Monthly Archives: April 2019

The G Word Film

 

This week, Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT welcomed Director/Producer Marc Smolowitz, Producer Ron Turiello and Danielle Holke to discuss their new film The G Word which seeks to answer the question, “Who gets to be ‘Gifted’ in America and why?”

The factors used to decide who is ‘gifted’ in America today are much the same as they have been for decades; factors shrouded in myths and prejudices that need to be exposed and corrected. In recent years, new research on neurodiversity and intelligence are expanding our perceptions on what giftedness entails. This information needs to inform policy decisions.

Where are some of the unlikely places ‘gifted’ people can be found? As our friends at the National Association for Gifted Children have said – there are no boundaries to giftedness. It crosses all economic, cultural, & gender identity sectors of our society. Gifted people are found at Ivy League schools as well as in prisons. They can be the superintendent or janitor at your child’s school.

“Failure for gifted people to thrive can come from a life of feeling out of sync, feeling like a misfit, and knowing one is an outlier. When one’s giftedness, quirks and all, are embraced and nurtured, giftedness thrives.” ~ Celi Trepanier, M.Ed.

Some ‘gifted’ people thrive while others don’t. Lack of early identification and misdiagnosis can place a child on the wrong path at the very beginning of their school careers. Perhaps surprising to some, where they live can affect availability of services. Rural schools with few identified GT students do not see gifted education as a priority when resources are limited.

“GT students often are singled out, ostracized, endure bullying because they learn, speak, focus, etc. differently than the norm in the general ed classroom. That may originate from peers, but it also may originate from teachers. It’s a painful experience kids can’t escape.” ~ Margaret Thomas

Many special education programs are unequipped to teach twice-exceptional students. In the past, too many decision/policy makers saw the disability before ability and the child as someone who needed to be fixed rather than support abilities. Lack of professional development in the area of twice-exceptionality has allowed myths to flourish that hinder the exceptional.

“I truly believe that twice-exceptional is the savior of gifted in the 2020s. Our nation is so focused on deficits this has allowed gifted to have a seat of the table again in ways it hasn’t in many years” ~ Marc Smolowitz

What are the risks of maintaining the status quo in gifted education for our society? If society continues to settle for the status quo, we fail our brightest children … their ability to succeed in life. Status quo is just that … stagnation … and society as a whole also loses the opportunity to progress. GT kids aren’t obligated to help society at large, but their contributions can make a difference.

There are many challenges which face gifted education in the next decade. Only 6 states in the U.S. actively support gifted education. Advocacy must be at the forefront. Including coursework in gifted education at the undergraduate level is imperative to cultivating new leadership, high quality research, and maintaining funding. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

We at #gtchat offer our congratulations to The G Word film, Marc Smolowitz, Ron Turiello and their entire crew for the completion of a successful Kickstarter in support of production of the film!

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa 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

Resources:

Mind Matters Podcast: The G Word Film with guest, Marc Smolowitz (39:04)

Meet the Experts | Who Gets to be Gifted in America and Why? (Vimeo 12:13)

EXCEPTIONAL MINDS | A Story from the Forthcoming Documentary THE G WORD (Vimeo 8:31)

THE G WORD | 1st Promo (Vimeo 6:01)

Colin Seale On Being An Exception To The Rule (Vimeo 1:14)

Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli Discusses The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (Vimeo 1:00)

Producer Ron Turiello Explains What’s So Important About THE G WORD (Vimeo 2:04)

Thoughtleaders and Experts Featured in THE G WORD (Vimeo :59)

ZIP CODE 85349 (San Luis, Arizona) (Vimeo 8:00)

My Family Still Calls Me Gabby (Vimeo 6:49)

Gifted Support Group: Hidden Challenges for Gifted and 2E Students (YouTube 26:22)

What is the Excellence Gap?

Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities: A Report Card on State Support for Academically Talented Low-Income Students

Black Intelligence (Vimeo 8:36)

Filmmaker Explores Giftedness at FDL Ojibwe School

NAGC: Giftedness Knows No Boundaries

An Independent Filmmaker Highlights Gifted Students of San Luis

Bill to End Ban on Pell Grants for Prisoners Gains Traction

Rural Communities Test Ways to Hook Gifted Students

Why Egalitarian Societies Need Gifted Education (YouTube 59:17)

The G Word Highlights NSD HiCap Program

Gifted Children and Adults: Neglected Areas of Practice (pdf)

Image courtesy of The G Word film

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

The Role of Executive Function in Gifted Children

 

Executive function is in charge of making sure things get done from the planning stages of the job to the final deadline. (A. Morin) “EF involves self-regulating attention, mood, and behavior, in order to get complex tasks done well. We can think of EF as being like the little CEO in the frontal lobe.” (Davidson Gifted)

A child struggling with EF deficits may have difficulty starting or completing tasks, switching tasks, or following directions. Children struggling with EF deficits may be unorganized (including workspaces and backpacks), display an inability to manage their time or keep track of assignments, or become easily frustrated by routine changes.

It’s not “uncommon for high-ability learners to struggle with executive functions.” Asynchronous development, twice-exceptionality, or even lack of early challenge can be related to EF deficits. “Some gifted kids may have very fast processing speed, leading their brains to rapidly move from one topic to another, and leaving basic skills in their dust.” Gifted children whose processing speed shows a great lag behind their other cognitive processes may struggle to show task initiation skills that look like lack of motivation. (Kaleel and Kircher-Morris)

What are some of the consequences when EF deficits exist in a gifted child? These are smart kids who struggle with behavior regulation and exercising cognitive flexibility. Although identified as GT, they may have trouble beginning tasks, maintaining attention, completing assignments, and unable to assess the feedback on their own behavior. Frustration levels can go through the roof. As the GT child progresses through school, academic requirements increase at the same time as social interactions take on greater significance. EF difficulties may not resolve themselves until they reach their mid-twenties.

Strategies for developing EF skills can be employed in the classroom. Teachers can choose specific skills such as organization and work with the student to understand the nature of the executive function deficit. Students who display EF deficits need a patient teacher willing to work with them over time and provide positive encouragement to build skills incrementally. Oftentimes, small, simple steps have the most success.

Parents can make a difference when it comes to EF skills deficits in their children. Parents can engage in sincere and purposeful praise, encourage effort, and being sensitive to needs expressed by their child. Parents need to provide rules that are applied consistently, opportunities for enrichment, and encourage independence when helping their children develop EF skills over time. (Willingham)

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa 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

Resources:

Procrastination and Gifted Students

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child

Executive Functioning in Gifted Students (pdf) https://bit.ly/2YUzfRh

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential (Amazon)

The Smart but Scattered Guide to Success: How to Use Your Brain’s Executive Skills to Keep Up, Stay Calm, and Get Organized at Work and at Home (Amazon)

Tips for Parents: Executive Functioning at Home and School

Gifted Learners and Executive Functioning

How to Engage Strong Executive Skills in Gifted Learners

Executive Function Skills and Gifted Students

Improving Executive Function Skills in Gifted Kids (YouTube 1:05:28)

The Best Books for Teaching About Executive Functions Skills

Closing the Door and Other Executive Difficulties

Executive Skills and How They Translate to Professional Strengths

Executive Function Disorder: What It Is & How to Overcome It

Why is the Milk in the Back of the Supermarket? thinkLaw’s New Asset-Based Critical Thinking Class for Parents

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Eroding Excellence in Education

How did we get here? Why the attack on gifted education funding at both the federal and state(s) level simultaneously? The focus on excellence always seems to sharpen when state and federal budget proposals are released, but this year has seemed daunting with cuts proposed at all levels; affecting research and education initiatives. The framing of the discussion to fund gifted education inevitably turns on informing the public about current funding or the lack thereof. Gifted education has strong public support and their voice needs to be heard.

‘Anti-intellectualism’ may play a role in eroding excellence in education. It seems counter-intuitive that anyone would oppose excellence in education; but, here we are. Confusing equality with equity muddies the waters. Eliminating programs to level the playing field doesn’t make sense. Equating intellectualism with elitism is a false equivalence. Providing all children with what they need to succeed should be the goal of education.

Standardized testing brought with it ‘standards’ … and a race to mediocrity. As a majority of resources are focused on ensuring all students reach proficiency; the potential of advanced students remains stagnant or is slipping away. The amount of time devoted to test prep in the school year directly affects instructional time and reduces the quality of education across the board.

How do we extend the search for excellence in minority and low income populations? Identification that is sensitive to cultural and linguistic needs of specific populations and applied school-wide is a first step to providing appropriate educational opportunities for GT students. Cultural sensitivity in the search, availability of programs, professional development to counter bias, and community engagement are all ways to extend equitable solutions in gifted education.

‘Educational excellence’ can have a profound effect on our economy. The advantages of having a well-educated work force go without question. Employers who do not have to provide additional training or even remedial training will have lower costs and be able to devote resources to research and development. Countries who place importance on striving for excellence in the education of their children are our competitors of the future. Well educated citizens spark innovation and technological advances which drive our economy.

Where do we go from here? Is there a path forward for bridging the excellence gap in education? Academic and tech competitions are good at identifying and motivating talented youth. We must find a way to institutionalize the effects of these efforts; to incorporate them in our educational systems. Federal funding of research dedicated to gifted and talented education potentially creates educational environments that nurture creativity, encourage academic excellence, and prepare students to meet the challenges of the future. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1PM NZST/11 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa 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

 

Resources:

What I’m Reading: ‘A Nation at Risk’

Addressing Excellence Gaps in K-12 Education

Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps and America’s Persistent Talent Underclass

Trends in Education Excellence Gaps: A 12-Year International Perspective via the Multilevel Model for Change (Abstract Only)

Dumbing Down America: The War on Our Nation’s Brightest Young Minds (And What We Can Do to Fight Back) (Amazon)

Failing Our Brightest Kids: The Global Challenge of Educating High-Ability Students (Educational Innovations Series) (Amazon)

Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds (Amazon)

Bridging the Excellence Gap

Closing the Excellence Gap

Are high-IQ students more at risk of school failure?

National Security and Educational Excellence (2005)

AU: How education system is failing our smartest children

FR: Are French schools failing their brightest children?

29 Ways American Schools Fail Students

Is Boston Failing Its Brightest Students: The Valedictorians Project

Stop Politicizing Our Schools

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Rethinking Underachievement and Potential

 

What constitutes underachievement and who determines when a child is underachieving? Does the definition change over time based on what society values? A simple definition of underachievement is ‘performing below expectations.’ This begs the question … who determines what is expected? In education, it may mean meeting/exceeding the standards. In society, are accomplishments enough? Regardless of how it is defined, underachievement must be dealt with in some manner due to the consequences often faced by students in the situation. The effects can be devastating for some and have a lifelong impact.

Potential is equally a term whose definition is up for debate. Whether in the eye of the beholder or determined by others, the expectation is that it must be fulfilled if one is to be seen as accomplished; a success. When a person fails to live up to their potential, it is generally a reason for calls to ‘fix’ the situation; even if the person in question doesn’t want fixed.

Underachievement has real life consequences that can extend well into adulthood. Gifted underachievers may have very different reasons for finding themselves dealing with those consequences. Causes of underachievement range from learning difficulties to lack of study skills or motivation to teacher mismatch or school policy.

Once underachievement envelops a student’s life; it can develop into apathy, disrespect, or a desire to conform to peers in an attempt to be popular. It may eventually cause social-emotional issues when a student’s ‘gifted’ identity is challenged.

What can schools do to counteract underachievement in gifted students? Gifted underachievers can benefit from incorporating depth and complexity in their learning, accelerating the pace of learning, allowing the free expression of creativity, and grouping with intellectual peers. Schools can reduce boredom and increase engagement of gifted underachievers by allowing students to experience “control, choice, challenge, complexity and caring teachers” (Kanevsky & Keighley, 2003). Research suggests that engagement can be encouraged by “enlisting gifted students’ social-emotional imagination, creativity, sense of purpose & empathy for others.” (Gottlieb, Hyde, Immordino-Yang & Kaufman, 2016).

Parents must advocate for the determination of the cause of the underachievement first so that schools provide appropriate interventions and then be willing to work with school personnel to address the causes. They may need to consider additional testing and counseling with a licensed mental health professional. Parents can nurture a love of learning by providing opportunities outside traditional schooling that appeal to their child’s interests and abilities. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1PM NZST/11 AM AEST/Midnight UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa 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

 

Resources:

Cleverness and Common Sense-Your True Potential: Human Gifts and Talents! (Podcast)

Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic (Amazon)

Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement (bn)

Gifted Underachievers (why it makes sense, and how to deal with it) (YouTube 8:32)

Solving the Riddle of Underachievement: Kenneth Christian at TEDxSacramento (YouTube 8:49)

In Defense of the High School Underachiever | Rachel Hawley | TEDxYouth@Wayland (YouTube 16:45)

Reversing Underachievement: Stories of Success

Who is the Gifted Underachiever? Four Types of Underachievement in Gifted Children

What causes gifted underachievement?

Factors That Differentiate Underachieving Gifted Students From High-Achieving Gifted Students

Underachievers Under-the-radar: How Seemingly Successful Gifted Students Fall Short of their Potential

How to Help your Underachieving Gifted Child

8 Ideas for Building Intrinsic Motivation to Learn in Students

Underachievement in Exceptionally Gifted Adolescents and Young Adults: A Psychiatrist’s View (pdf)

Gifted Underachievers: A Contrarian Position or Two

Beware of Underachievement in Successful Students

Underachievement: A Story in Process

When You Don’t Live up to Your Potential

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

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