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Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 1 Advancing Individual Potential: & Sorting Myths from Realities What do I do after that?

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Presentation on theme: "Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 1 Advancing Individual Potential: & Sorting Myths from Realities What do I do after that?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 1 Advancing Individual Potential: & Sorting Myths from Realities What do I do after that?

2 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 2 1. All children are gifted. Myth All are special, all are a gift - but not all are gifted. Federal government: 5% are gifted, additional 3% have special talents. In RI: 22% or 35,200 are special education students; 8% or 12,800 are G&T students.

3 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 3 “Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.” (The Columbus Group, 1991)

4 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 4 “To have the intelligence of an adult and the emotions of a child combined in a childish body is to encounter certain difficulties.” (Hollingworth, 1942) “In addition to being out of sync in their own development, gifted children are out of sync: with family relations, both parents and siblings, socially with age-peers and older, and with schools and the larger community.” (Kearney, 1991)

5 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 5 2. Giftedness can be created if proper and plentiful stimulation and encouragement are provided. Myth Gifted children are born, not made. However, “No matter how gifted, children do not develop their gifts without a parent or supporter behind them encouraging, stimulating, and pushing” (Winner, 1996).

6 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 6 3. Gifted students often have lower self-esteem than non-gifted students. Myth The majority of studies indicate higher levels of general and academic self-esteem among gifted students. Social & emotional difficulties appear no more (or less) frequently among G&T children. G&T young people possess characteristics that, when supported, may enhance their resilience.

7 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 7 Risk Factors Specific to Gifted Children Lack of challenge or low ceiling in the curriculum Internal asynchronies Insufficient learning time with children of similar interests, abilities & drive Gifted children who do not find others who share their passions risk feeling excluded, becoming arrogant or becoming an underachiever. Children farthest from the norm, the highly gifted, face the most problems. (Winner, 1996) (It is OK to talk about giftedness with a child. It validates perceptions, & encourages confidence.)

8 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 8 4. Gifted children need to get along with their peers. Reality Which peers? Social peers? Chronological peers? Intellectual peers? Need time to get along and work with each of these populations. Some gifted children need, and are happy with, a lot of time alone. Their minds and interests provide the company.

9 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 9 5. Formal testing is not necessary to identify giftedness. Reality However, it can be very helpful. Parents are usually the first observers of gifted behavior. Early identification of giftedness is as essential as with any other exceptionality.

10 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 10 and School systems generally use tests for screening and identification purposes, and/or teacher and parent recommendations, but they usually don’t screen until upper elementary grades. Most schools used group tests Many school psychologists and other test administrators in schools are not experienced testing gifted children.

11 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 11 6. All gifted children are early readers. Myth Early readers are most often gifted; not all gifted children learn to read early. Mathematically gifted children, those with attention deficit and learning disabilities, culturally diverse children and under- achievers are often visual-spatial learners as opposed to auditory-sequential learners.

12 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 12 7. Gifted students score well on tests of educational achievement. Myth Many think abstractly and with such complexity that they need help with concrete study and test taking skills. They may not be able to select one right answer because they can see how all the answers might be correct. They can be “mappers” or “leapers”

13 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 13 8. Gifted children excel in all academic areas. Myth “Gifted” is generally gifted in language and mathematics, but gifts tend to be domain specific. Children can be gifted in one area, not another. They can also be “twice excep- tional,” gifted with learning disabilities

14 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 14 9. Gifted children can be handled adequately in a regular classroom. Reality It is possible to meet the needs of many gifted children through a variety of strategies: curriculum compacting, ability grouping, small group and independent contracts, tiered assignments, variable pacing, open-ended questioning, subject & grade acceleration.

15 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 15 and Cross-grade and flexible cluster grouping provide curricular adjustment. Such grouping programs out perform heterogeneously mixed classes by two or three months on grade-equivalent scales. (Kulik, 1992) Early entrance, grade skipping and AP courses generally are successful. Consider social & psychological adjustment as well as cognitive capabilities to optimally match student’s needs. (Rogers, 1991)

16 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 16 10. Most teachers are able to accommodate gifted children in their classrooms. Myth Classrooms today contain students with a broad range of abilities and interests, yet most teachers in Rhode Island have not received the preservice training or professional development they need to effectively differentiate their classrooms.

17 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 17 As with all students who have special learning needs, teachers must be given the knowledge, skills and resource support in order to effectively accommodate the gifted in their classrooms. But, it is neither fair nor reasonable to provide equal educational programming and hold equal expectations for all students regardless of their abilities. (Stephens, 1998) As President John F. Kennedy said, “All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talent.”

18 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 18 “Lately, an overwhelming number of educators have bought into the concept of "differentiation." This is a sound concept for general education, and even some gifted education advocates are saying that within- classroom differentiation is going to take care of our most able students. This belief is nonsense. I have lived through several iterations of the "we-can-take- care-of-gifted-students-in-the-regular classroom," and it always ends up being a smoke screen behind which bright kids get a few extra assignments and more work based on traditional (didactic) models of learning.” (Joseph Renzulli)

19 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 19 The Nation-Wide Barriers Ignorance Misconceptions Negative Attitudes Elitist Label Budget Constraints

20 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 20 Challenges Specific to Rhode Island No state definition No identification or services mandated No funds in state budget No position at the DOE No courses available No gifted service/specialists in most systems

21 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 21 What can you do? The P’s - What we need to do: 1. Pique interest of pertinent people 2. And Promote understanding of gifted 3. In order to Pass local rules and state legislation 4. To Provide the appropriate educational services Mind your P’s and W’s!

22 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 22 The “W’s” What are we trying to accomplish? Who are our key supporters, allies, decision-makers? When does decision-making happen? Where does the action take place

23 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 23 How R.I.A.G.E. Helps Your Children Reach Their Potential Information Networking Advocacy

24 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 24 In addition, members receive: –An Assortment of Helpful Handouts –Conference and Activity Discounts –R.I.A.G.E. Voting Privileges

25 Rhode Island Advocates for Gifted Education 25 This presentation was inspired by a similar one, created by the following members of the 2003/2004 MAGE Board of Directors: Judy Platt President Mark Andersen Chairperson And adapted by the following members of RIAGE: Carolyn Rosenthal Jean Pettengill Jean Sahakian Mary Codd www.riage.org Diana Reeves Recording Secretary Susan Dulong Langley Vice-President www.massgifted.org


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