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That glass ceiling! Part 2

(1000 Posts)
var123 Mon 25-Jan-16 07:18:57

Continuing the discussion about artificial limits placed on G&T children, and the resulting impact on their health and happiness (not to mention futures).

Do they really matter less because they have a perceived "advantage"?!

original thread here:
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/gifted_and_talented/2507232-The-glass-ceiling-for-very-able-children?

BertrandRussell Mon 25-Jan-16 07:23:24

Gosh- nice impartial opening post their! grin

var123 Mon 25-Jan-16 07:39:22

I thought it was a reasonable summary!

I could have written a place to discuss what is right for society as a whole wrt to to how a limited education budget should be allocated at the coal face of the individual classroom. Is the optimal solution to restrict the development of the most able in order to support other areas of the classroom, particularly those whose life options are likely to be severely limited but which may be improved by getting a slightly better grade at GCSE?

var123 Mon 25-Jan-16 07:40:12

And other G&T issues!

multivac Mon 25-Jan-16 09:54:40

sigh

If you start a thread on this subject in 'Chat', or another group where the members have a broader demographic than this one, I might join in again.

But here, your agenda is clear, and it doesn't interest me.

multivac Mon 25-Jan-16 10:01:43

hides thread, just in case the urge to scratch the itch rises smile

BertrandRussell Mon 25-Jan-16 10:26:31

Bet you can't keep away, multivac!

Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies Mon 25-Jan-16 10:32:42

The advantages of an unusually intelligent child aren't 'perceived'. They are real. Which is the reason highly intelligent children are described as being 'gifted'. Because high intelligence is a gift.

Of course, this doesn't mean that it can't be a double edged sword. But overall, it's an extremely positive thing. And to imply that it doesn't give that child a distinct advantage in life is decidedly disingenuous.

WoodHeaven Mon 25-Jan-16 11:34:49

Checking in.

WoodHeaven Mon 25-Jan-16 11:52:10

An intellident child IS an advantage.

An intelligent child that is taught that being intelligent is more of a hindrance than a gift is at a big disadvantage, the same way that an average or less able child who is told/made feel they are stupid. (eg his current french teacher been resentful that he is bilingual and therefore needs other input - as proposed by the head of language ....)

I've learnt something from the previous thread. I don't particularly want some special advantage for dc1. I'm not even convinced I want him to go further faster than everyone else. But I want him to feel confortable and happy to go to school.
How that can be acheive is left open.
It can be by giving him extension work but I'm not sure it's always the best way to do it (ie an outlier will just do that and then ask for more and will quickly hit a point where he needs to be explained things which isn't going to happen. So back to been bored if that's the only solution to the problem).
ie what Iora was talking about in the previous thread (puzzles etc...) would have bored dc1 in primary. He would have seen that as a way to keep him quiet rather than something to stretch him.

For the rest, the learning to keep at things, do the boring, repetitive stuff before been able to do the enjoyable stuff etc... then that something he will learn at home (with him, probably with music).
The keeping his curiosity alive is also something we will do from home. But not by making him learn new things before the school teaches him.

Whjat I'm really asking them is not bring him dowm emotionally so much that he disengages completely of the process/school.

PiqueABoo Mon 25-Jan-16 14:20:12

Matilda...: Advantages are only real when they're realised. Or do some really believe the sword only cuts parents, never the child?

WoodHeaven: "I want him to feel confortable and happy to go to school ... not bring him dowm emotionally so much that he disengages completely"

Essentially the same aim here. I suspect it might be more socially acceptable for a girl to be a studious geek and DD has some action-stuff in her life which almost certainly helps, but although she has a kind of ’happy’ school-side mask she looks so uncomfortable. There’s another mask for parents, but that doesn’t work too well so I’ve long seen a lot of frustration, guilt and alienation.

”something he will learn at home (with him, probably with music).”

I nearly posted this when teasing teacherwith2kids re. strings vs. piano, but DD’s piano was always supposed to be ‘good for her soul’, not for resilience training, music places at selective schools or some other future box-tick. I haven’t really thought about my use of that abstract phrase until today, but it’s there so she can use it to temporarily escape from life.

[ Having written that her action-stuff is quite personal and escapist. So are a couple of other mainstays in her life. My sub-conscious clearly had a plan. ]

var123 Mon 25-Jan-16 15:48:11

I think I wrote before that I am not looking for the school to move my children on to a new grade or anything like that. I am not asking for anything that might have some sort of commercial value. What I want is for them to be treated as if they are equals within the classroom, no more, no less important than anyone else AND to be kept engaged in education.

I see it as a three-way partnership between the school, the child and the parents. My job is to feed, clothe and deliver them at school ready to learn, the child's job is to have a good attitude for learning and the school's job is to deliver the actual education.

When my children get ill-considered extension work, or in some other way shoved to the side of the class to be ignored, then they are being let down. However, that's ok, because its wrong to think that you should have things your way all the time, just as long as sometimes things are delivered to meet you needs. Except that's the problem: its never the G&T child's turn.

So, you offer to stop asking that G&T children get taught. The teacher is too busy and we can all see that she really does have children who need her more at every single moment for 12 years. So, I ask what about collecting up all the similarly ignored children and just educating them together? But that's met with a furious response. People don't want other people's children to get anything different, unless its less (different because its less is acceptable it seems).

Then you think about whether you can possibly afford to pay someone to do it, but again society finds that thought intolerable too.

WoodHeaven Mon 25-Jan-16 16:05:16

You see I think I have stopped hoping that will happen var.
From my experience in primary, there has been a few good teachers that have stretched dc1, up to a point. At least, they have shown that they appreciate his input and the fact he is so ahead rather than seeing it as a hindrance to them (ie it makes their job harder). And dc1 has trived on their appreciation (even if they all have told dc1 to just shut up from time to time so that others could speak or because it was so far ahead no one else could understand what he was going on about). But they were respectful and made him feel good about his knowledge.

dc1 has had a few others who have done exactely the opposite thing. His french teacher this year is a good example of that. Or his form tutor.
This, I'm not sure how to address. In primary, I had to let it go. I juyst had a wall in front of me and insisting would have made thinbgs worse. In secondary, I'm not sure. Maybe the head of language/maths/science/whatever would be a good person to talk to. I dunno.

But I have given up for the system to give them equal attention/importance.

eyebrowse Mon 25-Jan-16 16:06:34

I think the 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration is probably very valid with gifted and talented as otherwise their talents will be wasted. So working on areas that are not their strengths or particularly interesting for this group is likely to be important

If you have money rather than going into private education perhaps you could fund an afterschool club for gifted &talented children in your area or an extra teaching assistant in the class/ school/local authority whose specialism is gifted and talented. The teachers could then identify children who would benefit who might not just be ones whose parents are pushy/rich. If you did this you would not separate gifted and talented out from the rest of society and you would make a contribution to improving the situation.

BertrandRussell Mon 25-Jan-16 16:16:35

"So, I ask what about collecting up all the similarly ignored children and just educating them together? But that's met with a furious response." I don't think it was met with a furious response was it? I thought that we spent quite a long time discussing how that could work.....

var123 Mon 25-Jan-16 16:33:50

As to my agenda for starting this thread, its primarily to give parents a place to ask questions and take through things where they can drop in without having to open a separate thread (unless of course they'd prefer to open a separate thread...).

The second reason is in the hope that some of the posters who had very interesting insights into the coal-face of education might continue to post.

The first thread had a different motivation. I was grappling to understand how the HoD could take the position that he'd taken which i thought was contrary to the words and intention of the Education Act.

Iwantakitchen Mon 25-Jan-16 16:45:41

Var, I decided not to post on your previous discussion as clearly, all your posts about G&T and your DS offer a highly negative and often cynical view of education. DS2 is G&T in maths, and my husband is a teacher (in a different school) and head of maths, taking classes for more able children. My personal experience is that I do not expect the school to provide over and above what they can afford for my DS, and he has always been a very happy child, content with school achievement. I expect that a good teacher will support all children in their class, not just my child. I do not expect them to make allowances for DS and I have always tried to teach him to learn on his own, entertain himself, help others if he can. Most of his teachers have been very good at identifying his strong points and encouraging/supporting his learning in class.

On his latest school report, his teacher stated that DS should try an improve his catching skills to help him with cricket/basketball and other sports, and DS was very glad that his objective had nothing to do with maths!

So in short, you and I have a completely different experience, expectation and vision of what a good teacher and good school should provide, which in my opinion should not focus only on the 'talent' but on helping children discovering their potential in all areas. Checking out!

var123 Mon 25-Jan-16 17:31:43

I think the same as you, Iwantakitchen. Except I think all children count, not just some.

You seem to think that i ebelieve that onyl the "talent" (your term) counts. That's not my view.

My view is that all children count equally and soem are not more equal than others.

HTH

Greenleave Mon 25-Jan-16 17:32:33

Pique: my daughter is the same now, her energy now drifts to music where she progresses very fast too. Learning all grade 3 piano pieces almost by herself within slightly more than a month(she has little assesses to the piano during day tine). We just started on music theory grade 1 and for a week she finished the whole practise book herself and got 95% correct. Its good that she isnt bored now however I am still worried about her academic life. We are planning some other options to move her out of state systems however nothing concrete yet(childcare, drop and pick up, a baby sister, her friendships etc).

I am a very pessimistic person however I have to admit that I do admire her commitment and hardwork she puts in everything she does, she is very self driven now.

Just wish had she have the right support from school. I am planning to drop her teacher another email this week begging her giving my daughter more challenged works, she is so so so bored during any maths lesson

var123 Mon 25-Jan-16 17:33:11

Should state education be about equality of outcome or equality of opportunity?

var123 Mon 25-Jan-16 17:42:27

Who has the right to decide which children will be helped and which won't?

Iwantakitchen Mon 25-Jan-16 17:44:48

green, what year is she in at school? Does she come home telling you that she is bored? Because trust me, my not G&T child and often comes home telling that he is bored, I think children at any level will be bored at some point during their school day, even the less able children! And what do you say to her Shen she says she is bored? What tools do you give her - just like you would give to a child with average grade - to help her remain positive about her lessons?

BoboChic Mon 25-Jan-16 18:28:38

IME one of the major constraints on teachers catering properly to gifted DC are the intellectual limitations of the teacher. An adult with an IQ of 115 used to teaching a fairly mainstream curriculum will be structurally in a poor position to cater to a teenager with an IQ of 140 or 150.

var123 Mon 25-Jan-16 18:42:24

I've been dwelling on Iwantakitchen's comment about me: highly negative and often cynical and she's probably right, especially on the last thread.

Something horrible happened to me and DH 2 weeks ago yesterday and I've spent a bit more time on MN basically as a distraction whilst trying to get my head around it (better than alcohol). My posts probably are a bit negative at the moment because its how I feel right now.

I do think G&T children are often let down by the state education and I do think constant repetition (being told it has to be perfect before you can move on) aggravates perfectionism but I probably wouldn't say it quite so baldly if I didn't need the distraction from RL.

Iwantakitchen Mon 25-Jan-16 18:51:46

Sorry to hear that var, sincerely sorry now I feel guilty about my post! flowers

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