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Why Arent All Gifted Kids Alike? …what accounts for differences in achievement?

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Presentation on theme: "Why Arent All Gifted Kids Alike? …what accounts for differences in achievement?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why Arent All Gifted Kids Alike? …what accounts for differences in achievement?

2 Learning Goals What is the difference between high ability and high achievement? What causes highly able students to underachieve? What secrets can parents learn in order to help their gifted child (continue to) be a high achiever?

3 High ability: Much higher than average capacity to learn and master academic content High Achievement: Outstanding mastery of taught academic content High Ability does not always = High Achievement!!!

4 Both highly able and high achieving students show interest and excitement about learning. But… Highly Able (gifted) Mastery of content may require very little effort, and very few repetitions – absorbs learning May display obsessive need to master specific content May be unconventional and resistant to a system Internal/external characteristics may lead to underachievement High Achieving Usually works hard to master content, and may appreciate repeated opportunities to engage Drive to achieve, within a given system Usually works well within a system Excellent grades

5 What causes highly able students to underachieve?

6 STRENGTHSPOSSIBLE PROBLEM Acquires and retains information quickly Impatient with slowness of others; dislikes routine and drill; may resist mastering foundational skills; may make concepts unduly complex Inquisitive attitude; intellectual curiosity; intrinsic motivation; searches for significance Asks embarrassing questions; strong-willed; excessive in interests; expects same of others Ability to conceptualize, abstract, synthesize; enjoys problem-solving and intellectual activity Rejects or omits details; resists practice and drill; questions teaching procedures Can see cause-effect relationships, quickly and across content Difficulty accepting the seemingly illogical, such as feelings, traditions, matters to be taken on faith Enjoys organizing things and people into structure and order; seeks to systematize Constructs complicated rules or systems; may be seen as bossy, rude, or domineering Large vocabulary and facile verbal proficiency; broad information in advanced areas May use words to escape or avoid situations; becomes bored with school and age peers; seen by others as a know-it-all

7 Thinks critically; has high expectations; is self-critical and evaluates others Intolerant of others; perfectionistic Keen observer; considers the unusual; seeks novelty Overly intense focus; may become bored with normalcy; seen by others as out-of step or odd Intense; persistent Irritated by interruption; neglects duties or people during intense periods; seen as stubborn and rude Extreme sensitivity; intuitive Sensitivity to criticism or perceived rejection; may feel different and alienated Independent; reliant on self May reject input of others; non-comformist; unconventional Diverse interests and abilities; versatile May appear scattered and disorganized; frustrated at lack of time; others may develop unreasonable expectations Strong and keen sense of humor – may see the absurd May not be understood by peers; may be class clown to get attention

8 Egocentrism Normal and natural self interests due to brain growth Unawareness of, and inability to appreciate, individual differences in ability Unable to see themselves changing – attribute changes to others Others needs for repetition not understood or appreciated

9 Perfectionism Constant praise for ability generates both a need for perfection and a fear of inability to be perfect Value shifts from learning to comparison Fear of failure and comparison may lead to unwillingness to engage, or deliberate self- sabotage Imposter syndrome

10 Need for self-efficacy Different from self-esteem Being vs. Doing Drive to learn, with independence from adults Individuation Success with independent thinking

11 Asynchrony Differences in cognitive, physical, emotional, social maturity Young people show more amygdala activity than adults, and little prefrontal cortex activity Appear to effectively inhibit task-irrelevant sensory input May misinterpret or fail to deduce emotional information from nonverbal signals

12 Need for affiliation/social acceptance Not comfortable with differences – dont want to be recognized for giftedness But awareness of being different Need for cognitive peers; possible discomfort with age peers Stress raises the amygdalas affective filter

13 What secrets can parents learn, to help their gifted child (continue to) be a high achiever?

14 For your knowledge… Zone of proximal development – connect your child with others of like development/readiness Focus beyond smartness Look for ways to enrich learning and interests – increase motivation to find out Choice is a best practice Avoid comparisons and win/lose situations Fine line between encouragement and pressure Acceptance Tolerance (of inappropriate behavior)

15 With your child… Honesty is the best policy – address high ability in learning, asynchrony, perfectionism, etc. Individual differences are valuable, and individuals should be valued, apart from their achievements Provide specific praise about actions and products – not persons Discuss ideas and encourage learning – biographies Choice and realistic goal-setting Listen and accept

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