Guest Tom Clynes and Extreme Parenting

gtchat 08212015 Extreme Parenting

 

This week our guest was Tom Clynes, author of The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting & How to Make a Star. If you work with gifted children, advocate for gifted education or are the parent of a gifted child, you will love this book. It is the fascinating story of Taylor Wilson, a science prodigy, who became the youngest person in the world to achieve nuclear fusion at the age of 14.

Our topic this week was ‘Extreme Parenting’ which by any measure would describe the Wilsons’ parenting style. Their counter intuitive approach to parenting flew in the face of conventional wisdom, but proved to be exactly what Taylor needed to reach for the stars and eventually create one for himself.

Beyond a great read, author Tom Clynes makes a convincing argument for the need to provide an appropriate education for gifted children who are languishing in classrooms across the U.S. It is refreshing to hear from someone outside the gifted community establishment come to this conclusion after extensive research into the history of gifted education and seeing first-hand the role education plays in identifying and supporting our nation’s best and brightest.

Boy Who Played with Fusion Bookstore

Photo courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

We first discussed the history of gifted education beginning in the 1950s and how support has declined over the years. Tom told us, “I wrote in The Boy Who Played With Fusion that Nikita Khrushchev did more for gifted education in America than anyone else. The Sputnik launch provoked all kinds of support for intellectually precocious students who were seen as strategic resources. The boom years for bright kids continued into the 1970s; then hit an ideological roadblock in the late 1980s. Specialized education for the academically talented was attacked as being elitist. After 2003, funding for gifted programs was diverted to support the long-overdue focus on the nation’s underachievers. Unfortunately, support for the top of the talent curve is now enjoyed mostly by students who are near the top of the socioeconomic curve. Most of the nation’s gifted students (especially minority and rural children) now have little access to an appropriate education.”

Boy Who Played with Fusion Taylor Wilson TED Talk

Taylor Wilson during a TED Talk. (Photo courtesy of Tom Clyne)

The discussion then switched to the future and what needs to change in how we educate gifted children. Tom had lots of advice on what to do next, “We’ll need to shift the course of an educational culture that has been surprisingly slow to accept its own research. Many educators still cling to the unsupported belief that acceleration hurts children emotionally and socially though hundreds of studies show that most children are happier among intellectual peers. Acceleration has positive, long-term affects on careers, productivity and life satisfaction. Another persistent myth is that it’s expensive to help gifted children develop their talents. Some interventions (such as ability grouping and acceleration by subject) require few resources. These kids don’t need expensive new programs, they just need what older kids are already getting. We also need more teacher training to identify gifted students, and policies to ease early college admission for qualified kids. And educators need to cast a wider net to identify gifted rural and minority students who are often overlooked in talent searches.” You can read more about acceleration here.

“Many educators still cling to the unsupported belief that acceleration hurts children emotionally and socially though hundreds of studies show that most children are happier among intellectual peers.” ~ Tom Clynes 

What are the implications for a nation that chooses to ignore its top students? Tom offered his insights in telling us, “It’s becoming clearer that a nation’s prosperity will depend, increasingly, on the intellectual capability of its population. But U.S. efforts to develop the high end of that capability have stalled; other nations have pushed ahead with innovative programs. By forsaking potential world-changers, we’re hobbling our economies and denying our civilization its next generation of innovators. These are the future Salks, Mozarts, and Curies who will figure out the riddles and push the frontiers of knowledge forward. Instead of trying to rebuild the nation’s talent pool, we are squandering a crucial resource: our brightest children.”

In ‘The Boy Who Played with Fusion’, we see Taylor Wilson’s parents use what Tom Clynes refers to as an ‘extreme parenting’ style which challenges traditional parenting. Tom explains, “By the time Taylor was 11 years old he was collecting and experimenting with radioactive materials, some supremely scary stuff. Instead of doing what most parents would regard as common sense – keeping their kid away from things that could kill him … Tiffany and Kenneth took a counter-intuitive approach to nurturing Taylor’s talents. The lengths to which they were willing to go to support Taylor as he pursued his unnerving interests were, to me, even more impressive than Taylor’s intrinsic talents. At 14, he became the youngest person to build a working nuclear fusion reactor, a miniature sun on Earth. His parents brought in educators and mentors to guide Taylor…so he could pursue his interests safely.” You can read more on that here.

Boy Who Played with Fusion Wilson Family

Taylor Wilson with his parents, Kenneth and Tiffany, and brother Joey (Photo courtesy of Tom Clynes)

In his book, Tom talks about a household culture of “intellectual spoiling”. How can parents create such a culture? Tom suggests, “Compare to “Helicopter parents,” who push their children as hard as they push the system hovering over their every move, steering them toward the parents’ choices. Child psychologists and educators say there’s a better way: Let children pilot their own helicopters. I call it Helicopter Parenting 2.0 . Parents provide the fuel—supplies, mentors, encouragement and then jump aboard and let the kids fly as far and in whatever directions their developing passions and talents take them. Under this new model of parenting, parents create household cultures that encourage children to take intellectual risks. They feed their children’s curiosity by developing customized, hands-on opportunities and by building a base of support that’s both intellectual and emotional.”

“Helicopter Parenting 2.0: Parents provide the fuel—supplies, mentors, encouragement and then jump aboard and let the kids fly as far and in whatever directions their developing passions and talents take them.” ~ Tom Clynes

Finally we discussed what it takes for ‘scary smart’ kids to succeed. Tom said, “Kids whose abilities are identified early and whose talents are supported are most likely to grow into creative, high-achieving adults. The support includes individualized learning experiences, acceleration when appropriate, mentorship opportunities, and social-emotional support. At school, children thrive when there’s active, interest-based learning rather than forced effort. But…beware of labels: Once a child is labeled gifted, the pressure to perform can become an emotional burden. Some students become worried about protecting their image and start avoiding opportunities to grow if there’s a chance of failure. Encourage children to take intellectual risks and open themselves up to failures that will help them learn.”

A final thought offered by Lisa Lauffer of Create Miracles was, “We parents get to enjoy guiding these unique kids along their paths. Let’s enjoy the journey!” A transcript of 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 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:

“Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting…” Extreme Giftedness

The Boy Who Played with Fusion (Popular Science)

Taylor Wilson: My Radical Plan for Small Nuclear Fission Reactors 2013  (TED Talk)

Taylor Wilson The Boy Who Played with Fusion 2014 (You Tube 41:53)

Would You Let Your Kids Play With Fusion?

Why This 14-Year-Old Kid Built a Nuclear Reactor

The “rage to master”: What it Takes for Those Scary-Smart Kids to Succeed

Is the U.S. Overlooking Its Most Gifted Students?

If I burn out, I burn out’: Meet Taylor Wilson, Nuclear Boy Genius

The Boy Genius and the Genius in All of Us

Igniting a Renaissance

Taylor’s Nuke Site

Taylor Wilson, Teenage Nuclear Scientist, Redesigns Nuclear Power

Taylor Wilson, Nuclear Prodigy (video)

Tom Clynes: The Boy Who Played with Fusion Interview (audio)

Cybraryman’s Parents and Teachers Page

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Turning Gifted Education Research into Practice

gtchat 08122015 WCGTC Odense

 

This week, #gtchat was live via Twitter at the 21st World Conference of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children in Odense, Denmark. In order to accommodate multiple time zones, the chat was held mid-week rather than on Friday. Thanks to Tyler Clark for his assistance.

Our topic was the conference theme “Turning Gifted Education Research into Practice”. Bridging the gap and stereotypes that exist between researchers and practitioners is an important component of this discussion. Andrea from giftedandtalented.com suggested, “Encourage researchers to practice and practitioners to research. Collaborating at GT Education Conferences is a good place to start.”  Tracy Weinberg, Associate Director at TAGT, said, “That is an eternal question. Research from A Nation Deceived & A Nation Empowered shows the gap remains, if a bit improved.” Also, researchers should ensure that the quality and utility of their work is applicable in the classroom.

What responsibility should researchers bear in assuring their research reaches teachers? “Researchers must make their work practical and understandable; administrators must take the role of instructional leader seriously,” continued Tracy Weinberg. Improvements to the ‘paywall’ system need to be looked at and implemented for the benefit of all parties.

How can research be effectively used in the classroom? Educators need to look at current research and be willing to implement in timely manner when applicable. It’s helpful also for teachers to know the needs of their students and use research-based pedagogy throughout their careers. Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources in Australia added, “Educators can incorporate the recommendations from the research into their teaching when appropriate.”  Hilde of Twice Exceptional Dk in Denmark said, “Targeting the right types of classrooms and following up on implemented projects” is another way of using research in the classroom.

Next we discussed what guidelines should be used in determining ‘best practices’ in gifted education. Major gifted organizations such as the NAGC in the U.S. have guidelines available. Guidelines should consider under-served and diverse populations in all cultures; including twice-exceptional kids. Gifted education should be viewed as a continuum of services to address the overall needs of gifted students.

What benefits can accrue for gifted & talented students when research is put into practice? Students as benefactors would include latest research on social-emotional, twice-exceptional and delivery options. Research can highlight both strategies that work and those that do not to support curriculum and program changes.

Finally, we took a look at what areas of gifted education and talent development need further research. It was noted that the definition of the nature of giftedness continues to confound progress on advocacy for gifted education. Also, cooperative research on a global basis could reduce ‘reinvention of the wheel’ syndrome. It was agreed that further research on benefits of ‘challenge’ for gifted students and consequences of not challenging them is needed. A transcript of 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 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:

World Council for Gifted & Talented Children (website)

21st World Conference of the World Council for Gifted & Talented Children 2015 (website)

Critical Issues & Practices in Gifted Education, 2E: What the Research Says 2nd Ed (Amazon)

Best Practices in Gifted Education: An Evidence-Based Guide (Amazon)

Gifted Education Practices (NAGC)

Handbook of Intelligence: Evolutionary Theory, Historical Perspective & Current Concepts (Amazon)

Research Sheds Light on Identification, Ability Grouping, Acceleration, Curriculum Design in Gifted Education

AERA Research on Giftedness, Creativity & Talent Development

Giftedness and Gifted Education: The Need for a Paradigm Change

State of Research on Giftedness & Gifted Education: A Survey of Empirical Studies (pdf)

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Guest: Dr. Lynne Kenney, Author of BLOOM

gtchat 08072015 BLOOM

Our guest this week was Dr. Lynne Kenney, a nationally recognized pediatric psychologist and author of BLOOM: 50 Things to Say Think and Do with Anxious Angry and Over-the-Top Kids. You can learn more about Dr. Kenney’s work at her website and Author’s Page at Amazon.

The basic Bloom Parenting Method is about building cognitive, social and behavioral skill sets instead of using consequences and punishment to manage behavior. A key feature of the Bloom Parenting Method is getting out ahead of a persistent challenge by empathizing with your child’s feelings and experience before the escalation evolves into an eruption. The success of your child’s ability to self-regulate later in life is related to their experience of clear, consistent and responsive mutual regulation in the early years. It’s an amazing, delicate dance that parents and children engage in. (BLOOM)

Mornings can be one of the most hectic and stressful times of the day for both our children and ourselves. As Dr. Kenney reminded us, “It’s easy to feel rushed, and twice-exceptional and over-excitable kids pick up on that. Involving the kids in planning the routines, exercise in the morning, and using mantras [found in BLOOM] to help us think more mindfully can all help.”

BLOOM Match feeling with behavior

Helping children deal with aggressive feelings and actions is important for the well-being of the child and the entire family. Lynne suggested, “Tying the feeling to their actions helps, “You were mad, so you hit.” Humor and silliness help with some kids. When my kids are angry and I don’t take it personally, things go better.” We cannot punish children out of undesirable behavior. We must teach them into more pro-social behavior. (BLOOM)

What are some ways to help a little ‘mover’ slow down, calm down and be more successful at home and school? A healthy diet and exercise is the first step. According to Dr. Kenney, “Sometimes, we have to be thinking one step ahead, “What is my child needing next?” It is interesting that sometimes we want kids to join our pace, but we are best joining theirs; then re-pacing.” Children learn how to solve problems through play. Ten to fifteen minutes of floorplay each day can make a world of difference. (BLOOM)

Neurotransmitters are largely responsible for behavior, attitude and energy. What factors influence neurotransmitter function in the brain and why is this important? When we are slow to get going, distracted or resistant; it’s often NOT simply a behavioral choice, it’s biochemical. (BLOOM) Leticia of Academia Oportunidad explained, “Neurotransmitter function is influenced by food (sodium, calcium, potassium, etc.), exercise, mood and environmental conditions.” Lynne pointed out, “Before we medicate kids, we need to feed them whole food without pesticides; that matters a lot.”

We then turned our attention to why kids don’t just behave at school and what can be done to intervene in such behaviors. “In BLOOM, we have about 200 reasons why kids misbehave,” Lynne told us. Many reasons were given by chat participants such as boredom, lack of challenge, pressure to conform to rigid classroom standards, or a poor fit between the child and teacher. Classroom tips from the book can be seen below.

Bloom Tips #1-#3-01

Bloom Tips #1-#3-02

Bloom Tips #1-#3-03

Finally we looked at how trauma affects a child’s brain and how can adults ease the effects of trauma. Dr. Kenney said, “Trauma comes is so many forms now [that] we have a chapter on it in Bloom. Dr. Gail Post of Gifted Challenges added, “Sadly, trauma is often overlooked, minimized by adults who feel too overwhelmed, guilty, etc. to address the child’s needs.” A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

Congratulations to our winners of an electronic version of BLOOM (compliments of Dr. Kenney): Care M. @NaturallyCare, Yomaida England @Englandk_1, and Leticia @Academia Oportunidad.

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:

Brain Insights

The Coffee Klatch

Zero to Three

Relax Kids

National Association for the Education of Young Children

Building Moral Intelligence (Amazon)

Cool Down & Work through Anger (Amazon)

Hands Are Not for Hitting (Amazon)

Parenting Made Easy: How to Raise Happy Children

Kidlutions (Intense/Angry Kids)

A Moving Child is A Learning Child (Amazon)

Stress Free Kids (Amazon)

The Center for Trauma and Loss: Parent Resources

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise & the Brain (Amazon)

Smart but Scattered: Revolutionary ‘Executive Skills’ Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential (Amazon)

The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding & Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children (Amazon)

Raising a Sensory Smart Child: Definitive Handbook for Helping Child w/Sensory Processing Issues (Amazon)

The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain (Amazon)

Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children & Adults

Relaxation: Free MP3 downloads from Dartmouth University

Brave: Be Ready & Victory’s Easy, a Story About Social Anxiety (Amazon)

If I Have to Tell You One More Time: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling (Amazon)

Lynn’s Blog

Increasing Communication Collaboration and Cooperation (Slideshare) and audio

Are You Unintentionally Bullying Your Child?

Still Quiet Place Recommended Readings and CDs

BLOOM Teacher Tips

3 Easy Steps to Enhance Your Brain on Vacation

Kids Eat Clean Printable

Cybraryman’s Communicating with Children Page

Family Resources

Note to Educators: Hope Required When Growing Roses in Concrete (pdf)

BLOOM videos

Understanding the Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development (pdf)

 

The Maker Movement and Gifted Ed: The Perfect Combination!

gtchat 07312015 Makerspaces and Gifted Ed

 

Many thanks to Krissy Venosdale @Venspired for filling in as moderator at last week’s chat. Krissy is a member of the #gtchat Advisory Board and the Innovation Coordinator at The Kinkaid School in Houston, TX. Her passion is undeniably the Maker Movement. You can read more at her blog.

Below please find links to the incredible resources shared during this chat by Krissy and chat participants.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented 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:

Making Matters! How the Maker Movement Is Transforming Education

Be a Maker

Live Binder Maker Spaces

Live Binder Maker Space Tools Project

Kim’s MakerEd/Makerspace Livebinder

Live Binder Maker Faire Materials

Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (Amazon)

DIY.org

The Invent to Learn Guide to Fun (Amazon)

Makerology

Code.org

My Disney Class

Maker Education

Inspiration for Starting a Makerspace

Sensational Books for Maker Education

Makezine

Create an Engineering Mystery Bag Challenge for Kids

Exploratorium: The Tinkering Studio Sketchpad

Innovation Lab – The Space

How to Add a Makerspace to Your Classroom

Make Your Own Ant-Man Suit! – Homemade How-to! (YouTube)

Naeir Resource Exchange

Constructing Modern Knowledge

Constructing Modern Knowledge 2015

21 Everyday Objects You Can Hack From a Bacon Sandwich to a Pencil to Your Cat

Sketch Play (pdf)

Paper Roller Coasters

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,764 other followers

%d bloggers like this: