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1 Understanding and Supporting Gifted Underachievers EMB School Development Division Educational Psychologist Sarah Pong 12 January 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Understanding and Supporting Gifted Underachievers EMB School Development Division Educational Psychologist Sarah Pong 12 January 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Understanding and Supporting Gifted Underachievers EMB School Development Division Educational Psychologist Sarah Pong 12 January 2004

2 2 Defining ‘underachievement’ ‘Underachievement is defined as a discrepancy between a child’s school performance and some index of his or her actual ability, such as intelligence, achievement, or creativity score, or observational data.’ Davis & Rimm 1985

3 3 Defining ‘underachievement’ in terms of A DISCREPANCY between POTENTIAL (what a child ought to be able to do) and ACTUAL PERFORMANCE (what a child is really demonstrating) Richert 1991

4 4 Identifying gifted underachievers using Intelligence test scores Gifted : 2 SD above the mean Achievement test scores A pattern of continuous decline in group achievement test scores Observation Teachers/parents observation checklists

5 5 Rethinking the ‘discrepancy’ formula The discrepancy being persistent and marked.  Underachievement is first and foremost a behaviour and, as such, it can change over time.  Negative mental image leading to mental blocks - resulting in ‘a game of blaming.’ Performance being exclusively associated with academic, school-based endeavors.  Underachievement is content and situation specific.  Underachievement is in the eyes of the beholder.

6 6 Breaking the vicious circle – Early Identification & Early Intervention ‘Early identification and appropriate programming prevent the establishment of chronic patterns of underachievement or negative attitudes toward schools; it also allows early intervention with underachievers, which is much more successful than later efforts at remediation or correction. ‘ Whitmore 1980

7 7 Eight characteristics of achievers Achievers are goal-oriented Achievers are positive thinkers Achievers are confident Achievers are resilient Achievers have self-discipline Achievers have pride Achievers are proficient Achievers are risk makers How about underachievers? See self as inadequate Expect academic and social failure Feel helpless to control outcomes of effort Don’t feel free to make choices Set unrealistic goals Are defensive toward authority Feel rejected and isolated Are not willing to risk failure Show ineffective approaches to problems

8 8 Shared characteristics that distinguish the achieving from underachieving gifted Lack of integration of goals & self direction Lack of self confidence Inability to persevere Inferiority feelings Terman & Oden (1947) Social immaturity Emotional problems Antisocial behaviour Low self concept An unstable family environment Dowall (1982)

9 9 資優兒的特徵 ※邏輯思考力強 ※ 記憶力特佳 ※ 知識豐富 ※ 愛尋根究底 ※ 富創造力 ※ 善於解決難題 ※ 處理抽象觀念能力高 ※ 語言能力強 ※具尖銳的幽默 ※ 自我要求高 ※ 對他人的期望或 批評非常敏感 ※ 富理想,重公平 ※ 喜歡作領導

10 10 潛能未展 資優兒的特徵 ※ 經常欠交功課 ※ 考試 / 測驗成績低劣 ※ 討厭上學 ※ 缺乏學習動機 ※ 自尊感低落 ※ 在課堂上表現退縮或 擾亂課堂秩序 ※ 認為沒有人會喜歡自己 ※表現幼稚 ※抗拒權威、拒絕遵守規則 ※具有強烈的無助感 ※工作時無法集中精神, 容易分心 ※愛把個人的成敗歸咎於 外在的因素 ※多說話,少做事,語言 表達能力比書寫能力強 ※逃避困難,害怕失敗

11 11 Using the Hong Kong Behavioural Checklist (Teachers’ version) for identifying gifted / Talented primary school students (HKBC-T) Tapping abilities in: Learning (related to intellectual ability) Mathematics and sciences Creativity Leadership, and Learning motivation (related to task commitment)

12 12 A Checklist for identifying gifted underachievers - Whitmore J (1980)

13 13 The Child ‘ Kate, is six but has a ‘mental age’ of ten and a half …… Kate, like every highly gifted child, is an amalgam of many developmental ages … She may be six while riding a bike, thirteen while playing the piano or chess, nine while debating rules, eight while choosing hobbies and books, five or three when asked to sit still.’ L. Silverman (1993)

14 14 Giftedness as Asynchrony Asynchrony is due to differences in rates of physical, intellectual, emotional, social and skill development. ‘Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities & heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences & awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm……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)

15 15 The emotional aspects of giftedness ‘Giftedness is a greater awareness, a greater sensitivity, and a greater ability to understand and transform perceptions into intellectual and emotional experiences’ - Roeper (1982) Hollingworth (1931) suggested that gifted children are particularly vulnerable between the ages of four and nine,…… ‘To have the intelligence of an adult and the emotions of a child combined in a childish body is to encounter certain difficulties.’ (interrationship of cognitive complexity and emotional intensity).

16 16 Inquisitive,good at problem solving  challenging behaviours Quick in acquiring information  showing off, upsetting routines High expectation of self & others  intolerant, perfectionist Sensitivity, desire to be accepted by others  sensitive to criticism and peer rejection Strong sense of humor  Misunderstood & rejected by peers Diverse interests and abilities  disorganized Creative  disruptive Seeks truth, equality and fair play  stubborn High energy, alertness  hyperactive

17 17 Underachiever Profiles Dianne Heacox The Rebel ‘Why should I play the school game?’ The Conformist ‘Don’t notice that I am smart.’ The Stressed Learner ‘It’s not good enough.’ The Struggling Student ‘I just don’t get it.’ The Victim ‘It’s not my fault.’ The Bored Student ‘There’s nothing new to learn.’

18 18 Categories of underachievement Rimm 1995 Conformity Non conformity Dependent Dominant Dependent conformers Dominant Conformers Dependent nonconformers Dominant nonconformers

19 19 Reversing underachievement A Trifocal Model S. Rimm 1989 Child Home School

20 20 The Home In families of high achieving students, often Parents are interested in their children The fathers are important life influences Mothers are responsible & independent Parents have high educational aspirations Parents are well educated Families are small The student is often the first born or only child In families of underachieving students, often The student is dependent on the mother The father is rejecting and domineering and gives little warmth or affection The relationship between father and daughter or father and son is negative or nonexistent Parents allows achievement to go unrewarded The children do not identify with their parents There are deep social and emotional problems in the family parents are not active in schools Parents are not supportive of their children The child’s achievement present a threat to the parents and their adult superiority Parents do not share ideas, affection, trust or approval Parents are restrictive and severe in their punishment

21 21 Effective parent – The Art of Striking Balance Control vs. Freedom High Expectation vs. Low Expectation Every Child wishes to please his/her parents Parental involvement is vital in reversing underachievement

22 22 Underachievers belong to an ‘underserved group’ as a result of ‘underachieving schools.’ Whitmore (1989)

23 23 The School Control vs. Freedom High Expectation vs. Low Expectation (The Art of Balancing) Curriculum and Learning Style (March & Mismatch)

24 24 The Teacher - My instruction is Rigorous I don’t set my expectation so low that students need not make their best efforts. Relevant I do not give more of the same task to students already demonstrated mastery. Flexible and varied I allow variation in how students learn and how students show what they have learned. Complex I challenge students’ thinking and actively engage them in content that conveys depth and breadth. Adapted from D. Heacox 2002

25 25 Putting the child back in charge of his or her own education ‘ Only when students feel academically capable and internally motivated to learn will school success occur… And, … success is more likely to breed additional success …’ Delisle 1992

26 26 Focusing on strength – create challenge, variety and opportunity for students to utilize strengths and interests to improve school performance and facilitate in-depth learning Curriculum compacting Flexible skills grouping Tiered assignments Mentorship

27 27 Remediate deficiencies Work habit & study skills e.g.procrastination Dysfunctional perfectionism Low self esteem External locus of control Problem-solving, conflict resolution Missing fundamentals & skills Specific learning difficulties – Dual Exceptionalities

28 28 Strategies to reverse underachievement Supportive strategies Whitmore (1980) These ‘affirm the worth of the child in the classroom and convey the promise of greater potential and success yet to be discovered and enjoyed.’ Intrinsic strategies These are ‘designed to develop intrinsic achievement motivation through the child’s discovery of rewards available …. As a result of efforts to learn, achieve and contribute to the group.’ Remedial strategies These are ‘employed to improve the student’s academic performance in an area of learning in which (s)he has evidenced difficulty learning, has experienced a sense of failure.

29 29 Personal counselling and special programming Counselling of underachievers ‘should enable them to recognize their self concepts and perceptions into constructive channels,…’ Gallagher 1985 Negative results from merely grouping underachievers together (students reinforced each others’ negative behaviours). Perkins 1969 Grouping students according to ability without changing the curriculum or teaching methods cannot produce positive results. Goldberg 1965 Great gains reported when placed with achieving peers, with stimulating content and teaching strategies of the advanced class

30 30 Reversing underachievement of the gifted Pitfalls to avoid Inflexible teaching Rescuing the student Inappropriate expectations The need to control Getting even Giving up Getting angry Tips for Teachers Focus on the positive Keep problems private Get them involved Get them interested Adjust your curriculum Provide variety Give them tools / opportunity for success Make learning appropriate & relevant Minimize evaluation Build success Promote positive self esteem

31 31 Underachievers are ‘discouraged’ persons, they ‘lack courage’. Kauffman 1988 To encourage students, your attitude must say: You are capable. Go ahead and try. Mistakes are to learn from. I encourage at the individual’s pace, not mine. I encourage in the direction of the individual to meet his/her goals, not mine. I accept attempts and efforts. I value the individual as he or she is. I recognize the individual’s strengths, assets and resources. Dinkmeyer and Losoncy 1980

32 32 How long will it take to change? Depending on: The number of underachievement causes How long the student has been underachieving. The quality of the partnership formed between parents/ teachers/ student.

33 33 Reversing underachievement A Trifocal Model S. Rimm 1989 Child Home School

34 34 Trifocal Model for reversing underachievement syndrome Rimm1986 Assessment Communication Changing Expectations Role Model Identification Correction of Deficiencies Modifications of Home and School

35 35

36 36 es/gifted/index.htm es/gifted/index.htm


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