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NAGC now using term High Learning Potential rather than Gifted

(63 Posts)
Niceweather Wed 31-Oct-12 20:40:19

Thought it might be of interest:

Why is NAGC now using the term High Learning Potential?

Over the years, NAGC has observed that in the UK, there is a definite social stigma attached to the word 'gifted' and that parents, teachers and children themselves feel that the word is limiting, exclusive and at times unnecessary to bestow upon a child who has as yet to fulfil their true potential.

mummytime Sat 03-Nov-12 12:02:01

A good all rounder is rarely truly gifted, because their intellectual abilities have usually been ahead of their emotional. Of course if they may be very good at hiding it, or if gifted emotionally may be good at conforming to others expectations.

The point of labelling is to identify those who may be underperforming; and not to push every very bright child with problems into the diagnosis of ASD (which is more common than you might think).

I have now read two chapters of Gifted Children and have seen that a lot of characteristics of one child I know can all be explained by their "giftedness" or HLP rather than needing a ASD diagnosis, which has been one of the elephants in the room when discussing their behaviour. We need the label so that another label isn't forced on a child who doesn't necessarily need it; and so professionals can actually be trained in the areas they need to know about.

A teacher I know invented the label "bottom middlies" to describe that group of children who are "average" but towards the bottom end of "average", as "average" they lack any extra input, but a bit of extra attention can increase their performance massively. It can even identify their areas of excellence.

LeBFG Sat 03-Nov-12 12:31:38

As an ex-teacher I understand the push to cover your arse! I realise that schools are being asked to address 'what are you doing for the more able?' along with the 'what are you doing for the AS students?'.

Mummytime: I find it hard to believe merely gifted pupils are being diagnosed on the AS - I thought AS was a pretty well characterised set of behavioural features? But I know very little about this complex area.

My question here is, if the main consequence of not targeting gifted pupils is underachiement, is this such a big deal? For example, if my DS gets AAB at A-level, he'll have a good range of universities to apply to, so what if he doesn't get AAAA. If he's getting AAB and is disrupting class because he's bored, then this behaviour needs addressing of course. One strategy might be to do more challenging work, another might be for him to work on social skills e.g. focus on group work and peer-to-peer activities. All this is just common to all good classroom management imo.

The two extremely gifted DC I knew (one I taught and the other a colleague taught) were off the scale intelligent. They were also extremely in touch with their emotional sides. They were possibly seen as a bit geeky, but accepted in their groups and still thrived in a very average comp. SO perhaps I'm a bit biased with my skepticism of this particular label!

mummytime Sat 03-Nov-12 12:48:38

I think there is a huge difference between secondary and primary school. Secondary schools by their larger size can be far more forgiving of the different.
I also think it is primary school where a HLP pupil maybe pushed to do "work" which doesn't stretch them, interest them and instead become disruptive/or even concentrate over much on any tiny mistakes they make. It is important to recognise that a child may be one of the best performing in the year (or even get A*A*A*B, and be devastated by the B) but still not be happy with their achievements "because it is not as good as they feel they should have got" and this has nothing to do with "pushy parents".

LeBFG Sat 03-Nov-12 13:58:05

If they are devasted by a B then this is fine. At some stage we all hit a ceiling (described as such in the other thread) or reach a stage where we fail ourselves. It's part of our emotional development to come to terms with this and move on. If this unbalances an individual then this is an sign of other underlying issues.

mummytime Sat 03-Nov-12 14:10:55

LeBFG - the point it that most teens would get AA*A B and be pleased, one who is HLP might get that and act pleased, but privately be devastated. The point of HLP label or "gifted", is that they may well have other "underlying issues".
Its useful if people have a label to discuss these issues, and share ideas of how to help a child with them, and the causes. The point of HLP rather than gifted; is that gifted seems to imply that it is all good news to be "brighter" than others, its easier to talk about the negative with the phrase HLP.

LeBFG Sat 03-Nov-12 14:52:57

Sorry, I wasn't clear. When I meant underlying issues, I meant mental health issues that have been undiagnosed - depression, anxiety, EBD. All things that may or may not also be present in someone who is also very intelligent. I guess, what is cause and effect?

Many parents' of AS will know that a crisis at school is caused, at root, by the condition and is then exacerbated by a set of enviromental cues. They discuss strategies with teachers and look for online support because commonalities exist between AS people. I can understand that.

Some very bright youngsters may have problems which hold them back at school (academically or socially). Pupils with the same problem but within the average spectrum would experience the same reaction at school. When I was teaching at a large secondary school, for example, a pupil was streamed into the bottom set. He was averagely bright but in the wrong set. He played up enormously until moved into the correct set. This would work if a bright kid was placed in a middle set too. I actually fail to see the need for a HLP label (not trying to be testy here, just not following the reasoning).

mummytime Sat 03-Nov-12 16:27:27

I was at school with a girl who was doing fine all through sixth form, and then quit a month before sitting her A'levels because she couldn't stand the stress of possible failure (and that was U's which it was highly unlikely she would get, not C's which she was in line for).

Schools and society (in the West) already use the label "gifted". The problem with this label is that it seems that if someone is "gifted" then they have something which gives them no drawbacks, and is a huge bonus. HLP doesn't have the same connotation, similar to specific learning difficulties rather than Dyslexia, no one jumps to what it means for that individual.

I have known a child of 5 say they are "rubbish at reading" and this was regardless of the fact they were (and even admitted they were) one of the best readers in the classroom. Or someone who rips up their work at 7 because it isn't "good enough", despite being of a similar level to everyone else in the class.

To someone seeing these behaviours for the first time it is helpful to have a label, so as to have some idea where to look for advice.

lljkk Sat 03-Nov-12 16:35:28

Are you saying, Mummytime, that truly gifted people are rarely socially adept? I find that hard to believe, I even wonder if that is dangerous myth. You said:

The point of labelling is to identify those who may be underperforming; and not to push every very bright child with problems into the diagnosis of ASD

I had a kind of opposite experience. Soon after being labeled "Gifted" I changed schools & suddenly developed severe social problems. Which were blamed on my supposed Giftedness rather than (obvious in retrospect) severe bullying (behaviour of others). 4 yrs later I changed schools again and my social problems disappeared. Similar experience for DS. Funny that. The emotional scarring from bullying will never leave us, but our intellects are unchanged.

Conversely, are all AS people very clever are especially talented in some way, however small? Genuine question. I can't think of anyone with know with AS or ASD to compare with (for sure, I have suspicions on one or 2 kids).

mummytime Sat 03-Nov-12 16:42:25

I know lots of AS and ASD kids, but that is probably because of where I live and having kids at a school with a very high percentage of diagnosed kids. Not all have a "gift" some do.

Some gifted people are socially adept, some aren't. Some find the school they go to easy, some find it very difficult. Some are bullied, some aren't.

How schools identify giftedness varies, who would be seen as gifted varies from one school to another. That was the big problem of when schools had targets of gifted, the top 10% at one school can be different from another. What schools do when they identify gifted individuals also vary.

And some schools seem very reluctant to identify as "gifted" any child with problems.

RiversideMum Sun 04-Nov-12 07:29:48

I like this new title. We've struggled with G&T in our primary. Particularly the talented bit when it is so affected by external input such as music or tennis lessons. In terms of being academically gifted, we have a "more able" group in each class, but it's rare for a child to be working well beyond that.

FastLoris Tue 06-Nov-12 23:30:45

Niceweather - you're probably right that's it's difficult to consciously teach those things, but it's easy to see how they can all be radically influenced by how a child is raised. How parents interact with children, what kinds of questions they ask and how they react to the childrens' own observations, will affect how the child presents reasoning skills, problem solving skills, flexible thinking etc. How much time the child spends sitting like a vegetable in front of the idiot box - or how much the household environment is dominated by it - will affect attention span, curiosity, imagination etc. How well parents stimulate and support the child's interests will affect their confidence in expressing those interests, and the value they place on them. etc. etc.

DW came home today and mentioned an educational psychologist she'd been working with, who had discussed some research about the effect of 1:1 conversation between parents and children. Some psychologists had researched how much time parents had spent simply sitting with their child and talking with them since they were born, listening to them and responding, without other distractions or stimuli involved. They then sorted the children into groups and followed up how they were when they started school.

I can't remember the numbers for the upper groups but they were in the hundreds of hours. The lowest group averaged 25 hours - ie, these children had spent a total of 25 hours with an adult simply conversing with them IN THEIR ENTIRE LIVES UP TO AGE 4!!

The differences in the informal experiences of children during these formative years are so massive that any attempt to single out some as being innately "gifted" or of "high learning potential" just seems silly to me. Not that it necessarily matters I suppose. It's important for schools to provide what kids need and can respond to, and if a child reacts to learning experiences at a certain high level because of how they've been raised in infancy, then that is still their capability at that point in their life and they deserve the chance to make the most of it.

Niceweather Wed 07-Nov-12 06:37:35

I have one HLP and one Normal and they are very very different. The HLP one will probably have had more interaction because he is far more demanding. He will never just sit in front of the TV as he's always doing something whereas the Normal one will sit in front of the TV all day if allowed. So, although I agree with what you say, it may not just be down to parenting.

MadameCreeper Fri 09-Nov-12 08:35:33

I don't know much about the G&T subject but I think the new definition sounds much better and useful. I have one son who never stood out at primary, he was one of those lower average children. The teachers always thought he was under performing so he was always put on various schemes for extra help.

At home he always seemed like a perfectly switched on and capable child. When he first started school I couldn't quite believe he was struggling and we have long suspected something like dyslexia. If I'd have posted on a forum I would have had many replies that I'm a middle class's parent who couldn't accept my child wasn't the best grin Year 7 midyis tests and he comes out in the top 2%

Whilst I don't think that means he's a some awe inducing genius that the world had never known before, it makes you think about the importance of under performing and potential.

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