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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Ignoring smart kids isn't a smart strategy

Gifted students deserve an education that fits their needs, argues Brandon Wright on Fordham's Advance newsletter.

Photo: MART Productions/Pexels

Acceleration and ability grouping are politically unpopular, but there's a lot of evidence they help students realize their potential -- and "there seemed to be little downside for medium- and low-achieving students, and often an upside."


In addition, enrichment programs also have "generally positive results," he writes.


"There’s a misguided push" to eliminate programs for gifted students because the top students don't match district demographics, notes Wright.


However, capable students from disadvantaged backgrounds need advanced learning the most and are the least likely to get it. Often, they're stuck in classrooms in which novice teachers focus their energies on low achievers and there are few opportunities to excel.


Many think smart students "will be fine" on their own, writes Addison Whitmer in the Deseret News. But “the ‘gifted’ kids aren’t all right.”

184 views7 comments

7 תגובות


אורח
10 בדצמ׳ 2022

I agree that failing to meet the academic needs of top achievers is not good for the country, but the attitude that ‘these kids will do fine, anyway’ has been espoused for many decades. My late FIL was told that when he started teaching in 1930. I have also read recent teacher quotes that they feel that their time should be spent on kids ‘who really need it’.

If given separate, homogeneous classes, advanced, motivated kids can thrive in larger-than-average classes; particularly as they advance through the grades. My kids’ HS AP classes (easily at an elite-college honors level; only qualified kids admitted) at a top suburban school all had over 30 kids. The sciences had 36 (18 lab…

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אורח
08 בדצמ׳ 2022

In the small rural school I first attended, there was a bookshelf, books on all topics at all grade levels, and a stool. The "gifted" student who finished a lesson ahead of the other students was instructed/expected to cross over and amuse him/her self sitting on the stool browsing the books and "free reading" until invited back to a new lesson. In the city grade school, later, the book shelf was replaced with an SRA color-coded reading box. Same sort of deal. Free read, sit quietly, don't bug the teacher or the other kids.


This was fine for gifted readers. Gifted budding musicians, artists, mathematicians, etc ... not so much.

לייק
אורח
10 בדצמ׳ 2022
בתשובה לפוסט של

This is NOT fine for gifted students (formerly referred to as "overachievers". It's a great way to get them to kill time, but not a very effective way to take advantages of their gifts. Even the most gifted child needs guidance and help from older adults. They need courses of study laid out. They need hands-on work and the company of other gifted students to spur them on and help them past the rough spots.


If all you want to do is shut them up and shuttle them off to the corner, then a bookshelf is fine. If you want to help them use their gifts to their best advantage and the best advantage of their society, then *teach* them.

לייק

אורח
08 בדצמ׳ 2022

Seems like some of that "equity" that everyone is talking about these days: the gifted kids have an equal right to an education that meets their needs.

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אורח
08 בדצמ׳ 2022

In the US (don't know about other countries), gifted education gets approximately 1-2% of educational dollars from the entire pie where as special education students (who by definition require very specific programs) cost a lot more to education...


Additionally, many teachers also like to make gifted students assist average and low achievers in a classroom, which by definition cheats the gifted student(s) out of a(n)

appropriate education.


When I attended school up until 1981 when I graduated, we grouped students by ability

which would be verboten today (low with low, average with average, and high with high), everyone learned, albeit at their own pace

לייק
אורח
09 בדצמ׳ 2022
בתשובה לפוסט של

As anyone who has ever been a teaching assisitant in Congress, trying to teach someone else is a great way to master material. Without tracking, teaching others is probably a good idea. However, tracking is a better idea if the tracking is done honestly.

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