[Discuss-sudbury-model] Re: "giftedness"

From: CRW Pup <crwpup_at_earthlink.net>
Date: Mon Oct 10 19:35:01 2005

>Message: 6
>From: Mimsy Sadofsky <mimsys_at_comcast.net>
>Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] All children being gifted
>Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 16:47:48 -0400
>To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
>Reply-To: discuss-sudbury-model_at_sudval.org
>"gifted" doesn't mean high intelligence. It means high desire and
>ability to do what schools think is important.

Yes, I think we're agreeing to agree here. "Gifted" is a general
term for someone who has a particular aptitude in some area, be that
math, or taking things apart and putting them back together, or
empathizing with people. Unfortunately, as you point out above,
"giftedness" is typically measured in terms of analytical thinking
and verbal skills, which are both highly important in a standard
school setting. I concede that point, and that is something that
many educators attempt to remedy by using more inclusive measures and
criteria for "gifted." But it does not address the basic fact that
high intelligence exists and can be qualitatively noted, if not quantitatively.

>And, what exactly is "smart"? Who is in charge of making THAT
>distinction, and how in the world do they do it?

Well, that's a question faced by just about everyone in the field of
gifted education, and one that's continually discussed - much like
the merits and drawbacks of various methods of schooling are
discussed here. IQ tests attempt to put a number on something that
really can't be quantified, with varying degrees of "success. I
would respectfully submit to you that we all make that distinction,
that intelligence is somewhat like pornography, in that "you know it
when you see it." Do you not notice sometimes when an adult is
particularly intelligent or particularly dull? Why can't children be
the same way? I'm not saying "smart kids are _better, more worthy
people_ than slower ones," just that variation is a natural part of a
species and should be accepted. There has been a recent movement by
many in education to ignore that fact in favor of a mindset that
confuses equality of opportunity with equality of ability, which is
extremely detrimental to _all_ children, at least as applied in a
public school setting. Again, this may not even be something that
comes up in a Sudbury school, as there is no expectation that "all
8-year-olds will know and be able to [fill in arbitrary state
standard here]."

Received on Mon Oct 10 2005 - 19:34:21 EDT

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