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Gifted and talented-long term outcomes?

(23 Posts)
Theas18 Thu 03-Jul-14 08:04:26

anyone have any long term experience of G+T and how has it panned out for your child?

This form seem to be, and maybe that's what it's all about... focussing on " is my child being stretched at school" etc

I'm looking at this from the outside/other end now, and I still not convinced how much is reaching potential achievement early ( as MN parents are, as a bunch intelligent educated and extremely supportive ) and how much is true G+T.

The 10% "G+T" that schools are supposed to have isn't really G+T is it? eg at my kids ( grammar ) schools, that was the whole school!

I'll give you my 2p later but wonder what others think

tenderbuttons Thu 03-Jul-14 08:50:33

I think you're absolutely right about the definition of g&t imposed by the government. It is a useful way of checking that schools are noticing their brightest kids, but it has rather unhelpfully changed the definition of gifted.

This is partly my personal take and partly observation of others, but I think that one of the characteristics of some/many particularly gifted kids is a hunger for learning. So it's not that the parent is insisting the child is stretched, it is often the child demanding more. Here, we get terrible teenage behaviour if school or us don't come up with challenge of some kind or other; give her that and the behaviour just goes. Right now she's not being academically stretched but does a bunch of other stuff, and it all seems fine.

And I think it matters because otherwise these children can switch off and give up at school. I went to a comprehensive school at age 15, after a variety of other schools (long story) and having taken a swathe of O Levels already. I was so bored in some of those lessons that I started being badly behaved. I could see for myself then that had I been at that school from eleven, I would have probably been a real trouble-maker and dropped out before A Levels. I was lucky, but I'm sure that happens quite a bit.

But having said that, 'gifted' just measures one aspect of a child, personality is the biggest factor in how they will come out. I HATED being bored; other people post on here regularly that boredom is good for children and they need to learn to deal with it. Maybe that's fine for their child but it certainly wasn't for me...

JustRichmal Thu 03-Jul-14 12:17:42

Can learning potential be altered by the amount of education a child receives or will every child plateau at their limit whether they get there early or later? I take the view that the more a child learns, the more they have the potential to learn; hence a child's potential is increased by education. How easily a child learns depends on both the child's ability to learn and how skilfully they are taught; it is a mixture of both.

rocketjam Thu 03-Jul-14 12:26:50

I think that the 10% imposed by the state is random and has 'appropriated' the definition of G&T. However, if it were to be called differently, it could be very positive for m any children. I can see in my children's classes that many children who are in the lower set, struggle with spelling, maths, etc receive extra support. Children with behaviour issues get extra support (with home-school books, IEPs, etc) whereas the children in the top set used to get pretty much left on their own. Now, I can see that my (not G&T but good at school) son has more support, a different set of homework, is more 'stretched' at school. I also have a son who is (I believe) genuinely G&T in maths and he is also being challenged and supported at school, but not nearly to the top of his capacity.

Muskey Thu 03-Jul-14 16:46:40

What a good question. I do think about the outcome for my dd. my biggest fear is that she will simply lose interest and just give up. The whole issue for me is trying to maintain dd thirst for knowledge by finding exciting and different ways for her to learn about things.

The other big challenge is giving dd the confidence and sometimes the courage to be herself even if she does stick out like a sore thumb and not dumb herself down because it is easier to fit in that way.

outofthefryingan Thu 03-Jul-14 17:31:08

Name changed for this as ds is a one off and I'm easily identified by this. hmm
Ds is 24 now and identified as gifted a few days after entering nursery at 4. In a nutshell he thrived in Primary because they allowed him to explore his interests, challenged him and enjoyed having him in the school. Secondary was a disaster he was bored (he was GCSE level in y7 in maths and science) He used his talents to run amok in school but he still passed every GCSE despite doing no homework ever and only turning up with a pen in his back pocket (he remembers everything verbatim that he sees or hears)
He moved to a different school for sixth form, didn't put in much effort and didn't turn up very often but still got the necessary results and then his best friend died suddenly. Ds was knocked for six and pretty much abandoned school as he didn't see the point. He sat his A2s and got respectable passes but was determined he wasn't going to uni. In a way I was glad as he was a lost soul since his friend's death and I thought he would drink himself to death away from home.
He went into Local Government, his ability was soon spotted and he manages a team now after being promoted almost yearly. Last year he started a Masters on day release after his employers put him forward and the uni spotted his ability in interviews. He's finding it easy, he puzzles his fellow students as he still doesn't take notes and doesn't appear to put any effort in but still is top two in every exam and assignment. In Local Government he is tipped for the top although once he has fulfilled his requirement (because of the Masters funding) he intends to spread his wings.
I think he will be successful in whatever he chooses to do tbh it pleases him that he earns more than his friends who went to uni and has none of the debt and it seems he found his own right path even if it wasn't the path he was expected to take.

BlackeyedSusan Sat 05-Jul-14 00:20:15

ex was apparently identified as g and t as a youngster, taught himself to read. he lacks drive to reach the top and is happily content with his IT job earning a reasonable wage and having plenty of time outside of work to enjoy life.

his sister is more energetic, also identified early. qualified as a dr.

JulieMichelleRobinson Wed 16-Jul-14 00:59:41

I probably fitted in the 10% - in CAT scores, I was in the top 3 at my selective school, came out with some of the top GCSE scores there including extra subjects (not exceptional - I hate coursework!)... didn't get the highest A-level results because I deliberately picked some subjects I wasn't good at (this is how my mind works)...

Lost all my self-confidence... ended up going to university and being totally distracted by other interesting things that weren't on my course, got a IIii when capable of a Ist, spent a few years figuring out what I wanted to do...

I'm now happily teaching music. I think at some point my academic side just switched itself off, so while I'm still pretty formidable in debate and quite good at research, I no longer really have the same drive to find things out unless there's a reason for it. Lots of my friends have PhDs, but that's because they worked hard!

I think the only time it shows now is when someone asks me to find out about something and instead of looking it up on Wikipedia I acquire scholarly works with original texts in Latin (or similar). I go through phases of language-learning/acquisition, looking up etymology... at the moment I'm just busy learning to play new instruments.

Takver Wed 16-Jul-14 11:20:18

"happily content with his IT job earning a reasonable wage and having plenty of time outside of work to enjoy life."

Surely that's a great outcome!

Takver Wed 16-Jul-14 11:21:50

More seriously, having a high IQ / being good at VR/NVR tests etc etc doesn't say anything about what someone wants out of life - you're just as likely to want a comfortable life in a small way in a small town as anybody else.

Of course, sadly, it works the other way around - if only all our politicians were exceptionally able, intelligent people . . . grin

LadySybilLikesCake Wed 16-Jul-14 11:34:46

Ds is in year 10 and is doing very well, despite leaving everything to the last minute and rushing. He seems to take in everything and is planning on becoming a barrister.

I went to the local comp and was in the top class with a load of kids who were bright but didn't want to be at school, so disrupted most of the classes. I gave up trying to learn and spent most of the lessons counting the holes in the tiles in the ceiling, or daydreaming. I couldn't study at home, even if I knew how, it was small so there was no where to go. My father was an alcoholic and it was pointless trying to do anything past 7:30pm as he'd start rambling. I remember writing a letter to a private school begging for a place but I never sent it, I assumed this was my lot. I should have sent it. I passed my GCSE's, despite doing very little work, no homework, no study and very little revision (I didn't know how to do this, it was never mentioned at school other than telling us to nap until 5pm if we wanted to stay up all night). I wanted to be a doctor but the GCSE's didn't give me the basics to do A'Levels. I didn't know how to essay write or revise. I managed to get one A'Level and get to uni to do a HND. From that I managed to get onto a Law degree. There's things I long to learn (languages, history etc) but don't have the time at the moment.

Ds is at a private school. They don't buy into G&T.

Zimtschnecke Wed 16-Jul-14 11:49:44

OP, my dc are at very selective grammar schools, but I don't see them as exceptional.
If anything, my youngest would fit into this category, she is something else. Her drive to learn and find out things for herself is astonishing. Her recent reception report says she loves the open questions, open ended tasks, and will spend hours to finish them. She would never leave anything unfinished.
I just hope her primay school continues to let her be who she is. Extremely self motivated and confident.
My older dc's primary years were awful, they were bored, not confident and both became different people once they started secondary.

notquiteruralbliss Tue 21-Oct-14 21:26:58

DD taught herself to read at 2 and described by ed psych still 9 as at the 1 in 10,000 level. Scarily fast clock speed. Got frustrated with school but much happier once she got to uni. Not sure what she will end up doing but it will probably involve maths.

kalidasa Tue 28-Oct-14 16:22:29

There's a book about this, by the (dubious, imo) Joan Freeman - called something cringeworthy like 'Gifted Lives' but it is looking at what happened to quite a large cohort of former child prodigies in adulthood. Very mixed results as I remember, and a good deal of burn-out and/or people ending up with very 'ordinary' (not particularly high-achieving) lives, some happily some less so. Personality must have a lot to do with it. My sister has I suspect a higher raw IQ score than me but is crippled I think by totally consuming perfectionism/fear of failure which has really limited her in all respects (I mean emotionally and psychologically as well as in more obvious terms of professional achievement and so on). I wish I had a clearer sense of how my parents could have avoided this as I really worry that I wouldn't know how best to handle a child with a very similar profile/personality to her. (DS1 is not yet 2 and DS2 not yet born so still early days for us re: education etc!) Of all my full siblings, the one who has probably the lowest IQ (though still very able - Oxford first degree etc) has had the most 'straightforward' time of it in adult life so far - best social skills, best peer group support, least angst-y negotiation of a fulfilling career etc etc.

Mistigri Sun 02-Nov-14 15:19:44

If you take a sample of "prodigies" you're bound to end up with a set of kids who, while being exceptionally able, have also been hot-housed to a greater or lesser extent. This is not necessarily the way to produce rounded adults. I'd be dubious about whether a study of exceptionally gifted kids with pushy parents really had anything to say about "ordinarily" gifted kids growing up in normal families.

Of my two, I'd only consider the older "gifted" although by the UK definition both are. DD was reading fluently in two languages at preschool (we live abroad, she is bilingual), tested by school ed psych (1/10,000) was rapidly accelerated one year and we have been turning down further acceleration ever since. She's confident, self-motivated, completely unchallenged at school but doing absolutely fine and will almost certainly get a top grade in her baccalauréat without breaking sweat. There is no G&T provision here except acceleration, and stretching her academically would require far more acceleration than I would be comfortable with. Apart from being academically able she's just a normal teenager - her abilities tend to show up more outside school - for eg she has taught herself to play guitar and piano to a pretty decent level in a very short time, writes, composes etc. No idea where she is heading but I doubt it will be academia. She is interested in sound engineering ... which is fine by me. (I was also a very able child but to their lasting credit my parents didn't intervene when I chose to go to art school ... I hope to give my own children the same freedom to make their own choices.)

My impression, from among my own social, family and work circles, is that very able children who struggle in later life are often excessively perfectionist (and that this tendency is often exacerbated by adult expectations). My DD is not hindered by perfectionism, but her brother is, and we have to be very careful to manage his (and our) expectations.

theposterformallyknownas Sun 02-Nov-14 16:42:08

My dd is a gifted musician and we knew from a very early age.
Her dad is a pro musician and by her own insistence has been H ed for 3 school years.
She is very determined, self motivated, a perfectionist, and driven.
Her life is planned and she refuses to look at a plan b.
She is 10.
She wants to attend a specialist music school and board, if she is successful I will be heart broken.
Our older dc went to local dire high schools.

She has 2 older brothers who have had exactly the same upbringing and opportunity but weren't in the slightest bit interested in music and chose a particular sport instead. They were both very good and played at county level as children, teens and young adults. Now it is a hobby they fit around work, it was no more than a hobby to them.

I firmly believe it is a mix of natural ability, desire, opportunity, culture, and self motivation. Maybe more, but can't think now.

kalidasa Mon 03-Nov-14 21:24:38

It is quite an interesting book misti because while some definitely did have the typical sorts of pushy parents you'd expect quite a lot of the sample had very low-key parents. These were children identified by testing as being at the top of the range but the study was done over a very long period, and in quite a lot of cases they were children before there was much public awareness of 'giftedness'. One of the conclusions of the book is that by and large the children that had been most successful in adulthood and had least problems were children who had not been labelled as gifted: no-one had used that term to their parents at all, or if they had, the parents had not passed it on or paid much attention to it. What I mean is that there quite a few in her sample who, although highly to very highly gifted by test scores, grew up 'ordinarily' as you put it and without being labelled.

Mistigri Tue 04-Nov-14 17:45:43

That's interesting kalidasa, as well as being kind of reassuring, since we have never used the term gifted to either dd or her teachers (and we've been asked a few times if she's been tested etc, I always avoid answering).

A long time ago I read this article and it has influenced my parenting decisions more than anything else. I've probably bored my children to death about effort being far more important than ability, but they have definitely got the message.

iggly2 Wed 05-Nov-14 23:23:16

I would have fallen into the high IQ test category (tested as teenager-but all that shows is whether you can complete an IQ test etc). I'm sure DH is far higher IQ. Paralysed at the idea of failure-until I don't both trying and fail. I really do not want this to happen to DS, we have a very different approach to my parents, we really praise. Really do not want to muck him up.

iggly2 Thu 06-Nov-14 04:41:31

Opps....."Paralysed at the idea of failure-until I don't both trying and fail."

I meant to say "I am paralysed at the idea of failure-until I won't try anything and therefore end up failing at everything."

kalidasa Thu 06-Nov-14 14:17:39

iggly do you have any idea what would have avoided that outcome for you? Do you think consistent praise of effort (rather than achievement) is the key? One thing I find hard to assess is how similar parenting can have such different effects: I don't think my parents did a perfect job with me by any means but I am certainly not crippled by perfectionism, unlike my sister. So basic character must have something to do with it as well. (Of course parents don't treat siblings identically, either.) I actually have quite a strong appetite for risk I think! But DH is different, and I think DS is too - he is only 23 months but "cautious" has been one of the most obvious things about him from birth. I think there are lots of positive things about this trait, but I also want to make sure that we build his confidence so that he does grow up feeling able to try things.

iggly2 Thu 06-Nov-14 14:55:00

I was outgoing, popular, sporty, did well academically without --too much--effort. I then got older never felt pretty/attractive enough then.... Uni happened: I did not know how to cope with the effort required to read around subject matter etc. especially if it did not spark my interest, or seem entirely relevant.

I am paralysed to the verge of agrophobia, too terrified to apply for jobs etc. My parents were very concerned that I remained modest as a teenager, this has resulted in no confidence. Oddly enough the same parents have resulted in: one real high flier, 1 average achiever (lack of confidence I believe maybe an issue here as well), 1 underachiever. They were very loving but every child is different and parents do inadvertently treat children differently as well.

DH is very high achieving, and very protective (potentially even to my detriment). I want DS to be resilient, to not always be top-but bounce back well from set backs. I want him to be confident. We also do our best to praise effort.

bellybuttonfairy Thu 06-Nov-14 22:49:55

I found school very easy. I breezed through and was usually top of class in primary school then in the top ability stream (and mostly top in all tests there) for all my subjects in secondary. I've never revised. I passed the entrance exam for mensa in primary.

I got completely bored by the middle of secondary school. I got acceptable grades.

I now work in a profession but am very bored. It's a job I need to keep updated in but Im uninspired to do extra reading.

Infact, I love looking after my 3 dc and that would be quite enough for me.

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