There is a definite need to change the way in which we identify and service "gifted education!" It can no longer be a "I'm in the gifted program...vs I don't qualify for the gifted program." We miss too much talent in our youth with this approach! We also put too much stress on our children when we say "you're smart!"
We need to help our children develop a growth mindset. That means we need to shattered the pendulum of gifted identification and SHIFT the paradigm.
So what does that look like within our school system? First of all, it means that our children deserve an educator who believes in the growth mindset and can differentiate the instruction our children receive on a daily...hourly...as needed basis! The pull-out (once a week...once a month) programs will not meet the needs of children who can aquire information quickly...or those who have a passion or interest in a specific subject or topic.
We need an advocacy model for parents that begins with "Are my child's needs being met?" If the answer is "no," then a conversation with teacher/s need to take place to ask the following questions:
1. How are you pre-testing (pre-assessing) students to determine what skills they have already mastered?
2. How are you differentiating your instruction and how do you identify which students get those differentiated activities? - (Parents, make sure that this is not MORE but DIFFERENT!) - too many times a teacher will just "add on" assignments or activties rather than increase the difficulty level provided
3. How are students progress monitored in your class to ensure growth in learning for all students?
If a teacher cannot address these concerns, then I feel - as a parent - that I have a right to ask for another teacher who CAN do these things for my child. If I go to a doctor and he cannot provide me with services that will meet my needs, then I have a right to go see another doctor who will. Why do we have to accept a year worth of stagnant growth for our child if the classroom teacher is not strong in the skills of differentiating instruction for my child's needs...?
Don't misinterpret my comments above. I am a teacher and believe that most of us have these skills, and we work hard every day to meet the individual needs of our students. However, just like any profession...there are those that do not want to change the pedagogy of their teaching to meet the 21st century learner. Students no longer need us to "teach" them content. If they want to learn something they can just go "google or youtube" it. For the majority of teachers, this was not how we learned. We needed to get information and knowledge directly from our teachers.
Education is shifting to a "coaching" model. A teacher no longer needs to "teach" knowledge, but rather how to acquire it, evaluate it, and analyze it for validity. This does not mean we will never impart our knowledge onto our students, it just means that they now have the ability to aquire more knowledge on a specific topic than we do! Thus - my thoughts for today go FULL CIRCLE back to the importance of the GROWTH mindset!