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The Challenge of Challenging Gifted Students

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1 The Challenge of Challenging Gifted Students
CESA #11 Workshop October 19, 2009 Dr. Stephen Schroeder-Davis

2 Goals for this morning Review basic concepts to develop a common language Examine the “emerging definitions” of giftedness Promote parent & teacher dialogue Assess needs for workshops 2 & 3

3 2005 Gifted and Talented Definition
Gifted and talented children and youth are those students with outstanding abilities, identified at preschool, elementary, and secondary levels.

4 2005 Gifted and Talented Definition
These students are capable of high performance when compared to others of similar age, experience, and environment, and represent the diverse populations of our communities.

5 2005 Gifted and Talented Definition
These are students whose potential requires differentiated and challenging educational programs and/or services beyond those provided in the general school program.

6 2005 Gifted and Talented Definition
Students capable of high performance include those with demonstrated achievement or potential ability in any one or more of the following areas:

7 2005 Gifted and Talented Definition
General intellectual Specific Academic subjects Creativity Leadership Visual and performing arts From the MGTDC (MDE) Advisory Committee

8 Giftedness is asynchronous development, placing the gifted child “out of phase” with:
Self Age peers At level tests, assessments, expectations Much of popular culture (The Columbus Group, 1991)

9 Two examples of asychronicity
A kindergarten teacher is explaining how dinosaurs are discovered, and states, “A geologist is a scientist who studies these fossils.” Jenny, age 4 says, “I don’t mean to be rude Ms. Mays, but it’s a paleontologist that examines the dinosaur bones.”

10 A middle school example
The majority of the 200,000 middle school students who take the SAT and ACT score as well or better than high school seniors The stronger students from that cohort can absorb one year of a high school course in 3 weeks The strongest of those candidates can absorb one year of a high school course in 10 days A Nation Deceived

11 Giftedness is “Abnormal”
Top 3 -10% of population in any given area of ability

12 Gifted People Are Different
Neurosystem Perception Behavior Environment

13 Neurology Larger Frontal Lobes Faster synapses
More efficient processes See Sanjay Gupta

14 My Beliefs About This Topic
Gifted students exist, are an exceptional population, and require accommodations to be challenged in school Gifted students are the most underserved population in most schools (i.e., they learn the least) Serving them appropriately would benefit them and every other student in a school setting

15 The four achievement gaps
Racial Gender Economic Aptitude (between what is being learned, and what could be learned with appropriate GT programs and services)

16 Gifts vs. Talents F. Gagne
“Giftedness refers to measures of potential, of untrained natural ability, while talent is reserved specifically for indices of achievement, of the performance attained as the result of a systematic program of training and practice.” (Gagne 1995)

17 A Common G/T Vocabulary
Gifted Talented • high aptitude • high achievement nature • nurture • ability • performance • potential • environment • threshold • accomplishment • endowment • output Differentiation Rigor & Challenge (Gagne 1995)

18 How Much Time is Wasted in a typical classroom for GT’s?
140 IQ = 50% of their time 170 IQ = 99% of their time Hollingworth (1942), Renzulli, Silverman (1991)

19 The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented: Classroom Practices Study
Approximately 40-50% of traditional classroom material could be eliminated for targeted students.

20 Gagne’s Metric System Level Label Ratio IQ SD
5 Profoundly 1:100,000 165 + 4.3 4 Exceptionally 1:10,000 155 + 3.7 3 Highly 1:1,000 145 + 3.0 2 Moderately 1:100 135 + 2.3 1 Mildly 1:10 120 + 1.3

21 Questions and comments?
These ideas square with my beliefs. I’d like to add. . .. These are the ideas that are going around in my head. Some of the ideas with which I disagreed . . . This made me uncomfortable!

22 Why are GT’s Underserved?
Level w/o DI From Get Off My Brain, by Randy McCutcheon. Illustrations:Pete Wagner

23 Coercive Egalitarianism
Forced regression toward the mean through indifference or neglect Stephen Schroeder-Davis

24 Federal Education Budget
Gifted Children $0.03 Drug Abuse Prevention $2 Reading First $3 Children with Disabilities $32 No Child Left Behind $64

25 Training, preparation, programming
No states have comprehensive policies in gifted education in all areas. only 77 of 3500 HEIs offer GT courses 18 states offer no teacher preparation Only 11 mandate GT funding NAGC National Conference Report, 2007

26 NCLB and GT’s Remedial, deficit-based
Teach what is tested (narrowing curriculum, which “homogenizes” talent) One-size-fits all education to a HIGHLY diverse population Curriculum reduced to basic skills emphasis Goals are statistically impossible to meet “Adequate yearly progress” does not apply to, refer to, or even acknowledge needs of- GTs No incentive to challenge high ability students See M. Gentry

27 High-Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB
Thomas B. Fordham Institute 27

28 Background First two studies of a multifaceted research investigation of the state of high-achieving students in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) era. Part I: An Analysis of NAEP Data, by Tom Loveless: achievement trends for high-achieving students since the early 1990s and, in more detail, 2000. Part II: Results from a National Teacher Survey, by Steve Farkas and Ann Duffett: reports on teachers’ own views of how schools are serving high-achieving pupils in the NCLB era. 28

29 High-achieving students made minimal progress since 2000
While the nation’s lowest-achieving youngsters made rapid gains from 2000 to 2007, the performance of top students was languid. 29 29

30 30

31 31

32 Struggling students command attention…
Teachers are much more likely to indicate that struggling students, not advanced students, are their top priority. 32 32

33 Low-achieving students receive dramatically more attention from teachers.

34 but that doesn’t reflect teachers’ own views
Teachers believe that all students deserve their fair share of attention. 34 34

35 Implications Languid growth of high-achieving students is associated with the introduction of NCLB (and, earlier, with state accountability systems). Most teachers, at this point in our nation’s history, feel pressure to focus on their lowest-achieving students. 35

36 Teachers: does the Fordham study reflect your reality?
So Far... Teachers: does the Fordham study reflect your reality? Yes, in these ways No, because Share agreements! Share disagreements!

37 The nature of the curriculum
Mass produced, typically at “grade-level” “Spirals,” with frequent repetitions Paced (at best) for the average learner Requires a high degree of differentiation, flexibility and accelerative options to work for advanced learners

38 Grouping Definitions: Tracking
Tracking: sorting students, usually once a year, by ability level and then scheduling all of their classes together: Uni-dimensional Inflexible Permanent (at least for that year) Placement criteria may be invalid or irrelevant AGE

39 What would happen if GT’s were challenged appropriately?
Achievement “gap” increases due to appropriate growth for all students Gifted learner’s faster learning pace Challenging, differentiated Curriculum for all Learners begin here



42 What Zone Am I In? THIS is the place to be…
On Target I know some things… I have to think… I have to work… I have to persist… I hit some walls… I’m on my toes… I have to re-group… I feel challenged… Effort leads to success… Too Hard I don’t know where to start… I can’t figure it out… I’m spinning my wheels… I’m missing key skills… I feel frustrated… I feel angry This makes no sense… Effort doesn’t pay off… Too Easy I get it right away… I already know how… This is a cinch… I’m sure to make an A… I’m coasting… I feel relaxed… I’m bored… No big effort necessary… THIS is the place to be… THIS is the achievement zone…

43 The “emerging view” of talent development focuses on:
Environment Effort Coaching “luck” The “10,000” hour rule Could be misconstrued to discount aptitude

44 The four sources of the emerging view on an aptitude continuum
“Talent is Overrated” (Colvin, 2008) essentially denies the validity of heritable (intellectual) traits focusing on (deliberate) practice, hard work and passion “The Talent Code” (Coyle, 2009) reluctantly acknowledges, but heavily discounts, heredity (aptitude), focusing on ”deep practice,” ignition, master coaching, and myelin (!) “Mindset” (Dweck, 2006) overtly acknowledges aptitude, but focuses on effort, persistence, and risk-taking (a “growth” mindset) “Outliers” (Gladwell, 2008) overtly and consistently acknowledges aptitude,but focuses on environment, practice, mentors, and “luck”

45 Daniel Levitin, Michael Howe, Malcolm Gladwell, and Many, many others
Gifts      Talents 10,000 hour rule Daniel Levitin, Michael Howe, Malcolm Gladwell, and Many, many others

46 Intrapersonal Catalysts
Gagne’s Talent Development Model Intrapersonal Catalysts Talents (Skills) Academic Language Science Arts Visual Drama Social action Chess Video games Sports Leisure Giftedness (potential) Intellectual Creative Socio-Affective Sensori- Motor Motivation values interests efforts persistence work habits TemperamentPersonality Physical attributes Developmental Process K-12 Milieu: physical, cultural, social, familial Persons: parents, teachers, mentors, peers Provisions: programs, activities, services Events: encounters, awards, accidents

47 Another interpretation: “Talent is Overrated” (Colvin, 2008)
“Deliberate practice is difficult. It hurts.” “Deliberate practice” is focused, intense, specific practice designed to increase performance (+ hard work + passion) = talent How are gifted students to engage in deliberate practice and hard work, let alone develop passion, without challenging school experiences?

48 Another interpretation: “Mindset” Dweck, 2006)
“Those with the growth mindset found setbacks motivating. They’re a wake-up call.” How are gifted students to experience setbacks and mistakes without challenging school experiences?

49 Another interpretation: “The Talent Code” (Coyle, 2009)
“Deep practice takes events we would normally strive to avoid-namely, mistakes-and turns them into skills.” How are gifted students to experience “deep practice” without challenging school experiences?

50 Another interpretation:”Outliers” (Gladwell, 2008)
What does the “Hamburg Crucible” and the 10,000 hour rule imply for gifted students and talent development?

51 The Beatles’ “Hamburg Crucible”
From the Beatles played in Hamburg, Germany: Five trips 270 nights 8 hours per night, 7 nights a week 1,200 live performances in 18 months

52 The Beatles’ “Hamburg Crucible”2
Does this mean that any four musicians playing 1,200 live performances, could equal the Beatles’ legacy? NO? Yes? What do you think?

53 The Beatles’ “Hamburg Crucible”3
Lennon: “We had to try even harder, put our heart and souls into it we had to play for 8 hours and so we really had to find a new way of playing.”

54 The Beatles’ “Hamburg Crucible”4
Biographer Philip Norman, “They learned not only stamina. They had to learn an enormous amount of numbers-cover versions of everything you can think of-not just rock and roll, a bit of jazz too. When they came back, they sounded like no one else. It was the making of them.”

55 The Beatles’ “Hamburg Crucible”5
Author Gladwell: “The Beatles are undeniably talented. Lennon and McCartney had a musical gift of the sort that comes along once in a generation.” Have you ever heard of “Rory and the Hurricanes”? They too were in Hamburg for a long time - but didn’t become the Beatles.

56 Passion and Persistence
GT’s should “succeed” by learning, not by exceeding an arbitrary standard Intrapersonal Catalysts Degree of Giftedness (potential) Can’t be fulfilled without appropriate curriculum challenges and GT programs and services! (Skills) Academic Language Science Arts Visual Drama Social action Chess Video games Sports Leisure Work ethic Passion and Persistence Developmental Process K-12 Milieu: physical, cultural, social, familial Persons: parents, teachers, mentors, peers Opportunities: programs, activities, services Events: encounters, awards, accidents 10,000 hours Luck

57 Gagne’s Formula from 1995 (!)
Aptitude + Catalysts + Practice = Achievement High Aptitude/Catalysts/Practice Less Aptitude/Catalysts/Practice Virtually everyone can improve significantly in virtually any endeavor, but that does not mean everyone is gifted. It does mean that all students need an appropriately challenging education to thrive!

58 Related questions If you were to practice with the same intensity and for the same duration, could you eventually equal: Tiger Woods? Maya Angelou? Steven Spielberg? Could you become an Olympic swimmer?

59 My Conclusions & Recommendations
Heritable differences are real, and need to be accommodated from grade K - College graduation Gifted students are an exceptional population, requiring specialized programs and services if they are to optimize their development Appropriate teacher training and classroom differentiation work, but need to be applied to all students Teachers need to understand and practice “high-end” differentiation if schools are to work for GTs (our afternoon session)

60 On to the NAGC proposal This fall, a select committee of GT experts submitted a new, expanded definition of giftedness to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) in the hopes of gaining more federal funding and expanded support for gifted children. That (unpublished) definition follows.

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