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Old 12-17-2008, 01:02 PM   #16
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i loved, loved the program i was in during elementary school. it wasn't so much advanced work but more an "enrichment" program -- and it very much avoided the "gifted" label and had a weird acronym instead.
Same here. Ours was called GTC for "Gifted and Talented Classes/Children".

I remember about several of us took a very long test in guidance counselor's office, which was actually just a classroom that had couches on one side and oblong tables on the other instead of desks. There were two GTC classes. Humanities, and Math and Science. Some people got into both, I only got into the Humanities one. There were only about five or six of us in the Humanities class. We met for about two hours every Tuesday, and it was really fun. I got to study things I wouldn't have had a chance to in the regular classes. We also took lots of neat field trips (with GTC students from other schools) to museums and stuff, though we had to pay for them personally, unlike the grade-wide field trips which were funded by the school.

I don't recall any of the other students exhibiting bad feelings toward me because of my placement in the GTC program. Rather, they tended to see it as an excuse to have me do their work for them, especially on group projects. There was a dynamic of "Well you're in Gifted, so you can figure it out for all of us." I didn't mind it too much, then again, I am a control freak.

While I think that students should be properly screened into Gifted programs (ie, tested), Gifted programs should not be done away with. Take them away, and all you're gonna have are a bunch of smart kids, sitting bored and frustrated in the classroom while the teacher drones about stuff the kid already knows. The brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised, and for some kids, that can only come in special programs.
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Old 12-17-2008, 01:31 PM   #17
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i understand, to a degree, but i think there's a difference between "trophies for everyone!" and trying to remove certain practices (i.e., letting the most aggressive and athletic boys be captains who pick the teams in gym class) that really do humiliate certain kids and turn them off from, say, sports. i can't speak about the specifics of the dodgeball example, but i do vividly watching as some of the weaker kids, some of the kids who were picked on, some of the kids who were picked last, some of the kids who were identified as weak by the older kids and ruthlessly bullied, who began to turn off in junior high and high school. school became a source of pain and humiliation, and so they removed themselves from the situation in as much as they could.
and some of them became CEO's and billionaire founders of microsoft.

again... it goes back to the basic principle of learning how to deal with failure. do you learn from it and grow stronger? or do you let it drag you down?

for every kid who got picked on in elementary school for being different who sulked away, there's another kid who grew stronger from it.

i've been involved in athletics for most of my life and continue to do so as a coach now... and in elementary school i was a scrawny kid with glasses and a girl's name. yea, kids just left that alone... riiiiight.

i never was able to get to a higher level in athletics, and had very low self-esteem until a couple of coaches taught me that oh so valuable lesson about picking yourself up when things are down and growing from it, and now i try to instill the same things in the kids i coach.

obviously yes... there is an age level involved. i agree that kindergarten, 1st grade kids should worry more about skill development than winning championships. but there still needs to be some element of competitiveness in it.

there is a problem with parents sapping all the fun out of childhood by being overbearing on their kids at a young age... but the solution can't possibly be to take away all competitiveness... both in athletics and academics.

now a days if your kid doesn't get enough playing time the parents call the school board, if the kid gets a B+ instead of an A the parents call the school board... if the kid is caught doing something wrong, it's not the kids fault... let's call the school board.

i know a high school baseball coach who was coach at his alma mater and was very successful there... he benched two star players for a playoff game because they showed up late and hungover. the team lost the game. the coach was run out of town.

it's a sad sad world.
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Old 12-17-2008, 01:41 PM   #18
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and some of them became CEO's and billionaire founders of microsoft.

again... it goes back to the basic principle of learning how to deal with failure. do you learn from it and grow stronger? or do you let it drag you down?

for every kid who got picked on in elementary school for being different who sulked away, there's another kid who grew stronger from it.


i disagree with this. i think that the vast, vast majority of those who were tormented and bullied have it adversely affect their lives as teenagers and adults, and it's the rare person who goes on to become the founder of microsoft. when you're talking about gym class at a public school, i think it should be a somewhat comfortable space. this doesn't mean that you don't score points, this doesn't mean that everyone gets a participation trophy (though when you're 5, that does mean something). what it does mean is that the activities engaged in by any gym class isn't structured to enable certain kids to be cruel to other kids.

i think back to elementary school and there were certain kids who were tormented to such a degree that it makes me sick to my stomach, stories about kids who would get sick in the mornings before school because they were so scared of going to class for fear of what could happen to them. we wouldn't let adults treat each other in such a manner, why would we let children?

i think we agree on the main premise -- the lesson of "The Incredibles" -- and i do think that the "everybody wins" philosophy has diminishing returns especially once a kid hits 4th or 5th grade (and everyone knows at that point that it's all patronizing BS).

i also think that you are probably a good coach. a lot of them are pretty terrible.
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Old 12-17-2008, 01:52 PM   #19
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I hated going to gifted and hated most of the things we did there. I felt a lot was it just "creative" BS to give the illusion that we were somehow being enriched. I also absolutely hated leaving my classroom on Wednesdays for it because they'd plan the special ESL student classes and the special ed stuff that day too. So now you'd have a fifth of the class missing, which meant the teacher didn't really want to do anything substantive, so they got extra gym classes, they got extra arts stuff to do, crafts, make gingerbread houses, have a bake sale and whatever else. Basically all the FUN stuff that we always missed on.

All the neat things I learned were taught by my parents or grandparents who bought me loads of books, took me to museums and galleries, taught me about different architectural eras, took me to Italy to see pre-Romanesque churches, put a camera into my hands, let me go wild with crafts at home, etc. I know not all children are so lucky, but nevertheless, if I had to do it over again, I would certainly decline gifted.
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Old 12-17-2008, 03:19 PM   #20
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i disagree with this. i think that the vast, vast majority of those who were tormented and bullied have it adversely affect their lives as teenagers and adults, and it's the rare person who goes on to become the founder of microsoft. when you're talking about gym class at a public school, i think it should be a somewhat comfortable space. this doesn't mean that you don't score points, this doesn't mean that everyone gets a participation trophy (though when you're 5, that does mean something). what it does mean is that the activities engaged in by any gym class isn't structured to enable certain kids to be cruel to other kids.

i think back to elementary school and there were certain kids who were tormented to such a degree that it makes me sick to my stomach, stories about kids who would get sick in the mornings before school because they were so scared of going to class for fear of what could happen to them. we wouldn't let adults treat each other in such a manner, why would we let children?

i think we agree on the main premise -- the lesson of "The Incredibles" -- and i do think that the "everybody wins" philosophy has diminishing returns especially once a kid hits 4th or 5th grade (and everyone knows at that point that it's all patronizing BS).

i also think that you are probably a good coach. a lot of them are pretty terrible.
will i'm not arguing that kids should be tormented and abused the way many are... the way i even was at times. and it does cause large issues for many...

i'm not saying i'm okay with bullying... i'm not, at all. trust me... i go nuts on any kid i have who thinks they have some sort of sense of entitlement where they can belittle someone else on the team over anything. we pretty much agree.
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Old 12-17-2008, 03:37 PM   #21
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will i'm not arguing that kids should be tormented and abused the way many are... the way i even was at times. and it does cause large issues for many...

i'm not saying i'm okay with bullying... i'm not, at all. trust me... i go nuts on any kid i have who thinks they have some sort of sense of entitlement where they can belittle someone else on the team over anything. we pretty much agree.


i also wonder if, instead of cracking down on bullying -- and i did expand the topic, if we keep it focused on, say, not counting touchdowns because everyone wins in touch football, then we totally agree -- time wouldn't be better spent equipping kids to deal with bullies (or just general disappointment). i think we'd better serve kids by helping them cope with disappointment and loss rather than avoid disappointment and loss creeping into their lives.

of course, how one does this, i don't know ...
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:29 PM   #22
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i disagree with this. i think that the vast, vast majority of those who were tormented and bullied have it adversely affect their lives as teenagers and adults, and it's the rare person who goes on to become the founder of microsoft.
I was bullied from kindergarten right up till high school. Sounds pathetic, but its true. I turned out all right. That was because I took some responsibility for what happened to me. No, I didn't entirely blame myself. But instead of seeing myself as a victim of torment, I accepted that I brought a lot on it on myself because I lacked the self-esteem, confidence and sense of humor that wards off bullies.

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i think back to elementary school and there were certain kids who were tormented to such a degree that it makes me sick to my stomach, stories about kids who would get sick in the mornings before school because they were so scared of going to class for fear of what could happen to them. we wouldn't let adults treat each other in such a manner, why would we let children?
.
You'd be surprised how similar adults treat each other the way children do - and get away with it. Somethings never change in the real world.
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:01 PM   #23
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I was bullied from kindergarten right up till high school. Sounds pathetic, but its true. I turned out all right. That was because I took some responsibility for what happened to me. No, I didn't entirely blame myself. But instead of seeing myself as a victim of torment, I accepted that I brought a lot on it on myself because I lacked the self-esteem, confidence and sense of humor that wards off bullies.

You got bulled because some kids are shitheads. End of story. You didn't bring it on yourself in any way. Having low self-esteem doesn't give others a license to bully you. And I say this as someone who was bullied all the way from kindergarten through most of high school.
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:18 PM   #24
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You know the sayings "you teach people how to treat you", and "if you don't respect yourself no one else would"? If you don't treat yourself in a manner that shows clearly to others that you are mentally strong and have self-respect, they'll make their life miserable. Yes, they are nasty people to begin with, but you can't give them a reason to treat you poorly.
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:25 PM   #25
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There is testing to get into the gifted program, you know. At least in my state. I had to do a four hour IQ test when I was eight years old to determine if I'd be in gifted or not.
it might vary from state to state, but i too had to do a ridiculously long test. i was in florida too at the time, it's been so long my memory's kind of fuzzy but i think i had to get tested every year to make sure i was still gifted. i had to go to a completely different school for one or two days of the week, but it didn't bother me. i liked the challenge. it is kind of disappointing to hear some kids might not be challenged or pushed as hard as they once were, just because they think it's unfair labelling. if a gifted student isn't put in accelerated classes, they could get disinterested and end up doing poorly in classes in their grade, just because it bores them.

just because one class in one school in the whole county has three kids who can do sixth grade level math in fourth grade doesn't mean it's like this in every school. it would've been nice if they'd found a kid or class or something where it showed the other side, kids being neglected because they weren't being challenged. kids being expected to only do fourth grade level math in the fourth grade, which isn't a big deal since they are fourth graders, but everyone works at different speeds.

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i think back to elementary school and there were certain kids who were tormented to such a degree that it makes me sick to my stomach, stories about kids who would get sick in the mornings before school because they were so scared of going to class for fear of what could happen to them. we wouldn't let adults treat each other in such a manner, why would we let children?
same here. plus you see it on tv all the time, like someone not being able to climb the rope in gym class, that's a big one. and dodgeball, ugh. i was one of those kids who always was the last one picked and while that didn't leave a major impression on me, i didn't really care either way (though who knows, maybe that was part of my disinterest in playing sports) but i can definitely attest the teasing hurts. i'm still affected by things said to me 13 years ago in school. and it definitely happens with adults, sadly. sometimes i think adults are bigger babies than children. it's sometimes a whole different kind of bullying (though sometimes it's the same - office gossip is often the same kind of crap people said in high school). i think part of the reason america's become so pussified, as headache put it, is because you've got a generation of people who were bullied and are trying to stop it, thinking all of this will prevent it. it won't, unfortunately. but i guess if it makes the parents feel better, it doesn't matter if their kids are still teased.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:39 PM   #26
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I think "gifted and telented" label is waaaaaaay under rated. A school where 3/4 are G and T? As if! I thik a "gifted" person is someone who shows ENORMOUS potential in an area, not someone who has an above level I.Q on some piss poor test that weeds out all the kids who can't concentrate for four hours, or who get nervous in tests and doesn't do well. I think its another label to give a kid, who then either gets a big elitist head (and when going OUT of the county it get popped due to the fact that GASP you're not as good as other people (R.E Lisa Simpson)) or you get stressed/fearful kids who feel pressure all the time to keep being "gifted" and having a parent/s on their back to keep doing well.
I'm not saying this because i agree with kid gloves type of teaching, but more to the fact that most kids are not "gifted" but overall just show a bit more enthusiasm for school then others. I mean not to be rude, but look at how many people here were on the "gifted" lists (me included) yet we are all just normal everyday citizens, no one here is discovering a cure for cancer, working on some astrophysics thing, leading the world with your forward thinking green company, inventing new things and so on. So what did it really do for us? Surely if we were truly "gifted" we'd be somewhere a lot different to where we are? I mean yes i have a good knowledge of things, i am confident I can do a good job with things, im comfortable in my own abilities, im pretty good at jeopardy, and like doing trivia down at the pub, but gifted? I don't think so.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:27 PM   #27
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not to be rude, but look at how many people here were on the "gifted" lists (me included) yet we are all just normal everyday citizens, no one here is discovering a cure for cancer, working on some astrophysics thing, leading the world with your forward thinking green company, inventing new things and so on.
But that is a big misconception anyway. People with very high IQs and the greatest intellectual potential don't necessarily perform the "best" in life in the way that you've indicated. In fact, I would hazard a guess that if you took the top 0.5%, you'd find less tangible success of the sort that you've described among that subset than you would among the subset that ranked say in the top 5-10%, intelligence-wise.

The most brilliant people I've known in life had very little interest in practicalities.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:36 PM   #28
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There's a lot of people in the world, somebody has to have stupid children.
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Old 12-17-2008, 11:03 PM   #29
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My two cents:

First of all, I think they have a good method of determining how to get people in there. I never saw a single person who deserved it not given the opportunity. Not one.

Second, I never found it elitist. I don't know anyone who did.

Third, I was in it and found I enjoyed it a lot. It was not just hard work, it was work that really expanded you beyond what could be done in a normal classroom, and I enjoyed the opportunity to do so.

Unfortunately, since my time in it, it has been literally re-arranged entirely. When I was in it, we were bused out of school every third or fourth week for the day to another building. Now it's like some hour-long, once a week class in the elementary school.

Our requirements were a very, very long IQ test as well as observation from teachers. You needed an IQ of at least 130 unless a teacher strongly felt someone slightly below that should be a candidate.

I thought it was great and find it a shame that the movement is regression as opposed to progression.
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Old 12-17-2008, 11:47 PM   #30
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You know the sayings "you teach people how to treat you", and "if you don't respect yourself no one else would"? If you don't treat yourself in a manner that shows clearly to others that you are mentally strong and have self-respect, they'll make their life miserable. Yes, they are nasty people to begin with, but you can't give them a reason to treat you poorly.
My self-esteem improved a great deal once I was no longer surrounded on a daily basis by people who thought it was a blast to make fun of me all the time. Funny how that works.
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