- Heidi Williams
- Jackson, WI
- United States
All of us have a "genius." I propose we honor the diversity of our children and stop LABELING them as "gifted." vs what..."not gifted?"
In doing an extensive search on the definition of "giftedness," I have come to the realization that an agreed upon definition does not exist...because there is NOT one. All of us have our own unique gifts and talents, and as a STRETCh (Striving To Reach Every Talented Child) Instructor, I help ALL children find and exploit those gifts and talents.
Our system of education must go under radical change and begin to honor the diversity we have within our children. Let's start focusing on what students CAN do instead of what they can't do.
Stop telling our children..."Great job, you are in the "GT program," and "Way to Go, you are so smart!" Let's start placing students in their strength areas with other students who have the same strength area regardless of their "date of manufacture (Sir Ken)." This way we can push all students and provide feedback that will help them all grow.
Many times those LABELED as GT are afraid of failure and take the easy way out, for fear that they would not be judged as "smart." We need to teach all children how to struggle, hit the wall, dust themselves off and gain the new skills needed to...as Sir Ken Robinson likes to say "give it a go" again!
I would love to see the world truly shift the paradigm of education! Provide all students with the opportunity to discover their gifts and talents and give parents the voice they need to be able to hold the school system accountable for meeting their child's needs. The question should not be "Is my child gifted"...but "Are my child's needs being met?"
Closing Statement from Heidi Williams
I am unsure as to why this conversation closed so quickly...I fear that it was because I change my posting title and introduction too many times...? However, like any good educator, I model for my students the revision process. This is the first closing statement I have written, and I find it ironic that it asks "how my idea has evolved or been shaped...by contributions."
For those following my posts, I have done just that! Based upon feedback and conversations, I went in and edited my post as our conversations continued.
ED - I must reply to your comment: Do you think just because you didn't qualilfy (throuogh a labeling process) you wouldn't have enjoyed or been succesful at "those classes the eggheads took?" I think A LOT of undeveloped talented goes unnoticed because a student doesn't have the right test score to qualify. Why not open the class to anyone who wants to try! Why can't it be okay to have a student say...opps TOO hard. It would then let us know as educators that we are truly pushing at the top end....because it is too hard for some.
Many respondents mentioned learning pace and differentiation. Why would we need to label students (one the high or low end) if the educational system differentiated individually for all? I think that is why many of the MOOC's are so successful. As a learner, I can go at my own pace and receive the instant feedback I need to move forward. How can we build upon this type of environment in the classroom?
I would love to continue sharing ideas with others on this topic! Please consider joining a movement to STRETCh all our children! Continue to take part in the conversation!!