on education

thoughts from a graduate student at the university of mary washington

Reflections: 28 January


Studying the five theorists this last week has been a little dizzying. Some of them I know better than others because of their coverage in educational psychology courses like Gardner and Sternberg. Others, I hadn’t yet heard of. I can see merit in all of them, and taking the time to get to know their beliefs has helped me hone mine.

Something that I know about myself is that I don’t enjoy relying on other people to bring me information. Sitting in our jigsaw (or any jigsaw for that matter) makes me feel like I could be missing a major piece of the puzzle. It’s not that I don’t trust the group I work with. It has more to do with, I think, us thinking dissimilarly sometimes. I remember listening to one presentation and I wasn’t sure what to takes notes on because I completely didn’t understand what she was saying. I had to go back and read her theorist for myself. Once I saw it with my own eyes and made sense of it with my own background knowledge, it made perfect sense to me.

Gagne’s differentiation between being gifted and being talented is interesting. I think I believe this! I’ve seen people develop talent. I’ve seen it in music and in art. I’ve seen it in writing. But, can you be talented without being gifted? I say no (perhaps because of my definition of talented?), and my husband says yes. Thank goodness I’m married to somebody who will sit and have conversations about gifted learners with me on a Monday night. It makes sense to me that a person is born with some innate ability (and I love that he includes virtually all possible fields) and then various factors converge to develop a talent in that field.

I’m not sure how I feel about Renzulli’s Three-Ring Model. Yes, I believe that a variety of factors interact with each other and act upon the giftedness. But where is the talent portion? I definitely believe that you can be gifted without nurturing a talent for something. I personally knew a few gifted kids whose lives melted away into nothing because they never cultivated their passions and talents. One thing I can get on board with is the idea of task commitment. This is definitely a characteristic that I think gifted people have.

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences have always sat well with me. Acknowledging that there are many different arenas that people can be gifted in or stronger in is kind of a no-brainer for me. The shortcoming that I do see with this theory, though, is that it is hard to put a finger on what makes a person gifted in one area. As teachers, I think we all too often mistake intense interest for giftedness, and this theory lends itself well to that. Maybe I believe in this more as a way to run my classroom and plan my lessons to fit a variety of learners than I do as a way to identify gifted students.

I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about Sternberg. This is the one that is hardest for me to wrap my head around, I think.

Tannenbaum I just don’t like. To say that children only have the potential to be gifted is doing them a disservice, I think. You’re born with a gift! It’s already there, and the potential to cultivate that talent is what exists! I also had a problem with his 8 categories of gifted people, and the idea that they have to be contributing something profound and meaningful to society in order to be truly gifted. What if nobody ever hears you sing, sees your painting, or reads your treatise? Does that mean you’re not gifted? Do you have to be seen and heard for it to count? I don’t like that.

posted under EDCI 540
One Comment to

“Reflections: 28 January”

  1. Avatar March 5th, 2014 at 4:24 pm Laurie Abeel Says:

    ” had to go back and read her theorist for myself. Once I saw it with my own eyes and made sense of it with my own background knowledge, it made perfect sense to me.”
    — That’s fine.. Everyone is different. But that is also why I do a wrap up at the end of class to make sure I highlight certain important aspects.

    Nice summary of your thoughts about the theorists!!

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