Monthly Archives: February 2015

Can and Should Empathy Be Taught in Schools?

Empathy copy

 

In “Human Empathy through the Lens of Social Neuroscience”, Jean Decety and Claus Lamm define empathy as, “the ability to experience and understand what others feel without confusion between oneself and others.” They go on to explain, “Knowing what someone else is feeling plays a fundamental role in interpersonal interactions.”

Although there was not a consensus on whether or not empathy could be taught, the benefits of exposing students to the idea of empathy were seen as a move in the right direction. It was asserted that modeling empathy works best for some, but others agreed that it was a skill susceptible to training &enhancement programs; such as direct narratives and class discussions.

Teaching empathy can benefit the overall school climate and gifted students in particular. Infusing the school climate with empathetic behavior has a residual effect on co-workers and staff.

What are some ways teachers can model empathetic behavior for their students? Teachers should treat each student with respect and expect the same in return. They can model empathy by getting to know their students and practicing empathetic listening.  One way teachers can create a caring atmosphere in their classrooms is by adding ‘empathy leader’ to student ‘jobs’. Another way in the early years would be to include examples of empathetic activities such as having young students share what they like about each other.

Finally, we looked at ways parents could extend the learning. First, they need to address their child’s own emotional needs and help them deal with negative emotions at home. Parents should seek opportunities to model empathetic behavior in everyday life such as using times of discomfort as opportunities to understand empathy; for instance, talking about a distressing news story. They should provide opportunities for kids to help others without a material reward … foster sense of doing the right thing. A full transcript of this week’s chat may be found on Storify.

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #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:

Compassion & Empathy: School Climate Essentials

Teaching Empathy: Are We Teaching Content or Students? from Edutopia

Building a Caring Classroom Culture: An Action Plan

Creating More Compassionate Classrooms from Edutopia

Building Social & Emotional Skills in Elementary Students: Empathy from Edutopia

Roots of Empathy

Teaching Empathy: Evidence-Based Tips for Fostering Empathy in Children

The Children We Mean to Raise: The Real Messages Adults Are Sending About Values (pdf)

How Parents Can Cultivate Empathy in Children (pdf)

Developing Empathy

Empathy Teacher’s Guide Grades 3 – 5

Tips on Helping Your Child Develop Empathy

Unleashing Empathy: How Teachers Transform Classrooms with Emotional Learning 

Emotional Intelligence Needs a Moral Rudder

Teaching Empathy to At-Risk Kids

13 Top Games That Teach Empathy

Building Community in the Classroom Page from Cybraryman

Rethinking How Students Succeed

Elevating Empathy on Pinterest

Empathy: The 21st Century Skill

4 Unexpected (& Science-Backed) Ways to Develop Empathy

Does Literature Make You Empathic?

The Development of Empathy An Essential Life Skill!

Nurturing a Kinder, Gentler Child With Empathy

The Relationship Between Emotional-State Language and Emotion Understanding: A study with School-age Children (pdf) by Veronica Ornaghi and Ilaria Grazzani

Human Empathy Through the Lens of Social Neuroscience (pdf) by Jean Decety* and Claus Lamm

Empathy: Why It’s Important, Why We Should Nurture It in Our Kids

Start Empathy: Equip Students. Transform Our Schools. Change the World

Empathic People are Natural Targets for Sociopaths 

Empathy Stretching: Helping Children Exp Switching Places Seeing/Feeling Another Side by Dr Michele Borba

BLOOM 50 Things to Say, Think & Do with Anxious, Angry, & Over-the-Top Kids by Dr Lynne Kenney

Cybraryman’s You Matter Page

Empathy and Kindness Go Hand in Hand

3 Amazing Breakthroughs in the Science of Empathy

Why We Should Teach Empathy to Improve Education

 

Video Links:

Sesame Street: Mark Ruffalo: Empathy (YouTube 2:28)

Brené Brown on Empathy (YouTube 2:53)

5 Minute Film Festival: Videos on Kindness, Empathy & Connection from Edutopia

Empathy: The Heart of Dabrowski’s Theory – Linda Silverman

The Power of Empathy: Helen Riess at TEDxMiddlebury

 

Image Courtesy of Flickr  CC 2.0

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Should Achievement Be the Sole Determinant for Inclusion in a Gifted Program?

Achievement copy

Image courtesy of Flickr  CC 2.0 License

 

Inclusion of a particular student in a gifted program is often predicated on how the term ‘gifted’ is perceived by those determining entrance requirements. When schools have a talent development mind-set, gifted programs seem to promote achievement as the primary goal. High-achievers are sought after while twice-exceptional and under-performing students are usually overlooked. Lack of a federal policy on gifted education has led to a widely disjointed approach to how local school districts determine who participates in a school’s gifted program.

Is there a difference between gifted and high-achieving? Bertie Kingore in her consummate piece, “High Achiever, Gifted Learner, Creative Thinker” explains it this way:

“Identification of gifted students is clouded when concerned adults misinterpret high achievement as giftedness. High-achieving students are noticed for their on-time, neat, well-developed, and correct learning products. Adults comment on these students’ consistent high grades and note how well they acclimate to class procedures and discussions. Some adults assume these students are gifted because their school-appropriate behaviors and products surface above the typical responses of grade-level students.

Educators with expertise in gifted education are frustrated trying to help other educators and parents understand that while high achievers are valuable participants whose high-level modeling is welcomed in classes, they learn differently from gifted learners. In situations in which they are respected and encouraged, gifted students’ thinking is more complex with abstract inferences and more diverse perceptions than is typical of high achievers. Articulating those differences to educators and parents can be difficult.”

It was agreed by most that many gifted students are high-achievers, but that alone should not be the sole determining factor; who receives gifted services should be based on a much more comprehensive procedure.

When asked if gifted programs should cater only to high performers, the answer was a resounding, “No!” Many pointed out that gifted children who do not perform according to ‘standards’ may well be the ones who need help the most. As Cait, school psychologist and blogger at My Little Poppies, pointed out, “You’d leave so many behind. The outliers, the creatives, the square pegs- those who think differently.” Gifted programs which address social and emotional needs may be the last glimmer of hope for some students.

Should students who are not performing up to expectations be left-behind in favor of students who ‘want’ to learn? This was obviously an emotionally charged question. Students with high ability who are stuck in unchallenging academic environments may tune out and not even try to achieve. Molli Osburn, the Creative Math Coach,  observed, “Lack of challenge leads to lack of engagement, which leads to lack of achievement.” Curriculum design and programs need to be tailored to motivate and inspire gifted children. Susanne Thomas, Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Online, noted that “We lose the slow, deep, rich thinkers. We lose so much. Gifted education shouldn’t be a reward, but a program that is MEETING NEEDS.”

Finally, the discussion turned to what criteria should be used in gifted screenings. Jade Rivera, educator and coach suggested, “Recommendations from knowledgeable adults that have experience with gifted theory and the child.” Culture, socio-economic levels, portfolios, qualitative assessments, observation, and parental insights were all mentioned as important aspects in identification. For a more in-depth look at this topic see the full transcript at Storify.

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #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:

Gifted Under Achievers from Jo Freitag

Underachievement of Verbally Gifted Children

Potential Doesn’t Equal Performance

Comparison of High Achievers’ & Low Achievers’ Attitudes, Perceptions & Motivations (pdf)

Promoting a Positive Achievement Attitude with Gifted & Talented Students

Achievement Versus Ability Why One Isn’t a Sign of the Other

Is It a Cheetah? by Stephanie Tolan

What is the Right Score for Admittance to a Gifted Program?

Gifted Underachievers: Underachieving or Refusing to Play the Game?

London G&T: Teacher Tools for Identifying Gifted & Talented Students

When Kids Qualify for Gifted Programs, but Don’t Sign Up

Latent Ability Grades and Test Scores Systematically Underestimate Intellectual Ability of Negatively Stereotyped Students

Maryland State Department of Education Criteria For Excellence: Gifted and Talented Education Program Guidelines (pdf)

Georgia Department of Education: Education Programs for Gifted Students Evaluation and Eligibility Chart (pdf)

Texas Education Agency Gifted Talented Education

The Problem With Being Gifted

To Show Or Not To Show (Work) from Byrdseed Gifted

Online Gifted Education Learning Options

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Many factors come into play when considering the best options for educating a gifted student. Each one has their own preferences in how they like to learn, but the allure of online options include the opportunity to take challenging classes not offered at local schools, the ability to progress at their own speed, and collaborating with intellectual peers and mentors. Some students also prefer the peace and quiet gained from working in a solitary environment.

Online education is also beneficial to gifted students who live in rural areas where gifted programming and advanced courses are scarce, adaptable to the needs of twice-exceptional children, homeschool students and students who want to want to participate in blended learning. Of course, Internet access plays an important role for students who choose online options. A full transcript may be found at Storify.

Check out the links below for some of our participants favorite resources. Disclaimer – mention of any program during the chat or in this blog post should not be considered an endorsement.

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:

For Frustrated Gifted Kids, A World of Online Opportunities (Audio available)

Distance Learning for Gifted Students: Outcomes for Elem, Middle, & HS Students

New Mathematics Program Developed by Stanford University Transforms Online Education

EPGY Now GiftedandTalented.com

GHF Online from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth 

K12 Programs for Advanced Learners

Stanford Online High School

Online High Schools Attracting Elite Names

Independent Learning from Duke TIP

Gifted Learning Links from CTD at Northwestern University

Art of Problem Solving

How Are Teachers and Students Using Khan Academy?

By Not Challenging Gifted Kids, What Do We Risk Losing?

Gifted Adolescents’ Talent Development Through Distance Learning

Online G3

SIG Online Learning Program

Blended Learning Transforming Gifted Education

Learn Online with Duke TIP eStudies

UK: OLP Online Programme for Able Young Students

Cybraryman’s Blended Learning Page

Christa McAuliffe School of Arts and Sciences

Multipotentiality – Do You Have Too Many Tabs Open?

Multipotentiality

 

“Do you have too many tabs open?” proved to be a rhetorical question during this week’s chat on Twitter. For many the answer was “yes” and defining multipotentiality was much easier than living with it. Many definitions were offered – from having the potential to pursue many different passions and succeed to “the risk of becoming a pretty good generalist at the risk of specialization” (Amy Harrington). To another participant (Denise @ddigiova) multipotentiality meant, “Never [being] bored. Always learning. Always growing. Diverse experiences and relationships.”

“Ultimately [multipotentials] have to make a choice – what is most meaningful, fits with one’s values.” ~ Dr. Gail Post 

Although gifted people may not be good at everything, they are often good at many things. It was quickly noted that the benefits are often the drawbacks as well. So many paths can cause high stress levels, overscheduling, confusion and depression. Multipotential persons often find it difficult to choose a career or when they do; sticking with it. For gifted students who display multipotentiality, they often are never challenged until college when studies become difficult.

Finding focus is an important facet of dealing with multipotentiality. Lisa B. of Canada suggested that, “Perhaps it’s best to focus on one passion at a time, but move through different passions in the different seasons of life.” Seeking inspiration from peers and mentors can help a multipotential person focus on their passions. Dr. Gail Post stated, “Ultimately [multipotentials] have to make a choice – what is most meaningful, fits with one’s values.”

Advice for parents: “Emphasize the importance of continually learning and taking on new challenges; not settling because they’ve been labeled as ‘smart’.” ~ Amy Williams

Finally, the discussion turned to guiding a multipotential child. Parents should attempt to tune into their child’s passions and look for ways to help them explore ideas and potential careers. They can also expose children throughout their lives to opportunities to work with peers, mentors, and professionals. Amy Williams summed it up this way, “Emphasize the importance of continually learning and taking on new challenges; not settling because they’ve been labeled as ‘smart’.” For a more in-depth review of this chat, see the transcript at Storify.

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:

Multipotentiality: When High Ability Leads to Too Many Options from Lisa Rivero

Counseling Gifted Adults – A Case Study by Paula Prober

Multipotentiality Among the Intellectually Gifted: “It Was Never There & Already It’s Vanishing” (pdf)

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

Good at Too Many Things? from Byrdseed Gifted

Experience of Giftedness: Eight Great Gripes Six Years Later from Davidson Gifted

Multipotentiality: Multiple Talents, Multiple Challenges by Douglas Eby

Multipotentiality Resources from Douglas Eby

The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius (Amazon)

Developing Multiple Talents – The Personal Side of Creative Expression by Douglas Eby

Refuse to Choose! A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love (Amazon)

Multipotentiality: Issues & Considerations for Career Planning from Duke TIP

Career Development in Gifted Students & Multipotentiality (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Multipotentiality Page

The Perils of Multipotentiality

Multipotentiality

Are You A Multipotentialite*? from Paula Prober

On Crystals, Psychosynthesis & Unearthing Your Multipotentiality

Many Cloaks in the Closet by Jen Merrill

A Multi-Talent’s Growth with Dr. Edith Johnston

A Myriad of Ideas: Personal Development for Multi-Talented Individuals (book) by Dr. Edith Johnston

Are Multipotentialites the Innovators of the Future?

9 Ways to Explain Your Multipotentiality to Non-Mulitpotentialites

Why David Bowie is a Prime Example of Multipotentiality

Multipotentiality: It’s a Thing

Forever at a Crossroads: A Tale of Multipotentiality

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