2nd post to Session 3: The statistics on page 152 lead me to feel it is important to level with a gifted child about what it means to be gifted. I believe a child will be better knowing the truth, rather than wondering why there is a feeling of not fitting in. Page 159 shows a child's thinking: "I worry to much. I worry about 'losing my talents." and "When I get anything less than perfect, it's like he world ended. No one else is that way. They can do anything and be happy."To be available to sit quietly one on one with gifted individuals,and acknowledge and accept those thoughts can go a long way.
I think it is important to teach the gifted child what implies to be gifted, but being extremely careful of not labeling the child or teaching the child to label him/herself as “different” for being gifted. I think what is important is to help gifted children to understand their feelings and abilities simply as what they are: their own feelings and abilities, and not as a “gifted” feelings or abilities (Peer Comparisons and The Gifted Label, pages 180,181). Gifted children need guidance through the process of accepting and loving themselves as they are, and through the process of knowing and handling their “good” and “bad” feelings and behaviors, to generate positive outcomes (page 157, Page 163). Gifted children need to identify their “patterns of perfectionism, unusual sensitivity, extreme introversion, over-commitment, and their feelings of loneliness and alienation” (p. 153); they need to be given the tools to accept those patterns and feelings, to avoid depression or suicidal thoughts. They also need tools to deal with peer pressure (page 183) and avoid Underachievement (page 185). Gifted children need to understand their uneven development to deal with their auto criticism and disappointment (p. 159). They need to learn how to be assertive instead of aggressive or passive (page 188) and how to develop different types of friendships among peers of different ages, abilities and interests (Page 172, page 182) that lead them to a sense of belonging (page 158).
I am in agreement that it is necessary at some point to explain what "Gifted" means so as to let the student know they are special in a positive way. The section on Special Friends pg. 178)makes me think of how important it is to encourage the child/student and help him work through any relationship crisis he or she might face. Also in Ch. 9 the part on pg. 197 about birth order, I feel is very important from personal experience, alone. Practical Suggestion (pg. 205) are extrmemely helpful.
Response to Barbie:I agree on you on the Birth order Section. I find it to be very truth in most cases, not only in my family (we are 4 siblings) but also in friends and relationships through life. I’ve always been an observer of the roles people take in life related to the role they take at home according to their position in the family. I think it is extremely interesting and useful in guiding a gifted child on getting along with siblings and parents by understanding not only the nature of his/her giftedness but also his/her role and position within the family.
Response to Melanie: I agree with you on working with the gifted child in understanding why they feel that “they can’t fit in” instead of letting them wonder about it. I also know from experience how much gifted children worry about losing their talents and how they observe that others are capable to be OK with not being perfect but they can’t. I think that we as educators need to help our gifted children to understand that is OK to have those worries but that is also OK not being perfect, and that they still will be loved and accepted like others do.
Response to Barbie and AlvaradoO: Love the conversation about siblings and birth order--as evidenced by my response to question 1. And without a great deal of insight into the workings of original families, one might continue the patterns indefinitely. I will try, as an educator, to introduce literature and biographies where the issues come through of expanding beyond family limits or expectations. We are studying fairy tales and I might be able to incorporate that, even with 2nd graders.
Kids should be taught what it means to be gifted, but they should be taught with the goal of showing them why they feel differently than other kids, not with the goal of making them feel superior to the other kids. Some of the worst gifted kids I have taught have had the superiority complex since they have been continuously told they are better than the regular students because they have the GT label. Pages 183 and 184 show why we should teach them about what they are thinking and feeling. They need to know how to deal with not fitting in and not behaving the way their peers behave.
It is very important for every child to know themselves well, their abilities, preferences, what they are good at and what they are not. That metacognitive knowledge should guide them in their desicion making process as they grow up. Gifted kids have a special need for this knowledge in order for them to realize what they are really good at and make the most of it and also as a tool for them to know areas where they need to improve and be able to look for or accept guidance. I really enjoyed chapter 8 and how it guides adults in the process of understanding the social aspects of gifted children.
I think that teaching a gifted child about being “gifted” is important. If he/she has siblings it is important for them to know their roles/status in a family pg. 198-99. pg. 205 talks about “promoting cooperation and teamwork” within a family – I feel a gifted child that is accepted in his family and has a strong hold on his/her role will fit into a classroom. It all starts with the family.
I agree that is it is important to teach gifted students what it means to be gifted. On pg 180-181 of the book it talks about "Peer Comparisons and the Gifted Label". It's important that the students understand who they are so that they can respect themselves so that others can respect them also. I think that having conversations about the child's uniqueness with help them with peer and family relationships.
@Adriana-I completely agree with your post about how "It is very important for every child to know themselves well, their abilities, preferences, what they are good at and what they are not." I think this is what makes us all unique individuals. This is also what forms our self-concept.
I definitley feel it is important to help the gifted child understand his or her differences and know that they are gifted. On page 227 the author questions.."What is the balance between being forthright in challenging traditions on the one hand and fitting in with time-honored traditions on the other?" I think this statement clearly is setting a model for the parent to act in the way they feel appropriate and do the best thing for their child. In particular, if a gifted parent is involved he or she may be able to understand a little more the difficulties that a gifted child faces. Chapter 11 emphasizes how important it is for the parents to work together, to help in situations. I enjoyed this chapter because it gave lots of advice and scenarios for the reader to learn by.
PV: Yes, it is important for the gifted child to know what it means to be gifted. Especially as these kids grow older, they will notice that they are different from others and as noted on p. 181, "comparisons lead to self-evaluation, and sensitive gifted children often recognize the differences and seek ways to fit in". As parents and educators, we need to make these children understand that it is ok to be different. The friendship strategies listed on p. 182 provide helpful tips, as well.
PV: As noted above by Adriana N and JBRown, it is important for every child to know themselves well, their abilities, preferences, what they are good at and what they are not. We are all different and we need to learn to accept and embrace these differences to promote a more enriching interaction.