on education

thoughts from a graduate student at the university of mary washington

Reflection: 11 February

February11

The readings for this week had me highlighting and writing in the text a lot more than I usually do. I’d say my markings were half because of “wow! I didn’t know that!” moments and half because of its importance to the topic at hand. This is truly the piece of the puzzle that makes me the most nervous: identification. Actually, that may not be true. I think the piece that makes me the MOST nervous is knowing what to do with these kids once they’re in my classroom! But next to that, I’m definitely apprehensive about being able to pick out which kids get gifted services and which don’t.

I was certainly grateful for the lecture on this topic. Like it or not, that’s how I grew up learning, and it’s where I’m most comfortable: listening to my teacher or professor and writing down what I think I need to know from what they’re saying. Sometimes, it’s really difficult for me to take a large amount of information via text and get the main points out of it. I’ll highlight things, but I may not really register what the text is trying to tell me. Being able to draw out the diagram of the identification process and hear how the process works was so, so helpful for me.

The chapter that sat the best with me (because I like things that are straightforward and regimented and labeled nicely!) was chapter 9 – basically he how-to manual for identifying gifted students. Axioms and postulates galore! I really had no experience with the gifted education realm, and I wasn’t even sure when or how kids got tested (because I thought that’s what it was – you took a test and got in or got out) and when or how you knew you were gifted. In the reading, the authors mention that an “exemplary practice” is an ongoing screening for giftedness. Does this mean you revisit everyone in your student population each year? It seems so cumbersome to do that. Or do you revisit the files that the committee marked as “has potential” or something of this nature?

I wasn’t sure what this chapter really meant by the multiple criteria smokescreen and the matrix mirage until having this conversation in class (again, thank you for all of the talking!), but now I understand. I never knew that your pass/fail score was actually a range. I also, having thought that being placed in GT meant taking and passing a test, never really considered looking at any other means until I started this course. In my mind, giftedness was very narrow – are you book smart, do you have a high IQ? Yes? Welcome to GT. It’s definitely not that simple.

While I’m sitting here thinking, another thing that really grabbed my attention from this week’s readings was in chapter 10 under the section of under-representation. Having my interest in twice exceptional students already stoked, reading a couple of “wow! no way!” sentences really got me thinking about them. I’ve often thought this – that because of their disabilities, their superior abilities may be mistaken for average and nothing special. Seeing it in writing strangely hit me like a brick. Also the sad statistic – 11.1% of students with disabilities were participating in GT programs. Big sad face. Why is this? Do they feel discouraged? Unwelcome? Are the teachers just unwilling to believe that a disabled person can also be gifted? So many questions.

posted under EDCI 540
One Comment to

“Reflection: 11 February”

  1. Avatar March 5th, 2014 at 4:37 pm Laurie Abeel Says:

    Glad the readings and lecture were so helpful to you and gave you some AHAs!! 🙂

    “…the authors mention that an “exemplary practice” is an ongoing screening for giftedness. Does this mean you revisit everyone in your student population each year? It seems so cumbersome to do that. Or do you revisit the files that the committee marked as “has potential” or something of this nature?”
    — Ongoing means you don’t screen twice a year, for example. You continually look for students and assess. Students can be referred any time of year, and then the collection of data would continue from there. Committees could meet once per month to review any potential gifted students. But – yes – you should revisit the entire population each year. Kids change .. cognitive growth spurts… maybe we missed someone because we weren’t looking hard enough or asking the right questions.. maybe we had some bias thrown into the mix…

    “I’ve often thought this – that because of their disabilities, their superior abilities may be mistaken for average and nothing special. Seeing it in writing strangely hit me like a brick. Also the sad statistic – 11.1% of students with disabilities were participating in GT programs. Big sad face. Why is this? Do they feel discouraged? Unwelcome? Are the teachers just unwilling to believe that a disabled person can also be gifted?”
    — Great questions!! Well.. sometimes disabilities can mask abilities – so they appear average. Some students compensate so well because of disabiliites – that teachers do not see their strengths. We are not looking for these kids in the right way. We assume they have no issues -but many do. So, yes, many teachers do not understand the issue of a twice-exceptional – or 2e – student. My daughter is one of them.. so it hits home for me too.


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