Gifted and Talented What’s it all about?
Dueling definitions There are many GT definitions… • Government definitions • School definitions • Teacher definitions • Administrative definitions • Researchers’ definitions • Author’s definitions • Dictionary definitions • Student and Parent definitions And they all differ in some way.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) [Title IX, Part A, Definition 22. (2002)] Definitions by law “Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.” “Gifted and talented children” mean those students who are identified as possessing demonstrated or potential abilities that give evidence of high performing capabilities in intellectual, creative, specific academic or leadership areas, or ability in the performing or visual arts and who require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop such capabilities.” (Idaho Code §33-2001).
Three-Ring Model of Giftedness “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. …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)." Joseph Renzulli and Sally Reis The Schoolwide Enrichment Model
Above average abilities • general abilities • like processing information, integrating experiences, and abstract thinking • specific abilities • like the capacity to acquire knowledge, perform in an activity • Creativity • fluency, flexibility, and originality of thought • openness to experience, • sensitivity to stimulations • a willingness to take risks Task commitment motivation turned into action perseverance endurance hard work self-confidence perceptiveness fascination with a subject
What is the Least Restrictive Environment? The bell curve demonstrates the IQ scores and percentage of students at each level. • Regular classrooms are geared toward the "Twos", children in the average range of ability • For "Ones", there are many programs offered to help them keep up with their age peers. • The amount of work expected of these children is adjusted • They are given them extra time to complete assignments • The content is geared to their needs and interests • Their learning styles are targeted • Teachers work with parents and colleagues to learn strategies and methods to help the child learn better and more efficiently (Winebrenner, 2001). • Are these changes in programming considered elitist? Are we giving them unfair advantage over the other children in the class?
What is the Least Restrictive Environment? Given that gifted children ("Threes") are as far from the average as the "Ones", why does society resist offering them alternatives equal to those offered to “Ones” "The level, pacing, amount, and type of learning activities that benefit average learners are as inappropriate for [gifted students] as they are for students who are working significantly below grade-level expectations" (Winebrenner, 2001, p.3). We already offer many special programs to students with special talents. It is not unusual to see students in a school who dress differently, have exclusive field trips, have special teachers and whose awards are displayed for all to see as a matter of course in a school. These athletes are consistently receiving special benefits due to an inborn talent that they possess (Winebrenner, 2001). Why is it then, that society often resents providing similar programs (which are probably less costly) for children who are intellectually gifted?
Idaho Talent Areas • Specific Academic—as evidenced by… • Superior ability in mastering skills and concepts in one or more curriculum areas • Intellectual—as evidenced by superior aptitude for… • Understanding facts, concepts, generalizations and their relationships • Identifying patterns • Verbal and nonverbal reasoning • Spatial perceptions • Developing and evaluating ideas • Leadership—as evidenced by a variety of superior characteristics, including… • Responsibility • Rapid insight into cause-effect relationships • Interpersonal intuition • Ability to motivate performances of others • Creativity—as evidenced by superior abilities in… • Fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration • Divergent thinking skills • Problem solving strategies • Visual/Performing Arts • Leadership—Visual and Performing Arts as evidenced by .. • A superior aptitude for demonstrating, typically through exhibition or performance, aesthetic, critical, historical and production aspects of dance, music, theater or the visual arts
Most GT placements in middle school are based on Academic Talent At the middle school level students who qualify are identified by a combination of the following: • IQ SCORE – if available • ISAT Percentile scores • TEACHER RATING FORMS • ACADEMIC ASSESSMENTS SUCH AS DMA, DWA, MATH PLACEMENT TESTING • A COMBINATION OF THE ABOVE Programs for the academically gifted in our middle schools consist of… • Placement in appropriate math level classroom—including Algebra I and Geometry • Placement in the Gifted and Talented Program rather than regular Social Studies (currently at Lone Star, East, and South) • Placement in an Honors English Class (currently at West only) • Differentiation in the regular classroom by each individual teacher for each individual GT student
LSMS GT 101 It is the purpose of the Nampa Middle School GT program to… • Teach critical and creative thinking skills • Develop thinking skills in the areas of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation • Develop creativity • Use creative thinking to solve problems • Develop critical thinking • Broaden the scope of resources of information • Develop new sources of information for research purposes • Develop a wider range of knowledge • Improve the ability to develop and implement individual research • Strengthen oral and written communication • Develop communication skills in listening, speaking, and writing • Develop vocabulary skills • Strengthen organizational skills • Develop goal-setting, organization, and time management skills • Provide a place for like-minds to freely express and exchange ideas • Develop peer group relationships • Develop team-building skills
Gifted Label —Burden or Blessing? The problem with the gifted label isn’t the label itself, but rather how people perceive it and use it. When it’s attached to certain nouns such as—athlete, musician, writer, actor, etc., it’s usually acceptable and considered a compliment. But when it’s used in reference to academic or scholarly pursuits, it’s not necessarily an asset. In fact many students experience the label in conjunction with such negative nicknames as “geek,” “nerd,” “dweeb,” “junior genius,” or worse, none of which promote feelings of acceptance or popularity.
Top 10 Myths in GT Education http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDJst-y_ptI YouTube video done by GT kids from Baltimore
Myth # Gifted students come from white middle- and upper-class families Reality They come from all cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
Myth # Gifted kids have it made and will succeed in life no matter what. They don’t need any special help in school or anywhere else. Gifted students do not need help. If they are really gifted, they can manage on their own. Reality Everyone needs encouragement and help—to make the most of their abilities and succeed in life. Would you send a star athlete to train for the Olympics without a coach? Gifted students need guidance from well-trained teachers who challenge and support them in order to fully develop their abilities. Many gifted students may be so far ahead of their same-age peers that they know more than half of the grade-level curriculum before the school year begins. Their resulting boredom and frustration can lead to low achievement, despondency, or unhealthy work habits. The role of the teacher is crucial for spotting and nurturing talents in school.
Myth # If gifted students are grouped together, they will become snobbish and elitist. Reality Some will, some won’t. What’s especially harmful about this myth is that some adults use it to rationalize decisions about not allowing gifted students to work or study together or not providing them with opportunities that meet their learning needs.
Myth # Gifted kids are equally mature in all areas-academic, physical, social, and emotional. Reality That would be convenient, but it’s not a reasonable expectation. It is also not fair that just because someone is advanced intellectually, he or she will lag behind in other developmental areas.
Myth # Gifted kids don’t know that they are “different” unless someone tells them. Reality Most gifted kids don’t need to be identified or labeled before they know that they are not quite like their age peers.
Myth # All gifted kids have trouble adjusting to school and forming friendships. Reality Some do, some don’t—just like other kids.
12-year-old Percy Jackson isn't just the Medusa-fighting son of Poseidon. He also struggles with dyslexia and ADHD. Myth # Gifted kids are good at everything they do. Reality Some gifted students are good at many things; others are exceptionally able at only a few things. Some gifted students are also learning disabled, which means that they might not be very good at schoolwork. Some gifted students have dual exceptionalities.
Myth # Gifted students are a homogenous group, all high achievers. Reality Some GT students are underachievers. Underachievement describes a discrepancy between a student’s performance and his/her actual ability. The roots of this problem differ, based on each child’s experiences.
http://www.foxtrot.com/2009/09/09202009/ http://www.foxtrot.com/2009/10/10182009/ Myth # Gifted students are a homogenous group, all high achievers. Reality Gifted students may become bored or frustrated in an unchallenging classroom situation causing them to lose interest, learn bad study habits, or distrust the school environment. http://progressiveboink.com/archive/calvinhobbes.htm http://images1.fanpop.com/images/photos/2500000/Calvin-and-Hobbes-Comic-Strip-calvin-and-hobbes-2509527-600-191.gif http://images1.fanpop.com/images/photos/2500000/Calvin-and-Hobbes-Comic-Strips-calvin-and-hobbes-2509547-600-191.gif http://images1.fanpop.com/images/photos/2500000/Calvin-and-Hobbes-Comic-Strips-calvin-and-hobbes-2509596-600-191.gif
Myth # Gifted students are a homogenous group, all high achievers. Reality Other students may mask their abilities to try to fit in socially with their same-age peers.
Myth # Gifted students are a homogenous group, all high achievers. Reality Gifted students are often perfectionistic and idealistic. They may equate achievement and grades with self-esteem and self-worth, which sometimes leads to fear of failure and interferes with achievement.
Myth # Gifted kids should love school, get high grades, and greet each new school day with enthusiasm. That student can’t be gifted; he’s receiving poor grades. Reality Most schools are geared for average learners, not gifted learners, which makes it hard for gifted students to get excited about going. Some of the most talented students in the U.S. actually choose to drop out of school altogether.
Myth # Gifted students must constantly be challenged and kept busy or they’ll get lazy. Reality They might get bored, but they won’t necessarily get lazy.
Myth # Gifted students make everyone else in the class smarter by providing a role model or a challenge. Reality Like most of us, students are generally more comfortable around others who are similar to themselves. Average students often feel uncomfortable taking on a challenge in the presence of gifted students who already seem to “get it.” In reality, average or below-average students do not look to the gifted students in the class as role models. They are more likely to model their behavior on those who have similar capabilities and are coping well in school. Seeing a student at a similar performance level succeed motivates students because it adds to their own sense of ability. Watching or relying on someone who is expected to succeed does little to increase a struggling student’s sense of self-confidence. Similarly, gifted students benefit from classroom interactions with peers at similar performance levels.
Myth # Teachers love to have gifted students in their classrooms. Reality Some do, some don’t. Some teachers feel uncomfortable with gifted students and get defensive when they suspect their students know more than they do.
What this means to you… • The system isn’t perfect and people and systems make mistakes. What matters most is what you think of yourself and your abilities. It’s up to you to decide how and when you will use your gifts. It’s up to you to determine the direction your present and future will take. Begin gifted doesn’t guarantee you anything—like everyone else you will have to work at who your want to be and what you want from life.