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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 16:27:27

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.

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 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 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 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 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 12:02:01

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.

lljkk Sat 03-Nov-12 11:37:24

I imagine (am not defending this) the point of labelling is "accountability". There will be paperwork to establish that

* a clever child was identified as having additional needs,
* efforts were made to specify & meet that child's needs,
* what steps were taken to implement the plan to meet that child's needs and help them achieve their potential.
* shows that that child has been monitored & reassessed regularly, and
* what concerns were raised if child not meeting promise of early potential.

PAPERWORK! Covering one's arse. We live in an age where more time is spent producing paperwork to show the right thing was done, than time is spent actually doing the right thing.

DD is my definition of gifted (good all rounder). Or maybe just very lucky. Part of that is she's very socially adept.

LeBFG Sat 03-Nov-12 11:04:18

I was born in 1977 so...but went to very progressive secondary school. All the gifted sorts were at the Grammars so the word was never bandied about.

Have had a quick read thanks Niceweather. Lots of bright kids and different life outcomes. To me the over riding message is one of development and finding things in life as an adult that are satisfying and bring happiness.

It just prompts me to really ask what is the goal of this labelling business? Kids do well, others don't, some struggle to engage, to settle into class routines etc... I know some people are dead keen to get DC into Oxbridge so maybe want to their DC to have max stretching at school. But I think most people would be happy if their DC just achieve well, go to a good uni and find their feet in the world.

After browsing the NAGC website it becomes even more murky for me. Lots on emotional support etc. It seems to me many kids have social, fitting-in type problems. These are the problems that need addressing. I can see a AS label can help the child because there are classic, well-identified characteristics posing barriers to social integration. Not sure that a HLP label would be very informative in the same way?

lljkk Sat 03-Nov-12 10:33:45

How old are you, LeBFG? I was labeled "gifted" in 1975. By family standards I turned into a high achiever, too, although perhaps quite mediocre by MN standards wink.

Niceweather Sat 03-Nov-12 10:00:27

Here is a thread on the same subject LeBFG:

My most successful friend has one CSE!

LeBFG Sat 03-Nov-12 09:52:51

IQ and HLP/gifted are linked but not sure they are the same thing. The NAGC use an IQ test as part of the identification of HLP children. IQ is about 70% heritable, to give posters an idea about how much education may blur the line a bit between high achievers and HLPs.

My question is more about what do we know about the trajectory of learning potential over the childhood years?

I knew of a gifted girl (in our day this term wasn't used of course) - the only one to be put forward for the 11+. She also had early periods, was taller and more mature than the rest of us girls. By 18 she had only mediocre achievement at A-level. I suppose she could have been inappropriately stimulated etc but it has always been my gut instinct that she was just physically more advanced than the rest of us for her age. Not with any special gift for learning. But at 11, she appeared to have a higher potential than the rest of us, which time did not bear out.

Clearly many people are born and live their lives at higher planes than the rest of us and probably, on average, gifted adults were children with HLP. I just wonder how true this is of all gifted adults? This stems also from my suspicion of 'diagnosing' a 7yo when so much can change in the brain between 7 and 16/18.

Niceweather Sat 03-Nov-12 09:20:23

As well as the easily identifiable ones who are ahead, they should keep an open mind regarding the less obvious ones. I think they are more likely to do this at secondary school than at junior school.

lljkk Fri 02-Nov-12 21:05:27

HIP just sounds like gobbledigook to me, until I read a definition. Same as the G-word. So no preference for either.

richmal Fri 02-Nov-12 21:01:34

I would be annoyed if schools were using such a list to determine which children had the potential to learn and therefore put on the HLP list. Thankfully IME schools just seem to look at which are farthest ahead.

Niceweather Fri 02-Nov-12 20:04:39

"Even by the time a child starts school, I would say it is impossible to tell the two apart."

What about the things that cannot be taught? The things in the list? I would think that the difference would be obvious between the child who is an "original thinker who has excellent problem solving skills and who learns quickly and with less practice and repetition etc" from one who has had a good pre-school education but lacks these abilities. You cannot teach someone to learn quickly with no need for repetition. You cannot teach someone to have a passionate love for solving number problems. Etc etc.

Sorry I cannot paste link but here is an interesting article in Guardian about admissions to Cambridge:

richmal Fri 02-Nov-12 19:34:32

It seems then that potential cannot be measured as it is only a possibility of what could be. Only ability could be measured. Ability is determined by potential and teaching. In ther words, both nature and nurture. Even by the time a child starts school, I would say it is impossible to tell the two apart.

I was looking at the statistics taking into account the overall numbers going to private school. I find it hard to believe that the number of children on 100% scholarships account for the increased numbers from private school going to Oxford.

Niceweather Fri 02-Nov-12 19:00:56

Education can make a difference but only up to a certain point. Not everyone is capable of high achievement. I would think that IQ would be of major importance. Someone with an IQ of 60 is not going to Cambridge. Someone with an IQ of 160 is in with a good chance but will need good qualifications behind them, along with commitment and desire. Someone with an IQ of 160 who doesn't have good qualifications, commitment or desire won't be going to Cambridge either. Actually, someone told me that you need to be top 1% for Oxbridge. I guess that means top 1% in IQ terms.

I've forgotten what we mean by learning potential? Is good education the same as good qualifications? Do we need to consider whether or not IQ can be raised by education? I think that perhaps it can be raised a bit but not to extreme heights.

I aint no expert in any of this!

mummytime Fri 02-Nov-12 18:48:33

From Oxford, the kids from private schools who get there tend to come from the most academically selective schools. Also about a third of those pupils (it might be higher I'm relying on memory of the article) who come from homes below the free school meal threshold of earnings who go to Oxford, actually went to private schools on scholarships. So its not just private schools teach better and get you into Oxford, but those that get a good number into Oxford have already selected on ability.

Education doesn't make a difference to learning potential it makes a difference to academic attainment. By definition nothing can change potential it can only change how that is expressed. Of course any assessment of learning potential is a snap shot taken at a specific point in time, and it is possible due to life events a different assessment would be taken at a different point (someone could receive a traumatic brain injury for example).

Another fact is that we all fail to totally fullfil our potential.

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