May. 14th, 2012

There are lots of ways for potential height to not be achieved, accepting the premise of "hard-wired for height." Malnutrition, illness, and drugs (such as nicotine) can all limit one's growth. (There is also the possibility that you got a different gene distribution and were not, in fact, hard-wired for height.)

So, too, one's intellectual, emotional, sensual, imaginational, or psychomotor potential. Drugs can do it as can illness. Lack of stimulation will impact some of those. Mistreatment in a host of ways can reduce a child's access to the potential.

But all things being equal, we have good reason to expect a person to gain close to their likely genetic height. This is far less certain for a gifted kid. Their "nutrition" is far less easily sussed, it seems.

The notion that giftedness is culturally defined is one I find increasingly less viable. As we look at the brain science, nascent field though it is, we see clear distinctions in how different kinds of brains work - how they use glucose, how bilateralism manifests, and other areas. However, despite the addition of new definitions of giftedness, the overwhelming majority of the time, the kids we are talking about as gifted would have been the kids Whipple was talking about when the term shifted to Gifted from Supernormal.

I am not worried about "high achievers." The common chart that shows "bright vs. gifted" is less than useless from my perspective --> it is actively misleading, too often. What I am worried about in the talent development argument is an incessant beat about EMINENCE as an appropriate primary goal for our children.

You talk about making the cut one year and not the next and, while I grant that is a not uncommon happenstance, it is one of the backward items of the failed gifted programs of which Dr. Borland wrote. Children should not "fail to make the cut" in a program that is actually serving gifted kids.

Ideally, I am not actually in favor of a term. I am in favor of fully individualized education - a personally tailored instructional system. Unfortunately, while I love science fiction and fantasy, that is not the world I actually live in, so we are not going to see that degree of tailoring in my lifetime or even that of my titular grandchildren.

Differentiation is observed more in the breach than practice. And the best practices for gifted children include many practices that do not work for other children, contrary to much of what I read (and for all that I might wish it were otherwise).

Inclusion is a lovely notion, but it has proven repeatedly to serve as a retardant for some. I don't believe IQ testing should be the only mechanism for access. Nor do I believe parent nomination should be enough for entrance, though it ought to be enough to force a reexamination. "Preponderance of evidence" tends to be where I am left.

That and a gifted program that is designed for the kind of gifted kids one has set out to identify!



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