Category Archives: gifted and talented

Helping Gifted Teens Cope with Anti-Intellectualism

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The teen years are hard … for everyone. It’s difficult to be a teen, but it’s also hard to parent and teach teens. When we consider bright, articulate, smart teens who have a passion for learning, we up the ante significantly. Having to deal with the effects of anti-intellectualism in of all places -school – can be devastating for many. It begins with name-calling and exclusion from social groups, but can escalate to more troubling actions.

What exactly is anti-intellectualism? Simply put, anti-intellectualism is hostility towards and mistrust of intellect, intellectuals and intellectual pursuits. (Wikipedia) It is the derision of education, philosophy, literature, art and science as impractical and contemptible.

Teens are particularly susceptible to the effects of anti-intellectualism. Peer groups are extremely important during these years and teens don’t want to be seen as geeks and nerds. Gifted teens don’t want to be stereotyped as intellectual and feel they’ll be unpopular and bullied. Many of them see athletes, artists, musicians favored by society and want to ‘fit in’.

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Image courtesy of Ashwani Garg, MD via Twitter

 Anti-intellectualism can manifest in schools in many different ways such as placing sports above academics. It can lead to ridicule and bullying of gifted students and especially twice exceptional kids. The rise of high school dropout rates is one indicator of the increase in anti-intellectualism.

There are some coping strategies which gifted teens can use to combat anti-intellectualism. Gifted teens need to develop self-awareness about the nature of their own intellect; choose a personal path forward. Confronting anti-intellectualism can only succeed when done in a positive manner. At some point, teens need to understand the roots of anti-intellectualism; why others feel this way.

How can parents and teachers help gifted teens deal with anti-intellectualism? They need to mentor GT teens by providing them information on the causes of anti-intellectualism. Also, they can serve as role-models for gifted teens; responding to anti-intellectualism appropriately as well as inform GT students about ways to self-advocate in the face of anti-intellectualism.

The consequences of anti-intellectualism for the future of our society may be severe. Anti-intellectualism at its very root rejects critical thinking and is against anything considered elite. The very ideas that move a society forward are now suspect; we come to hate the things that could save us. Anti-intellectualism brings with it higher crime rates and incarcerations; lower literacy rates; less social mobility.

It’s important not to trivialize the signs of anti-intellectualism if we are to continue moving forward as a civilization. As parents and teachers, we must understand the effects it has on our brightest students and work to support them in their endeavors. The transcript of this chat may be found at our Storify page.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 13.00 NZST/11.00 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 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 It Safe to Be Smart

Anti-Intellectualism and the “Dumbing Down” of America

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1966) (Amazon)

The Age of American Unreason (Amazon)

Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America

The Cult of Ignorance in the US: Anti-Intellectualism & the Dumbing Down of America 

American Idyll: Academic Antielitism as Cultural Critique (Amazon)

Why Do US High Schools Typically have an Anti-Intellectual Atmosphere?

Education’s Anti-Intellectual Problem (pdf)

Anti-intellectualism in Schooling

Review of: Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Dumbing Down America: The War on Our Nation’s Brightest Young Minds (Amazon)

Is the US Education Bar Set Too Low For All Kids?

Lisa (Simpson) and American Anti-intellectualism (pdf)

Christchurch has Ingrained Anti-Intellectualism & Fear of Innovation & the Unknown

Discrimination against Excellence

Anti-Intellectualism in Education (1955 Preview Only)

Sprite’s Site: Dystopia

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

Phenomenon-Based Learning

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Phenomenon-based learning is a cutting edge approach to education pioneered in Finland. It “does not include a strict set of rules, but rather comprises a combination of beliefs and best practices supported by ongoing research. In this approach, a classroom observes a real-life scenario or phenomenon – such as a current event or situation present in the student’s world – and analyzes it through an interdisciplinary approach.” [ref] In other words, it is the ultimate in project-based learning.

The benefits of phenomenon-based learning include showing students value in theories and information in the learning situation. Students use authentic methods, sources and tools; learning is intentional and goal-oriented.

Phenomenon-based learning is not without its critics. They believe it stretches students too thin; they become deterred from excelling in a particular field. Veteran teachers have resisted phenomenon-based learning; reluctant to give up authority in the classroom to students. They question the lack of providing prior knowledge to students before embarking on phenomenon-based learning. News reports in error stated that phenomenon-based learning replaces teaching traditional subjects which it does not.

Other types of learning can complement phenomenon-based learning. These include project-based learning; Socratic learning; and flipped-classrooms. It also works well with makerspaces and is responsive to student voice. Lisa Van Gemert added, “Essential Questions and the Depth & Complexity models both complement it as well.”

Phenomenon-based learning  can be used to meet the diverse needs of all students. Students from all backgrounds benefit from the structure and flexibility of phenomenon-based learning. Teachers can decide on potential project topics based on students background knowledge and personal experiences.

What strategies can teachers use to transition to phenomenon-based learning? Teachers should be open to altering teaching routines and mindsets; become well-versed in collaborative teaching. Transitioning to phenomenon-based learning does not mean abandoning traditional subject-based teaching. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 13.00 NZST/11.00 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 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:

Phenomenon-Based Learning: What is PBL?

Personally Meaningful Learning through Phenomenon-Based Classes

Finland: Replacing Subject with Phenomenon Based Learning (YouTube 3:39) https://goo.gl/1ErY7w

Finland’s Phenomenon Based Learning (YouTube 7:10) https://goo.gl/LYY6Ms

Finland Education Reform Introduces Phenomenon-Based Teaching

How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where & Why It Happens (Amazon)

Finland’s School Reforms Won’t Scrap Subjects Altogether

Phenomenon Based Learning Teaching by Topics

General Aspects of Basic Education Curriculum Reform 2016 Finland (pdf)

Notes on the School of the Future and the Future of Learning 

Using Physical Science Gadgets & Gizmos, Grades 6-8: Phenomenon-Based Learning (Hawker Brownlow)

Learning and Teaching with Phenomenon

Elementary Science Phenomena Checklist and Bank (Google Doc)

Concern, Creativity, Compliance: Phenomenon of Digital Game-Based Learning in Norwegian Education

How to Come Up With an Engaging Phenomenon to Anchor a Unit (pdf)

Switching Gears into Transdisciplinary Learning

Georgia Science Teachers: Science GSE Phenomena Bank

Phenomenon Based Learning Rubric (pdf)

Work the Matters: The Teacher’s Guide to Project-Based Learning (pdf)

Phenomenon for NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards)

Using Phenomena in NGSS-Designed Lessons and Units (pdf)

Qualities of a Good Anchor Phenomenon for a Coherent Sequence of Science Lessons (pdf)

Phenomenon-based Learning: A Case Study

Jack Andraka: A Promising Test for Pancreatic Cancer … from a Teenager (TED talk)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay   CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

“Modern Curriculum for Gifted & Advanced Academic Students” with Guest, Dr. Todd Kettler

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This week at #gtchat, we were joined by author, Dr. Todd Kettler,to discuss his book Modern Curriculum for Gifted and Advanced Academic Students.  Dr Kettler is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education at the University of North Texas where he teaches courses in gifted education, creativity, and child development. In addition to his work as a teacher and researcher at the UNT, he spent 17 years as an English teacher and gifted and talented program administrator.

A basic assumption we ascribe to at #gtchat is that every student deserves to learn something new every single day. The importance of challenge cannot be overlooked. To this end, Dr. Kettler told us, “An advanced curriculum is necessary to develop elite academic performance. It is one of the primary tools used to develop students from potential into demonstrated talent. Academic coaching, mentorship, and attention to psychosocial factors are additional tools to be used. Advanced curriculum ought to exist in all facets of the GT program; but, to develop elite levels of achievement, students generally need to focus their work in one domain or a couple of related domains.”

“Let’s be clear on means and ends. Differentiation is not the goal of gifted education. Advanced curriculum experiences are not the goal of gifted education. The goal is elite levels of achievement.” ~ Dr. Todd Kettler

Advanced learning experiences should be based on a set of clear goals in gifted education. It’s important to consider how advanced learning experiences should be designed in foundational curriculum areas. Dr. Kettler explained, “Sometimes schools struggle in the development of advance curriculum. I suggest the following are common examples of shortcomings in advanced curriculum: 1) underestimating the potential outcomes of gifted levels of achievement; 2) restricting access to advanced curriculum through outdated identification protocols and school policies designed to keep student achievement standardized; 3) use of curriculum development teams with limited understanding of the critical features of advanced curriculum; and 4) teaching staff not adequately prepared to deliver an advanced curriculum even if that curriculum framework is developed for them.”

“Designing learning includes three critical features: advanced content (accelerated or increased depth and complexity), complex thinking, conceptual understanding. Student responses should be authentic to the traditions of the discipline (e.g., authentic products and performances). For instance, students should be applying the concepts and the thinking processes to address contemporary and future concerns,” expanded Dr. Kettler.

After the chat, Dr. Kettler further elaborated concerning gifted and talented curriculum design which he stated includes potential modifications at four levels of curriculum:

  • Curriculum as Course of Study: How might we modify the required course of study to lead to elite achievement in one or more domains?
  • Curriculum as Standards: How might the agreed upon student outcomes in a learning domain be modified and accelerated to support the development of elite achievement in one or more domains?
  • Curriculum as Learning Design: How can curriculum models and complex learning designs (e.g., inquiry or problem-based learning) inform the development of day-to-day experiences?
  • Curriculum of Authentic Engagement: In what ways can the school support and encourage participation in extra-curriculum learning designed to supplement the development of elite achievement in one or more domains (Math or Science Olympiads, writing contests, etc)?

What should be the goal of gifted education; self-actualization or development of eminence? This has been a point of contention in the gifted education community for years dividing along lines of researchers, educators and parents. In a nuanced explanation, Dr. Kettler framed the conversation as “the goal should be the development of elite achievement with potential toward eminence. Eminence is a tough goal for gifted education as it’s impossible to achieve by the end of high school, presumably the point where gifted education itself ends. Eminence ought to be thought of as a goal for gifted people in adulthood.”

“Self-actualization cannot be a goal of gifted education because it is a goal of all education. That does not mean we don’t care about self-actualization in gifted education, it’s just not a unique goal of what we are trying to do.” ~ Dr. Todd Kettler

Our attention was then turned to consider what world-class gifted education looks like. This question elicited many varied responses. World-class gifted education is more than a ‘program’. It should include a challenging curriculum; including critical thinking, creative thinking, and authentic research. Dr. Kettler posited that it should involve “goal orientation, focused participation, expert feedback and competition in addition to elite student achievement, intellectual engagement, exceptional faculty and policies supporting innovation. World Class means inclusive opportunities rather than exclusive identification. That’s a game changing idea. World class equals personalized learning with elite achievement goals and attention to psychosocial factors that may enhance or restrict. It requires world class training and staff; policies that remove barriers to elite achievement.”

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Dr. Kettler has done extensive research in elite athletic talent development to understand an orchestrated approach to elite talent development leading to potential eminence. He engaged in a 3-year, ethnographic case study of an elite youth baseball program. The explicit goal of the program was transitioning players to college and professional baseball. (Kettler, 2015) He isolated these four factors: 1) goal orientation, 2) focused participation, 3) expert feedback in real time, and 4) the importance of competition and external validation. When applying the findings to gifted education, he said, “Understand that not all students with great potential will choose to develop elite levels of talent during their years in school. Some may never choose to; others may choose later in life.”

Athletes benefit from wanting to do what they’re doing; what they conceive they’re good at; one thing, not all things. They also benefit from coaching, mentoring and  opportunity for scholarships. Lisa Van Gemert, #gtchat Advisor, pointed out, “If gifted kids are going to learn from elite athletes, they’re going to have to get a lot more comfortable with practice.”

What are some positive consequences of pursuing elite talent development? Educators of gifted students who view themselves as coaches develop a clearer vision of how to approach their students. Elite talent development posits clear reasons for providing resources to gifted students. According to Dr. Kettler, “Students learn to value the process of discipline,  commitment, and practice toward a valued goal.Gifted education is stuck in the periphery of education. Elite talent development moves us forward in the educational landscape.” A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 14.00 NZST/12.00 AEST/1.00 UK  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:

Modern Curriculum for Gifted and Advanced Academic Students (Amazon)

Todd Kettler, Ph.D.: About the Author

Differentiating Language Arts for Gifted and Advanced Learners (pdf)

An Analysis of Critical Thinking Skills with Gifted and General Education Students (pdf)

A Teacher’s Guide to Using CCSS with Gifted & Advanced Learners in the English/Language Arts (Amazon)

Teaching Argument Writing Grades 6-12 Supporting Claims w/Relevant Evidence & Clear Reasoning (Amazon)

Gifted Education Communicator: Gifts of Language Diversity (p. 13) (pdf)

Gifted Education Research 1994–2003: A Disconnect Between Priorities & Practice (pdf)

Literacy Strategies for Gifted Learners (pdf)

Organic Creativity in the Classroom: Teaching to Intuition in Academics and the Arts (Amazon) https://goo.gl/gZfviX

Todd Kettler (Keynote): National Curriculum Network Conference at Wm & Mary School of Education

Cybraryman’s Self-Directed Learning Page

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

What Can Parents’ Groups Do for Gifted Kids?

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Starting a Parent Group for Gifted Kids can be a daunting task, but the rewards are many. Parent groups should mainly be in support of their children, but a bonus is to be able to support each other. Parenting gifted children can be extremely stressful and lonely. Parents need to know that they don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Parent groups can assist teachers and schools; such as coaching academic competitions, leading after-school programs.

The structure of the group (local, online, blended)  can have an affect on the gifted children of its members. Parent group structure should be matched to the needs of the local area; ie, rural schools might prefer face-to-face meetings while urban areas might find online meetings more convenient. Certain activities undertaken by parent groups might dictate group structure; fundraising, competitions, or extracurricular activities. Online structures can provide special opportunities for gifted kids to participate in global activities; make new friends.

How can parents combine building support for a new parent group and providing options for their children? Weekend and extracurricular activities for kids provide great networking opportunities for parents. Parents can volunteer to act as coaches and judges on school teams while getting to know other parents of gifted kids.

Most gifted parent groups initially start as support groups, but evolve into advocacy groups as children’s needs are realized. Parent groups need to collaborate with school committees, advisory boards and other parent groups to develop advocacy.

There are many activities that parent groups of gifted kids can support. They can help start clubs (ex.: chess)and set-up Super Saturdays for kids to meet peers and have fun. Parent groups can provide coaches for groups such as Destination Imagination, Lego First Leagues, and Odyssey of the Mind.

Where can parent groups find support and information from state and national organizations? Most states have gifted organizations that can be found via a Google search. Some national groups include the NAGC, SENG, and Gifted Homeschoolers Forum in the U.S. and Potential Plus UK in the UK.

Ultimately, parents groups for gifted kids benefit all stakeholders – the student, the parents, and the school. It’s a lot of work, but well worth it. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 14.00 NZST/12.00 AEST/1.00 UK  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:

Ten Suggestions for Parents of Gifted Children (pdf)

Starting & Sustaining a Parent Group to Support Gifted Children (pdf)

Effective Advocates: Find “Kindred Spirits”

Meeting Needs of High Ability & High Potential Learners in Middle Grades (pdf)

High-Potential Students Thrive when School Districts Develop Sustainable Gifted Services

Care & Feeding of Gifted Parent Groups: Guide for Gifted Coordinators, Teachers & Parent Advocates (pdf)

Gifted Parent Groups: The SENG Model

The Value of Parent Support Groups

Power in Numbers: How Gifted Advocacy Parent Groups Can Help You & Your Kids

Dear Gifted Parent: A Letter from an Educator

SMPGs: The Heart of SENG

Starting a Gifted Parent Group

Starting a Gifted Parents’ Group

Frisco Gifted Association

Gifted Minds Prosper

Cybraryman’s Parent Involvement Page

Cybraryman’s Gifted and Talented Page

UT High School GT Professional Development

NAGC

SENG

TAGT

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Start a Support Group for Parents of Gifted Kids

NAGC’s 2014-2015 State of the States in Gifted Education

Gifted Family Travel

Parent Resources from TAGT:

Parent Support Groups

Parent Resource Page

Parent Support Groups in Texas

 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay   CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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