Sunday, July 27, 2014
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Gifted education scholars D. Betsy McCoach and Sally Reis, both of the University of Connecticut, define gifted underachievers as “students who exhibit a severe discrepancy between expected achievement (as measured by standardized achievement test scores or cognitive or intellectual ability assessments) and actual achievement (as measured by class grades or teacher evaluations).” Teacher assessments do not provide the reliability that standardized tests do, but essentially they provide the “most valid indication of a student’s current level of achievement within a classroom environment.”
- 1) the need to be extraordinarily intelligent, perfect, or ‘smartest;’
- 2) the wish to be extremely creative and unique, which they may translate as nonconformity; and
- 3) the concern with being admired by peers for appearance and popularity.”
- 1) the school environment;
- 2) family dynamics; and
- 3) peer influences.
- 1) anti-intellectual school atmospheres in which priorities for athletics or social status overshadow academic and intellectual programs;
- 2) attitudes that view gifted programming as elitist;
- 3) overly rigid classrooms in which all students study at all times the identical materials in identical time;
- 4) “teachers who rigidly fail to see the quality of children’s work because of different values, personal power struggles, or cultural or racial prejudice.”
- 1) inconsistent parenting, sometimes accentuated by one parent acting as disciplinarian and the other as protector (unfortunately, these trends during a child’s life may become more pronounced leading to even more authoritarian and increasingly protective distribution among the two parent figures);
- 2) inconsistent and unpredictable structure and organization in which children may manipulate one or both parents; and
- 3) poor family relationships including those with siblings.
- 1) Studies by Sally Reis have shown that “high-achieving peers had a positive influence on gifted students who began to underachieve in high school and contributed to some students’ reversal of their underachievement,” as reported in "Critical Issues and Practices in Gifted Education."
- 2) A 1995 study by D.R. and R.E. Clasen showed that “66 percent of high-ability students named peer pressure or the attitude of the other kids, including friends, as the primary force against getting good grades.”
- 3) Yet, there is no clear evidence “whether the choice to associate with other non-achievers is a cause or result of gifted students’ underachievement,” according to McCoach and Siegle.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Sunday, November 17, 2013
- Valuing – “choosing to employ a pattern of intellectual behaviors rather than other, less productive patterns.”
- Having the inclination – “feeling the tendency toward employing a pattern of intellectual behaviors.”
- Being alert – “perceiving opportunities for, and appropriateness of employing a pattern of intellectual behaviors.
- Being capable – “possessing the basic thinking skills and capacities to carry through with the behaviors.
- Making a commitment – “reflecting on and constantly striving to improve performance of the pattern of intellectual behavior.”
- “Persisting when the solution to a problem is not readily available.” This requires a repertoire of alternative strategies for problem solving. This habit of mind is similar to gifted education theorist JosephRenzulli’s attribute of task commitment, which along with high ability and creativity comprise his three-ring conception of giftedness.
- “Managing impulsivity.” Students who blurt the first answer out may at times be well served to reflect on several options. This habit may help one avoid a potentially frustrating trial-and-error approach.
- “Listening to others with understanding and empathy.” This habit of mind is described by Stephen Covey in the widely popular The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Costa recommends that “paraphrasing another person’s ideas” or “detecting indicators of another person’s feelings or emotional states.” He believes that the habit of listening is the “least taught skill in school.” Research shows that “we spend 55 percent of our lives listening.”
- “Thinking flexibly.” This habit requires a tolerance for confusion and ambiguity in addition to one’s willingness to change one’s mind when presented with additional data.
- “Thinking about our own thinking: Metacognition.” In a nutshell, this habit presupposes that one knows one’s own limits – what do we know and what do we not know. Fostering metacognition would include the act of rehearsing mentally prior to a specific performance and monitoring during the performance.
- “Striving for accuracy and precision.” This habit most certainly involves double-checking one’s work. I recall that as a teacher I never accepted a student’s test or in-class essay without challenging my students to double and triple check. I spent time instructing students how to double-check their work.
- “Asking questions and posing problems.” This habit is a follow-up to the habit of metacognition as one needs to learn to ask the questions to learn and understand that what one does not know.
- “Applying past knowledge to new situations.” This habit requires students to relate and apply previously learned material to new challenges.
- “Thinking and communicating with clarity.” Underlying this habit is that “fuzzy language is a reflection of fuzzy thinking.”
- “Gathering data through all senses.” This habit requires full attention to one’s environment and processing information coming to the brain via gustatory, olfactory, tactile, kinesthetic, auditory, and visual sensory pathways. Students with wide open sensory pathways will absorb more information than students who are “oblivious to sensory stimuli.”
- “Creating, imagining, innovating.” Students are well served in problem solving when they “examine alternative possibilities from many angles.” Students who exemplify this habit are unlikely to accept the status quo, instead seeking greater novelty.
- “Responding with wonderment and awe.” Joyful and energetic curiosity is a trait that defines this habit. This habit transcends the “Yes, I can” attitude, better characterized as “Yes, I enjoy.” I recently observed one of our math students assigning a problem that “will make your head hurt.” The advanced math students related to this challenge just as the math teacher intuitively had predicted – they were looking forward to the “brain teaser” problems.
- “Taking responsible risks.” Students who “accept confusion, uncertainty, and the higher risks of failure” are likely to exemplify this habit.
- “Finding humor.” This habit may best be exemplified by those students who “thrive on finding incongruity and perceiving absurdities, ironies, and satire.”
- “Thinking interdependently.” There is a reason why all good classrooms include group projects, as in our technological age “no one person has access to all the data needed to make critical decisions; no one person can consider as many alternatives as several people can.” Habits such as listening, seeking consensus and foregoing one’s own ideas and work and instead accepting someone else’s are part of working and thinking interdependently.
- “Remaining open to continuous learning.” This habit may best be described as keeping an open mind, “inviting the unknown, the creative, and the inspirational.”
In summary, teachers, parents, mentors, and coaches are wise to spend significant time in helping students develop these habits, in turn teaching them to “behave intelligently.” I would propose that a successful internalization of these 16 habits are all ingredients that facilitate a healthy growth mindset.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
1. The ability to identify and formulate problems, as well as the ability to solve them.
2. The ability to recognize and use inductive reasoning, as well as the ability to solve them.
3. The ability to draw reasonable conclusions from information found in various sources, whether written, spoken, tabular, or graphic, and to defend one’s conclusions rationally.
4. The ability to comprehend, develop, and use concepts and generalizations.
5. The ability to distinguish between fact and opinion.