on education

thoughts from a graduate student at the university of mary washington

Required Prompt: Take-Aways

April14

My top 3 take-aways from this course:

1. I CAN DO THIS.

That probably sounds cheesy, but I was truly terrified of having gifted students in my classroom. I don’t like to look or be clueless, and I truly had no idea how to help them. In each of my 4 practicums, I never saw any differentiation for them. I never would have known that they were SCOPE kids unless the teachers pointed them out to me. They did nothing differently…except they looked a lot more bored than the rest of the kids. Now I feel like I have the research base and the knowledge and confidence to actually get this done. I know how to identify these kids. I know what I think about them. I know how to help them in my classroom.

2. I think I have a research area. And a passion.

Coming into this class, I knew it would be useful for me. I knew it had information that I needed to know in order to be a successful teacher. What I didn’t anticipate was that it would help me define what I’m interested in learning more about. It’s so interesting, really: when I look the course for special education, in a way I almost blew it off. I did what I needed to do, and I learned a couple of things, but I almost felt like I’d been there, done that, lived it every single day so what can you possibly teach me about it… you know? And then I got to this class, and I realized that the two most marginalized groups of students in my classroom existed together in the twice-exceptional student. Of course, circumstances in my personal life mingled in and really piqued my interest, but the discoveries I made while reading and doing research for my various assignments really helped me to hone in on this special population. I found the research on my particular area of interest to be woefully inadequate, so I guess I have some questions to answer down the road (I don’t like to rely on other people to give me answers, remember?).

Again, I feel like I’m (somewhat) equipped to handle this group of kids. I get it from a SPED point of view, and I get it from a GT point of view. From my own research, I can gather that we know ways to identify these kids, and they’re not really the conventional ways. I also know that we tend to overlook their strengths and focus on their weaknesses, and I know not to do that! It’s easy to do, I admit. Sometimes I’m so focused on my son’s shortcomings that when he shows me what he’s capable of, my jaw hits the floor. Six years in, and it still happens to me all of the time. It’s going to be trial and error I think, but I am armed with a few evidence-based practices. More than anything, I’m hopeful that I see more of these students in my classroom over the coming years. I have yet to meet a twice-exceptional student in Spotsy schools. Surely they are out there!

3. This is a tricky business.

I guess I’d never really imagined that coming up with an idea of what giftedness is would be so difficult. Coming from being a parent in the special ed world, everything has a definition and a law and regulations attached. Nothing is left up in the air. Switching into gifted/talented, I was shocked to see that it doesn’t operate the same way; I’d assumed it did. There are positives and negatives to being able to come up with your own definition of giftedness as a county or school district, and I’m not entirely sure yet how I feel about that kind of freedom. It’s hard – what if you miss an entire subset of the population that could be getting services? What if you have all of these wonderful ideas for who should get services, but you have no money? Too many people still think gifted kids can make it on their own. I would argue most teachers seem to feel that way based on what I’ve seen in schools. How do we get them in and keep them engaged and learning at their level? It sure would be nice to have a rule book for it, and some money too.

posted under EDCI 540
One Comment to

“Required Prompt: Take-Aways”

  1. Avatar April 20th, 2014 at 5:20 pm Laurie Abeel Says:

    “I never would have known that they were SCOPE kids unless the teachers pointed them out to me. They did nothing differently…except they looked a lot more bored than the rest of the kids.”
    – Wow…. so sad! Something I need to discuss with Dr. Lapke too..

    “so I guess I have some questions to answer down the road (I don’t like to rely on other people to give me answers, remember?).”
    — Awesome!! Go for it! Do your research! 🙂

    There are MANY 2e students in all the school systems.

    “what if you miss an entire subset of the population that could be getting services?”
    — Right.. it happens.. this is why all defnitions should be as inclusive as possible

    Yes – a rule book would be nice…. along with the money! 🙂


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