This is a professional development blog for Nottingham Elementary. We'll be discussing books we have read as a group. Our discussions will be focused on gifted children.
From chapter 3, I would like to explore more on the topic of Belonging-ness discussed on page 39-40. There's a saying " Birds of a feather flock together," seems to apply here in this idea. Gifted and talented students are put "together into a community where there are a few others like them." Its hard on students like the African American student from Ivy school to not be able to handle the psychological buffer against those attacks. Most colleges do not have activities that support or even foster activities to increase a sense of belonging and we need to offer those kinds of support. Speaking from experience, my freshman year at UT was dismal. I did not know anyone and I couldn't click with any one as well. I felt like a sore thumb and the feeling of "tremendous sense of isolation."
I agree with Sarah. We all work best when we are around people when we have something in common. It could be work ethic, interests, age, background,etc. Bouncing ideas of others makes for a more productive & engaging work time.
Perhaps the act of going to college is isolating for some? I felt very isolated my first semester at UT, even to the point of hating the choice of radio stations. I was rooming with a dear friend, and was part of several "groups" to be less isolated. Even so, it was a bad experience. Some of the groups turned out to be an awkward fit. However, I might surely have felt more out of place had the environment been new to my family. I can't even imagine and I am glad students push on past the initial feelings.
I agree with Sarah on saying that "birds of a feather flock together" as I was always the outcast in social situations through my schooling and felt if I had more groups that I had something in common in I would not feel as isolated and socially inept through the years.
I agree with Sarah on Chapter 3. I'm interested in the "belongingness" in chapter 3 pages 39 and 40. I agree with you guys. We need to find some way to help those who are the "odd guy out". I have always been the quirky one. We all need a sense of belonging and having our own circle of friends. I worry about their stress level. It is hard to think about a student not wanting to come to school because he/she just doesn't belong to a group of friends. Maybe we can come up with a plan to help fix any problems we might have.
An idea that would like to explore more is the idea of Stereotype Threat. On page 44, stereotype threat refers to the anxiety felt by members of group who are negatively stereotyped in society, especially when their situation confirms the stereotype. I found it interesting that stereotype threat actually effects evaluations, particularly academic evaluations. A gifted student anxiety level skyrockets when they are feeling judged and expected to perform well or even beyond. I have found that sometimes it comes from within with the idea that "they are their worst enemy" or with the educational system.
I agree with A Mitch ( Annie's) comments on June 4th at 8:53pm because sometimes without thinking about it, we do stereotype to justify a sense of understanding. We should try to be just see the facts as is for face value without putting a face to it.
I agree because research has shown that stereotype threat can harm the academic performance of any individual for whom the stereotype-based expectation is to have poor performance.
I absolutely agree! When we stereotype we are doing the student a deserves not giving them an equal opportunity. The last thing we want are for the students to give into these stereotypes and not live up to their full potential because of what they hear or see around them.
I agree. A negative stereotype is a negative evaluation of an individual. So, yes it can a have an effect on a students performance. I would say anyone's performance.
I agree with Annie about the topic negative stereotype on page 44. Any time we stereotype it only can result to a negative. We need our students to live up and beyond their potential.
Belongingness (pg. 39-40) is an idea I would like to explore more since our students leave the regular classroom one day every week. "If programs do not actively build in activities to increase a sense of belonging, atypical members of the community build may feel a tremendous sense of isolation." Do our students feel this way? I wonder if our Spiral program do these activities.
Jchoy on June 8 poses a great question about if our Spiral program addresses a sense of belonging. I know that they start with The Gifted Bill of Rights http://tip.duke.edu/node/870. I think they want to reassure students that they are allowed to overachieve, reach forward, and even make mistakes. But I think Spiral needs to make a step even further for group belongingness for the newly identified.
I would like to explore the idea written about on page 46 that dual schema students outperformed the in-group students, both at present time and in the future. I would like to know if the students who were able to break out of stereotypic roles were actually gifted?
I would like to explore the idea of the "stereotype threat" on pg. 44. Is this broader than race, economic status and community influence. Can other factors change the "threat" and include those who are highly gifted. I'm sure this affects classroom performance, but on what scale for individual groups?
Danielle on June 22: I found this great website called http://www.reducingstereotypethreat.org/. It gives the dangers of how stereotype threat can effect academic performance. The best part talks about what we can do to reduce stereotype threat such as emphasizing high standards with assurances about capability for meeting them and encouraging self-affirmation. How do you think these could influence your individual groups?
I would love to explore the idea of stress and the different stressors the GT student experiences. I find it interesting all the pressure put on these students to be the best and brightest because they are GT. I actually had a past colleague ask how this certain student was GT because he was horrible in math and he was not as smart as he thought. This teacher told the student this often and it completely shut him down. This past year I had a lot of GT students and I often had one in tears because of her math grades and how her mother was going to be mad because she made a 93 on a quiz. The pressure is ridiculous. I also saw a lot of just wanting to belong with their peers. A lot of my GT students (especially the boys) only hung out with other GT kids. I find it interesting on page 40 when an African American student was talking about how he just graduated an Ivy League Law School and his peers where saying the only reason he was there was because of affirmative action. These were other black people putting down his accomplishments instead of celebrating him. He said he has a hard time being accepted at the school and didn't feel he fit in. These are everyday people and should be treated as such
On page 48 in the section "An Intervention Response to Psychosocial Stressors", I was intrigued by the approach UC Berkeley took with its gifted program. The name was changed to emphasize giftedness as "academic" versus "biological", and specific strategies were intentionally utilized to minimize students' stressors - they thought outside the box in several ways, e.g. allowing students to refer other students "like themselves" to the program, allowed collaboration during the application process, provided a multi-faceted system of support, and grouped students based on the commonality of interests. I would like to explore these (and other) interventions...what could we bring to our elementary programs to help relieve the phychosocial stress of ALL students?
I agree Sherrie. Changing names allows students to participate without being labeled. Labeling can make student feel they do not belong. Changing names and not labeling are good examples of what can be done on our campus to eliminate psychosocial stress for all students.
I agree with both Sarah and Annie. I'm interested in the topic of "belongingness" because gifted students are grouped where there are few like them, but in this case, I'm going to join Annie where on page 44, stereotype threat refers to the anxiety felt by members of group who are negatively stereotyped in society, especially when their situation confirms the stereotype. How totally deflating and defeating that has to be! To be judged on your performance and having to try to maintain the status quo takes out the human element in my opinion. The anxiety and psychological stress by the activation of the sterotype threat can create one big hot mess! After all, these are human beings and we need to learn all we can to help them to use their giftedness, be successful and feel comfortable in society.
p. 34--Who Achieves the Label "Gifted" is an area that I would like to explore more. According to the author, we do not have an official definition of giftedness. I like to see federal and state policies implemented regarding a definition, assessment system and curriculum. I believe something official would eliminate the pyschosocial stressors experienced by atypical gifted students. If the criteria of an official or accredited gifted program is met, no one can question the inclusion of these students. The number of non-atypical students will probably decrease. For example, there are a number of non atypical students in Spring Branch who did not meet the district testing requirements but appealed and gained admittance using an alternative measure. Hence, who belongs and doesn't belong--"Belongingness" is truly an issue.
I'm interested in the "belongingness" in chapter 3 pages 39 and 40. I agree with you guys. We need to find some way to help those who are the "odd guy out". I have always been the quirky one. We all need a sense of belonging and having our own circle of friends. I worry about their stress level. It is hard to think about a student not wanting to come to school because he/she just doesn't belong to a group of friends. Maybe we can come up with a plan to help fix any problems we might have.