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Helping Gifted Teens Cope with Anti-Intellectualism

gtchat 03142017 AntiIntellectual

 

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’.

gtchat 03142017 Tocqueville

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.

 

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Holiday Survival Tactics for the Gifted Family

gtchat 12182015 Holiday Survival Tactics

 

The holidays are stressful for many people, but they can be especially difficult for the gifted family. It was explained in simplest terms during this week’s chat by Tracy Fisher, school board member and new grandmother,  “Everyone is INTENSE!”

As we were reminded by Jerry Blumengarten, aka Cybraryman, it is a season celebrated by many cultures.

Cybraryman Holiday 2015

The disruption in their daily routine and the high expectations of others can wreak havoc in gifted families. Marianne Kuzujanakis, pediatrician and homeschooler, also pointed out, “Stress points for GT families: Routines lost. OE’s. Anxiety. 2E issues. Developmental asynchrony. Introversion. Food allergies!!” Empathy for the less fortunate and concerns for world peace often contribute to anxiety in the way gifted children feel. Corin Barsily Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, added, “I’d also note that this time of year can be incredibly stressful for gt folks who *don’t* celebrate Xmas.”

There are ways to reduce the stress that have proved successful. Pre-plan activities and remember to include ‘down time’ to reduce potentially stressful situations from occurring. Do not overextend yourself. It’s better to say “no” than to disappoint others. Schedules should be kept as normal as possible.

Dealing with relatives who don’t ‘get’ gifted can be an everyday struggle that becomes worse during the holidays. If possible, ignore behavior in the moment; but resolve the issue later in a more relaxed setting. Explanations, however, may need to be made if comments are made directly to your child.

How do differing abilities shape family dynamics; PG/2e/gifted? Parents need to understand that all gifted children do not react to stress in the same way. Many gifted kids had an affinity for one another at family gatherings; however, differences can influence behavior. Age plays a role, too; dynamics change as kids got older.

When unforeseen situations arise, a plan needs to be in place. Gifted children need to be given ‘space’ and ‘time’ to de-escalate when overwhelmed. Try to remove your child from frustrating situations if possible; understand that overexcitabilities are real. As hosts, we should also provide these ‘safe’ havens for our guests as well.

Finally, we asked the question, “How can we help our children thrive during the holidays?” Creating new family traditions can help. Answer any questions that arise openly and honestly. Share your beliefs, but value your children’s opinion as well. Exposure to holiday traditions of different cultures can help children to appreciate the season. A transcript of this week’s 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 Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 13.00 NZDT/11.00 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 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:

Parenting Gifted Children through the Holidays

Have a Happy [not exasperating] Holiday

Activities for Gifted Children during the Holidays

Holiday stress: What Parents of Gifted Children Need to Know

Holiday Stress & Gifted Families with Jade Rivera

Surviving the Holidays with a House Full of Gifted Folks

Hoagies’ Blog Hop: Surviving the Holidays

How to Strip Your Holidays Naked

Surviving the Holidays

4 Ideas to Engage Your Child during Holidays

GHF Blog Hop: Surviving & Thriving at the Holidays with a Gifted/2E Kid

Dear Parents: Here’s How to Survive & Thrive at the Holidays via @redwhiteandgrew 

Sprite’s Site: Sprite’s 2010 Christmas List

Sprite’s Site: When Extended Family Don’t Get Giftedness

Sprite’s Site: I love Christmas BUT…

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

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