Progressive Homeschool
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Genius - meaning and practice

Monday, September 18, 2006

So this morning I could not sleep past 5 am (good practice for when the baby comes I guess) and I found myself watching Sanjay Gupta's program called "Genius: Quest for extreme brain power" on CNN.

I was left with mixed feelings.

Its great that they have put together this show and the site. I am sure it represents a lot of work and it does a respectable job of illustrating the extreme disservice our public schools pay to our gifted children (especially here in Massachusetts). It also points out how NCLB has further devastated gifted programs.

"NCLB: No child left behind, no child leaps forward" is my motto relating to this boondoggle of a republican travesty.

I think my negative reaction lies in this impression that is given that genius children are destined for greatness and that is how they SHOULD actualize. What I mean is that if a child has an IQ over 145, they must be hyperachievers to truly reach "full potential".

I find that offensive. Our minds are not only for the use of the State or Race. How we succeed or not should be by our OWN definition.

Even more importantly, this program doesnt deal with the reality of most gifted kids (and adults) - asymmetrical giftedness. VERY few kids are globally gifted. This program does not explore that and can mislead parents of kids who are profoundly gifted in one area and who are average or challenged in other areas to never identify the needs of their kids.

It doesnt deal with Dual Exceptionality (those who are gifted and have a disability or are gifted and have ADHD).

"These children show a greater degree of asynchrony among cognitive, social and emotional areas of development, and much greater variation in their ability to act maturely. Cognitive deficits, compared to other gifted children, are shown in less ability to think sequentially, to use working memory adequately, to solve problems using part to whole relationships, and to reason inductively especially since they have trouble picking out the main or salient feature among data. Gifted children with AD/HD, compared to gifted peers, complete less work, tend to try to hurry through it, often change topics on projects, or take inordinately long to complete simple exercises. They find it particularly difficult to work in groups, even groups of gifted children. Gifted children with ADHD also find completing tasks less rewarding than do other gifted children, that is, for many, the intrinsic reward of completion is not as satisfying to them. On the other hand, when working on a self-chosen activity, gifted children, with and without AD/HD, are able to immerse themselves in the task and work for long hours without much external reinforcement. This ability to hyperfocus, the falling into "flow" (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996), is what makes creative work so satisfying to so many gifted children, whatever their other problems."
Our journey with our profoundly gifted dual exceptional child (and love of my life) into homeschooling is just beginning. There is no way to buy a curriculum off the shelf and motivation is ALWAYS the hard part.

7:42 AM :: 2 comments links to this post

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  • I found your post on a Google search for "gifted adults." Since I have a blog on gifted adults, I'm always looking for interesting material. I agreed with your analysis of how giftedness is viewed, and the little info available on the CNN site about "genius" confirmed their shallowness and lack of understanding. I love the name of your blog--especially since so much of home schooling is presumed to be religion-based. I've bookmarked your blog and will be checking out some of the others in your blogroll.


    By Blogger Catana, at 1:42 PM  
  • Catana: thanks for stopping by and leaving this great note. The non-religious sort of homeschooling family is on the rise, for certain.

    Looking forward to looking at your blog and learning your point of view.

    By Blogger nika, at 3:55 PM  
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