both sides.
Bozab, my experience is that the parents are just as frustrated by the child claiming that no one wants to play with them, when in reality, it is just that no one wants to play THAT game, or play it THAT way. You are correct when you say it is tragic for both sides....you get why the kids don't want to play with the student, but you also know the student has a good heart, but the other students can't see that. I wonder how much using TRIBES effectively in the classroom helps with this aspect. I am guessing that that is mainly used by elementary campuses?
Bozab, I also agree that it is frustrating--I have always had great empathy for those students who are aware they do not act in a manner considered the "norm" but don't know what to do about it. I teach all seniors, so parents are usually at the end of their rope when they get to me. I am looking forward to learning about some of the coping strategies the author promises to suggest in later chapters.
I had two GT children this year and both exhibited many of the behaviors outlined in these chapters. I wish I had had this information before hand. One of my children was very similar to Meredith, Chapter 1, page 21. Throughout the entire year, her mother kept telling me that she was concerned because she didn't think her daughter did well in social issues. She was correct. This child was often seen as a bully on the playground because she was a rule follower and always told the children how they should be doing it, why they should be doing it, etc. She was never tactful in the way she said it and she lost many friends. It was so hard explaining this to the mother because I didn't want her to go home and discipline her child for being a bully, because she really wasn't. I think I'm going to send this book, when I finish to the Mom. On page 33 the author explains that eventually Meredith must learn to see the world from a different lens - the lens of her peers- if she is going to make a change. This was great insight in how to talk to these children.
I as an adult and being in education for 18 years understand that gifted does not equate high-achieving, but I had never thought about students confusing this idea. On page 40 with Andrew the author writes about Andrew thinking that he can't be smart if he is struggling, not realizing there is a difference between gifted ness and high-achieving. I work with young children, and I don't think this is a huge problem for the age I work with, but I can understand where upper grade teachers may need to address this with some of their students.
For me, many of Fonseca's ideas were fresh and new in part one. I was particularly struck by the introvert/extrovert idea of rejuvenating. (Pp45-49) Also her idea of gender differences in how males and females perceive their giftedness. The former - it is what I do. The later - it is who I am.
A new idea to me was the one that gifted students will shut down if an assignment is too open-ended (pg 35). In my experience, that has been the case with my high achievers, as they want to see a rubric and get as much detail as possible in order to complete an assignment correctly. My GT students seem to thrive when given a more open-ended writing or research assignment in which they can choose the topic, source, written work, etc. I can see how this makes sense, but just found it to be an interesting idea that I was not previously acquainted with.
What was a new thought/idea for you from this reading section? Remember to give the page number(s) as to where this idea was generated.While I knew that gifted students often have a very strong memory that enables them to often have incredible recall about what they have learned, I did not know that they also have a strong affective memory (p. 38). "Gifted children often will relive the feelings of significant moments in their lives...". This helps me understand that we need to be empathetic as we support them through different transitions. Because of the changes between elementary and middle school, I can see why this might be a particular time of challenge for our gifted students. We need to make sure that we support them through this time, be patient, and provide them with the scaffolding they need to feel confident and successful in their relationships, as well as their academics.
In reply to C Winegar, I was also surprised that gifted students often do not like too open ended assignments. I thought they exceled at such a challenge. When I reflect on previous gifted students, I think their success on open ended projects has varied. Sometimes, they produce something that is creative, but does not have the substance it needed. I think maybe I need to scaffold more and work with my gifted students in a small group when I am giving them an open ended assignment. I still want to challenge them with assigments that are more open ended, but I think if I give them some more support through these projects, it will help them create products that will reflect a much higer quality of learning.
In reply to Denise Healy, I was also interested to read how introverts and extroverts rejuvenate differently. I think this is really important for us to understand as educators. It makes me wonder if we are over pushing our students to work in groups. Maybe we need to consider that some of them need more time on their own. I think we should explain to our students how introverts and extrovert rejuvenate differently. It would help all of our kids understand themselves better, and what they need to feel happy and balanced.