Monthly Archives: August 2014

Exploring Existential Depression

Exploring Existential Depression

 “Existential depression may be characterized by a unique sense of hopelessness in feeling that our lives may actually be meaningless.”

~ John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

It has been a solemn week in the gifted community after learning the news of Robin Williams’ passing. Without a definitive reason for this tragic loss, it was still a stark reminder of an issue – depression – on which many in the community have sought to shed light; but were often ignored. In an effort to raise awareness, gtchat followers chose to explore the reasons for existential depression, its effect on the gifted community and ways to deal with it.

Existential depression occurs when a person ends up questioning life, death or the meaning of life; and by doing so, lapses into depression. Characteristics of giftedness such as – idealism, intensity, sensitivity – predispose bright individuals to existential depression. Intensity paired with multipotentiality can equal frustration with existential limitations of time and  space. (Webb)

What are some sources of existential depression? Idealism that often leads to disillusionment can be one source. Bright children may develop metacognition before developing experiential tools to deal with emotional issues. As children with existential concerns grow up, they may find it hard to find others who share their concerns; they lack  interconnectedness. Perfectionism and one’s inability to live up to ideals can lead to existential depression. A full transcript may be found here.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT 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 Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About 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:

Existential Depression in Gifted Children

An Examination of the Literature Base on the Suicidal Behaviors of Gifted Students (pdf)

Existential Depression in Gifted Individuals from SENG_Gifted

If I’m So Smart, Why Do I Need Psychotherapy?

Can You Hear the Flowers Sing? Issues for Gifted Adults

Coping through Awareness: A Transformational Tool for Coping with Being Highly Gifted

Self-Knowledge, Self-Esteem & the Gifted Adult by Stephanie Tolan

Through a Stronger Lens: The Days of Discontent

What is Existential Depression?

Change Your Story, Change Your Life by Stephanie Tolan

Robin Williams: Depression Alone Rarely Causes Suicide

Robin Williams’s Comedic Genius Was Not a Result of Mental Illness, but His Suicide Was by Scott Barry Kaufman

Robin Williams & Existential Depression by Dr. James T. Webb

 

Bibliography:

Searching for Meaning Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment & Hope

Searching for Meaning cover

Living with Intensity

Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy & Successful Children

Man’s Search for Meaning

The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want

Plato, Not Prozac! Applying Eternal Wisdom to Everyday Problems

The Discovery of Being: Writings in Existential Psychology

Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration

“Mellow Out”, They Say. If I Only Could

Mellow Out Book Cover

The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength & Overcoming Life’s Hurdles

Exploring Existential Meaning: Optimizing Human Development Across the Life Span

Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death

Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness & Well-Being

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

Counseling the Gifted and Talented

Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential

Existential Counselling & Psychotherapy in Practice

Original photo courtesy of Pixabay

Models in Gifted Education

ModelsGiftedEducationWordle2

Due to the sheer number of models in gifted education, it was decided that five models would be discussed during the course of our hour-long chat. Additional models will be briefly covered in this blog post. A full transcript of the chat may be found at Storify.

Models considered:

  • Renzulli’s School Wide Enrichment Model (SEM) ~ a widely used model which appeals to a broader definition of giftedness.
  • Betts’ Autonomous Learners Model (ALM) ~ a self-directed learning approach.
  • VanTassel-Baska’s Integrated Curriculum Model (ICM) ~ specifically high ability learners.
  • Gagné’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent ( DMGT) ~ distinguishes between natural ability & talent development.
  • Gentry’s Total School Cluster Grouping (TSCG) ~ employs differentiation within the framework of inclusion.

 

The first question was to ask, “Why there are so many different models in gifted education?” The consensus was that a wide variety of models allowed for greater choice to meet the needs of gifted students. It was also pointed out by several people that because there is no one definition of ‘giftedness’ that different models responded to particular definitions. Different models appeal to different school settings – rural, urban, suburban, region of the country. Each model’s perspective may be from different vantage points – intellectual, social-emotional, neurological (Gifted Challenges).

“Just like every gifted kid is different, every community, district, and school has its own needs and demands.” ~ Jeffrey Farley, Middle School Teacher in Beaumont, Texas

Certain models seemed better suited to either the elementary or secondary level. In fact, the moderator pointed out that several of the models had modules specific to each level. Some models of gifted education are geared toward self-contained classrooms more common in the lower grades K-3. Other models are been adapted for content specific areas of instruction.

Factors that might be considered to ensure the success of any chosen model included flexibility; availability of professional development so that all stakeholders fully understand the program is critical; sufficient budget to implement a new program; a mind-set that is supportive of gifted education in general; as well as parent and community support.

“We need more support and training for teachers in their higher education teacher prep programs!” ~ Toby Brown, PhD candidate teaching at Oklahoma State 

Would it be better to simply consider acceleration or multi-age classrooms as opposed to implementing a specific model? Academically, acceleration is an excellent option; other considerations–maturity, siblings, sports–still play a role. In the final analysis, the most important factor voiced by most of our chat participants was CHOICE! Every child is different and every child should have options to choose from that best meet their individual needs.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT 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 Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About 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

 

Individual Models and Links

 

School Wide Enrichment Model: “In the SEM, a talent pool of 15-20% of above average ability/high potential students is identified through a variety of measures including: achievement tests, teacher nominations, assessment of potential for creativity and task commitment, as well as alternative pathways of entrance (self-nomination, parent nomination, etc.). High achievement test and IQ test scores .automatically include a. student in the talent pool, enabling those students who are underachieving in their academic school work to be included.” ~  from the Executive Summary, Renzulli and Reis

Schoolwide Enrichment Model Book Cover

The Schoolwide Enrichment Model Executive Summary Renzulli/Reis

Research Supporting SEM & Extensions of Gifted Ed Pedagogy to Meet Needs of All Students

Preparing Students for Success by Helping Them Discover & Develop Their Passions

 

Autonomous Learners Model: ““The Autonomous Learner Model (ALM) was initially created to provide students with alternative learning environments. The main goal of the ALM is to create independent, self-directed learners. Ideally, students will become lifelong learners through the ALM. The philosophy of the ALM is “to do it with the gifted, and not to them.” This philosophy embodies the belief that teachers should become facilitators and students should become learners. Students will go through each of the five dimensions of the ALM and they will gradually gain more control over their own learning.” Models for the Gifted (website)

Autonomous Learners Model Book Cover

Independent Study in the Betts’ Autonomous Learner Model

Teach with Class ~ Using the Autonomous Learners Model

Autonomous Learners Model in the Shawnee Mission School District, KS

 

Integrated Curriculum Model: “ICM was specifically developed for high-ability learners based on current research evidence at the time of what worked with gifted learners. It has three dimensions: (a) advanced content, (b) high-level process and product work, and (c) intra-and interdisciplinary concept development and understanding.” Gifted Child Quarterly 2007 51: 342

Serving Our Gifted Children in a Normal Classroom (pdf) Margaret Hodgson

What Works in Curriculum for the Gifted (pdf) Joyce VanTassel-Baska

 

Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent: “Francois Gagné’s differentiated model of giftedness and talent considers behaviors that appear spontaneously easy different from those that require mastery through extensive training. According to Gagné, giftedness is a superior natural ability whereas a talent is an ability/skill that has been developed exceptionally well. From this perspective, a talent implies a gift, but a gift does not automatically imply a talent.” Duke TIP

A Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (pdf) Gagné

Gagné’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness & Talent from DukeTIP

 

Total School Cluster Grouping: “Cluster grouping model that takes into account the achievement levels of all students and places students in classrooms yearly in order to reduce the number of achievement levels in each classroom and facilitate teachers’ differentiation of curriculum and instruction for all students and thus increase student achievement.” ~ From Total School Cluster Grouping & Differentiation, by Marcia Gentry and Rebecca L. Mann, p. 9

Total School Clustering and Differentiation Book

Total School Cluster Grouping & Differentiation (Amazon) Marcia Gentry

Total School Cluster Grouping (pdf) via Iowa TAG Presentation Slides by Marcia Gentry

NRC G/T: Promoting Student Achievement & Exemplary Classroom Practices Through Cluster Grouping (pdf) Gentry

All Together Now?” in Education Next Winter 2011 by Mike Petrilli

 

 Additional Models

 

Parallel Curriculum Model (PCM) ~ Tomlinson: “The Parallel Curriculum Model is a set of four interrelated designs that can be used singly, or in combination, to create or revise existing curriculum units, lessons, or tasks. Each of the four parallels offers a unique approach for organizing content, teaching, and learning that is closely aligned to the special purpose of each parallel.” ~ Parallel Curriculum Model Powerpoint Presentation, New Zealand Ministry of Education

Parallel Curriculum Model Book Cover

Presently Gifted (website): Parallel Curriculum Model

Introduction to the Parallel Curriculum Model (pdf)

Introducing the Parallel Curriculum Model (pdf)

The Parallel Curriculum: A Design to Develop Learner Potential and Challenge Advanced Learners (Amazon) Tomlinson and Kaplan et al

 

Talents Unlimited (TU) ~ Schlichter: “Talents Unlimited (TU) is an empirically based staff development model structured to help educators develop the creative and critical thinking skills, or talents, of their students.  This model embraces the philosophy that traditional academic success is not the only indicator of somebody’s ability to think and solve problems, and that a person can express his or her intellectual potential in a variety of forms.  The model categorizes six talent areas– Productive Thinking, Decision Making, Planning, Forecasting, Communication, and Academic– and outlines a staff development program to help teachers nurture each of these talents in the classroom.” ~ from Models for the Gifted (website)

Talents Unlimited. A Critical and Creative Thinking Skills Model. Awareness Packet (pdf)

Talents Unlimited, Inc. Prezi by Jennefer Lowke 9/30/2013

Talents Unlimited (website)

 

Purdue Three-Stage Enrichment Model for Elementary Gifted Learners (PACE) ~ Feldhusen: “Regardless of age or content area, the core goal of this model is to move the student from novice toward practitioner. This model can be implemented as a wide-reaching program, or as a smaller curriculum. Through three distinct stages, this model begins with covering basic levels of knowledge, continues with the application of that knowledge and skills, and finishes with students solving real-life problems. Because of its simple steps, this model is not difficult to implement, needing only a variety of resources for students to interact with at the second and third stages. This model is both flexible and adaptable to many different settings and is low cost.” ~ from Models for the Gifted

International Handbook of Giftedness and Talent P. 352

Encyclopedia of Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent P. 323

 

Multiple Intelligences (MI) ~ Howard Gardner: “According to this theory, “we are all able to know the world through language, logical-mathematical analysis, spatial representation, musical thinking, the use of the body to solve problems or to make things, an understanding of other individuals, and an understanding of ourselves. Where individuals differ is in the strength of these intelligences – the so-called profile of intelligences -and in the ways in which such intelligences are invoked and combined to carry out different tasks, solve diverse problems, and progress in various domains.” ~ from “The Distance Learning Technology Resource Guide,” by Carla Lane at Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (pdf)

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences – Emory (pdf)

Big Thinkers: Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences at Edutopia (video)

 

 

More Models (All links from Models for the Gifted (Google Site):

Multiple Menu Model

Levels of Service Approach

Catalyst Model

 

General Links on Models in Gifted Education:

Models for the Gifted (Google Site)

Systems & Models for Developing Programs for Gifted & Talented, 2E (Amazon) Renzulli & Gubbins

Tough Choices: Ten Curriculum Models (Prezi)

Introduction to Definitions and Conceptions of Giftedness (pdf) Robert J. Sternberg

Curriculum for Highly Able Learners That Conforms to General Education and Gifted Education Quality Indicators http://goo.gl/r12q9

 

Links from chat participants:

Cybraryman’s Design Thinking Page

Cybraryman’s Understanding by Design Page

Cybraryman’s IEP Individualized Education Programs

Young, Gifted, and Black: What I’ve Learned While Raising a Gifted Child

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