Quote of the Day: Gifted Education

18 Mar

I’m doing research into education at the moment, and I came across this hilarious quote in the wiki article on “Cluster grouping“:

“Further, in mixed ability group projects, gifted children frequently do most of the work or teach the other children, which is not their responsibility and for which they have no certification.”

I’ll cop to being labeled a “gifted” student, and I want to be clear that I am not trying to bash any group.  I think the issue of gifted education is complicated and muddy on both sides of the fence.

But not only did I find this comment to be accurate, I thought the bolded portion was an extremely relevant commentary on some of the misunderstandings of “giftedness” by general educators.  It is in fact the teachers job to teach the class, and while I am perfectly happy to help out a classmate who asks me, a major project is not the proper place for anyone to be learning material that they should have known prior to the assignment.

While I agree that “teaching” others can help to cement a concept in one’s mind, it does not somehow make delegation by the teacher a benefit for the student-“teacher” in question, gifted or otherwise.

Anyone writing YA in a school setting might want to consider the issues associated with streaming, gifted and talented education(GATE), and the conflict between conforming and being an individual in a school setting.  Academic achievement comparisons are not a small issue in any student’s mind, whether they be encouraged or discouraged by that students peer group.

(Don’t worry, I’m not going to go off on a big tanget and bore you with my research.  Think of this a small blip on the radar, slipping sinking swiftly back into obscurity.)


Posted by on March 18, 2010 in atsiko


Tags: , , ,

2 responses to “Quote of the Day: Gifted Education

  1. Susana Mai

    March 18, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    As one of those “gifted” students (at least according to NYC school standards, and we know how great they are) I’ve had the feeling of doing most of the work in a group project. It’s partly because I don’t trust the other kids to do the work, or to do it to my specifications (is there any way to say this without seeming snobby/pretentious/cold? I doubt it). Teachers ignore it, and I’ve been encouraged to continue doing so because “my influence might help the other students raise their grade.” This seems…ridiculous? Injust? So it’s not as if teachers don’t know.

    But honestly, that’s not what I found most interesting about the quote. When it says “for which they have no certification,” all I could imagine were kids lining up at nearby colleges to get certified to teach their peers. That’s funny.

  2. atsiko

    March 18, 2010 at 9:43 PM

    That’s exactly what cracked me up. I laughed so load, it was almost embarrassing.

    Teachers and schools get enough flak about qualifications, why would they push off their responsibilities onto the students? I used to grade the touch-math for my first-grade teacher. Maybe she figured it would give me something to do, and it certainly helped to take some of the strain off of her. But when you’re sitting in the back of the class grading your classmates work, it’s hard to imagine they don’t feel some resentment for the C- you gave them.

    Of course, you can’t deny that most teachers are over-worked. Especially in the sort of lower-middle class suburban districts where I went to school. But the way to help the students who are ahead of the class, which includes more than just the so-called “gifted” is not to dump your excess work-load on them. It’s to provide them with a more stimulating environment.

    If the US had more reasonable student-to-teacher ratios, then you wouldn’t need the students to “teach” each other. You could give each child a more appropriate amount of attention. I remember how in my Algebra 2-Trig class, they had to kick out two students because the class was above state size restrictions. The teacher was forced to base it on grades. That kind of comment on a students ability should never have to happen.

    And now I’m getting overly political.

    But just as I noted above, it’s something besides explicit bullying and mean-girl cliques for YA to take a look at. (I’m not saying that’s all YA looks at.)


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