As I continue to sort through bookmarks, past emails, correspondence, and handwritten notes I came across some great discussions a group of us were having on a listserv. From this conversation that I forgot about completely I went back to revisit some key ideas I wrote down. Here are some thoughts from my brain as I piece together some ideas. As always would love to hear your ideas about these.
The one thing that really bothered me as a gifted education teacher is, “What is gifted?” What is really at the core level of “gifted”? Speaking with many educators and administrators this past year at various conferences, online, and Twitter I think we have this umbrella of thoughts. I think many of us know what “it” is when we see it, but from school to school the parameters change. This bothers me greatly as a professional educator.
How can a student be “gifted” in one district, but not “gifted” in another?
This question drives me to the brink of insanity. Other things that drive me crazy are the misconceptions of gifted. I still am trying to wrap my mind around how to best address the following issues.
- Many educators describe a gifted learner as the teacher-pleasing high achievers. This is wrong as this is a performance. We need to know how they learn. What are exponential reasons why they might choose not to perform? Many teachers still believe in the many of the myths about gifted learners and this needs to be remedied.
- How do we best handle, identify, and stay proactive with underachieving students especially when there is pressure to keep them from the gifted program?
- Motivation or lack thereof is such a problem. How we help them find their passion to get going?
- Is it that they simply do not care?
- Is it just a natural byproduct and a stage in development?
- The whole notion of a certain % of population MUST be gifted. We need to cater to who is really in need of a service and not get wrapped up in having enough numbers or cutting others off who could benefit from the service.
- Talent can be developed, but giftedness is something they were naturally born with.
Okay, so just some thoughts. Weird that as I depart my job as a gifted education teacher my fire still burns intensely for these students. What I struggle with now personally is the whole idea of “gifted”. Can it be developed? What happens if it is not developed or worked with? Is there a need for a “gifted” label? Or the one that drives many people crazy, do we all have a gift and it comes down to if it fits into the criteria of the school?
The one thing that really bothered me the most is that there is not a lot of consistency. You talk to one school and they do this and another school does that. I think as a nation there needs to be a clear set of criteria to help identify and work to find a definition that works best. I don’t believe there is one right answer because this does not exist in education and never will. But, there needs to a be a method at properly identifying gifts and figuring out how to best service these needs. Just my two cents worth.