Gifted Education

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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Zcorp » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:08 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:You are wrong when you say "[teaching all gifted classes] makes my life easier". Yes, I will spend zero time on discipline, but I will spend more time grading/preping. Smart kids ask smart questions and frequently challenge me, which requires constant 'upkeep' in my own education. Additionally you can spend a lot more time on higher order activities which requires a lot more time and thought when grading.
Where a class of 'reluctant learners' won't challenge me intellecutally, I will spend more time on discipline and class room management.
I didn't suggest it would require less of your time. I suggested it would make your life more enjoyable. I made the assumption that you would be more willing to do grading/prep for a more advanced class and the extra time that can take, than to deal with some of the harder problems in classroom management. My assumption could be quite wrong, maybe you would make that trade. Although, you state this is a reward for you further down, suggesting you would not take that trade.

A more accurate description would be that teaching all gifted kids is frequently more rewarding intellecutally. But in reality my favorite class this year is my 'lowest' class. They are an eager bunch and I love the constant side discussion we get into based on their curiosity, even though its not particularly challenging.
I guess...I don't understand what you mean by intellectually rewarding then. While the 'gifted' classes might get into more complex material; working with non-gifted or even students tracked below the average and trying to increase their motivation, level of engagement and understanding of concepts has been for me, and teachers I've worked with, the more difficult and intellectually challenging task.

What percentage of those students are the 6 that matriculated to MIT?


Meaningless question. While working at an inner city student: Zero, with a small small portion even attending college.

While teaching "regulars" at a wealthy school: Zero. 86% went on to a 4 year college.

While teaching AP classes: Probably 2% make it into the most competitive schools. (MIT, Harvard, Cal Tech, etc) with 80% making it into a top 50 school.
I asked the question as I'm curious why you think that we should devote more time and resources to 'gifted' students we can know there is detriment to other students learning when we add in tracking. Especially when we take into account the number of students that are benefited by tracking and how slight that benefit generally is if there is one at all.


If your example of ability as a teacher comes from your students that go on to MIT or similar schools why not just focus on students with a relatively high chance of getting into those schools?


Like 99.999% of all teachers, I don't get to pick and choose my populations, much less my schedule. I get, am rewarded, with a lot of "gifted" students because of a long track record of kicking ass in the class room.
So you perceive it as a reward, but a reward that doesn't make your life easier? Do you believe that you, as a kick ass teacher, should be given the opportunity to work with many gifted students? Rather than you, as a kick ass teacher, should be placed where you are needed most?


Why not just have you teach 6 students a year and do your best to make sure all of them get in to MIT


Do you know anything about education?

Kids sign up for my course, I don't get a veto... nor would I want one.
My question had nothing to do with the structure you currently have. There are many structures in which students end up in classes. You have not provided me with the structure you work in. My question has to do with how you think we should track students and use resources within our educational system.


P.S. Its hard to teach kids math when their parents force them to sell drugs or they are in constant fear for their life from actual murderers. The skills that help you survive in the inner city are not condusive to doing well in school, and are in fact a detriment. "School Boy" = Beat down.

I would retort with questions about you and your student populations, but I wager you don't have any real world experience.

I agree, it is quite difficult. Social punishment, as well the threat or reality of physical punishment, are significant and difficult problems. Problems that we are continually getting better at solving.

It feels...trivial, to respond to your wager but as ignoring it might be construed as affirmation of your guess; I do have years of real world experience. Granted, it sounds as if I do not have the same number as you and my experience is related to increasing teacher, student and administration performance and not being a classroom teacher. I do not share your job, a job I greatly respect, but I have significant experience working in schools, schools with great variance from each other.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby lucrezaborgia » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:54 pm UTC

If these kids are so smart at the HS level why not encourage dual-enrollment? Though I realize not all areas have that opportunity.

Back to the OP- Gifted was a sham for me. Yes, I have a high enough score to get into gifted. Didn't mean I was actually prepared or able to carry out the higher level work in every subject. Getting out of gifted math and science was a nightmare. I was told that I wasn't allowed to only be gifted for a few classes. Lots of harassment and camping out in the principal's office got me out of the gifted classes I didn't want to be in. I found out later that it came down to money. My school didn't want to loose the extra money they got for me. It also extremely sucked to have the exact same 20 people in all my classes almost all 4 years of HS and to also have a very limited choice of extracurricular activities because only one gifted class per grade was scheduled each day. Sad to say, only one of my gifted classes actually prepared me for college and that was mostly because he taught the same way for ALL of his classes.

Who would have thought that college professors don't give a rats ass about special learning styles? :roll:
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:31 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:I asked the question as I'm curious why you think that we should devote more time and resources to 'gifted' students we can know there is detriment to other students learning when we add in tracking. Especially when we take into account the number of students that are benefited by tracking and how slight that benefit generally is if there is one at all.


False choice. Gifted classes don't require more resources. Here is the best system.
Offer students and their parents choices: Physics AP, Physics "Gifted/Honors/Pre-AP"
, and regular Physics.
If you have a student body of 900 students who are required to take Physics that year, figure out the teacher ratio 30:1 and BAM you have 30 sections of physics.
After you receive the 'requests' from the students you now have data to fill those sections.
Example:
Number of kids signed up for AP -- 93 = 3 sections
Number of kids signed up for Honors -- 285 = 9 Sections
Number of kids signed up for regulars -- 522 = 18 Sections

Then as the year progresses you allow some class changes. In frequently in my regular classes recommend that students "move up". In my AP classes I recommend people move "down" if they are failing AND it doesn't seem like they are grasping the material.

So where are the extra resources?
It allows students and parents the opportunity to decide what 'level' they want.

You also suggested there is no real "benefit" to tracking.
At my school 90% plus of students in the AP program have college credits, with many reaching the max of 30 hours.... hence they start college as Sophmores. If thats not a benefit, I don't know what is.

For all my students, including regular, they come back and tell me that the college subjects I tought them.. were easy and it all felt like review.



Zcorp wrote:I didn't suggest it would require less of your time. I suggested it would make your life more enjoyable. I made the assumption that you would be more willing to do grading/prep for a more advanced class and the extra time that can take, than to deal with some of the harder problems in classroom management. My assumption could be quite wrong, maybe you would make that trade. Although, you state this is a reward for you further down, suggesting you would not take that trade.


For me and many teachers the 'enjoyable' factor is more a choice of inner city school versus rich white school.
I tried the inner city school thing and it was extremely depressing. It makes you not want to ask kids simple questions like "Why didn't you turn in your homework?" Because frequently the answers will give you nightmares. Makes you believe in a licence to have kids, because there are a lot of horrific parents out there, and meeting them face to face is not good for your mental health.

So your enjoyment of gifted versus regular, doesn't apply.

Zcorp wrote:I guess...I don't understand what you mean by intellectually rewarding then. While the 'gifted' classes might get into more complex material; working with non-gifted or even students tracked below the average and trying to increase their motivation, level of engagement and understanding of concepts has been for me, and teachers I've worked with, the more difficult and intellectually challenging task.


I mean that AP classes are more intellectual and can frequently result in discussions where I dont' know the answer. So I am frequently doing research to answer questions, as well as stay ahead of those questions. Where in a regular class, I will not be challenged and don't really learn anything.

I would be interested to see what kind of schools you work in. I found that dealing with future prison inmates, victims, pregnant middle schoolers, and fry cooks, was not rewarding. Maybe you reach one kid, but mostly your efforts are filled with frustration, depression, and hopelessness. Is it challenging... Yes. Its soo challenging that nobody has been able to figure it out in the history of mankind.

Every time I hear of success stories its exactly the same. Hand picked kids removed from their environment to a safer, less distracted one, with supportive parents. The best inner city program in the nation, KIPP, expels trouble makers, has parents sign contracts, and have their own campuses.

I say all this, because I get the impression your not working with those kids. I think your working with middle class kids who struggle in school. And as I said already, I do great with those kids too. If not, please tell me how many 20 year old freshmen with "Thug Life" neck tattoos, or 18 year old freshmen girls with 2 kids, you have saved. ( I don't blame the kids, they are victims of a horrific enviroment that their shitty parents don't try to shelter them from)

Zcorp wrote:Rather than you, as a kick ass teacher, should be placed where you are needed most?


Again... regular classroom or Inner city? Good teachers are most needed in the inner city, and the emotional iron will required to work there is something most people don't possess. Its hard to go home and live a normal life when you spent the day dealing with crimes against children.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Zcorp » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:02 am UTC

Ixtellor wrote:False choice. Gifted classes don't require more resources. Here is the best system.
Offer students and their parents choices: Physics AP, Physics "Gifted/Honors/Pre-AP"
, and regular Physics.
If you have a student body of 900 students who are required to take Physics that year, figure out the teacher ratio 30:1 and BAM you have 30 sections of physics.
After you receive the 'requests' from the students you now have data to fill those sections.
Example:
Number of kids signed up for AP -- 93 = 3 sections
Number of kids signed up for Honors -- 285 = 9 Sections
Number of kids signed up for regulars -- 522 = 18 Sections
I doubt you believe that all teachers are equal, in fact we know you don't as you pride your self in being superior to many of your colleagues. Which is a wonderful thing to pride yourself on. Now in your experience which of those three groups gets the more experienced teachers? Granted you've already answered this question as well. The experienced teachers teach the highest tracks. If we know that 1 teacher != another and that the superior teachers teach the AP tracks how do you perceive this as equal resources?

Then as the year progresses you allow some class changes. In frequently in my regular classes recommend that students "move up". In my AP classes I recommend people move "down" if they are failing AND it doesn't seem like they are grasping the material.
Move up into a class that is already ahead of them, that they have to spend a significant amount of time catching up on what they missed in the earlier parts of the year. How well does this normally go for you? I know how well it normally goes in general, maybe you have better luck. As for moving students down, do you know how that affects those kids? Before you suggest that they moved down is there anything is your school that assists those students with trying to stay in their class?

So where are the extra resources?
It allows students and parents the opportunity to decide what 'level' they want.
Do you really believe that all the students get a choice on what track they should be in? Or that each student has an opportunity to do well in each track even if they are capable of it?

I tried the inner city school thing and it was extremely depressing. It makes you not want to ask kids simple questions like "Why didn't you turn in your homework?" Because frequently the answers will give you nightmares. Makes you believe in a licence to have kids, because there are a lot of horrific parents out there, and meeting them face to face is not good for your mental health.

So your enjoyment of gifted versus regular, doesn't apply.
again, is this something you honestly believe?

I mean that AP classes are more intellectual and can frequently result in discussions where I dont' know the answer. So I am frequently doing research to answer questions, as well as stay ahead of those questions. Where in a regular class, I will not be challenged and don't really learn anything.
I guess then you might be the exact type of teacher we are trying to avoid creating. We want to be building teachers that are interested in the questions of how to improve student performance, much much more so than figuring our areas of the field they are teaching that they don't know. Access to that knowledge is going to be incredibly easy in the near future, in fact it is already orders of magnitude easier in terms of time spent to access that knowledge.

That you aren't challenged by and do not learn anything by trying to get your 'average' students to continually perform better than students in your last year is depressing. Maybe you are even one of those teachers that believes you can't have a more significant effect.



I would be interested to see what kind of schools you work in. I found that dealing with future prison inmates, victims, pregnant middle schoolers, and fry cooks, was not rewarding. Maybe you reach one kid, but mostly your efforts are filled with frustration, depression, and hopelessness. Is it challenging... Yes. Its soo challenging that nobody has been able to figure it out in the history of mankind.
Oh...right...one of you. Are you even aware of how much your perception of your students relates to their ability to achieve?? Kids in inner city schools are quite fortunate they do not have you as a teacher.


Tracking has no place in a system trying to create access to knowledge, learning and ability to better oneself for all students. As you have already have conviction in the inability of large group of students to achieve it would appear you are uninterested in achieving that goal. It is of little surprise you find no value in removing tracking programs.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Ixtellor » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:46 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:The experienced teachers teach the highest tracks. If we know that 1 teacher != another and that the superior teachers teach the AP tracks how do you perceive this as equal resources?


Because students have equal access to those classes, particularly AP. College Board has made a dramatic shift this past decade and drills into all schools that AP = All People. The days of AP being the sole domain of the best and brightest is basically over. AP punishes schools that don't open up their classes to the entire population.

Many schools will try to cull the kids that make it into a gifted program, but basically if Parents insist on a 'gifted' education, their child will get one. Parents > School policies.

Zcorp wrote:Move up into a class that is already ahead of them, that they have to spend a significant amount of time catching up on what they missed in the earlier parts of the year. How well does this normally go for you?


Works out great. I take great care to make sure it is a smooth transition and I don't punish them for missing material. This doesn't work well in all fields, as some disciplines require a specific building of information. Math Science = difficult. English Social Studies Electives = smooth transition.

Zcorp wrote:As for moving students down, do you know how that affects those kids? Before you suggest that they moved down is there anything is your school that assists those students with trying to stay in their class?


Kids that move down from my class are eager to do so. So they are greatly relieved.

In order to move down at my school all the following people must agree with the change:
The student, The parent, the teacher, the councelor, and the department chair. A parent conference is also required. I have never had a student that wasn't desparate to move down, successfully do so.

I personally have talked many parents and students from changing schedules.

Any other questions chicken little?

Zcorp wrote:Do you really believe that all the students get a choice on what track they should be in? Or that each student has an opportunity to do well in each track even if they are capable of it?


This is your only valid question.

The answer is No and No. It has nothing to do with the educational system and everything to do with their environment outside of school, particularly their socio economic status and the educational level and values of their parents. (which are frequently also victims of their environment)

Its fairly simple. If your grow up in the inner city and your parents dont' value education, your pretty well fucked. Various influences will try to steer you in the right direction, but if your not getting positive influence and reinforcement from the adults, and possible peers, children don't have the forsight and social skills to cope with overcome those obstacles.

A real example I remember with great clarity is trying to convince a student that living off of welfare wasn't the best life plan. His parents told him every day school was for suckers and that it was easy to game the system and get government to pay your bills. The hours of 1 on 1 intervention did nothing, because his parents and extended family had him convinced that welfare was the way to go. Also, his parents didn't appreciate a meddling teacher.

A good friend of mine who is a lawyer only escaped this after he joined the army and got away from those negative influences. (He was forced to join a gang and drop out of high school in order to survive) (he sends his 2 children to private school)

Zcorp wrote:We want to be building teachers that are interested in the questions of how to improve student performance, much much more so than figuring our areas of the field they are teaching that they don't know.


Now the ridiculous series of assumptions begins.

Just because I say I enjoy X doesn't mean I don't do Y. Why are 100% of my students in my lowest class going to pass the state exams... because I know how to improve performance AND motivate reluctant learners.

Zcorp wrote:Oh...right...one of you. Are you even aware of how much your perception of your students relates to their ability to achieve??


Yes, why do you assume I don't.

Ohhhh I get it. You think that because I shared a few opinions on an anonymous forum, that its exactly what I do in the classroom. I am a fountain of positivity and motivation in the classroom and have gone to great lenghts to 'save' kids. I give the vast majority of my positive reinforcement to reluctant learners and will run across the room and High 5 a kid for doing well on a test, etc. I love the look of accomplishment on their faces when they do well.

For the 5th time, my most rewarding class this year was my lowest class. Its not intellecutally rewarding, but its fun, and I have enjoyed the slow transformation that several students have made in class.

I kick ass at my job and the fact some 22 year old education major working at a middle class charter school who pops in once a week to give advice to an actual teacher --- believes I am a bad teacher, is laughable. (Thats my guess of who and what you do.)

I tried working at the most challenging school. It was mentally demoralizing. Its not the 10/1 good kids who are trying, its those horrific stories of child abuse and the daily interactions with future/current inmates whose lives revolve around crime and hurting people.

How many parent meetings have you had with a man who rapes and impregnates his 12 year old daughter? How many times have you been threatened with physical violence by a known gang member? How many times has your car been vandalized? How many kids have you seen victimized and put in the hospital for doing the crime of making an A on a test?

That shit grinds on your soul.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Zcorp » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:45 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Ohhhh I get it. You think that because I shared a few opinions on an anonymous forum, that its exactly what I do in the classroom. I am a fountain of positivity and motivation in the classroom and have gone to great lenghts to 'save' kids. I give the vast majority of my positive reinforcement to reluctant learners and will run across the room and High 5 a kid for doing well on a test, etc. I love the look of accomplishment on their faces when they do well.
No, I know that peoples perceptions affect their behavior. Behavior that shows up in body language, micro-expressions, energy level and else where. If you have a perception that they are doomed for failure and that you are incapable of helping them you are doing them a great injustice.

That you use an example of High 5ing a kid as reinforcement suggests you know little about personality and reinforcement for different personalities as well. Maybe it was just an example but to use something more specific rather than simply stating you find a proper way to reinforce students based on who they are implies otherwise. That 'reward' is a significant punishment for many individuals.

But now we are way off topic, you through your anecdotal experience believe that Tracking is good. I've provided citations for a variety of studies showing it creates more harm than benefit.

I tried working at the most challenging school. It was mentally demoralizing. Its not the 10/1 good kids who are trying, its those horrific stories of child abuse and the daily interactions with future/current inmates whose lives revolve around crime and hurting people.
Right, obviously you are not prepared to deal with those kids. Most teachers are not, most teachers don't have a background in real management skills nor psychology and it is not required of them to get the job.

How many parent meetings have you had with a man who rapes and impregnates his 12 year old daughter? How many times have you been threatened with physical violence by a known gang member? How many times has your car been vandalized? How many kids have you seen victimized and put in the hospital for doing the crime of making an A on a test?

That shit grinds on your soul.

Sigh what a stupid game to play. Appeals to authority get us no where.


I've worked with prisons that incarcerate those daughters and assisted them in re-entering outside world, a program that has greatly reduced recidivism rates. I've worked with foster homes that take in those raped and pimped out girls and influenced changes in their behavior while trying to also give get them back in track in their schools and teaching them reason and philosophy, something they won't ever find their schools. I've been threatened by both these groups of individuals, their Jons, their Husbands, their parents, their boyfriends. I've seen these individuals hospitalize each other and attack their foster parents, guards or family. Not to mention the schools I've worked in with troubled or minority populations.

Now lets stop with that game please. Stop attacking credibility and start learning about the real harm tracking causes to our society.

Academically oriented kids, generally rich white ones, are not the only students that deserve attention from our society, and they are the kids that need it least. Our system should be trying to maximize the growth of knowledge, civic understanding and professional training across all populations. Middle class children are greatly struggling in our country and those at the bottom are getting teachers that come in with a perception that they can no succeed, a perception that just perpetuates the culture they grow up in. We need changes in many areas of our educational system to try and fix many different problems. Tracking is just one change, and it is a relatively insignificant one, that should happen. Simply because there are other and bigger problems doesn't make tracking good.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Yakk » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:01 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:Now lets stop with that game please. Stop attacking credibility and start learning about the real harm tracking causes to our society.
Zcorp, are you aware that you attacked Ixtellor in this very post?
Academically oriented kids, generally rich white ones, are not the only students that deserve attention from our society, and they are the kids that need it least.
So, whatever happens to them does not matter in your calculus.

Insofar as it does matter, your system by which you weight outcomes values it low enough that they should get the scraps of teacher attention, because they are already doing better than someone else. Teacher attention should be mainly aimed that students who are struggling, curriculum should be developed aimed solely at students who are struggling, and anyone better than the bottom (say 20%) of performance can make do with whatever, as they are not the ones who are most at risk.

Does that correctly characterize your position? If not, how is your position functionally different from this?
Our system should be trying to maximize the growth of knowledge, civic understanding and professional training across all populations.
As I've mentioned before, when you say "maximize X over population Y", how you weight your measure of X over each member of the population and add it up determines what your conclusions are.

Without saying how you weight what you are measuring, you are not passing on information, but rather repeating empty rhetoric.

If you don't understand this effect, then you didn't actually understand the studies you are talking about. And if you do understand this effect, why don't communicate the weights used?
Middle class children
Last I checked, gifted education includes middle class children.

Your use of "rich, white" as the other, and "middle class" as the in-group, basically means you are engaging in class warfare rhetoric.

Can you stop it with the bad rhetoric?
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby lucrezaborgia » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:29 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:It has nothing to do with the educational system and everything to do with their environment outside of school, particularly their socio economic status and the educational level and values of their parents. (which are frequently also victims of their environment)

Its fairly simple. If your grow up in the inner city and your parents dont' value education, your pretty well fucked. Various influences will try to steer you in the right direction, but if your not getting positive influence and reinforcement from the adults, and possible peers, children don't have the forsight and social skills to cope with overcome those obstacles.


While I disagree with gifted education for various reason, I've personally witnessed exactly what you are talking about though I wouldn't automatically include socioeconomic status as the reason. It's extremely frustrating to deal with children who have parents who just don't care. I've spent a few years working after-school programs and many years doing private childcare and I've seen over and over the difference that social conditioning makes. It's sad, but it's reality. Get out of your head that all it takes is just one teacher to inspire these kids. That pretty much only happens in Hollywood. It's not always even a purely economic issue. Case in point:

Back in Miami, I can't count the number of times I'd have a parent berate me for their precious snowflake not completing homework. It didn't matter that their child refused to do the work and that I could not sit with their child more than the allotted homework time. The parent did not want to do the work to ensure that their child was getting an education. Most of the other counselors just did the work for the kids to keep parents from bothering them. These kids weren't even from backgrounds that were necessarily poor. These kids barely were able to keep up in class and I sometimes wondered how they were in their grade level in the first place.

Wisconsin is an entirely different ballgame. I worked at what was considered to be a disadvantaged elementary school through a special grant program run by the Boys and Girls Club. I'd class these children as being of lower socioeconomic status than the children I worked with in Miami. However, the majority of the parents really cared about education and it showed! The kids whose parents didn't care? They could barely keep up with their grade level. The parents who cared supported us from the top down and I never had to worry about a superior upbraiding me for holding a child accountable for their schoolwork. Heck, if they didn't finish their work they got sent to a special room until they finished it. Most of the time I was in that room and I would help these kids and you could always tell which ones had parents who cared about education.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:41 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:Teacher attention should be mainly aimed that students who are struggling, curriculum should be developed aimed solely at students who are struggling, and anyone better than the bottom (say 20%) of performance can make do with whatever, as they are not the ones who are most at risk.

The fundamental principle of NCLB.
lucrezaborgia wrote:While I disagree with gifted education for various reasons…

Out of curiosity, what are those reasons?
Personally, I've definitely benefited from some gifted education programs and not been helped by others; however, the benefits I got from the good ones far outweighed the frustration from the bad ones. On this note (at least from personal experience), gifted programs that are separate from or replacements for the normal curriculum in whatever subject are far better than supplementary programs (i.e. do this extra work along with normal classroom work). For more details, just ask.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby lucrezaborgia » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:48 pm UTC

cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:Out of curiosity, what are those reasons?


Gifted programs vary wildly from district to district. The programs in my schools in Miami-Dade Florida were horrendous. Gifted classes were automatically Honors classes, yet the content rarely lived up to Honors level if the teacher didn't teach regular Honors. I actually had to remove myself from several gifted classes in high-school because the teachers were not teaching us anything. Other than that, the content in the gifted classes was almost exactly the same as honors classes when the teacher was the same for both.

Gifted programs can be very limiting socially. I had the same 15-25 students in almost every single class for all 3 years of middle-school and all 4 years of high-school.

Do gifted programs really have more to offer than Honors and AP courses? I don't believe they do. Not every child who has a high IQ is automatically a high-achiever and don't always benefit from the higher level of the classwork.

Finally, as I said in my first post in this thread...nothing in gifted helped me move on to college. Not a single thing! Especially in the classes where the content was indistinguishable from the regular Honors and AP classes. To me, it is a massive waste of resources to have higher level classes and then have entirely separate classes with the exact same content but with the added label of gifted. Going back to being prepared for college...how does gifted help with this? College professors don't care at all about how gifted students supposedly learn differently or how creative they are. The majority of my gifted teachers treated us all like special snowflakes who were so above and beyond the rest of the school. That all changed with my senior English teacher. He failed us all the very first assignment because our supposed creativity was really bullshit and he called it out for what it was.

Do all gifted programs have these issues? Probably not. At the same time...I don't think gifted education is massively different from Honors and AP. I don't see the benefit of isolating these students from the majority of their peers and the tendency of gifted teachers to put their students on a pedestal is not to their benefit in the least. When you go to college and work out there in the real world, you aren't going to always be working with people who think exactly like you and that having people who think differently in the classroom (while accounting for varying levels of scholarship) is a plus, not a minus.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Vangor » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:11 am UTC

lucrezaborgia wrote:Gifted programs vary wildly from district to district. The programs in my schools in Miami-Dade Florida were horrendous. Gifted classes were automatically Honors classes, yet the content rarely lived up to Honors level if the teacher didn't teach regular Honors.


Would seem a reason to advocate for better Gifted, Talented, and High-Achieving programs in schools, amongst other things. You seem to acknowledge this was simply your experience and is not necessarily true of all programs yet use this as a basis for disagreeing with Gifted education.

lucrezaborgia wrote:Gifted programs can be very limiting socially. I had the same 15-25 students in almost every single class for all 3 years of middle-school and all 4 years of high-school.


To begin, this is extremely inaccurate of the vast majority of Gifted programs including all manner of acceleration. Studies routinely show better social outcomes with subject acceleration, whole grade acceleration, radical acceleration, etc., when done thoughtfully compared to non-accelerated Gifted students. Further, Gifted students tend to report higher self-concepts and enjoyment of school the more they are placed with cognitive rather than age peers.

As to your personal experiences, you already acknowledged this was a poor Gifted program. I am doubtful those 15-25 students developed cognitively and emotionally similarly over those 7 years and were as able in all subject areas; the district and/or school shows little understanding of Gifted education and were instead minimally fulfilling the state requirements for Gifted programs.

lucrezaborgia wrote:Do gifted programs really have more to offer than Honors and AP courses? I don't believe they do. Not every child who has a high IQ is automatically a high-achiever and don't always benefit from the higher level of the classwork.


Sometimes Honors, AP courses, telescoped curriculum, concurrent enrollment, or similar are enough to fulfill the needs of a Gifted student in a particular subject. However, what Gifted programs do offer is not the same as what Gifted programs should offer. This seems again an argument for advocating for better programs unless you wish to argue Gifted students do not need different instruction.

This latter part, while correct, is a distinct comment from Gifted programs having more to offer than Honor and AP courses. More, this concerns should Gifted students only be in Gifted programs and should Gifted programs only be available to Gifted students; I would say no to both of those questions.

lucrezaborgia wrote:To me, it is a massive waste of resources to have higher level classes and then have entirely separate classes with the exact same content but with the added label of gifted.


Would agree. The state of Florida would agree, as well. You cannot fulfill Gifted hours by providing them with identical content. Administrators and teachers are woefully uninformed about Gifted needs. Parents should be mad. I have said this before and will say this again, if the same efforts were placed towards students with disabilities, parents would burn the school to the ground in a week.


lucrezaborgia wrote:He failed us all the very first assignment because our supposed creativity was really bullshit and he called it out for what it was.


Your teacher failed the class because of a lack of creativity? You had terrible teachers throughout, and this man was no different just the opposite end.

lucrezaborgia wrote:When you go to college and work out there in the real world, you aren't going to always be working with people who think exactly like you


You have a strange interpretation of what Gifted is. Gifted is about rate of development. How you come to believe Gifted think exactly alike I have no idea, but I would dismiss anyone talking on the subject of Gifted education who held such a notion.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby lucrezaborgia » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:31 am UTC

Vangor wrote:To begin, this is extremely inaccurate of the vast majority of Gifted programs including all manner of acceleration. Studies routinely show better social outcomes with subject acceleration, whole grade acceleration, radical acceleration, etc., when done thoughtfully compared to non-accelerated Gifted students. Further, Gifted students tend to report higher self-concepts and enjoyment of school the more they are placed with cognitive rather than age peers.


I never said anything about "all manner of acceleration" and I agree that students should be placed with cognitive peers.

unless you wish to argue Gifted students do not need different instruction.


This is what I believe.

This latter part, while correct, is a distinct comment from Gifted programs having more to offer than Honor and AP courses. More, this concerns should Gifted students only be in Gifted programs and should Gifted programs only be available to Gifted students; I would say no to both of those questions.


You can say no all you want but that isn't exactly what happens in schools. Bureaucracy is a bitch.

I have said this before and will say this again, if the same efforts were placed towards students with disabilities, parents would burn the school to the ground in a week.


That's funny because my gifted classes came under the same department as disabilities.

Your teacher failed the class because of a lack of creativity? You had terrible teachers throughout, and this man was no different just the opposite end.


Maybe I didn't explain properly? Our teachers had trained us to believe that practically anything we did was special and that because of our special brains that we were automatically super creative when in reality it was all trite shit. All of us credit this teacher with removing the rose colored glasses. He was the only teacher who was willing to hold us up to the standard that we would be encountering in college.

You have a strange interpretation of what Gifted is. Gifted is about rate of development. How you come to believe Gifted think exactly alike I have no idea, but I would dismiss anyone talking on the subject of Gifted education who held such a notion.


Gifted for me was taking an IQ test and since I scored above a certain number? Bam! Qualified! If gifted is merely about a different rate of development I'd be all for it...but my experiences with the system and with parents and children in the system via my after-school work (as well as my many friends in education), I don't think that is the case in the classroom. It might be in the Ivory Tower of education research, but in practice? Giftedness is practically a religion unto itself in some parenting circles and all too often becomes a badge for wealthy parents to flash around. Schools should totally offer students courses appropriate to their students development level, but I believe that purpose can be served with Honors, AP programs, and grade skipping.

Once in the HS level, I believe that encouraging exceptional students to go directly to college via Dual Enrollment (where it's feasible) would be a much more cost effective measure as well as providing the students with a quality education that would still be challenging to them.

edited to add:

The elementary school I worked at didn't have "gifted" but they did divide up subjects past the second grade and children were put into different classes depending on their level of ability. Overall though, all students were held to high standards and the entire school, from the top down, worked as one big team and didn't let parents steamroll anyone when it came to academics. Add to that the fact that many of the parents were pro-education. Those kids blew me away with how much they knew and how advanced they were compared to kids their age in Florida. Were some of the most advanced kids a little bored sometimes? Yes! But their parents didn't view that as a negative. Their view was that you're not always going to be in an environment that is going to constantly stimulate you and their children better learn now that they need to learn how to cope with that.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby lucrezaborgia » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:17 am UTC

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-bar ... 84076.html

This came out just last week.
To look at the current state of affairs, Mary-Catherine McClain and Steven I. Pfeiffer recently conducted a national survey of current state policies and practices (soon to be published in the Journal of Applied School Psychology) to assess how states define giftedness, identify giftedness, and accommodate gifted minority students. This is what they found.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Puppyclaws » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:13 pm UTC

I find myself torn on this issue. Part of me feels like there needs to be multiple classes for multiple abilities, but research on tracking has indicated that it clearly divides people on racial/SES lines, that it provides only limited benefit (benefit generally defined as "demonstrable improvement in testable knowledge," not "student no longer bored") to those in advanced or gifted programs, and that it is a real detriment to those who find themselves not placed in the highest track, both in terms of knowledge gained and also ability to later be accepted into college. [most of this comes from a book called "Tracking Inequality" by Samuel Roundfield Lucas; similar ideas and research can be found online on the disadvantages section of the Wikipedia article "Tracking (education)" if you want an internet source, although that article is rather poor overall]

On top of that, I have a real problem with a lot of the concepts that the notion of giftedness raises. For one thing, IQ is a completely unreliable BS measurement. It doesn't measure student potential, it doesn't measure intelligence, the only thing it can accurately gauge is test-taking ability. Unsurprisingly, it also correlates heavily with SES, even in studies of separated twins. Yet, as noted in the article lucrezaborgia just linked to, IQ tests or similar measures remain the primary way of defining who is "gifted." I also have my doubts on the actual difference between gifted and non-gifted students when it comes to the ability to learn.

For my own personal experience:

I went through some form of advanced education (I am pretty sure they did not ever use the label "gifted" in my school district) at every level, and I am not sure that it particularly offered me anything. In elementary school, the only thing that was gained by being placed in the very small population of students called advanced was that I thought I was smarter than everyone else. Looking back, I do not think that I (or anybody else) really picked up anything extra from being in those special groups (generally consisting of a few hours away from the normal class room, not a complete separation from the "regular" students). One caveat to this: I attended school in a district that was fairly affluent. The city was also known for having the best public schools in the area by a wide margin. So, the bar was set very high even for regular students.

In middle school, students were separated into different class subjects based on their abilities, mostly as defined by where you had been placed in elementary school. I found that there was a real social aspect to where you were tracked. That is to say: those classes where I was in the advanced track were fairly serious because the students were into it, whereas in the regular track, there were more students who were goofing off-- which brought the speed of the class to a screeching halt. In classes that were mixed, I found it again to be fairly serious. This is just my own anecdotal experience, but it seemed the presence of the supposedly advanced students had a positive effect on the supposedly regular students, rather than the presence of the regular students bringing the advanced students down.

I attended two different high schools simultaneously, as part of a complicated arrangement related to the way the local magnet school worked. One had tracking in the form of honors and AP classes, and one (the magnet school) did not. My experience again leans towards the non-tracking school as a system that worked better for most students. There was little of value to the honors classes as compared with the normal classes; normal classes were bogged down with the types of problems that come from grouping the worst students together, but if you worked you could get the same depth of understanding/value out of them as you could out of the honors courses. Honestly, the teacher had more to do with how much the students seemed to learn than the honors/non-honors distinction. AP classes, however, were decidedly different; they were genuinely like college coursework. They were difficult, and students who thought they knew their stuff still failed. This was the one place where I saw a real value in dividing the students, because there were real differences in the material.

That said, I look at the school I attended that did not have tracking, and much of the work in the higher level math/science courses was as difficult or close to as difficult as the AP courses at the school with tracking (and many students pursued outside tutoring to make up the gaps in order to take AP tests, and passed). In the other courses, there was still a high standard, but the teaching methods were different; they were simply designed to be more engaging for everybody than the AP courses, and the level of individualized instruction did allow advanced students to develop more complex ideas (in many ways it is just hard to even compare an AP Literature course to a course on 20th Century Japanese Literature, they present two very different ways of looking at the subject). Again, this all comes with a caveat; the school without tracking was a magnet school, so students had self-selected to be there, and the school had the power to remove extremely disruptive students or those who performed very poorly (below a 2.0 GPA).


So with all that, I can see the value in the idea of gifted programs in school districts that are below average, but I am doubtful about their value in high performing districts/schools. And, I worry that the results of gifted programs in below average schools is really just to further ingrain already existing problems with differences in socioeconomic status.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby KestrelLowing » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:05 pm UTC

For me, it seems the real problem here with gifted education (note that I personally do not put 'gifted' and 'advanced' separately - I know there have been issues with that, but for the duration of this post, gifted = advanced = honors, etc.) is that it's not actually gifted. Everyone always states that there isn't much testable difference between a bright student in a gifted class and a bright student in a mixed class. From my experience, it's due to a few issues.

The school/ district will now allow advanced material - this was the case for my elementary school gifted program. We were not allowed to advance in the curriculum - only expand. I'm not saying that expanded curriculum isn't a bad thing, but due to this our class was almost more preschool-esk. There was very little formal instruction time as we just didn't need the time in the other classes. There was also a lot of free time where we got to do various projects. I personally believe that free time would be highly beneficial to most students everywhere and would like to see something like that implemented into everyone's curriculum, although I do understand the constraints. But because we never actually advanced, we didn't have any better 'testable' knowledge.

Gifted programs are just a way of making people feel 'special' - I'm not going to lie, this is often the case of many gifted programs, and why so many parents want their perhaps not so academically talented student to be put in the gifted class. Depending on the size of the district, gifted classes can be smaller, and this is obviously very beneficial. However, in my medium sized district (400 in a graduating class for the entire district) my gifted classes were the same size as standard classes. If you get a teacher or school district that doesn't understand how to create a gifted class, most of the time the 'specialness' is what happens. You don't actually learn anything different, and you don't actually do much. You are just in the 'special' class. This can actually be really detrimental - it gets students thinking they can do everything and when they finally find something actually difficult, they freeze and can't figure out what to do. This type of program is where you get the students who drop out of college because they don't realize that you actually will have to study, and they have no clue how to.

To me, there seems like an obvious answer to all of this. Make the gifted classes actually difficult. AP has had such a positive response because (A) everyone is eligible to take them and (B) they are (usually) actually harder classes! To me, this seems like the best choice for gifted programs - just actually make the programs difficult and rewarding to those who are used to just sitting there and intuitively understanding all the material. Some students will be even more advanced than the 'advanced' class for their grade, so let them skip up a grade.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Shahriyar » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:33 pm UTC

I know that in Israel they have a special program for gifted children that could be said to basicall amounts to "Battle School" from Ender's Game, but I can't for the life of me remember the name of the program, and google research has proved fruitless... Israeli people I've discussed this with say that afterwards you're contractually obliged to work for the military, and it's really shmuck bait. But what was it called...?
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby lucrezaborgia » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:32 am UTC

Puppyclaws wrote:In classes that were mixed, I found it again to be fairly serious. This is just my own anecdotal experience, but it seemed the presence of the supposedly advanced students had a positive effect on the supposedly regular students, rather than the presence of the regular students bringing the advanced students down.


Never underestimate the power of peers with children. I was thinking about this last night and how valuable it is for children to see people around them valuing education. Having peers around them modeling proper behavior and attitude definitely goes a long way.

KestrelLowing wrote:it gets students thinking they can do everything and when they finally find something actually difficult, they freeze and can't figure out what to do. This type of program is where you get the students who drop out of college because they don't realize that you actually will have to study, and they have no clue how to.


This was happening to me before that teacher I talked about.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:11 am UTC

lucrezaborgia wrote:
Puppyclaws wrote:In classes that were mixed, I found it again to be fairly serious. This is just my own anecdotal experience, but it seemed the presence of the supposedly advanced students had a positive effect on the supposedly regular students, rather than the presence of the regular students bringing the advanced students down.


Never underestimate the power of peers with children. I was thinking about this last night and how valuable it is for children to see people around them valuing education. Having peers around them modeling proper behavior and attitude definitely goes a long way.

In my non-AP/honours/gifted/whatever classes, I was able to coast by with one of the top grades in the class with minimal effort and used them more of a study hall for my other classes. I'm not sure how I had a positive effect on the other students.

Also, my school had a gifted program for elementary schools that was test-driven, as was maths-placement before entering middle school (you were sorted into alg 1, pre-alg, or a two-year pre-alg [although some students got into alg 1 in 6th grade] for 7th grade). However, admittance into the honours or AP or advanced classes was more based on teacher's recommendation than IQ tests.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:39 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:Maybe it was just an example but to use something more specific rather than simply stating you find a proper way to reinforce students based on who they are implies otherwise. That 'reward' is a significant punishment for many individuals.


Check this forum. I have written many times that the key to being a good teacher is "Valuing and caring about kids and their education. I live it.

Your stuck on some perception that I cant' reach troubled kids. I have lots of success. What I 'reach' and help are troubled parents, fucked up home lives, and being a happy person who wants to spend time with my wife, after spending a day learning about the rape of a child.

None of this has anything to do with gifted education.

Also, I don't know any good teacher that isnt' a decent psychologist, when it comes to learning what motivates kids. My classroom is where 'behavior challenged' kids get 'dumped' because people know I will end up having good relationships that will give them the best chance of acacdemic success. It happens less and less every year as I move further away from the 'regular' classroom.

Zcorp wrote:I've provided citations for a variety of studies showing it creates more harm than benefit.


I have never seen an educational study worth a flip. The "scientific" methods used in them are pseudo-science at best, and outright distortions of the truth at worst. In educational academia they come up with a thesis... then they 'prove' it. The samples pools are generally a joke or the implementation is done with a hand selected teacher (read Greatest Teacher ever who takes the 'task' as a 200% full time job) and then expect those results to be extrapolated to any classroom. Tons of the studies come from charter schools that get to hand pick their population. Or they come from inner city schools with horrific track records.
(See, we told you tracking is broken since it didn't work at "Poorest School in Washington D.C.")

Zcorp wrote:I've worked with prisons that incarcerate those daughters and assisted them in re-entering outside world, a program that has greatly reduced recidivism rates. I've worked with foster homes that take in those raped and pimped out girls and influenced changes in their behavior while trying to also give get them back in track in their schools and teaching them reason and philosophy, something they won't ever find their schools.


So exactly what I said. They need help in their environments OUTSIDE the school.
Therapy <---- Yes.
Remove kids from abusive homes <----- Yes.
Economic opportunities <------ Yes.
A 1 on 1 instructer who can spend time with them removed from the peer pressure of an innercity high school. <----- Yes.

None of which has ANYTHING to do with tracking.

Throwing smart/average/below average kids togeather in an innercity isn't going to solve their problems. Their problems are mostly outside the school. Tracking should be so far down the totempole you dont' waste time debating its merits. Safety, Safety, Safety.

NOTHING can happen in a classroom where kids don't feel safe.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Zcorp » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:39 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:
Zcorp wrote:Maybe it was just an example but to use something more specific rather than simply stating you find a proper way to reinforce students based on who they are implies otherwise. That 'reward' is a significant punishment for many individuals.


Check this forum. I have written many times that the key to being a good teacher is "Valuing and caring about kids and their education. I live it.

Your stuck on some perception that I cant' reach troubled kids. I have lots of success. What I 'reach' and help are troubled parents, fucked up home lives, and being a happy person who wants to spend time with my wife, after spending a day learning about the rape of a child.

None of this has anything to do with gifted education.
Correct, we got a bit off topic. I am not stuck on a perception that you can't reach troubled kids, I have however taken note that you seem to believe there is little you can do and that those students are going to wind up in prison anyway. That perception is quite flawed.

Also, I don't know any good teacher that isnt' a decent psychologist, when it comes to learning what motivates kids. My classroom is where 'behavior challenged' kids get 'dumped' because people know I will end up having good relationships that will give them the best chance of acacdemic success. It happens less and less every year as I move further away from the 'regular' classroom.
Then I question your ability to judge a good psychologist. Most teachers are terrible psychologists. Most teachers still believe in IQ tests, they have little to no understand contemporary theories of learning, cognition and intelligence. Which isn't very surprising as you don't need to know those things to become a teacher in the States today. You also don't need to know anything about personality, and how different behaviors by the teacher and greatly demotivate some students while greatly motivating another. Most don't even understand I/O psychological basics for classroom management.

Many still believe that individualized learning == differentiating between auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning. Most teachers still primarily use model -> prompt -> check and again. Most teachers continue to ask socratic questions to assess rote learning. They don't even notice that even if they are responding negatively to the answer to those socratic questions 90% of the time that there is a problem in the way they are running their classroom.

I have never seen an educational study worth a flip. The "scientific" methods used in them are pseudo-science at best, and outright distortions of the truth at worst. In educational academia they come up with a thesis... then they 'prove' it. The samples pools are generally a joke or the implementation is done with a hand selected teacher (read Greatest Teacher ever who takes the 'task' as a 200% full time job) and then expect those results to be extrapolated to any classroom. Tons of the studies come from charter schools that get to hand pick their population. Or they come from inner city schools with horrific track records.
(See, we told you tracking is broken since it didn't work at "Poorest School in Washington D.C.")
A belief that greatly decreases your ability to be decent psychologist. If you don't understand the methods, implications and observations from psychology and sociology how can you expect to be a decent psychologist yourself.

You decide to throw out all progress we have made in understanding human learning because you don't understand the methods used well enough nor the specifics of how, when and where to implement them? That is quite unfortunate, and a common practice within groups of teachers.

So exactly what I said. They need help in their environments OUTSIDE the school.
Therapy <---- Yes.
Remove kids from abusive homes <----- Yes.
Economic opportunities <------ Yes.
A 1 on 1 instructer who can spend time with them removed from the peer pressure of an innercity high school. <----- Yes.

A great way to defer responsibility and lack of progress. Kind of the manta of the bad teacher actually. We can't do anything to influence these kids who spend 4-8 hours a day 5 days a week with our at our school, it is all the parents fault who spend if they are lucky ~4 hours a day with the kid. Granted the parents have a much lower ratio of other kids they have to worry about, but this line of thinking that schools are not a significant aspect and do not play a significant role in childs life is just delusional.

Do troubled kids need better environments outside of schools, certainly. But they also need better environments inside of schools. The question should not be, how bad is their life outside of school and how does that affect their learning. Instead we should be asking ourselves what can schools do to improve students well-being and understanding of the world. As a classroom teacher there isn't a whole lot of power you have to make some of the changes we need, but as a citizen and member of your schools staff you do have some influence to make those changes. One of those changes toward that goal would be the removal of Tracking programs.

None of which has ANYTHING to do with tracking.
Except that when a kid when compared to himself without being in a low track is more likely to not finish school, have children at a younger age and repeat the mistakes that their parents made in their children's upbringing. Is this entirely the fault of the track, of course not. Is it something we can have a small influence in trying to fix by removing Tracking, certainly.

Throwing smart/average/below average kids togeather in an innercity isn't going to solve their problems. Their problems are mostly outside the school. Tracking should be so far down the totempole you dont' waste time debating its merits. Safety, Safety, Safety.

NOTHING can happen in a classroom where kids don't feel safe.

We can change how and what we teach. We can also work to make kids in the classroom feel safe. You just don't believe that can happen and that we can't make changes within the school system to assist with these problems apparently.

That you believe that you as a teacher can't ever help a student with problems in their life outside of schools makes me wonder what you think the job of a teacher is.

But again we are quite off topic.



KestrelLowing wrote:The school/ district will now allow advanced material - this was the case for my elementary school gifted program. We were not allowed to advance in the curriculum - only expand. I'm not saying that expanded curriculum isn't a bad thing, but due to this our class was almost more preschool-esk. There was very little formal instruction time as we just didn't need the time in the other classes. There was also a lot of free time where we got to do various projects. I personally believe that free time would be highly beneficial to most students everywhere and would like to see something like that implemented into everyone's curriculum, although I do understand the constraints. But because we never actually advanced, we didn't have any better 'testable' knowledge.
This is something that can be done, is being done and our ability to do it is greatly increase with the rise of educational technology. Right now it is giant mess as lots of 'entrepreneurs' are jumping into the market and trying to get schools to spend money on their products, but give it a bit and after some terrible people make lots of money selling their snake oil we will see a few changes in what is available for teachers and how to sort through the mess.

The Khan Academy is an example of it in action. It is an example of organic growth of a tool that will be incredibly useful and effective once there is money put behind properly designing such a tool. MIT is releasing more and more free content online.

I've mentioned these before and I've mentioned moving into a proficiency/mastery based system rather than a course/grade based system. All of these things I've mentioned are a huge step in solving this problem. Tracking does not solve this problem.

To me, there seems like an obvious answer to all of this. Make the gifted classes actually difficult. AP has had such a positive response because (A) everyone is eligible to take them and (B) they are (usually) actually harder classes! To me, this seems like the best choice for gifted programs - just actually make the programs difficult and rewarding to those who are used to just sitting there and intuitively understanding all the material. Some students will be even more advanced than the 'advanced' class for their grade, so let them skip up a grade.

By using the world 'difficult' you are falling into our desire for an ego boost, which you mention in the paragraph I omitted. We want to make learning as easy, accessible and as useful as possible. Making it difficult is the opposite direction we want to be going. We do want to expose and have students understand more complex ideas, which is what I assume you mean by difficult.

Harder is not what we want to expose people to, and yes I understand you mean more complex. But that change in rhetoric and understanding is significant.


Again I'll state, while Tracking is a problem it is not the most significant problem in our system. If I was to make a list it probably isn't even on the top 10 or maybe even 20 problems with our schools structure. It is however a bad practice that all should be removed from our schools if we want to raise the base and average level of education in the states. It also does basically nothing to assist our greatest academic achievers. We have other means, and more more efficient ones, of helping those students than Tracking.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby KestrelLowing » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:37 am UTC

Zcorp - could you explain what actually is the difference between 'harder' and 'more complex'? In my mind, they are one and the same, but I understand that semantics can be important.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby doogly » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:48 am UTC

Here's an example. Reading through zcorp's posts is hard. It's not because the ideas he's having are complex.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Zcorp » Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:24 am UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:Zcorp - could you explain what actually is the difference between 'harder' and 'more complex'? In my mind, they are one and the same, but I understand that semantics can be important.

Addition is more complex than counting, but less complex than multiplication.

Trying to learn multiplication without understanding addition is harder than trying to learn multiplication with a strong understanding of addition.

Does that make sense?

We wanted to make learning complex material easy.

doogly wrote:Here's an example. Reading through zcorp's posts is hard. It's not because the ideas he's having are complex.

Correct to hard, but not quite for complex. The more complex something is generally means there is more depth and specificity. Stanford-Binet IQ is a simple idea of intelligence even it is very hard to measure. More modern concepts of intelligence like CHC are a more complex idea of intelligence and the areas of intelligence are often easier to measure and easier to work with and understand the implications of.

My posts can be difficult to read as I'm less adept at sentence or paragraph structure than I want to be, my understanding of sentence and paragraph structure or grammar is much simpler than it should be.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:06 pm UTC

To Zcorp,

On IQ. I got into teaching later in life (age of 33) and since then I have never once seen IQ used for anything, other than following Federal Laws on special education.

By law if a student has an IQ of less than X, they then receive the full support and weight of Federal Law. It has no bearing at all on what classes they are eligable, and in fact, can only be used to help get them into HIGHER classes, because denying the access to AP, Gifted, etc would be a violation of Federal Law. I have no idea what any students IQ is, that information is confidential, and have never once heard of any teacher trying to gain access to it.

The one time I heard IQ come up in a meeting is when a parent wanted their child labeled Special Ed and had done independant testing to verify that their child qualified.

So... WTF are you talking about? Do you think teachers have IQ lists and thats how we make decisions about who/what to teach?

Zcorp wrote:Many still believe that individualized learning == differentiating between auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning. Most teachers still primarily use model -> prompt -> check and again.


Here is how education works. Lots of people want to get PhD's in education. So they have to come up with something "new" to do their thesis on. So every 5-7 years the new wave of 'educational' research comes out and schools across the nation start to implement the "New" and "Right" way to teach kids.

I put new in quotes because, if you pay attention, its cyclical. The "new" stuff today is ideas from the 70's.

I say "Right" because its comical. "Johnny isn't learning math because your doing it wrong." It has nothing to do with the fact that Johnny's parents sued the school and any grade less than a passing grade proves you violated his IEP, which you will have to defend in court, at a cost of $300,000.
About 1/2 of the rules that govern a school are to avoid lawsuits.
or
"Amy isn't learning Shakespere because the Teacher is stupid and doesn't understand psychology and implementing educational research". It has nothing to do with Amy checking facebook all day from her cell phone. The school tried to take her cell phone away, but Amy's mom sued the school for putting her in danger. (Real story btw - if you don't have a cell phone, then mommy can't reach you, then you get kidnapped)

No it must be that stupid teacher who doesn't understand brain development like Zcorp does.

Back to your "Right" way to teach. I call bullshit. I learned a long time ago, Human beings are not cogs that you put in a machine. We all have different strengths, weaknesses, and personalities that might make us more suited or less suited to a particular teaching style.

One of the greatest teachers I know, with a flawless success rate, lectures 4 days a week.

Another one (The greatest saint in the world) since He teaches EVERY social studies AP class at one of the most hardcore inner city schools in the nation... or else they wouldn't have AP there, basically just has conversations with kids about social values and lots of field trips that he pays for out of pocket. He has a huge impact on keeping kids in school and helping them to feel like school is a safe and rewarding place to go. His AP scores are horrible, but the impact he has on their lives and making them better citizens and more importantly helping them graduate and move on to college is profound.

What I have found in EVERY good teacher, is always the same 3 things:
1) Know your content (be an expert.)
2) Care about kids and their education.
3) Be entertaining.

After that, the method of 'teaching' is less relevant.

A different method of teaching is basically not going to overcome a parent who is sabotaging their child on purpose. Its not going to change dangerous environments.

Here is a 100% real story that teaching methods will have zero impact on.
Two girls went to a christmas party. At the party, both girls were gang raped and not a single person at this very large party of their classmates did ANYTHING to help.
Now the two girls have to go back to school and be IN class with the very people who raped them and the other peers who are all aware of the gang rape.
(Innocent until proven guilty + "No snitching" + the rapists parents who claim the "girls asked for it")

Please tell me Zcorp, which method of teaching will make these girls focus on math and ignore the humiliation, aggrevation, and violation they feel every day in school?
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Zcorp » Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:05 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:So... WTF are you talking about? Do you think teachers have IQ lists and thats how we make decisions about who/what to teach?
I know that many teachers still believe that a IQ test still represents how well a student can learn. This was brought up in relation to the idea that teachers are decent psychologists. Teachers are not decent psychologists, but right now that shouldn't surprise us we don't require them to be to get a job teaching.

Here is how education works. Lots of people want to get PhD's in education. So they have to come up with something "new" to do their thesis on. So every 5-7 years the new wave of 'educational' research comes out and schools across the nation start to implement the "New" and "Right" way to teach kids.

I put new in quotes because, if you pay attention, its cyclical. The "new" stuff today is ideas from the 70's.
Gotcha, no new knowledge has been gained through science in the last 40 years that could assist a teacher in teaching, or a school structure in that could make their job easier or a just student learning more efficient.

That you believe this...is pretty much why we have teachers unwilling to do professional development. This notion that we can't improve how we teach and improve the system around greatly hurts not only the education of the students but the well-being of the teachers. Most of this new knowledge is there to make your life easier and make you better at your job if you would take the upfront time to learn it. Granted most teachers don't have the time to learn it. They have a full time job constantly searching to stay updated is often an unrealistic expectation.

I say "Right" because its comical. "Johnny isn't learning math because your doing it wrong." It has nothing to do with the fact that Johnny's parents sued the school and any grade less than a passing grade proves you violated his IEP, which you will have to defend in court, at a cost of $300,000.
About 1/2 of the rules that govern a school are to avoid lawsuits.
or
"Amy isn't learning Shakespere because the Teacher is stupid and doesn't understand psychology and implementing educational research". It has nothing to do with Amy checking facebook all day from her cell phone. The school tried to take her cell phone away, but Amy's mom sued the school for putting her in danger. (Real story btw - if you don't have a cell phone, then mommy can't reach you, then you get kidnapped)

No it must be that stupid teacher who doesn't understand brain development like Zcorp does.

Is it the teachers fault that Amy is using a phone and not learning, not really. The fault lies lots of places, lets instead focus on what the teacher could to do to increase Amy's motivation to learn the material and participate in the class. Why is she using the phone in class? Does she behave that way in all classes? What is the point of teaching Amy Shakespeareand? Can we teach that lesson in a way that will decrease what demotivates her to learn it, or even engage her? Then how can we do that while also teaching the other 34 kids in the class?

Back to your "Right" way to teach. I call bullshit. I learned a long time ago, Human beings are not cogs that you put in a machine. We all have different strengths, weaknesses, and personalities that might make us more suited or less suited to a particular teaching style.
Yup. No doubt about it. Which begs the question if we try to match students up with teachers they would best learn from or try to teach teachers to become adept at more than one style. The reality is we need a at least a bit of both. Which can come from teachers understanding their own style and personality and how that works with different types of students.

There is no all encompassing specific style of teaching that is 'right' just like there is no encompassing style of learning that we can expect from students. When we talk about individualized learning we mean understanding and accounting for these differences on an individual level.

What I have found in EVERY good teacher, is always the same 3 things:
1) Know your content (be an expert.)
2) Care about kids and their education.
3) Be entertaining.

After that, the method of 'teaching' is less relevant.
That belief is likely why you are fighting so hard against progress.

A different method of teaching is basically not going to overcome a parent who is sabotaging their child on purpose. Its not going to change dangerous environments.
bonding with such students and assisting them in becoming more self-aware and self-guided while instilling a desire to learn and giving them the access to do it, allowing them to get out of or change their environment seems like it might be useful.

Here is a 100% real story that teaching methods will have zero impact on.
Two girls went to a christmas party. At the party, both girls were gang raped and not a single person at this very large party of their classmates did ANYTHING to help.
Now the two girls have to go back to school and be IN class with the very people who raped them and the other peers who are all aware of the gang rape.
(Innocent until proven guilty + "No snitching" + the rapists parents who claim the "girls asked for it")

Please tell me Zcorp, which method of teaching will make these girls focus on math and ignore the humiliation, aggrevation, and violation they feel every day in school?
I'd speak with them and try to find an agreeable resolution. Not that I'd expect to find that the first time I spoke with them. Which could mean finding a new school for them, helping them with enrollment with an online high school, changing there classes, having them talk to a therapist or a variety of other possible solutions. I'm talked multiple times about how the problems in our schools are not simply teacher performance. That you seem to think I am means you need to get out of victim mode. Not an uncommon mind frame in teachers right now, you are being attacked quite often. There are significant systemic problems, teacher training problems and and more.

But believing that nothing has been done in the last 40 years to assist understanding of how to improve student learning in a whole variety of circumstances is simply moronic and you deserve, and teachers that believe the same, to have that belief of their's attacked.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Vangor » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:08 pm UTC

lucrezaborgia wrote:I never said anything about "all manner of acceleration" and I agree that students should be placed with cognitive peers.


I was not intending to imply you had; rather, "including all manner of acceleration" was meant to remark on how the positive social indicators appear in the majority of Gifted programs as opposed to being "very limiting socially".

lucrezaborgia wrote:This is what I believe.


To assure, you are saying you believe Gifted students do not need different instruction? I believe we are disagreeing concerning "Gifted", which is not much of a disagreement. "Gifted" is meant to cover all students of high ability, but, as you said, "bureaucracy is a bitch," and we have lackluster identification methods in our education system which brings in students who do not need those services and ignores others who do need.

lucrezaborgia wrote:That's funny because my gifted classes came under the same department as disabilities.


You misunderstand me. Gifted education falls under exceptional education, but this is not afforded the same advocacy or services as for students with disabilities.

lucrezaborgia wrote:If gifted is merely about a different rate of development I'd be all for it...


The most objective way we have to assess faster cognitive development is with IQ tests. Children with high IQs have developed cognitively faster than peers. The same cannot be said in reverse regarding all children who develop faster cognitively having high IQs, however. Again, "bureaucracy is a bitch", and we have lackluster identification methods.

lucrezaborgia wrote:but I believe that purpose can be served with Honors, AP programs, and grade skipping.

Once in the HS level, I believe that encouraging exceptional students to go directly to college via Dual Enrollment (where it's feasible) would be a much more cost effective measure as well as providing the students with a quality education that would still be challenging to them.


Might I recommend "A Nation Deceived", a publicly-available report on acceleration? You will find the authors, as well as myself, in agreement about the use of honors, advanced placement, grade skips, subject skips, concurrent enrollment, etc., as a means to service the needs of the Gifted via easily implemented programs with low resource requirements. Still, this cannot service the whole of Gifted. Give me a faculty and administration not opposed to acceleration, however, and I would be satisfied.

lucrezaborgia wrote:Were some of the most advanced kids a little bored sometimes? Yes! But their parents didn't view that as a negative. Their view was that you're not always going to be in an environment that is going to constantly stimulate you and their children better learn now that they need to learn how to cope with that.


We make rather big distinctions between intermittent and prolonged boredom as well as between boredom due to disinterest and boredom due to prior knowledge. Intermittent and disinterest are unavoidable. Prolonged due to disinterest has concerns about forward progress, but otherwise happens. Students need to learn to struggle through and cope with all of this, yes. Prolonged boredom due to prior knowledge, however, is a waste of resources in materials, the teacher, and the student.

Sorry about the lateness of my reply; my week was rather hectic. Anyway, I hope you do not find me in disagreement about your experiences and such because I know Gifted programs are predominantly abysmal. However, the cause is, from my experiences and research, lack of knowledge on Gifted education by teachers and administrators. Kind of have to set the stage right on Gifted education before discussing what could be done to change around our system.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Ixtellor » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:07 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:I know that many teachers still believe that a IQ test still represents how well a student can learn.


Its not even legal to see a students IQ in my state. (A HUGE one)

Sounds like your making a baseless generazation from your own bias.

Zcorp wrote:That you believe this...is pretty much why we have teachers unwilling to do professional development


Teachers are required by law to do professional development. I am required to get 30 hours per year. I generally do a week long institute in the summer + other stuff during the year.

Sounds like your making an empty claim. "Teachers refuse to do something they have to do by law".

I have seen all the studies, I have seen all the trends, I have been to all the seminars.
The trend for the past 6 years has been "Differentiation". I have had to read 4 books on the subject and write reports and summaries. So has every teacher I know....

Zcorp wrote:When we talk about individualized learning we mean understanding and accounting for these differences on an individual level.


I won't debate the feasibility of that, but again I find it not to be useful or true.

Take 30 rich white kids. Give them worksheets every day and let them take an AP test.
BAM -- they beat the national average. The worst teachers at my highschool can get perfect passing scores because we have a highly motivated population, with great parents who demand success. There are many public high schools that can get 95%+ pass rates on AP exams and 100% rates on all state tests.

Is it because of individualized learning... nope, its motivated kids + good parents.

Feel free to link any study that didn't have extra resources and didn't get to pick their student population (no kicking out reluctant learners) that had dramatic results from 'individualized learning' or whatever other trend is hot right now.


Zcorp wrote:That belief is likely why you are fighting so hard against progress.


I'm not fighting anything. Also, just because you call something progress doesn't make it so. I wager $5 your just rehashing some 1970's graduate work educational philosophy.

Aside from more understanding of Brain development, I have yet to see anything new.
(Oh look now were chunking or scaling or four squaring or synthicizing or using tactile methods with boys, Soo innovative!) (If I were to list every educational strategy I have learned it would crash the website)

Zcorp wrote:Which could mean finding a new school for them, helping them with enrollment with an online high school, changing there classes, having them talk to a therapist or a variety of other possible solutions.


This was my favorite response of yours.

Difficult situation solution = More resources.
The exact thing I have been saying all this time --- these kids need a lot more resources to overcome their challenges.

I also found it ironic, that your beef with gifted classes is the inequality in resources, but to solve challenged kids learning... your resorted instantly to 'more resources'.

Sounds like you just want to move the extra money from the top to the bottom. If so, just say that. (Not that gifted programs receive more money, that was just a red herring)
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Servant-of_Christ » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:39 pm UTC

I had an EC(extended curriculum) program in 3-5 grade. You were pulled out 1-3 times a week (depending on which subjects, i was in all) and worked on advanced curriculum, projects, etc. 6-8th There were advanced classes. High school has honors and ap courses, but I feel that the bar on education is too low. I took algebra in 7th grade(pre algebra 6th), yet most didn't take it till freshman year. There are even some taking algebra 1 sophomore year! America needs to boost the standards much, much higher. If a student doesn't meet a threshold, the take remedial classes during or after school, designed to boost them up, not teach at a lower level.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby sebwiers » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:01 am UTC

I was actually turned down for entrance to a gifted program when I was maybe 12, I think because it was concluded I lacked the emotional maturity needed for self directed study (quite likely true(. I went to an (expensive) highschool with a lot of honors and AP classes, but otherwise a very traditional structure. It worked pretty well for me- the workload was a struggle, but the material itself was not (as evidenced by the 5 I got on several APs for classes where the teachers only gave me low passing grades).

Point being. um... I dunno. Gifted kids aren't always good at school, but that's a cliche. I guess my point is they aren't even necessarily good at gifted school. Or at holding a job, for that matter.

Then again, maybe I'm just not gifted, although pretty much all standard tests argued otherwise.

But yeah, I'd say the main thing is just to not assume ANY subject is "beyond" the student, while also not crushing them with the requirement to rote-memorize a ton of meaningless garbage.

Also, not all gifted students are gifted in all areas. I really probably should not have been in honors english classes, and barely held my own in basic foreign languages. And I never did go to college, per se.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby sebwiers » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:15 am UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Teachers are required by law to do professional development. I am required to get 30 hours per year. I generally do a week long institute in the summer + other stuff during the year.


I don't think that's nearly enough. As a web developer, my company puts me through at least an hour a week of training, and I'm also expected to learn on my own if I want to advance (or really, just stay employable). I suspect programming young minds is potentially more challenging, although maybe the SOTA (outside, say, teaching science) doesn't change as much. Then again, with the power of online education, etc, it kinda does.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:17 am UTC

sebwiers wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:Teachers are required by law to do professional development. I am required to get 30 hours per year. I generally do a week long institute in the summer + other stuff during the year.


I don't think that's nearly enough. As a web developer, my company puts me through at least an hour a week of training, and I'm also expected to learn on my own if I want to advance (or really, just stay employable). I suspect programming young minds is potentially more challenging, although maybe the SOTA (outside, say, teaching science) doesn't change as much. Then again, with the power of online education, etc, it kinda does.

I'd say even for science, for most HS and undergrad levels, it wouldn't change much.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Duxwing » Thu May 03, 2012 2:38 am UTC

It seems that we are missing the point here with this whole resource allocation shenanigan.

Let's say that I have 100 kids whose aptitudes fall on a bell curve distribution, and 5 classes (with a maximum of twenty kids per class) to put them in. Without tracking, I may as well assign each student to any given class at random, and due to the spread of students in the class I will have difficulty setting a pace no matter how good a teacher I am. Yet if I take the top 10% and put them in one class, and then the next 10% and put them in another, and so on, and so on, until I run out of kids and seats, I will have 5 classes with easy-to-set paces and no resource redistribution. Everyone still gets all the same books, pencils, and desks, but my job is much easier.

That may sound hedonistic at first blush, but look again: my job is easier only because I can have all the kids learn at one pace without boring or losing any of them. Therefore, tracking means that everyone is better off. I live in both worlds:

-My Engineering Design class is one of these hodgepodges and the bottom 10% ruin it for everyone else by making crass jokes and slowing down projects
-My AP History class is just plain fun, with plenty of socializing (group work) with opportunities for leadership roles, and we have our 'civic empowerment' by occasionally talking about current events and making the occasional joke about Mitt Romney (I can be proud in saying that I got that ball rolling in the most red-blooded state in Massachusetts). Yet I've learned more in that class than in any other, and our only 'extra resources' are two extra books; one of which we've only read one chapter of, and the other is just a condensed version of our textbook that we have to buy ourselves. Perhaps the money could have been spent on something else, but the effect seems negligible considering that those books likely went for about $10 each and have been passed down since time immemorial.

Therefore, unless AP and Honors classes are really getting the better end of the deal funding-wise (which I don't see happening, especially since at my school my AP History teacher also teaches the lowest level, and teaching one class for multiple years is considered mind-numbing) then tracking is just a way to make sure everyone gets what is appropriate for their level of development and genetically-determined ability.

To be transparent, I was in the gifted program in Kindergarten, and was only kept out of private school in 2nd grade by my lack of social skills (curse those bullies!), and I now take all Honors and AP classes. Yet I've had my fair share of brushes with what I jokingly refer to as Death (lower-grade classes) due to mental disease, so it's not like I haven't been in classes below my ability.

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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Daimon » Fri May 04, 2012 11:26 am UTC

When I was in kindergarten, I essentially got all 95+'s on my report card because it was a "regular" class. I remember when everyone was being shown flash cards by the teacher with words like "cat" "rat" "sad" &c, I was made to do work out of some weird, 5 cm thick book. I don't remember what it covered, but I think it was just 1/2nd grade English; I never took that book seriously, and since Harry Potter was new, I just doodled their names into the margins instead of doing its acutal work. But for 1-8th grade, here in Houston ISD, they had this thing called "Vanguard", which was their G&T program apparently. It always seemed like normal school. Normal school, normal work, maybe it was a grade ahead, I don't know. Throughout the years, I've consistantly heard teachers say, "I've never taught a group of kids as lazy/loud/disruptive as you." I don't know if they say that to every year, it's just the class period I'm in, or it's just the year I'm in, (Graduation 2015.) In 5th grade, what you needed to do to get into this "vanguard" of a program in middle school was take a test called the Nagliearie(sp) or something. All I remember was that I wish I had geometry back then (Because it was all just shapes and spatial resasoning or whatever the hell it's called), even if I apparently passed it.

I remember one class in 8th grade was a history class taught by a teacher named Mr.Seele. All it was, was doing crosswords with the terms and events, which you could find out of the book. Fill in the blanks, which you could also find in the book. Occasionally, we played some weird Quiz game which was "kind of" fun. However, the other 70% of the class was, watch this history movie/documentary, take a quiz. That was it. THAT was the majority of the class. Some of the movies were interesting. And here's the best part. LOTS of people were failing his class. LOTS of them. And this was their "gifted" program.

It's the same for, the current, Pre-AP classes in high-school. From what I can tell, they're not doing their work. Now, the only times I don't do my work is when I just don't care anymore. Take Spanish for example. The teacher doesnt teach; she just gives you work. My middle school Spanish teacher was actually involved in our education, and I could damn well write Spanish sentences better than, "La casa es roja." at the beggining of the year. Seriously, it's almost time for an exam, and I've forgotton 85% of the Spanish I knew at the beggining of the year. Wanting to learn, and trying to on my own, Japanese has only led to more hate towards the class. Arguably, my Japanese is still horrible. (日本語で何もを言わない。あたしの方言は良くなく話す。Bleh)

But, take my math class for example. Usually, you'd hear that only about four people turned in their homework. The teacher going, "this is it?" Yeah, I turn mine in, but if it hasn't been taught (Which she only usually gives you work without teaching very rarely), or I do a majority of it at home, I do get bad grades on it. But at least I put in the effort, and you'd hear her saying, "I don't expect this from a pre-ap class", &c. Talking to my English teacher, where there it is the same, it goes, "Remember when, if you didn't turn it in, you didn't turn it in." And it went on to say that they were required to take in any late work until the end of the 6 weeks cycle. I remember in Elementary that it was, "They won't let you get away with this in middle school," and in middle, "They won't let you get away with this in high school," and now it's "They won't let you get away with this in College," and I'm going to assume they're going to just do that. Looking at this pattern, it is. Oh, and I'm not even going to say how many people needed to use a calculator to do 4-6 in class. (Yes, I've seen it done.)

Sometimes, I'm actually suprised when people in my grade aren't failing their classes. Take Geography for example. She drops one grade per six-weeks, so I usually don't do one assignment.I get 92-98 in those classes. I've seen people with, what, 70's and below in there when it is piss easy. If you do the work. And she goes to say, "You don't understand these concepts..." yadda yadda. I'm thinking, "WHAT IS SO HARD ABOUT THIS!?" Are they stupid? Are they just not bothering? Am I getting it too easily? I don't know. These are the same people that are supposidly, "gifted"

Lastly, I've seen someone with the highest grade of a 68 on his report card, a 0 in one class, and an average of 30's in everything else with 15+ unexcused absences in every class. I remember his English teacher walked by him in the hall saying, "You going to come to class today?" and he was saying, "Errr...probably not." and they were both laughing about it.

American Education is fucked. I don't want to see this country in 10-30 years. Maybe it's just where I live.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Fri May 04, 2012 7:10 pm UTC

tl;dr: most people are stupid and you can't change that
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Ixtellor » Tue May 08, 2012 6:49 pm UTC

Daimon wrote:American Education is fucked. I don't want to see this country in 10-30 years. Maybe it's just where I live.


I don't think its really any different, and probably better.

In the old days all those kids you mentioned, dropped out and got jobs.

A lot of the F'ups you see around you now will straighten up and be productive citizens.

We need air conditioning repairment and sanitation workers and there are still lots of jobs available that don't require you to be 'schooled'.

Now instead of working on the farm, those people are in class next to you killing time till reality/life forces them to start being productive. In the meantime their parents render life easy. Many of them will continue to be coddled by their parents for a long time, but it shouldn't bother you unless you have to pay for it.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Goozim King » Wed May 09, 2012 4:38 am UTC

I'm not really sure how to enter into this conversation, but I'd like to share my experience.

I was in a pull-out program in Kansas from first to third grade, in which I left my private school once a week to study higher level subjects. From what I can remember, it wasn't very directed at enhancement, it was more of a way to keep students from getting bored with their academic careers. I moved to the east coast in third grade and went into a full-time program in a public school. Language arts and math were both taught at higher levels, but everything else remained identical to the rest of the grade's syllabus. For math, classes were decided based on scores on a pretest, which was a system that worked pretty well for me. In fifth grade, I dropped out of my math class and went into pre-algebra. At the end of the year, I took an algebra aptitude test and passed very well, but we moved again shortly afterwards, and I had to take algebra at the local middle school because the full-time gifted program I went into on the west coast had not planned for this sort of situation. My sixth grade experience was very poor in terms of academics, to the extent that I dropped out of the gifted program entirely and went to a lottery-based junior high/high school split, where I took geometry along with my regular subjects. I wasn't challenged in junior high, so I applied for an early college entrance program at the University of Washington for kids my age. I was accepted, so I went to study college-level material for a year before officially entering the UW as a freshman. I'm about to finish the transition year, and I've been very pleased with this program, but many of my friends from sixth grade are still in the same gifted program and trying to find challenge in math. Most of them know calculus and other advanced topics, but they're still in 9th-grade geometry, which can be pretty frustrating for them.

In my opinion, a good gifted program should focus on the needs of individual students, because a classroom of gifted students can vary hugely in their proficiency in each subject. In my sixth-grade class, for example, most of us found our math curriculum to be absurdly easy, but there were some students who had difficulties with it. I was lucky enough to have my needs met by moving up a grade in math, but my classmates weren't so lucky and had to have their needs met through math competitions. They enjoy studying higher concepts independently, but it can still be very frustrating for them to be stuck in classes that they mastered so long ago.
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Daimon » Wed May 09, 2012 8:34 pm UTC

Technically, I am. The classes themselves are slowing down to their level. Oh, only three people turned something in? Well, we get to work on it in class for another week.
一緒に変態になろうと思う男女が好き
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Re: Gifted Education

Postby Vangor » Sat May 19, 2012 7:11 pm UTC

Servant-of_Christ wrote:America needs to boost the standards much, much higher.


Yes and no. Our standards for quality of knowledge are low whereas our standards for what students should know are far too high and broad, keeping quality standards low by trying to reach scattered standards without developmental appropriateness or concern for the current progress of the student. You seem shocked about students taking algebra in ninth grade, but this and eighth grade are actually appropriate for many students. Trying to teach such concepts before appropriate causes issues with a worse basis and superficial teaching, and I see this year to year with compressed standards.

sebwiers wrote:I think because it was concluded I lacked the emotional maturity needed for self directed study
...
Also, not all gifted students are gifted in all areas. I really probably should not have been in honors english classes.


Programs which assume self-direction is a common trait and giftedness in all disciplines are not designed by someone knowledgeable in gifted education. Unfortunate.

sebwiers wrote:I suspect programming young minds is potentially more challenging, although maybe the SOTA (outside, say, teaching science) doesn't change as much.


I am cynical about the changing state of education, thus I will say only the state changes for good and bad reasons, primarily bad, but professional development for educators varies. Some states and districts and schools have fantastic programs which are research based and proven whereas others have the weakest buzz-word riddled tripe. Some requirements are high with faculty training, professional development days, as well as the teacher doing this on own time, and others just require some meetings every couple of years to stay "current". I would be in favor of making professional development more demanding, but I first want professional development to be more worthwhile.

Duxwing wrote:Therefore, tracking means that everyone is better off.


Better off than an assumed state of equal distribution of students regardless of abilities across identical curriculum and courses, yes, but tracking is not the best structure. Tracking serves to propagate ideas of fixed ability, focuses on age, and has the appearance of individualization, stagnating improvements to the structure of academic progress. My biggest issue is falling into lower classes is easy whereas rising to higher classes is improbable.

Duxwing wrote:my job is easier only because I can have all the kids learn at one pace without boring or losing any of them


You will bore and lose all students to some extent. Give me a single student, and I will do both several times a day no matter my efforts for individualization. No one should have an easier job with proper grouping of cognitive peers. Lower ability students will need several modalities by which to learn the material and additional iterations whereas higher ability students will need materials specific to interests and abilities of each student to maintain progress, and the levels of both vary all along the continuum. What this does reduce, and perhaps I misinterpret you and you mean this, is frustration in both teacher and students as I am no longer having to draw from disparate methods and strategies and materials, causing me to spend effort hunting about, while my students are no longer gaining little to nothing from the learning environment not tied to them directly.

Daimon wrote:Nagliearie(sp) or something. All I remember was that I wish I had geometry back then (Because it was all just shapes and spatial resasoning or whatever the hell it's called), even if I apparently passed it.


I would not use the Naglieri for identification purposes but rather screening. Whoever chose this to be the only assessment for entrance has a narrow definition of intelligence/giftedness, I imagine.

From the sounds, you have a terrible program with unmotivated educators in a system not designed by people with experience. Sad, but not uncommon, and increasingly common the older the grade level which is a sickening thought.
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