More money for the gifted?

johnboy 29 August 2008 36

Some people think that gifted students will probably be able to look after themselves in life and it’s more important to make sure that the slower students can read English rather than fret about the brightest being able to read C++.

Andrew Barr obviously tends to another view, announcing an extra $1 million for programs to aid the gifted and talented in the ACT education system.

    While many may think that a gifted and talented child will need less help to succeed at school, this is not the case and often teachers and families need support and help in nurturing their talents.”

    Mr Barr said Stanhope Labor will invest in supporting teachers and schools, as well parents.

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36 Responses to More money for the gifted?
Sands Sands 6:55 pm 31 Aug 08

miz you’re the first person I’ve heard say that. I found the same but always feel a bit conceited when I say it. I was tested as an 8 year old and was between 4.5 – 5 years ahead of my peers in individually tested subjects (maths, english etc). I found that I didn’t learn how to learn. I was so far ahead of my class that I never had to put any effort in. Then I hit college/uni and didn’t know what to do when I didn’t automatically ‘know’ how to do something! I just memorised everything (got me through uni!) but when the other kids were learning how to problem solve, I was just filling in the correct answers. I think it’s because my mother taught us at home before school.

If we’re talking about an education system then maybe kids could be tested before they go into a year. If it’s an emotional development or a ‘social’ exercise then yeah, group them by age. But kids are always going to be at different levels and if they’re all grouped by age then some will be behind and some will be ahead – both are bad. There will be teasing no doubt – but when isn’t there?

Granny Granny 6:11 pm 31 Aug 08

I had a friend who has the dubious distinction of being the last boy ever to get the cane at his high school. His mum told the principal, “Give him what he deserves!”


BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 2:46 pm 31 Aug 08

and fair enough too!

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 1:00 pm 31 Aug 08

My Mum didn’t… she went and tore the school a new one!

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 12:34 pm 31 Aug 08

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

“X is disruptive in class and prevents others from learning. He shows no interest in the subject material and makes no real effort to complete tasks.

Final mark: 97/100
Position in class: 1st/30″

Gold, I love that.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 7:50 am 31 Aug 08

I remember getting a school report at the end of Year 8 history that said:

“X is disruptive in class and prevents others from learning. He shows no interest in the subject material and makes no real effort to complete tasks.

Final mark: 97/100
Position in class: 1st/30″

As others have said, when you go to a regular school, the smart kid spends most of their time avoiding physical conflict…

Granny Granny 12:37 am 31 Aug 08

Do we have to?

; )

simbo simbo 10:48 pm 30 Aug 08

Yes, but sporting people are beautifully socialised and never cause any kinds of social problems ever…

Just look at Todd Carney!

fabforty fabforty 7:22 pm 30 Aug 08

Great idea but this really is a pittance in the scheme of things. I think it will be interesting to find out exactly how they are planning to spend this money. From reading some of the posts here it seems it needs to be handled very carefully to stop these students being marginalised further.

Strangely/sadly, no one bats an eyelid when large amounts of money are produced to assist children who are gifted at sports.

We need to do much more for intellectually gifted students, after all, they will be the ones most likely to eventually find cures for terminal illnesses, sustainable power sources etc etc. Surely this is more important then getting a brief warm and fuzzy feeling when we win a medal at a sporting event that only happens once every four years.

Granny Granny 2:11 pm 30 Aug 08

My Yr 7 is not performing particularly well academically, but she can certainly write a protest email:

Dear Action Bus Service,

The children on the XYZ School Bus have a matter which is very displeasing to us, and it concerns our bus driver. We are children in years 7-12 at the end of a school day, and the bus driver came at the end of term, and therefore found us at our rowdiest. He complains that we make too much noise and threatens to kick us off the school bus by showing our teachers the security tapes, and he also completely stops for 5 minutes if we make too much noise on the bus. I have been told by various drivers that they no longer stopped if the children misbehaved in case some of the kids caught a different bus afterwards. I am one of those people and, although I have not missed a bus yet, it is the principle of the matter. We aren’t terrible children, and many bus drivers before have appeared to understand our noise levels, whereas our current driver has us controlled by fear.

We propose that you put him on a public bus where the noise isn’t as loud, and then the driver and ourselves can all be happy.

I am a year 7 student at School A and I am speaking for all three schools that catch the bus that we would appreciate the replacement of the bus driver, unless you have no control over which driver does which shift.

Many Thanks,

School A, School B and School C.
L’il Miss Granny
School A

I loved it!!

I have also made the recent discovery that if drinking a combination of milk, vinegar (white is best) and lemon juice, and waiting sufficient time, you are guaranteed to be able to vomit whenever you want a day off school.

I kind of loved that too. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

; )

G&T funding is great if you are actually funding workable solutions to problems and not just throwing money at something to look good. I hear of so many stories where money is wasted in the public service. I agree that emotional intelligence is usually what is lacking in bright children, but if this initiative helps the kids then I am all for it.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 10:54 am 30 Aug 08

johnboy said :

IMHO the reason why so many gifted children don’t move on in the world is poor emotional intelligence rather than educational opportunities.

But we live and learn.

Totaly agree JB. As I said in another post recently, maturity has a lot to do with learning. I too was told throughout my early schooling that I was gifted. However, my actual interest in formal school was ‘nil’. I was more interested in the social side of school rather than learning. I left before the end of yr 12 with grades that wouldn’t have allowed me to enter any Uni in the known universe. Now, with 40 yrs of growing-up under my belt I hold grad and post grad quals, have lectured at Uni and have been offered opportunity to complete a PhD. Schooling is, indeed, wasted on the young!

The main problem school had/have, I think, is in handling the bright students to keep them interested in learning, not simply ‘throwing out the baby with the bath water’ because its easier. For example, I was in the top math and computing classes in my school but was put back into the remedial math class and kicked out of computing totally simply as I was bored, and therefore, disruptive. Personally I think I showed great promise by being able to hack into fellow students programs to see their best ideas and code and using this to write my own ‘best of breed’ program! I certainly think other options could have been found for punishment(I admit, plagiarism = badness) rather than tossing me out of the computer class for good.

simbo simbo 9:56 am 30 Aug 08

I don’t know that JB’s “maybe gifted students just need to learn how to operate a push-up bra” theory is something that really holds … yes, I have manboobs, but I’m not entirely sure that an ability to bimbo it along would really have helped me that much (as an 18 year old gay man, um, using that kinda thing on older guys woulda creeped me the hell out, frankly)

miz miz 9:54 am 30 Aug 08

Nyssa, good on you for being able to take the initiative during your school years. How depressing you were made to repeat. I recall in my (ACT) primary, the (male) Dux of the school was made to repeat 6th class, simply due to his age (he was short, and ‘young’ for his class I think). I remember thinking how sad that was for this boy. It was 1973. Occasionally I still wonder how he progressed after that.

Glad you are able to extend the ones you teach. Seems some don’t like to hear about G&T as they view these kids as already advantaged or as having pushy parents (while there may be some, that’s why identification is so important). I’m sure extension is not easy, as kids don’t just want an extra load of ‘more of the same’ school work as they soon twig and go on a ‘go slow’! They need something that interests and challenges them. So I take my hat off to teachers like you.

If we are to be a clever country, it is such a shame to waste all that potential and only allow those that fit the prescribed model to excel.

nyssa76 nyssa76 9:30 am 30 Aug 08

miz, I certainly agree with you there.

When I moved from NSW to ACT, I was a year and a half agewise ‘below’ my peers. I had a gift for literacy and maths. However, due to the archaic ‘you’ll be too young for high school’ bollocks, I was repeated (Yr 5).

I was given the same work for the following year. I just walked up to my teacher with my books from the year before and said ‘I’ve done this’. I got into a lot of trouble but thankfully my cousin was living with us at the time and she was in Yr 9. I did her school work to keep me going.

I received no extension whatsoever. My curriculum wasn’t adapted and I would have floundered if I hadn’t taken the initiative myself at age 10.

My own experience helps me in my teaching and I do extend my students that require it.

It is a shame that G&T is only recoginised now, but in ‘difficult schools’ G&T students are languishing as there are ‘other things’ to also deal with in a classroom and I know that is why at least 6 students have left for more ‘academic’ surroundings where they won’t be assaulted (yes you read that right) for wanting to learn.

miz miz 9:19 am 30 Aug 08

I was a gifted child, musically (two instruments and voice, and academically (particularly literacy/reading age – could read before school and was reading at HS level in 2nd class) and certainly found the standard ed system rigid and boring. Spent a lot of my time trying to fit in and checking where others were at to make sure I didn’t stand out by excelling too obviously.

My mother also tells stories about how much time she spent in a NSW selective school knitting under the desk (they had spaces under the desks in those days) as she was so bored. My dad read every single book in his under-privileged school’s library.

I think after a certain point I forgot how to ‘learn’ as everything came easy for quite a number of years and I didn’t have to do any study. But there came a point when I hit a wall and went, oh crap, I can’t just DO this, and I had an internally panicky, freaked out time (college years) for a bit. I did not cope with the transition to college well either.

I certainly feel a lot of my abilities have been wasted, as I just drifted along through school, doing well and trying to keep under the radar (until the freak out time). As I was good at a number of things, I had no concrete vocational aim either (music diva doesn’t count), which proved a problem in Secondary College. What college, what subjects to choose? I was good at lots of stuff but was fussy as hell about what I liked to do.

If a program like this caters for these children’s special needs, particularly identification of G&T kids, I say ‘about time’. However, I will be extremely annoyed if they just do things like make one school in the whole of the ACT the premier school for certain subjects (eg Lyneham – Southside kids can’t get there) instead of ensuring all schools get (eg musical) opportunities. This has been the daft pattern in the ACT so far, with schools and colleges having to compete and come up with a specialty that gives them a ‘brand’.

Sorry it’s a bit of a rave.

peterh peterh 4:38 pm 29 Aug 08

Julius Constantius said :

I think we should kill all the “gifted” children and then divide their brain juices up evenly. Intellectual equality for all and sweet, sweet brain juice!

A post like that will get you sent to the offal post….

Julius Constantius Julius Constantius 4:11 pm 29 Aug 08

I think we should kill all the “gifted” children and then divide their brain juices up evenly. Intellectual equality for all and sweet, sweet brain juice!

smee smee 3:58 pm 29 Aug 08

Ok, I agree socialisation is a major issue with “gifted” children, that’s assuming that having the “gift” also means they are lacking in a similar measure in some other ability. The obvious ones are those with Aspergers or similar who are physically unable to interpret the social signs and need coaching.

However, proper socialisation is a major issue with all children, not just gifted ones. A lot of bullying and other obnoxious behaviour can be traced back to poor social skills. This is one area that needs to be addressed in school that would help ALL children.

Although the idea of teaching gifted kids to be attractive female bimbos has a bizarre twist!

Pseudo Nym Pseudo Nym 3:54 pm 29 Aug 08

peterh said :

no money for the average student, all spent on the gifted kids.

gifted children need nurturing, true. But don’t disadvantage the other students just because they aren’t as bright….

no money for the average student, all spent on the remedial kids.

remedial children need nurturing, true. But don’t disadvantage the other students just because they can actually read…

Bizarrely enough, the same teaching approach doesn’t work for all students. Amongst other aspects of this is the identification and selective treatment of students at both ends of the spectrum. It’s just unfortunate that most spending priorities are bottom heavy for reasons I have no doubt contributors to the riotact will inform us of (again) next time a story comes up regarding Quambie or similar.

johnboy johnboy 3:44 pm 29 Aug 08

smee said :

What do you mean by “hot-housing” JB?

Programs which further isolate the kids from the society which, one day, they’re going to have to figure out how to fit in with.

Some of the smartest people I’ve ever met were also very attractive women who would play the bimbo to get along before going back to their Phd’s and that’s the sort of skills the gifted young need to be learning as early as possible for mine.

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