Coping with Isolation in the Gifted Community

gtchat 06262015 Isolation

Sometimes communication can be a bit tricky when you only have 140 characters with which to work. Clarity is often a casualty in conversation. This week at #gtchat, we gained a new appreciation for the limitations imposed by using a micro-blogging platform to discuss a nuanced topic like ‘isolation’. Although the intent of several questions was to consider isolation within community, some participants in the chat interpreted it to be isolation from the greater community. Facilitation of comments that sometimes can feel like a flash mob of words at the rate of a 500 tweets in an hour is difficult at best and sometimes near impossible. However, I and TAGT are pleased to provide a forum where all viewpoints are heard and valued.

Members of the gifted community often experience feelings of isolation. The scarcity of identification in any one geographical area may impede an individual’s discovery of the gifted community. So, too, diversity on the intellectual spectrum may lead to unintended isolation within the community. Isolation can also be a choice. Gifted people may become uncomfortable with those they feel don’t understand them; they tire of pretense.

Teachers of gifted students can face many obstacles when attempting to interact or collaborate with colleagues. Many people outside of education do not realize that myths about gifted education and giftedness in general can affect teachers of gifted, too. Teachers in gifted programs are often excluded in the decision-making process regarding their students as well as in the identification process.

How can teachers and parents help their gifted kids overcome isolation and find their tribe? Time for peer interaction among gifted students needs to be allotted every day. Extra-curricular activities such as creative and academic competitions can be a good way to overcome isolation. Teachers and parents can provide opportunities for gifted kids to work with older students and mentors.

Parents, too,  may experience feelings of isolation. To help with this situation, they should seek out other parents with gifted children as there is strength in numbers. They can also form support groups. Parent volunteers often meet and build networks when supporting their children at school. Many parents report finding online support and friendship when isolation is due to geographical reasons.

Finally, we turned our attention to whether or not isolation always implies loneliness. Are there positive aspects to isolation? Many members of the gifted community report finding solace in isolation; time for intellectual rest. In regard to children, it is important for adults to determine a child’s feelings; is it solitude or loneliness? They may be seeking ‘alone’ time for a reason. For more from this chat, a transcript may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-with-sponsor

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media    Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

The Challenges of Being Gifted in a Rural Community

Gifted Isolation or Gifted Community?

AUS: Multi-level Selective Classes for Gifted Students (pdf)

UK: Exploring Aspects of Participation in an International Online Network for Gifted Students – A Research in Progress

Understanding and Encouraging the Exceptionally Gifted (1985)

Friendship Factors in Gifted Children

Why Parents of Gifted Children Feel Isolated and Alone

Helping the Introverted and Talented Child

Intellectual Giftedness at Wikipedia (see Isolation)

Dabrowski’s Theory & Existential Depression in Gifted Children & Adults

Discussion on Genius & Intelligence: Interview with Arthur Jensen (slideshare)

Factors in the Social Adjustment & Social Acceptability of Extremely Gifted Children

Are Rural Needs Different in Gifted Education?

Myths, Arguments and Red Herrings…

I’ll Trade You One Gifted Child

Gifted Conferences, Events and Gatherings

My Gifted Child Wants More Friends: What Can I Do? (Slideshare)

Why do I need to make friends? (YouTube)

Belonging and Gifted Children

Just A Little Less Worse

So Apparently There Are 4 Kinds of Introversion

The Legend of the Pink Monkey

Feeling Isolated…by choice

The Most Powerful 8 Minutes for Student Engagement

Gifted Online Communities…

Finding Your Community

Gifted Students at Risk

World Council for Gifted and Talented Children Biennial Conference

New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour 2015

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Best Ways to Support the Gifted Teen

gtchat 06192015 Gifted Teen

 

“OK . . . let’s be honest: you cannot force a reluctant teenager to do anything, at least not for long. Whether it’s to do more homework (or to not obsess about its completion); to begin to become more social (or to cut back on the dating circuit); or to start planning for one’s college future (or to forget thinking of Harvard in 8th grade), teens have their own personal agendas, many of which tie into their newly found senses of power and independence.” ~ Dr. James Delisle

 

The teen years can be some of the most daunting years for gifted children as well as their parents and teachers. Gifted, profoundly gifted (PG) and twice-exceptional (2E) teens face many challenges not experienced by their age-peers. They often face unreasonable expectations and mixed messages about their abilities from adults. Gifted teens can have a different view of life and the world than do their classmates. They may prefer to be with intellectual peers rather than age-peers.

There was no shortage of acknowledging challenges for gifted kids:

  • There is nothing without challenge. Except learning, but he will never learn the way they want him to anyway. ~ Mona Chicks
  • For us, I think the social and emotional issues are the biggest hurdles. ~Celi Trépanier
  • My daughter is GT and basketball player. Was told she can’t be smart and a jock.Cliques can cause issues. She changed minds. ~Jodi Foreman
  • Where to start? All of them. Peers, asynchrony, divergent interests, feeling more, BEING more. ~ Jen Merrill

We next turned our attention to asynchronous development as it had been mentioned several times at this point. Asynchronous development – many ages at once – can have a profound impact on their social lives. Jonathan Bolding, middle school teacher of gifted and talented students in Nashville, told us that an “inability to connect with same-age peers may lead to social isolation.” Although intellectually ready to handle more challenging academics, they may not be able to navigate the social scene as easily.

Our third question considered sleep deprivation … how do you get a gifted teen to turn off the lights? For the homeschoolers present, this did not seem as much of a problem as it did for those with kids in public schools where early starts to the day proved difficult for most teens. It was an issue that followed many teens into adulthood. Many suggestions were offered on ways to get a teen to sleep. According to Dr. Jim Delisle, “A gifted teen’s greatest enemy is lack of sleep. Sleep is often not considered a priority for gifted adolescents. Resultant crankiness, listlessness, general “unattractiveness” are a direct result of this lack of sleep. The teen mind is often in overdrive – try to find methods of relaxation.”

How best can adults support sensible risk-taking regarding education? Risk-taking is a huge component in creativity! Teens should not shy away from actions for fear of appearing ‘different’.  They need to understand that being less than perfect is okay and not everyone is successful on the first attempt. (S. White) Learning to deal with failure and overcoming it are skills that can be learned during the teen years. Parents and teachers should both model how to cope with failure; be honest with their kids/students.

Many good strategies were discussed for developing self-advocacy in teens. Self-advocacy can be nurtured by allowing teens to experience natural consequences for their actions early on. Parents need to be less involved in ‘rescuing’ teens from academic issues and lend support to their teen. Jen Merrill suggested, “Start small. Encourage them to do things for themselves in public. Gradually work up to educational advocacy.”

The teen years can be a balancing act between ‘fitting in’ and intellectual authenticity with age-peers. It’s natural for teens to want to fit in with peer groups. Adults need to be understanding and give them some space to find their own way. Jeremy Bond, a parent, expressed it this way, “As with all teens, they should know you’ll always be there for support, but not to navigate things for them.” A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

This week, our sponsor GiftedandTalented.com gave away a scholarship for a 3-month subscription to their K-7 Math and Language Arts Combination Course. The winner was Virginia  Pratt, a teacher of gifted and talented students in South Carolina. GiftedandTalented.com was born out of Stanford’s EPGY. EPGY was led by Professor Patrick Suppes and they are honored to continue his legacy.  Virginia was able to answer the question – “During Patrick Suppes’ 64 years at Stanford, how many books did he publish?” (Answer: 34) Congratulations, Virginia and many thanks to GiftedandTalented.com!

gtchat-logo-with-sponsor

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media    Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Tips for Parents: The Real World of Gifted Teens

Tips for Parents: Gifted . . . and Teenagers, too

10 Ways to Help Your Gifted Teen Get the Best Out of Secondary School

Parenting Gifted Teens

Parenting Gifted Children in Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classroom (pdf)

Deep Thinkers & Perfectionists: Getting to Know Your Gifted Teen

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Teens: Living with Intense & Creative Adolescents Paperback (Amazon)

Parents of Gifted 3: Promote Sensible Risk-taking

Life Balance & Gifted Teens – an Oxymoron?

Sleep Deprivation and Teens

Exploring the Duality of the Gifted Teen

The Gifted Teen Survival Guide: Smart, Sharp & Ready for (Almost) Anything (Amazon)

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

How to Foster Critical and Creative Thinking

gtchat Critical and Creative Thinking 06122015

 

Critical thinking is the ability to recognize and challenge assumptions, and to understand context in a given situation. Creative thinking involves developing unique and useful ideas. This week at #gtchat, we discussed how to foster both critical and creative thinking.

Andrea of GiftedandTalented.com explained that “critical thinking is thinking with an emphasis on understanding and questioning rather than simply accepting standard procedures.” Critical thinkers can ask relevant questions and research alternatives. Critical thinking includes compare/contrast; sequencing; analysis and assessment of ideas. Mary St. George of New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education and Gifted Online said, “Critical thinking looks beyond what ideas are to whether they are relevant, accurate and wise.”

Our thoughts then turned to creative thinking. Audrey Fine, GT specialist and past-president of Alabama Association for Gifted Children, said, “Initially, brainstorming comes to mind, but just for a start.” Angie French, a GT specialist in Texas, told us, “Creative thinking is fun and exhilarating when it’s at its best!” and Mona Chicks added, “Creative thinking is putting together ideas that didn’t belong together before, but they do now.” Creative thinkers have the ability to question their own thinking; to engage in divergent fields of study. Creative thinking can often be characterized as ‘futuristic’ thinking.

What does a 21st century skills framework look like? This framework sees students as problem solvers. Corin Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, characterized it as “creative and entrepreneurial; able to follow one’s own path; find resources one needs. It is very networked in many ways.” In this century, we must promote critical and creative thinking to solve the global challenges we all face.

With all the emphasis on STEM & seeming dedication to achievement, why do gifted kids drop out of school? Too often gifted students grow weary of what they see as ‘playing the game’; grades become irrelevant to personal goals. “Not all kids relate to STEM. Nor are all built for achievement,” explained Lisa Lauffer of Artisan of Creative Miracles. Krissy Venosdale of Venspired said, “Achieving is unfulfilling. Especially when you achieve by jumping through hoops. Creating and exploring? That’s engaging!” Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources told us, “Often gifted kids style of thinking and learning is very different from classmates – it may appear to be daydreaming and off topic.”

Next, we explored the benefits of becoming mentally fit. Mental fitness introduces the purpose of thinking; the means to accomplishing goals. Andrea of GiftedandTalented.com said, “mental fitness is just like physical fitness in that a student is prepared to tackle whatever challenges they face.” A mentally fit mind is trained to focus and is an engaged mind.

Our final question was ‘How do we begin to create engagement for gifted students?’ Gifted students rarely need relentless repetitions; eliminate ‘kill and drill’. Curriculum design must consider its ‘meaningfulness’ to the student; be responsive to individual students. Just say ‘no’ to easy answers and require accuracy in outcomes; involve struggle and embrace learning from failure. And these suggestions from out participants:

  • Respectfully complex work is inherently engaging for many gifted children. ~ Mary St. George
  • Appropriate level of challenge, student choice around material and pace, and enrichment ~ GiftedandTalented.com
  • Allow gifted kids to follow their passions and spend more time learning how to learning with their unique styles. ~ Barry Gelston
  • Provide opportunities for them to use their interests as a base for learning. ~ Carol Bainbridge
  • Make learning relevant with students learning what they need to know and then able to demonstrate it to an authentic audience. ~ Tony Rudd

A full transcript can be found at Storify.
gtchat-logo-with-sponsor

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media    Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Illinois Association for Gifted Children Journal 2015 (pdf) Joan Smutny, editor

Engaging & Challenging Curriculum: Supporting Advanced & Gifted Learners (Amazon)

Fostering Critical & Creative Thinking in the K12 Classroom: Overview (pdf)

AUS: Critical & Creative Thinking across the Curriculum

Nurturing Critical & Creative Thinking Skills (Slideshare)

Strategies to Promote Critical Thinking in the Elementary Classroom

Critical & Creative Thinking

Teaching Creative Thinking with Awareness & Discovery Questions

Helping Students Transition to Critical & Creative Thinking (pdf)

Making Thinking Visible: Building Understanding through Critical & Creative Thinking

Teaching Critical Thinking: An Evidence-based Guide

Learning to Learn Creative Thinking & Critical Thinking DCU – Ireland (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Critical Thinking Page

Sprites Site Doggy Classroom Dynamics Compares Critical vs Creative Thinking Styles

Why Technology Alone Won’t Fix Schools

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Best Online Resources for Gifted Information

gtchat Online Resources 06052015 Graphic

Crowdsourcing has long been thought of as one of the strengths of the Internet and specifically social media communities. This week on #gtchat, we asked our participants to tell us what information they most often seek online regarding gifted issues and where to find the best resources. We also wanted to know how important a sense of community was to those who weekly join us at #gtchat. Self-election was considered acceptable and encouraged. Their links are listed below. The transcript for this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-with-sponsor

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media    Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Facebook Groups and Pages:

Gifted Parenting Support Page***

GiftedandTalented.com Page*

Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page

Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT Page

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Page

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Page

About Gifted Children Page

Laughing at Chaos Page

My Little Poppies Page

Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse Page

Favorite Blogs:

Gifted Parenting Support***

Sprite’s Site

Laughing at Chaos

Gifted Resources Blog

Gifted Homeschoolers Blog List

Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop List

My Little Poppies

Crushing Tall Poppies

Creating Curriculum for Gifted Children

Not Just Child’s Play

Incredible Journey of Giftedness

Red, White and Grew

Personas, Profiles and Portraits

Lisa Van Gemert (aka Gifted Guru)**

Jade Ann Rivera

Mrs. Brown’s Class

Marianne Kuzujanakis … oh how I see

Venspired**

Advanced Academics Update

Teach from the Heart

Bob Yamtich, MFT

Publishers of Gifted Books/Curriculum:

GHF Press

Great Potential Press

Prufrock Press

Kendall Hunt

Free Spirit Publishing

Tumblehome Learning

Hawker Brownlow Education

Royal Fireworks Press

The Critical Thinking Co.

Mindware

TAGT Legacy Award 2015 Nominees

Best Online Courses:

GiftedandTalented.com*

GHF Online

Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse

Online G3

Thinkwell Homeschool

Coursera

CTY Online

Art of Problem Solving

William and Mary Center for Gifted Education Navigators

Kahn Academy

Code Academy

TED Ed

Scratch

Online Learning: 3 Approaches for Gifted/2E

General:

About.com Parenting Gifted Children

Cybraryman’s Evaluating Information Page

Byrdseed Gifted**

Mensa for Kids

National Association for Gifted Children

Hoagies’ Gifted

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

GiftedandTalented.com Expert Picks*

SENG Gifted

Adventures of Hahn Academy Online Gifted Resources

Zometool

Kapla

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

* #gtchat Sponsor

** #gtchat Advisor

*** Moderator’s professional page

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