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Practice Makes Perfect……….. ……but what does perfect make? A study of perfectionism in gifted children. Jill Cavan, Gifted Teacher, Cloud Springs Elementary.

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Presentation on theme: "Practice Makes Perfect……….. ……but what does perfect make? A study of perfectionism in gifted children. Jill Cavan, Gifted Teacher, Cloud Springs Elementary."— Presentation transcript:

1 Practice Makes Perfect……….. ……but what does perfect make? A study of perfectionism in gifted children. Jill Cavan, Gifted Teacher, Cloud Springs Elementary School March 2008

2 “The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.” George Orwell

3 Right!.....................and Wrong! Perfectionism leaves no room for error Results are never good enough Feels impossible and IS impossible for the doer Understand the difference between the pursuit of excellence and the pursuit of being perfect.

4 Does your child pay more attention to mistakes than to correct answers?---does he even hesitate to raise his hand in class unless he KNOWS his answers are correct?

5 Does your child set unrealistic expectations for his or her work?----does she erase over and over to make her letters perfectly? And then the work is late?

6 Does your child get extremely upset when anything in life doesn’t work perfectly?—is even impatient or critical about friends around him?

7 Is your child dissatisfied with a grade of A instead of A+? Does your child focus on unmet goals instead of enjoying current accomplishments? Does your child procrastinate, leaving a project or studying for a test until the last minute? Or is it late because he “started over” too many times?

8 Does your child baulk at writing down an answer that she is not confident is totally correct, even when it doesn’t really matter? Is your child into “justice?” There are few gray areas: everything can and must be explained in “black” or “white?”

9 If you answered YES to any of these questions, your child may be at risk for becoming an unhealthy perfectionist

10 There is a fine line between high standards of excellence and the self-defeat attained through the inability to reach unrealistic expectations of perfectionism.

11 Healthy vs. Disabling When does the pursuit of excellence become perfectionism? How do I, as a parent, know the difference?

12 Excellence: doing the research necessary for a term paper, working hard on it, turning it in on time, and feeling good about it. Perfectionism: doing three drafts, staying up two nights in a row, and handing in your paper late because you had to get it right and still feeling bad about it.

13 Excellence: studying for a test ahead of time, taking it with confidence, and feeling good about your score of 96 Perfectionism: studying at the last minute (after three days of chronic procrastination), taking the test with sweaty palms, and feeling depressed about your 96 because a friend got a 99

14 Excellence: Choosing to work on group projects because you enjoy learning from the varied experiences and approaches of different people Perfectionism: Always working alone because no one can do as good a job as you and you’re not about to let anyone else slide by on your A

15 Excellence: Reading the story you wrote for the school paper and noticing that the editor made some changes to the copy that really improved it. Perfectionism: Throwing a near tantrum because the editor dared to tamper with your work

16 Excellence: Being willing to try new things, take risks, and learn from your experiences and your mistakes Perfectionism: Avoiding new experiences because you’re terrified of making mistakes.

17 It is when we stop trying to do everything right that we start to do things well. These two things are not the same—but neither are they mutually exclusive. “ Perfectionism is not about doing one’s best, or about pursuing excellence; it’s about the emotional conviction that perfection is the only route to personal acceptance. It is the emotional conviction that by being perfect, one can finally be acceptable as a person.” Tom Greenspon

18 Perfectionism and your Student Underachievement in school Low self esteem Abdominal pain Anxiety Obsessive-compulsive disorder Panic Attacks Eating disorders Alcoholism Depression Personality disorders

19 Perfectionism is emotional: it is about wanting perfection, fearing you won’t get it, and most of all, not feeling totally acceptable if you can’t be perfect.

20 Perfectionism is social

21 Perfectionism doesn’t make people more successful.

22 The home environment influences perfectionism.

23 Sound familiar? Sally

24 Joe

25 Ann

26 Okay! I Get It! …………. but where did my student get it?? Extreme praise from parents Modeled Expectations are always raised Removal of experiences that risk being unsuccessful

27 Varieties of perfectionism Some are all-or-nothing people Some are only specifically or partially perfectionistic:  Grades and intellectual abilities  Clothes and appearance  Athletic prowess/musical or artistic abilities  Room organization and cleanliness  Combination of the above

28 Good, better, best Never let it rest ‘Til your good is better And your better best.

29 Don’t take it personally Cool down period Examine the rubric Techniques to Use with your Gifted Child

30 Know when to quit Discuss expectations Match expectations to project Use the “contract” approach for underachievers

31 Model the acceptance of mistakes in your own life Help improve self- evaluation skills Provide time for creative/risk taking activities with safe opportunities to fail.

32 Health is important!

33 Study the Lives of Eminent People Read biographies and autobiographies Watch television shows such as Biography  Edison—1% inspiration and 99% perspiration  Michelangelo—commitment  Jonathan Salk—failure can be constructive

34 Watch for the danger signs!  Delayed start  Unwillingness to share work  Refusal to turn in work or accomplish a goal  Inability to tolerate mistakes  Impatience with others’ imperfections

35 So….if practice makes perfect…. Encourage your child to: Strive for excellence, …..accept his limitations …..learn from her mistakes …..allow his best to be your best …..learn from those that have gone before them And enjoy the journey!


37 And realize ….. “… Nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great ever came out of limitations. The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. Anna Quindlen Commencement speech Mount Holyoke College May, 1999

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