Community Consultation on what to do with clever kids

Barcham 26 August 2013 36

Joy Burch announced that the ACT Government will begin community consultation soon on their review of the 2008 ACT’s policy for gifted and talented students.

The review policy is designed to educate schools and families as to the best way to supporting the gifted and talented.

“We want to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of ACT gifted and talented public school students into the future,” Ms Burch said.

“Parent representatives, students, teachers and the Canberra community will be consulted to ensure their views are considered as part of this review to ensure the policy continues to meet the needs of gifted and talented students in our Government schools.”

In ACT public schools the principal is responsible for determining how the needs of the gifted and talented students are met in their school.

“I have received feedback from parent groups seeking to enhance the learning experience and outcomes for all gifted and talented students in the ACT, so I look forward to their contribution.”


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36 Responses to Community Consultation on what to do with clever kids
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Peewee Slasher Peewee Slasher 12:47 pm 28 Aug 13

Robertson, Well said. they should name a town after you in honour.

Teachers always take the credit for a successful student so they should take the blame for an unsuccessful student.

As for gifted and talented children, they shouldn’t be allowed at rock concerts, especially on stage.

beejay76 beejay76 11:17 am 28 Aug 13

Jim Jones said :

Will do – thanks!

While I appreciate that you have strong views on this. I’m dubious that it’s as simple as a “cheap and easy solution and it’s consistenly being ignored by educators”.

Teacher education is obviously a great help, but wouldn’t identifying and assisting gifted children (to whatever degree – whether it be the top 0.01% or simply the top 10% that ends up bored and unengaged in class) to reach their full potential require some systemic adjustment to the way thte school system operates?

Yes, I agree that acceleration isn’t for everyone and it obviously won’t completely solve the problem in one swoop.

Watson Watson 10:18 am 28 Aug 13

Sleaz274 said :

bd84 said :

I would have thought policies to improve the outcomes for dumb kids would be a higher priority…

Unfortunately it is by a massive ratio. If we poured as much effort and extra work into our top 10% as we do our bottom 10% we might actually cultivate the next generation of leaders and thinkers something this country appears rather bereft of late.

As dtc said we have A graders playing F grade and then we wonder why they get bored, cynical and become classic under achievers. My father constantly bemoaned the fact that 90% of his time as a principal went to the trouble making 5% of students and I’m sure most teachers feel the same.

But isn’t that the problem? That teachers are left to struggle with the bottom 10% without any support from the school or department? That is my observation at our school anyway. The teachers simply don’t have the time to offer the intensive support these kids need and are usually underqualified, the other kids are negatively affected by them trying regardless, the stragglers (or special needs kids) are usually not helped anyway and go backwards instead of forwards most of the time. No, in a system like that there is no room for adapting lesson plans to suit the needs of gifted kids. But implement a proper support system for the bottom 10% and then maybe the programs for gifted/talented kids that every public school claims to offer on their website could actually become a reality.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 9:34 am 28 Aug 13

beejay76 said :

Jim Jones said :

“overwhelming evidence for a relatively cheap and easy solution and it’s consistenly being ignored by educators”

?

Check out the work of Miraca Gross. She’s based here in Aus and has conducted research into gifted ed that is world-leading. Really good stuff.

Will do – thanks!

While I appreciate that you have strong views on this. I’m dubious that it’s as simple as a “cheap and easy solution and it’s consistenly being ignored by educators”.

Teacher education is obviously a great help, but wouldn’t identifying and assisting gifted children (to whatever degree – whether it be the top 0.01% or simply the top 10% that ends up bored and unengaged in class) to reach their full potential require some systemic adjustment to the way thte school system operates?

Sandman Sandman 8:30 am 28 Aug 13

There are a couple of amphitheater shaped rooms in the house on the hill that could use some gifted intelligent minds. At least when the behaviour degenerates into the realm of “childish” there will be some justification.

gazket gazket 11:03 pm 27 Aug 13

clever kids would be well advised to stay clear of Joy Burch.

housebound housebound 10:09 pm 27 Aug 13

beejay76 said :

It all comes down to teacher education, I think. They have so many misconceptions, but two really big ones spring to mind.

They often don’t know what giftedness is. ‘Gifted’ programs aimed at the top 10-20% aren’t gifted programs. They are programs-for-the-reasonably-bright, and still leave gifted kids with nothing to do. They tend to be a long way above the top 10%.

Also, they often labour under the delusion that acceleration is bad. Always bad. However, research has consistently shown that acceleration is the best way to provide for the needs of gifted students.

So forget the community consultations. Until teachers actually know what they are talking about there is no point.

I was thinking more along the lines of the top 1%. Everyone else can go to the next class down.

The fact we’re even talking about a gifted ‘program’ is a concern. We need gifted streams, separately streamed for each subject due to differing abilities across subjects. Otherwise being smart is treated the same as a remedial reading program.

dtc dtc 9:32 pm 27 Aug 13

CraigT said :

Sounds good in theory, but in practice it means putting all the Aspergers, autists and other attention-seekers in a classroom together. This is not an environment in which the genuinely bright will flourish.

I dont think ‘gifted’ means ‘attention seeking’. Nor are Aspergers kids necessarily gifted, although a disproporationate percentage are.

There are very very few gifted specialist teachers in Canberra. I know this as a friend of mine is one (teaching degree and the rest, masters degree in gifted education at primary school level etc) and she (a) could get a job in Canberra (as a ‘gifted’ or extension teacher) and has had to go elsewhere and (b) was viewed with suspicion by most public schools because she has the heretical view that schools need to differentiate between children rather than treating them all the same.

There are lots of complex issues in this area which obviously we arent going to solve, notwithstanding that this is the internet and everything can be more or less solved if we post enough. It is often a question of resources – a teacher with 25 students cant do much with the 1 student who is genuinely gifted (top 2%, say) and schools dont have the extra teachers or chose to put their money in other areas.

milkman milkman 9:31 pm 27 Aug 13

CraigT said :

thebrownstreak69 said :

Being in a class with 25 other g&t kids and getting time every day in a 5 on 1 (or even better) learning environment, then being left to pursue work they find interesting and challenging, would have to be a smart kid’s nirvana.

Sounds good in theory, but in practice it means putting all the Aspergers, autists and other attention-seekers in a classroom together. This is not an environment in which the genuinely bright will flourish.

That’s not what it means at all. It means putting together the kids that achieve in the top 5% who are clearly more capable than their classmates. Some will probably be pretty introverted. With proper stimulation they’d be better off than in a regular classroom with the (relative) dumbos.

Minz Minz 6:31 pm 27 Aug 13

thebrownstreak69 said :

Being in a class with 25 other g&t kids and getting time every day in a 5 on 1 (or even better) learning environment, then being left to pursue work they find interesting and challenging, would have to be a smart kid’s nirvana.

Sounds like Montessori education done right – doesn’t work for everyone, but allows many to go at their own pace (which is great for growing a love of learning), as well as giving them the basic building blocks for advanced learning in a small-group environment.

beejay76 beejay76 5:44 pm 27 Aug 13

Jim Jones said :

“overwhelming evidence for a relatively cheap and easy solution and it’s consistenly being ignored by educators”

?

Check out the work of Miraca Gross. She’s based here in Aus and has conducted research into gifted ed that is world-leading. Really good stuff.

CraigT CraigT 4:55 pm 27 Aug 13

thebrownstreak69 said :

Being in a class with 25 other g&t kids and getting time every day in a 5 on 1 (or even better) learning environment, then being left to pursue work they find interesting and challenging, would have to be a smart kid’s nirvana.

Sounds good in theory, but in practice it means putting all the Aspergers, autists and other attention-seekers in a classroom together. This is not an environment in which the genuinely bright will flourish.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 4:35 pm 27 Aug 13

“overwhelming evidence for a relatively cheap and easy solution and it’s consistenly being ignored by educators”

?

beejay76 beejay76 4:17 pm 27 Aug 13

Jim Jones said :

It’s all the teachers fault?

You don’t think that the fact that teachers are working in a predefined system with little to no scope for flexibility might have just a little bit to do with it even?

I suppose it must be easier to simply find a scapegoat and lay the blame on them rather than deal with the complex structural, pedagogical and social issues involved, but it’s hardly a legitimate way to address the actual problem.

Actually, I’m not looking to scapegoat, but when there is overwhelming evidence for a relatively cheap and easy solution and it’s consistenly being ignored by educators, I think there’s a case to be answered. As I said, teacher education may well be a key element here. It would be great for the ACT govt to fund places for our teachers to study for qualifications in gifted ed. There are precious few specialists in the ACT, I understand.

I can’t comment on those who display extremely high performance in one or two fields, but not globally as I am not familiar with the literature.

poetix poetix 3:18 pm 27 Aug 13

It is possible to be gifted in one area, and not in another. For example, some people who are good at maths are literally illiterate. (That suspect phrase gave me far too much pleasure.) And some people who are gifted in terms of language are almost innumerate. I last did maths in year 10 (a pathetic subject called Survival Maths), and refused to do it after that, as it hurt my brain. You need a system that accepts that we have different gifts/proclivities.

When I read threads like this I think of some of the super-bossy parents I have met in both the public and private systems who won’t let their children have any time to relax, play or socialise, and have fun. I know of a parent who told a child off for getting a B. Freaky stuff. The child was about twelve. They always talk about their child’s playing an instrument (or three) in terms of exam results and hours practised or how it will help the child academically, rather than as a means of expression and a good thing in itself. Poor kids.

It is great fun to act as totally relaxed in front of such types. You can smell the discomfort.

thebrownstreak69 thebrownstreak69 3:12 pm 27 Aug 13

A better idea would be to take the genuinely gifted and talented out of the mainstream classrooms, and into classes with a greater range of ages being taught by teachers who actually have some brains themselves.

Gifted and talented children being appropriately challenged generally have fewer behavioural issues than the mainstream kids, and are capable of more independent work. Being in a class with 25 other g&t kids and getting time every day in a 5 on 1 (or even better) learning environment, then being left to pursue work they find interesting and challenging, would have to be a smart kid’s nirvana.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 2:56 pm 27 Aug 13

beejay76 said :

It all comes down to teacher education, I think. They have so many misconceptions, but two really big ones spring to mind.

They often don’t know what giftedness is. ‘Gifted’ programs aimed at the top 10-20% aren’t gifted programs. They are programs-for-the-reasonably-bright, and still leave gifted kids with nothing to do. They tend to be a long way above the top 10%.

Also, they often labour under the delusion that acceleration is bad. Always bad. However, research has consistently shown that acceleration is the best way to provide for the needs of gifted students.

So forget the community consultations. Until teachers actually know what they are talking about there is no point.

It’s all the teachers fault?

You don’t think that the fact that teachers are working in a predefined system with little to no scope for flexibility might have just a little bit to do with it even?

I suppose it must be easier to simply find a scapegoat and lay the blame on them rather than deal with the complex structural, pedagogical and social issues involved, but it’s hardly a legitimate way to address the actual problem.

dtc dtc 2:38 pm 27 Aug 13

beejay76 said :

Also, they often labour under the delusion that acceleration is bad. Always bad. However, research has consistently shown that acceleration is the best way to provide for the needs of gifted students..

The problem with acceleration is that it either involves putting kids a year or two ahead, which assumes they are gifted in all aspects – eg maths and english and other subjects (which is frequently not the case) and also socially (which is often not the case, in part because the kids have always felt a bit abnormal).

Or it requires flexibility in the system, in which a gifted math kid (for example) is sent to year 6 math lessons rather than sitting in his/her year 3 class, but otherwise is in year 3. The problem with this is, of course, that once they complete year 6 then there is no where to go for the next three years (this is what the teachers cosistently told me as the reason why my son could not be accelerated).

What schools really need is a structured program that runs parallel – so a year 3 kid good at math can either go to an extension class rather than ‘normal’ math (or english or whatever). But this requires basically an additional teacher for each year group and consistency in timetabling. And schools often dont have the resources.

Or, indeed and perhaps more commonly, schools just dont want to do it.

    johnboy johnboy 2:48 pm 27 Aug 13

    Really we need to move on from the medieval system of kids lined up in rows being taught by someone standing in front of them talking, then marching around based on a series of bells.

    less teacher contact time but all of that limited time one on one would be my option.

beejay76 beejay76 1:23 pm 27 Aug 13

It all comes down to teacher education, I think. They have so many misconceptions, but two really big ones spring to mind.

They often don’t know what giftedness is. ‘Gifted’ programs aimed at the top 10-20% aren’t gifted programs. They are programs-for-the-reasonably-bright, and still leave gifted kids with nothing to do. They tend to be a long way above the top 10%.

Also, they often labour under the delusion that acceleration is bad. Always bad. However, research has consistently shown that acceleration is the best way to provide for the needs of gifted students.

So forget the community consultations. Until teachers actually know what they are talking about there is no point.

Madam Cholet Madam Cholet 12:55 pm 27 Aug 13

I don’t know why people have a down on recognising that some children have abilities beyond their years. It happens regularly in sport, so why not in anything else? Who hasn’t felt the frustration of not being challenged at work – this is what it must be like for a kid stuck in a class with everyone else. And not to say that they shouldn’t toe the line and learn about life at a normal pace, but there is definaitely more to be gained from encouragement than not.

As for what these programs are like I wouldn’t know. I believe my son he is a real old clever clogs and is extraordinarily funny to boot – but then I would wouldn’t. I think what is clear is that they do need to be assessed for their gifts, and not as one poster has said, just be labelled that way by parents uninterested in parenting.

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