I recently read Upsidedown Brillance followed by Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World and thought they were both fantastic books.
However I was really disappointed with the following sentence in the closing pages of Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World where authors Jeffrey Freed & Laurie Parsons wrote 'After all, it won't be long before the right-brained, "attention deficit disordered" student is in the majority and the so-called normal student is viewed as learning disabled'.
The so-called 'normal students' they refer to as learning disabled are the left brained individuals whose needs are well met by the current education system. They would only be viewed as learning disabled if the education system was so completely turned around as to cater only for right brained individuals. Why would we do this and repeat the status quo when we now have the knowledge to cater for all students learning styles? Have we learnt nothing! Do we have to create some sort of elitist education system where someone has to fail be it right brained or left brained. We have such a long way to go!
I’m not sure why they are still talking about ‘right-brained’ ‘left-brained’ when many cognitive neuroscientists seem to be saying that this isn’t a model that explains the complexities of the human brain. I do think that the kids who have a hard time of it in our schools are the highly creative, ‘off the wall’ thinkers and that many teachers don’t even recognise their special abilities and their different way of looking at the world, let alone have the ability or will to provide appropriate learning experiences for these wonderful kids. I have known many kids in this category who have had a miserable time of it in school, especially high school. The ‘new’ curriculum has great possibilities to allow creativity back into our schools – I just hope that the possibilities are realised!
Well Minnie, I am certainly no Cognitive Neuroscientist but, I completely agree with you - particularly because I was of the understanding that "Upside-down Brilliance" is about VS kids who are "wired" for more "global" processing and holistic "thought" rather than left or right.
Mind you - Im not a big fan of the title either upside-down is "wrong side up" or - backwards in another direction.
But as far as the last line goes .... perhaps like me, the authors of the comment, do not believe that labelling a child "Learning Disabled" when they infact are not is detrimental to the well being of children ... it is no more accurate or appropriate than labelling a child "LD" just because they are lefthanded.
I am so glad I found this thread because I am finding myself quite overwhelmed at the moment. Last Friday, I met with my son's Montessori teachers to discuss some issues. I never thought of my son as creative because for a long time he avoided doing anything with his hands because his fine motor skills were not matching his "vision". He is described as a right brain thinker and when I read some of the characteristics of such individuals, he fits perfectly.
T is creative and imaginative and does seem to have "off the wall" ideas even to us. The teachers said that he will encounter some issues at school (primary) because the system caters mostly to "left brain thinkers". When you analyse the way the information is presented, it is taught and how tests are designed, I see why they say he may encounter some difficulty.
My question is to anyone who has "right brain thinkers" in the school system. How are such children taught and evaluated? What methods best appeal to such children?
I imagine that it is hard for a "left brain thinker " to teach someone opposite. Are "right brain thinkers" a minority? Is it gender related?
The teachers talked to me about "cross brain" activities, activities that engage both side of the brain. Is this something worth looking into? I am confused because as I see it, it is something innate, not something that can be influenced! Am I wrong?
I am desperately seeking to understand this, to gain some knowledge so we know what to ask of his teachers. I would appreciate any insight you can offer. Thanks!
One thing I have found through this journey, is that you get stuck on 'issues' and spend all your time trying to figure out how to 'solve' them. Then a few months down the track you wonder why they were 'issues' at the time as they seem to have resolved themselves! This has happened so often over the past few years! My children are very visual spatial and creative. Luckily both my husband and I are as well so we understand how best to teach them. Both were in the schooling environment but we now homeschool - for many many reasons, not just because they are VS! One thing that you should know is that how children learn is becoming more and more 'PC' in schools. More and more activities are directed at those children who are more visual or kinethestic in their learning. In classrooms you are likely to find blocks to use for maths, magnets or pipe cleaners to manipulate when learning letters and spelling etc. However this all tends to peter out the older the children get. By about year 3-4 children are expected to be able to read well and write well. More and more focus is on writing things down in detail. You child will prob be better at drawing diagrams and doing basic labling rather than paragraphs of explanation. Unfortunately many teachers still think of this as showing a 'slower learner', one who needs more attention, more effort required etc. when in fact in reality this is the complete opposite.
Your child will probably need to see the whole picture to understand the little details. Whereas in school they teach the little details step by step to build up to the whole picture. I suggest you read the books by Dr Linda Silverman and Allie Golan and you could look at these websites;
www.visualspatial.org or www.gifteddevelopment.com
The more you know and the better you are able to understand your gifted VS learner, the better you are able to help him and speak out for him.
However do remember, that it is a wonderful thing to be VS - especially for the future - these are our future leaders in a world where seeing the whole picture in our minds will be more relevant than being able to write words on a page. It's not at all bad!
As I read your post, I couldn't help but reflect on how much writing is a part of the expectations as kids go through school. My now 15yr old dd is a gifted VS girl, and primary/intermediate school was mostly OK because teachers let her show her learning in a variety of ways, but now she is at high school, writing seems to be the only medium the teachers accept. It is so frustrating for her!!
Hi Sue, you're so right and although there are writers for dyslexia and other LD issues there generally aren't alternatives for those who just don't create in a written way. This does concern me for future. It's an issue I have at the moment with getting my head around a college future for a homeschooled child. If I was planning to HS the whole way through I wouldn't worry too much about the writing or spelling etc, as it will come when the child finds it necessary to pursue their own interests as they get older. However I feel very much that it's important for my children to be able to write and spell as well as possible so that by the time they're 12-13 and entering college, they'll be able to 'keep up' with their classmates in this area. At only 6 & 8 I have a way to go, but I do feel it adds a little pressue and tends to direct much of the way I HS. Any hints for how to negotiate this would be handy!
I have found that keyboards are an excellent solution - when writing by hand I have to really work to make my hand "work right" as well as trying to remember the order of letters etc ... but the keyboard has really lifted my game - I dont use spell check but with keyboards it is an option.
I do a very very small amount of writing by hand and as much as humanly possible on the keyboard and this has helped me with so much more than just writing issues .... it has actually helped me to find some "sync" in general.
Hope that helps.
There is every chance that by the time they are in HS keyboarding is the norm ... if not, I am sure you will be able to make a very good case for your kids.
My son is just 5 and now getting really interested in putting things on paper, but I was interested to know... is it that they simply have a hard time writing with pen on paper or actually putting ideas into words? I ask this because my son is also left handed and that would only add to the list of possible difficulties.
I am also trying to understand what kind of learner he is. He is creative and imaginative and shows nearly all the characteristics of a child who is creatively gifted. The teachers at school said that he is an auditory/kinesthetic learner, but from what I understand RB (right brain) thinkers are generally VS. I am a little puzzled because he is well spoken and effective at conveying ideas to other orally, has an extensive vocabulary and conversation to him is like second nature. In this respect, he shows LB thinking characteristics.
It truly is like putting a puzzle together, a pretty difficult puzzle.
Ok, I disagree with the statement about VS being "RB Thinkers" .... indeed, even the term "thinker" is misleading because with VS , thoughts, ideas, feelings, emotions and MEMORIES are all processed together, in the same "location" for want of a better word.
I dont know if the left brain / right brain is an accurate model otherwise but, I think it is wise to try and "dispense with it" in order to better understand how someone who is VS works.
The idea of "equal opposites" appeals to the linear minded - which, most in research are or, if they arent, the process usually is.
The VS brain is not limited to one hemisphere or the other .... one might find it easier to think of in terms of an "evolutionay Process" with "left" and "right" being that starting point and totally synthesis of the hemispheres the evolutionary "goal" of this particular aspect of human development .....
VS are the "betwix betweeners" .... they arent wired for "hemispheric dominance" but neither are they "fully linked up" for complete synthesis.
The "closest" I can come is that they are "wired from the back of the brain moving forwards" but without the left/right dominance most commonly associated with the brain.
They use their brain differently and are often equally strong in different cognitive areas that are ordinarily associated with left/right dominance but, it is often in the "blending" of use of the cognitive areas, one can see more of how they are wired for greater synthesis ..... eg the "blending" of logic and creativity.
VS processing is about how we "communicate with ourselves" .... and while I am sure there are "general trends" it isnt the same thing as "learning style".
I flew through English at school - I had 6 months off school in 5th form , never read the novels required and came out with something like 83% - I was avery good listener - even when I wasnt listening - actually often ESPECIALLY when I wasn't listen.
VS refers to what we actually DO with information once with have drawn it from our environment .... HOW we do that - or our learning style .... depends on the individual.
I find drawings and illustrations a TERRIBLE means of obtaining information - doing things, verbal discussion or plain straight typing (writing to myself) are much more preferable.
One thing to watch out for is the fact that kinesthetic are extremely vulnerable to being trained into practises that arent in accord with their neurological design .... if strong in that area then, if we are required to "behave a certain way" then we will "adopt that as a preference" even if it isnt in our best interests.
Even though I'm mainly a VS thinker, I also was very good at English as a subject. I'm a very good poet (or, at least so I think) and writer and have always harbored a secret desire to write a novel. The difference I think is, that I picture the 'scene' and then I search through my memory banks to come up with the appropriate words in order to describe the scene I can see.
Perhaps this is a better way to do things - I can't really say because I only know the one way!
I've also realised lately that often, even though my eyes are open, my brain isn't 'seeing' what my eyes are looking at. Whatever I'm deep in thought about, I can see pictures or a movie playing such as a conversation with someone or houses as I'm presently house-hunting! Once I realise that I'm not looking through my eyes it's as if my vision clears and all of a sudden I see what it is that I have been 'staring' at! With spelling I know if the word I'm looking at is incorrectly spelt, although I may not be able to tell you exactly how it should be spelt. We have recently purchased a typing programme and the kids have started that - luckily with enthusiasm. I think it should help...
Typing has an amazing effect on the VS brain and wiring - I would thoroughly reccommend it to any VS as an alternative to writing by hand where-ever possible.
Not to suggest that VS shouldnt learn to write by hand at all - its not about avoiding any area of weakness completely but rather, its about not training VS to "struggle against their weaknesses" by keeping a balance that is more constructive.
Typing has a wonderful affect in the VS brain and mind ... it builds up the neurological pathways that allows one to be seeing both that which is before us and that which is a product of our minds and use both simultaneously. The tapping of fingers on the keyboard enables us to "see timing" - and it gives the time concept "sense".
But not just any sort of typing .... we need to be typing our own "thoughts".
Also, the more one types ones own thoughts, the more we develop an "alternative" form of "automation .... that is the fingers learn how to "translate" the imagery into words without having to "stop and think" about what word/s to use or how to spell them.
Perhaps you should do something about that secret desire of yours Rebecca - you may be surprised at the results.
I see what you are saying today more that yesterday... I stayed up until 3am reading on the subject and I know understand two things related to RB/LB. Firstly, one one is one or the other, there may be dominace in one are or the other but most of us are a combination of the two. I was extremely surprised to find (after answering several questionnaires and ticking checklists) that I only just slightly favour LB function. Secondly, most effective learning (committing information to memory and recalling) takes place when both hemispheres are involved.
Another interesting aspect I found, was that young children use multiple learning styles depending on what stage of develpment they are at and later settle into one that suits them AS or VS. A study I read suggest that a full third of children in highschool are VS, a third AS and a third show combinations concluding that maybe up to half the students in the study could benefit from VS teaching programmes.
Now, I want to make sure I understand this correctly...
VS is not related to RB or LB!
VS describes how information is processed once it is received
L/RB describes how information is packaged to be received or recalled effectively.
Please correct me if I am wrong!
Now back to my son, he is definitely RB dominant. I believe in my heart that he has VS inclinations. It only came to light recently in an seemingly insignificant incident.
Before bed, we usually read a story, or we tell the boys a story from memory or invent one staring characters of their choosing. I used to tell them orally the story of the "three little pigs" and I thought it would be fun tor borrow it from the library to read for a change. I asked T if he wanted me to tell the story or to read it. He sat up excitedly and said "Read it, read it, I have never seen the pictures that go with the story". After I read the book, he said to me "Mommy, I don't think we should read this story again!" I was startled by this comment and asked him to explain. He then stated "The pictures in the book are not the same as the ones in my brain, I like the ones in my brain better."
T has complex, interconnected ideas in his mind and sometimes finds it hard to verbally explain what he sees in his mind. When he realizes this, he says: "shall I draw you a picture?"
Another strong indication is that he has vivid dreams in colour that he remembers and relives by retelling. He's always had a hard time going to sleep becasue we used to call it "unable to shut off his mind". He often comes out of his room after thinking him asleept to just say something and it ends up being this complex mind numbing thing. He'd come in and say: "I've been thinking... blood vessels are like wires, arteries are the + (plus) and veins are - (minus) and the heart is the battery)" I mean, what possesses a 5 year old to come up with something like this all while he is supposedly going to sleep. The even "funnier" part is when he wakes up in the middle of the night as if he had slept for 12 hours, bright eyes and full of energy and starts off :" you know mommy, when I was sleeping my brain was telling me this and that and I just have to go now and try it".
At the same time, when working he will talk to himself, he will ask and answer his own questions. His short term (working memory) is excellent - tested at the 99th percentile. He has well developed language skills and extensive vocabulary. He is quick to respond verbally and usually dominates a conversation (at least with peers). These are AS characteristics.
In light of all this, at times, he will not hear what is being said to him. For example, when asked by a teacher to "empty the water out of the container and bring it back", he went to the sink, emptied it, refilled it with clean water a total of 4 times until he had to shown what was being asked of him. We find at home too, that he is not 100% tuned into what we are saying to him and it is obvious that he needs make an effort to commit himself to actively listening.
Now, going through this, helped me put things into perspective (actually just writing this helped me organize my thoughts). Is it possible that "giftedness" for him means that he shows streagth in both AS and VS (albeit not equal)? I have never thought of this... Just some more food for thought for me...
I read and reread your post and I think I could have written it... But again I failed to see it in myself. I am a visual learner, but I am organized and sequential as well. I am good at spelling and did well in school on essay questions, not so much on multiple choice. I remember because most tests were multiple choice, I actually forced myself to eliminate "possible connections" and just stick what the book said. It was twice as hard to do that than to just present the information in an essay. I too write poetry and "secretly hope to someday write a novel". I find, that I can work through my issues (whatever they may be) by writing things down, letters, diary. Hmm... yet more food for thought...
It seems to me that the more I try to understand my son, the more l grow to understand myself. What better gift could there be???!?
Again you show an amazing insight that once again forces me to look at myself...
Although I consider myself to be good at spelling, possess good handwriting abilities (gained through drilling and caligraphy courses in middle school), I prefer typing out my thoughts. My letters to my friends are typed, even my letters to my 86 year old grandmother are typed. Why? Neatness, ability to go back and correct and make changes. For me writing things down, is therapeutic helps me work through problems systematically. I think that having to concentrate to direct my energy into the physical act of typing as well as the idea I am trying to write enables me to concentrate in a more sequential way than visual, concentrate on the detail rather than the whole picture at once. Makes sense?
As well, I am little bit of a perfectionist, so the fact that my handwritten work does not look uniform and well organized serves only to discourage me from using pen and paper. Typing is also quicker than handwriting and for those of us who think a million mile a minute, typing enables us to keep up somewhat with our thoughts.
Hiya Elen, I hope this doesnt throw a spanner in the works but, the Visual vs Auditory thing is a little bit of a "red herring" ... not to say that it is completely meaningless (indeed in terms of how we use language it is VERY relevant) but the bigger issue is whether one is spatial or sequential.
Typing allows us to do a "sequential' task in a "spatial manner" - that is to say that our fingers are moving in a similar manner to the way our brain works (moving around in space - rather than across a flat page) -also, if you listen, the keyboard is like music - a slightly different sound with every key. Music is also spatial.
"Results" in assessment are also, relative ... on the face of it I dont look especially weak as far as digit span goes (75th percentile) and my daughter scored at the 95th percentile .... yet, within ourselves we are both actually relatively "weak" in that area - just not particularly weak when compared to others.
I suspect the main difference is that my daughter has different "tones" for each number - being from a different generation, they are exposed to "touch tones" , where as most of us werent (think dials on phones when we were growing up - rather than touch tone) so they have an alternative means of "remembering" that MOST of us would not have had .... however, it would take a gifted mind of "rain man" proportions" to be able to convert that into a means of recalling a series of spoken directions.
When it comes to following directions, it isnt necessarily that they arent actively listening - it is more likely that the directions do not covert well into visual format - something gets lost in translation.
Eg - if a child has a series of instructions that end with "bring it back" without any other detail, the child will be very likely to see themselves bringing it back "as they had carried it to the sink" and as a result it can seem to them that they had "missed" the instruction to "refill"
Had they been directed to "bring it back empty" then that is what they would have seen in their mind.
As I see it, AS - VS is a multidementional spectrum and we each fall like raindrops somewhere on it.
My ultimate goal is to understand where T falls and communicate that to those who matter in his life (ie teachers).
So back to the empty container... he was told to empty it, but his mind did not see that... What I suspect happen is that the context was missing. He is the kind of child who sees connections between everything, possesses lateral thinking ability. To him, all has to fit together like a jig-saw puzzle no matter how unrelated it seems. It is also the way he learns... you will hear him say (lightbulb moment)... "ah, it is like this (gives example)".
He had done some watercolour painting when finished, he was asked to empty the dirty water out of the little container in order to be put back on the shelf ready for someone else to use. He was just told: "Empty this and bring it back to me!". To him, this was out of context, not connected to anything, meaningless to him. (he also like to know "why", purpose of things). Thus he heard the beginning "empty" and the end "bring it back" and had to come up with the middle - the purpose, the link! Probably his mind picture showed him continuing to paint, or maybe the teacher wanted to paint?
The teacher, not having a clue and thinking him absent minded, she continued to repeat the same instruction, however meaningless it was to him. By the end, she concluded that he was maybe "defying" or "lazy" or "bored". Those are all negative descriptions and not once has she thought to maybe change what she was saying (remember she said it 4 times). In fact, she thought it worth reporting this to me. Frankly, I think she was not talking in a way that made sense to him. Had she said: "Empty this and put it back on the shelf" or "empty this and return it to its place for someone else to use" would have gotten the right result.
She mentioned another incident when she asked him to go and get 9 beads (those are montessori materials used to teach maths - in this instance they were doing additions and substractions). She said: "T, go get a mat and 9 beads". Well, he went, got the mat and a handful of beads (they counted 13). She intepreted this as "not following directions" and "not listening". On the contrary, I think the failed to see the purpose and did not put the effort into it. Had she said: "get your mat and count 9 beads to do your adding and take aways exercise" he might have taken the time to count out 9 beads as opposed to guessing. In conclusion he needs to add what is being said to him to his mind picture, sort of like a painter addes layers of paint and detail - convert words into pictures. But if the words show no connection to the already existing picture, it is not important enough to warrant effort and is dismissed or altered to fit the picture.
Does that make sense? Have you observed this sort of thing before? I am see if I am drawing the right conclusion.
Perhaps his teacher does not realise that if you get 13 beads, you do infact get 9. Mathematically speaking, having nine beads and only having nine beads are not the same thing.
I had a problem at school - especially with college - with math teachers who failed to apply mathematical logic / thinking. Eg - teachers that insist that if you dont show all your working then you havent got a correct answer - even if you get your work 100% right, 100% of the time ... they argue that you "might be guessing" because you havent shown your calculations - even though mathematically probability suggests otherwise .... then they go and hand you a calculator which, according to their logic, "might be guessing" and expect you to use it with confidence.
If it doesnt make sense then it causes an "internal conflict" .... either one does nothing or one attempts to make it fit logically somehow .... unfortunately - people, and their expectations (especially adults upon children) are not especially strong in the logic department.
My investigations into VS have lead me to the conclusion that the idea of a "spectrum" is inaccurate and the result of external observation rather than internal analysis.
Both VS and AS have a "version of each other" ... VS have their own means of understanding linear concepts and AS have their own means of being able to understand V/S concepts .... for example those who are AS have a "Visual sequential" version of Visual Spatial ... it isnt the same thing but, if you are judging by observation, seeing them as being the same is understandable.
The other "difficulty" in identification and understanding is that the lack of "standardised" training of VS cognition in the VS adds to the lack of "uniformity" amongst the VS population - and on top of that, what we actually see is not so much the result of VS but, rather, the results of failing to recognise and adapt to VS.
Another thing ....
Often with VS children, we fail to instruct them according to their way of being. Often you dont even need to communicate the steps at all .... just the concept - from the concept they will see the steps required.
A good example of that, my grandson locked himself in the bedroom the other night (all our bedroom doors have a lock built into the knob - wasnt expecting it to be an issue just yet). After trying everything except breaking the door down (ok I did give it a pretty decent kick to see if that was a viable option LOL) .... it occurred to me that he's a pretty good problem solver .... so I asked him to look around to see if there was anything he could use to stand on to unlock the door.
Within a minute the door was unlocked .... not only had he figured out that the rubbish bin in the corner would do the trick, he had thought to place it to the side of the door which, gave him the leverage he needed to turn the door properly AND also allowed the door to actually be opened because his "step" was not in the way.
He's 2 years old .... if I want him to bring me a cup, I ask him if he can "bring the cup to nanni please" - not go over to x spot, pick up the cup and bring it to nanni" - he is quite capable of seeing what needs to be done himself. Same with wiping something down - I ask him to wipe it down - not go and get a cloth and bring it back and wipe the table down and put the cloth back .... he will see that for himself .... unless I throw a whole jumble of words at him to cloud his "vision".
Of course, the advantage of not "imposing steps upon him" is that I actually get to see his own mind at work - the connections he makes.
But of course he is much younger, with less exposure to "unnatural processes" for him - so it does make life easier.
I keep going over this topic in my mind to the point of mental of physical exhaustion but I absolutely have to understand it or I will not be able to move past it.
As I said before, my son seems to fall withing the "RB thinking" parameters. However, many of the characteristics can be found when one looks up VS and creative giftedness. I have moved on from trying to cast him into one category or another and I am just trying to understand him as an individual and cater to his needs.
I had yet another little discussion this morning with his teacher regarding the two incidents I talked about earlier. To me, it just seemed that there was a breakdown in communication but it seems that it is not. She explained her understanding of him as a lateral thinker, big picture, whole part person which is all correct. She explained her goal as being that on trying to get him to learn however painful to adopt linear thinking in some areas. She described it as channelling his focus, funnelling it for short periods of time. She describes this process as being very painful for him and she believes that for him it will be a lifetime of learning.
I see what she is saying... that at times, whether academically or not, one has to focus on details, on steps, slowing down. She is trying to engage both side of the brain for lack of better analogy.
My question now ...
Is it worth it? You talk about your grandson having the advantage of not "imposing steps" a process that is "unnatural". This is exactly what my son's teacher is trying to do: Impose steps that are unnatural to him. It pains me enormously to hear if it as a "painful" process for him. But whaf if he never learns to understand steps and linear thinking? Wouldn't he be at a disadvantage when steps and linearity would be asked of him in his professional life? What are the chances that he will actually learn? I mean, we all have to do things that we don't like, right? Wouldn't it be harder for him to be faced with that at a later time than to get accustomed to it early on?
I have to say that I have great admiration for this teacher. She goes above and beyond what I ever expected of any teacher. She went on to say that she sees him as one of those people who will come up with an idea that will take people years to understand. She has great admiration for him and creates opportunities in which he can be himself and that has to count for something.
I know I will burn myself out figuring this out, but it is a small price to pay considering it is my son's hapiness that is at stake...
Oh Elen, I so feel for you .... been there done that trying to "figure it all out" ... but I will let you in on a little secret - I still havent and never will figure it all out ... I can only move closer and closer towards that. Actually that is just what I need to maintain my intellectual stimulation - the certain knowledge that I will never figure it all out!
Tell me Elen, how "smart" do you see me as being? Because, overall, if we use the 95th percentile as the cut off point for giftedness .... I dont even qualify as gifted. There will be a whole heap of people here who are much smarter overall than I am.
What I do is "live smart" and by that I mean that I do not just advocate that we encourage our children to live their lives according to their strengths, I live that way to SHOW people what it actually "looks like" when a person with considerable strengths and areas of significant weakness actually lives their life in accordance with their abilities INSTEAD of concerning themselves with "learning to overcome their areas of weakness".
The day I started to live and started to become the person you see today was the day I just dismissed the idea of "trying to be normal" in any way shape or form and just started learning how to be normal for me.
I havent learnt the things I have learnt by "breaking things down" into step by step linear logic .... quite the reverse, I COULDNT learn what I have learnt as long as I was trying to use that approach.
There was ONE thing that I lacked growing up .... there was not one person in my life that truly believed in me and accepted me as I was ... everyone saw potential but they could not believe that that potential could amount to anything unless I learnt to "conform" to the "normal way of thinking". That lack of belief limited me immensely.
Although people were VERY , um, shall we say "uncomfortable" with me being myself initially, and I did come under immense pressure to "conform of go away", the reality is that there are more than sufficient people to service the need for linear thinking or normality - even if I COULD succeed, in doing a good impression of that (and in 35 years I have only managed to randomly and intermittently) .... there is absolutely nothing to be truly gained from my doing so.
For the most part, that which is linear can be acheived in another way by those who are VS ..... the more I develop my abilities, the less of an inconvenience my areas of perceived weakness become ... I can tell you with absolute confidence that there is no personal inconvenience that is so major that it couldnt be a non-issue with a $100 - $150 income/expenditure adjustment and just to put that into perspective - registering my dog activities as a business or "sharing my home" with the Charitable Trust that I have my sights set on would achieve just that.
5 years ago I was regarded as a "down and out beneficiary" by pretty much all and sundry .... my how times have changed since I provided those people the opportunity to see how my abilities can be used in a contributive and positive way. When I was trying to be what others thought I should be - I never gave them the opportunity to make an informed decision.
I would suggest the same is true of your sons teacher .... she isnt in a position to make an informed decision because she has never seen anything other than either "learn to conform" or "die trying!"
In reality - in the professional world of today those who are very simply unable t conform to the "normal" way of thinking and doing things are becoming more and more sought after - but the "big picture" people they are seeking are those who are already aware that their strengths define their ability to contribute and have channeled their attention accordingly.
More and more we are seeing people rising to the top of companies who cant think in a straight line to save themselves .... and more and more companies are being structured to employ straight line thinkers to do the straight line thinking and straight line thinking tasks for them.
So, as to the question "Is it worth it"?
Honestly, no - I dont believe so ... these kids can thrive or flounder and spend a lifetime struggling to make up for what we have taught them to perceive is lacking.
In your position, I would be inclined to accept what your sons teacher is see is the case for your son - ie that it is so unnatural for him that it is to the extent of being "painful" and that it is not something that training will "fix".
There is a very good reason for that .... natural neurological pathways and neurological pathways that we have been forced to "forge" through training simply do not behave the same way - unless we become exceptionally "rigid" about doing "mental/physical tasks" that "employ" the unnatural neurological pathways, they deteriorate very very quickly .... it doesnt matter if I "practise linear thinking" for 10 years - even to the extent of completely ignoring my areas of strength - the moment I dont maintain that "discipline", it all goes to hell in a handbasket .... meantime, in doing that, I have failed to maintain and develop my natural neurological processes .... they ARE still there - but, I have been trained out of using them.
By the time my grandson goes to school, there will be an official registered organisation whose purpose will be to provide support to such children of difference and information and advocacy - the more I encourage him to develop his strengths, the greater his chances of (a) feeling comfortable in his own skin and (b) will be able to use his strengths to compensate in a way that doesnt draw attention.
That is of course, assuming that he will be "atypical" .... it would be beyond my greatest expectation but, it is at least theoretically possible that if we support a child in the complete development of their natural neurological processes, they will have complete access to all the areas of cognition they need in order to APPEAR to be "thinking conformationally" when in actuality they are VS'ing it all or whatever their own personal processing style may be.
I simply would not allow a teacher to do to my grandson what your sons teacher is proposing ... any more than I would accept them forcing a left handed child to write with their right hand.
But, there is a big difference between an "official body" making information available that says "For goodness sake please do not do that because it is damaging" and some Joseph P Lunchbox - even when the body and the person are one in the same.
Heck, all it would take is $150 to have a lawyer handle the "linear formalities" *Grins* and coming up with a letter head and I could be typing up some ever so important looking "information sheet" for any given situation .... as long as it is, of course, in genuine keeping with my own findings and observations to date.
Very realistically just such an organisation could exist by the end of the year - with the help of a bit of creative accounting.
Now, of course, I dont know your sons teacher but, as you have described her she does sound like someone who would be likely to be quite responsive to just such an approach ... but just doesnt have the information available to her that she needs to justify deviating somewhat from her training?
How smart do I think you are? I don't know...to tell you the truth! I have wondered though if you ever sleep... :-)
I believe that we measure people against our standards and most of the time we fails to see and accept aspects of other people's way of being because they are non existent or limited in ourselves, thus have no understanding or point of reference.
We found out that my son was gifted about 6 months ago and since then I have been working tirelessly to understand what that meant. In that process, I discovered to my great surprise that I too was gifted as a child and when I explored further, it is clear that my family, my dad, my aunt (his sister), my paternal grandmother (my biological mother died shortly after I was born so my dad's family took responsibility for raising me and I had no contact with my mother's family) all are gifted. It was that grandmother who raised me to the age of 14. Being gifted herself, she allowed me to be who I was because that was normal and that was what she expected of me. I was incredibly lucky to have that sort of understanding however unintentional. She taught me many lessons one of them being that no matter how smart we think we are, there is always someone smarter than us and the best we can do and open our ears and our mind and welcome all knowledge coming our way because that will help us understand ourselves better, broaden strengths and discover and accept weaknesses. How true that was...
Why this brief history? I wanted to show that I do not seek to attach an IQ to your person. I merely recognized that you have a different perspective, a different view that may show me a new way to look at myself, my current situation. This journey for me has been one in which I have learned more about myself than I ever thought I could which is helping me understand my son. Also, I think you have more earthly experience being that you are a mother and grandmother and that has to count for something, right?
So, thank your for allowing me to "drain" some of your energy and I can only hope that I have provided some energy to be "drained". (grin)
Now, back to what I was saying earlier regarding my son...
I have slept on some thoughts and woke this morning with a new undestanding and acceptance.
I had focus on the broad picture instead on the here and now or do or die. The truth is that I cannot have all the answers now and that is something I have to accept. The fact that I have gained this knowledge, gives me an advantage over now knowing at all. He too will grow and change and what is true of him now will not remain the same for life (I am not talking here about his essence/his wiring).
I am greatful that he has teachers who seek to understand him/his framework and work with that. I am greatful that their main goal is for him to be happy while at school. He comes home nearly everyday with an exciting story and a huge smile on his face. He idolizes his teacher and thinks her his friend/his buddy.
The work this teacher is trying to "impose" on him is not out of my comprehension, perhaps that is why I find myself in conflict. She is seeking to in a sense slow him down to a speed where he can take notice of details such as noticing how other feel around him, taking turns, allowing others the chance to "get" him. So, it is not about teaching maths or reading, that is last on the priority list. It is about him finding acceptance within his peer group. For lack of better words... she is asking him to slow down to the speed of those around him not just for the benefit of others but for him to feel he belongs, to feel understood, to feel accepted. As much as I wish for him to remain true to himself, I also want for him to be able to be happy as a member of society. The teacher is not asking that he changes his natural processes, but that he learns this skill. I cannot really argue against it anymore at the moment.
I just wanted to go back to the LB/RB thinking for the last time I hope. It is recognized that most of us have LB dominace. I remeber throughout school and work, we always were pushed to "think outside the box" - translation - adopt RB thinking, be creative. I remember "brainstorming"... How painful it was for some for this is a RB way of coming up with ideas. In conclusion, we, a maily LB society learned to value RB qualities. So, is it not fair to extrapolate and say that RB people can appreaciate LB qualities? Let go even further and say: wouldn't we be more successful and efficient if we were to learn to use both to our advantage? Then we can take your argument and say: if one puts considerable effort into an area of weakness he takes resources away from further developing his streangth. Is balance truly possible? Can equilibrium be achieved or it is a paradox?
A question that stems from this is: Are weaknesses truly that? Are they weakness because the greater society says they are or because we see ourselves as such? Wouldn't it be easier to refer to it as "area of less efficiency". I think that we have enormous power to overcome obstacles, to learn and adapt. Wouldn't it be helpful to think that no matter what our area of perceived weakness, we can succeed if we try? Maybe the argument is not that at all... Maybe each of us has a unique way of solving a problem and arrive at the same solution using those resources available to them. So the argument may be just that we have to allow each one to work through the issue in their chosen way. The end result is what matters, not the means by which it was obtained.
phew... I am getting headache :-) thinking about it.... I don't even know if it makes any sense...
Anyway, thanks for the opportunity and stimulation (grin). Just being able to write things down the way they come to mind without feeling judged was great therapy. So... thanks for allowing yourself to be "drained".
Ok, I dont think I conveyed the point about "smartness" very well ... perhaps because I have the benefit of knowing how I was by comparison to how I am and the difference that makes to how "smart" one appears.
Do you understand the concept of Giftedness? I suppose that might be a good place to start? I am wondering because you stated that you "Was a gifted child" ... you understand that that means that you ARE a gifted adult? Do you understand that that isnt just about "IQ points" on a chart but rather about ALL that one is and ALL that makes one what one is?
Where do you think my "different perspective/perceptions" come from? It doesnt really matter how we frame it ... its brought to the table from my own personal giftedness. Now I say "my own personal giftedness" because
giftedness is not a "generic state".
One thing I recognised, even as a child, is that the MOMENT that you have to change yourself in order to be "accepted and acceptable" in the eyes of others is the very same moment that you have FAILED.
I think it very likely that the reason you are "doing your head in" over this is because you are "stuck" on a model that is actually preventing you from getting your head around it.
Visual individuals do not even process language in what is conventionally regarded as being the "language centre" of the brain .... even if you succeed in "training them" to use their brain that way, it still isnt going to work because what you are actually training them to do is to re-route that information AWAY from the area of their brain that is designed to process it.
"Speed" is a factor in SEQUENTIAL thinking .... they tried to "slow my daughters thinking down" and it never worked .... you know why? Because TIME is a factor that is absent from Visual thinking - you cannot speed up or slow down something that has no speed in the first instance any more than you can extract the apple juice from carrots!
To create the APPEARANCE of "slowing down" ... or the spatial equivalent - what one needs to do is actively encourage the development of the VS processing .... what that does is improve clarity of thought and to improve ones ability to remain in "conscious contact" with those thoughts .... so one can "amble through" them rather than "rushing" to communicate it or "use it" before it disappears.
The difference between what the teacher is proprosing and giving him pot to smoke to acheive the same result is a LEGAL TECHNICALITY - both are equally damaging and when you teach a child that they need to do whatever they can to - well dumb themselves down actually - in order to be accepted and fit in with peers who arent even really their peers - what you are actually doing is setting them up to be at much greater risk of becoming involved with the likes of drug taking.
After all .... it is the end that matters - not the means ....
It is no accident that gifted individuals are at such high risk in this area - far greater risk than a "normal" child .... unless we teach them that they do NOT need to diminish their capacity in order to be accepted and to fit in - they will continue to remain so.
Another thing it is very helpful to stop and consider is whether our own beliefs are part of the problem or part of the solution .... I stopped to consider that and discovered that my beliefs (which actually were not too dissimilar to your own) were actually preventing me from being able to really help my own child.
So - I tossed them out and started again.
When you talk about your beliefs about the human brain .... WHAT "human brain" are you talking about? The human brain that "fits" the left/right model? What about those where that isnt relevant.
Because the thing is that we are actually talking about human brains that are so different from each other that we might as well be talking about the brains from two entirely different species.
Firstly, thank you for saying "Just being able to write things down the way they come to mind without feeling judged was great therapy."
Because that is something that does concern me sometimes .... that people may mistake me ATTEMPTING to describe what I am seeing conceptually in my own mind as "judgment" .... it makes it so much easier for me to be able to just focus on trying to communicate what it is I am attempting to communicate without feeling the need to try and avoid something that is completely off my own radar.
The other point I was trying to make and may not have done so too well was the point that if you have to TRY to "think like a normal person" it is actually because you are NOT a "normal" person .... the ONLY way it will ever be possible for you to be accepted for who you ARE is to be who you are.
Also, have you had a cognitive assessment done yourself? I found that to be extreemly helpful in terms of helping to better understand the similarities and the differences between myself and my daughter - it also provided me with the information I myself needed to be able to work to my own strengths in order for me to be able to experience the difference it makes to ones entire experience of life.
The very idea of "fitting in" is piffle by comparison - I USED to believe that fitting in was important - until I learnt what life felt like just being myself and working to my strengths .... but as a child, I was never given the opportunity to experience what it was like to be working to my strengths - so for my entire childhood I was deprived of the opportunity to make an informed decision by people who were under the misguided belief that my happiness depended up my ability to be "more like others" in order to be accepted by them and "fit in".
All I actually learnt was that no matter what I do and no matter how hard I try, I will fail ... and I am a failure.
Even still, I made the exact same mistake with my own child - and in doing so, I was party to inflicting upon her diminished quality of life - just as others had inflicted that upon me.
Is it worth it?
No ... not when you can actually teach a child that there is quality of life in being who they are and that our worth and our quality of life is not conditional upon others accepting us.
If your son was an axe murderer or similar - then yeah ok - but we are not talking about something that is harmful or dangerous - we are talking about a valid state of being and way of being.
Your son could be the next "Phelps" of whatever skill or ability happens to be his forte - maths, sociology, technology, medicine, sports - whatever .... but you do not get to be all that you can be by spending a lifetime trying to learn how to think more like someone who is "normal" - it just doesnt work that way.
The difference between Phelps and a "good swimmer" is not just his physical body ... while others were busy "fitting in" Phelps went and did what he DREAMED of doing - and in doing so, he became one of the GREAT GREATS of history.
His "words of advice" to children upon acheiving his goal were not "its important to try and be more like others in order to fit in and be accepted" - his advice was "Dream BIG and use your imagination".
..."I think it very likely that the reason you are "doing your head in" over this is because you are "stuck" on a model that is actually preventing you from getting your head around it."...
YES! In my quest for knowledge and understanding, I am trying to shed the framework on which it stands. I am trying desperately to stop using the model that works for me because I recognize it does not fit anyone else.
Yes, I might not have understood what "smart" meant to you, or maybe I failed to explain what "smart" meant to me. To me, smartness is not based on how quickly you can process information or how many facts you have gathered. To me, it is an ability to open your mind, allow yourself to "see and experience" the world around you without bias. I guess that would mean that acceptance plays a role, so in order to accept the world, you have to accept yourself, be true to yourself. Only then we can achieve true happiness - an environment "free" of internal conflict which allows us to take in and process new information. In this sense, I think you are "smart"! If I am to apply the same model to myself, I would not do so well because I still suffer from internal conflict.
"Where do you think my "different perspective/perceptions" come from? It doesnt really matter how we frame it ... its brought to the table from my own personal giftedness. Now I say "my own personal giftedness" because giftedness is not a "generic state"."
Your "giftedness" lies in the fact that you see things differently, because the information travels a different path and is part of a different framework. You may say that you are "gifted" in this particular way when compared to the rest. It may not be always appreciated because it is "not normal", but once in a while you run into someone like me who wants to see "the other side of the moon" !... So, giftedness is in fact equal to "being different". Now tell me, why do we value "giftedness" and have a hard time accepting that which is different?
As a teen, I used to keep a diary and I think one of the words I used over and over when referring to myself was "unique". I saw myself so different than anyone else that it hurt and it was incredibly lonely! At that time my I only worked to achieve acceptance, so I had to change myself to fit the greater society I was operating in in order to "fit" and be accepted. Remaining true to myself meant loneliness and marginality. I was tested at some stage but I did not make the scores required for special ed, but I was bumped up a year or two in several areas.
I depended a great deal on social acceptance which meant for me becoming more "socially acceptable". I see the beginnings of this in my son. He seeks approval from outside from peers, from us, from teachers. His self worth and motivation are directly linked to how much the products of his mind (ideas, opinions, etc) are appreciated/accepted by those around him. I recognize this because sadly he inherits this from me. That is why I cannot completely dismiss the idea of "fitting in"
By definition, only about 20% of people are considered "gifted". That makes them a minority. When you take into consideration that differences in gifted people are profound and vary widely, the chances of running into "peers" are rather slim. And for a person, like myself, whose emotional well being and motivation is dependent upon positive and varied social interactions, it can be quite the challenge trying to remain true to yourself while seeking to belong. We have to find a happy medium where we have to allow ourselves the time and resources to be ourselves as well as "learn to fit in". It is much like the two sides of the same coin. By fitting in, I do not mean adopting "mainstream" thought patterns or attempting a permanent change of self. I only seek to suggest that we "slow down" so we can be understood, therefore accepted, so we can understand others not like us and learn how to appeal to them. To illustrate this, I will give the example of the chameleon - it alters its skin colour to fit into its surroundings but does not stop being a chameleon even if it imitates the texture of bark or leaves. It does not have to turn into leaves or bark but learn to simulate it.
In conclusion, at this particular moment in time I don't oppose my son learning to fit in. I believe in my heart that he would suffer much more if he were to be marginalized simply for being misunderstood. Overall, he is given plenty opportunities to be himself.
He will move on to primary next year where the environment is very different. His class will have children aged 6-9 where everyone is allowed to work at their own pace and pursue their interests as deeply and broadly as they wish. We will have to wait and see how that environment suits him.
I wish I had the streangth and determination to take on homeschooling, but I don't believe myself capable. I believe because T is such a social human being he will benefit much more from learning in a social environment.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to explore this subject. I am still very much in conflict and will have to work through this and only time will tell. The solution lies with my son. Understanding him and his needs will provide that solution and we are still working hard to do that. Perhaps it is time to seek professional help or maybe further testing that goes beyond the WJIII to shine a brighter light and provide more answers.
Many many of us have been where you are now - we may have had different experiences to draw upon but, nonetheless, many will empathise.
Me, I grew up popular - never lacking for what passes as "friends" ... I was one of those "all-rounders" - not just arts, sports, academics etc etc .... I was also one of those popular "cool" kids that the other kids hang out with.
You could say that I was a highly successful "chameleon" through out my school life.
But, NOT ONCE in all those years had anyone befriended ME - how COULD they? They never got the chance because I was quick to suss out the whole "fitting in" bizzo.
And I was well aware of that - and I suffered just as much from a deep sense of being isolated. I also did myself untold harm in terms of being able to use my brain the way it was designed ... it didnt just affect my thought processes - it effected every aspect of my being.
And every time I tried to be myself .... I was quickly reminded how unacceptable I was!
It is not a solution - it simply is not possible to gain acceptance that way because it is not who and what you are that is being accepted. The ONLY way to really be accepted is to be who and what you are and allow others to get acquainted with that and decide for themselves on a basis of honesty and truth.
You know what - when I first arrived at this site ... they werent exactly rolling out the red carpet.
Indeed - I was most surprised and disappointed to discover that I DIDNT FIT IN! Yes - here! (I know I know .... hard to believe that someone like me
could possibly not fit in somewhere - who'd have thunked it! *Grins*)
It was hard going for a while .... ok for a long while - I am sure you will find that many will agree with that statement. I just wasnt what people were used to - or what people expected of "forum users" .... I talked funny, had big long "intense" and "complex" posts that pretty much seemed to disagree with "both sides" of any given arguement .... funny thing about not agreeing with one "side" or the other (generally - not here specifically) ... you tend to get shot at from both sides.
It made people feel uneasy - uncomfortable .... and they reacted quite normally to that.
But I had newly discovered the freedom of being - and I was not about to give that up .... no way no how ..... even if it meant solitary confinement - I was going to be myself and risk being accepted or rejected on that basis.
Giftedness - by its very nature is not moderate.
Why do we value "giftedness" but not difference? Because we actually do not yet, as a society value giftedness .... we fear it - so we try and moderate it - so that we can EXPLOIT the gifted, while keeping them "chained down" by social indoctrination .... and it has worked pretty well for the last how ever many decades because people have bought into it - thats if you dont count the lives lost or damage done in the process.
It is easy to point the finger at society - but the reality is .... if we the gifted do not live our lives as who and what we are then, it is us that are continuing the detrimental legacy for those that come after us .... people can learn to accept those who think differently, they can accept those who are different - if WE ALLOW it.
I understand that it is a scary concept ... to proceed through life on the basis that the idea of needing to "conform to norms" is a lie ... but you know what - it actually is. Children are actually far more accepting of difference than adults - and they learn their social perceptions and beliefs from us - as long as we continue to teach them that it is socially ENDORSED to ostracise and marginalise those who are different (and we do that by attempting to change those who are different) then we can expect them to learn just that.
When we allow teachers to try and change the appearance of our child to make them more "acceptable" in the eyes of other children then we are actively allowing that teacher to teach the entire class that our child is not acceptable the way they are.
In doing that , you also tell your own child that they are not acceptable in YOUR eyes - because if you truly believed they are acceptable - you would tell them "You are wonderful just the way you are - just be yourself and dont sell yourself or others short".
Never under-estimate the ability of a child ... especially a gifted child to see the truths that we as adults often make ourselves blind to.
See, the thing is, I am only saying this because if you truly believed what you had told me about just "tweaking" for the sake of appearing to be more normal and therefore more "acceptable" .... you wouldnt be conflicted.
I call it "reality conflict" - when something deep within us recognises something that challenges what we have been raised to believe to be true, it causes a conflict between internal and external realities.
They can be very very difficult to work through because, it seems to be the way of things that, in order to reconcile the conflict, we actually need to go back and "rewrite" the entire script - all our perceptions, all our memories - everything we believed to be true of ourselves and others.
Thats a MASSIVE job (I know from personal experience) .... theres all sort of emotional and psychological processes involved with that - and it can really put us "off balance" until we sort it out.
Its not a process that we can speed up or "make happen" when, where and how we want .... usually I find that once people have recognised the conflict, their observation skills become more accute - they start noticing things they hadnt noticed before ..... they just need to learn to TRUST themselves.
I can be contacted by phone - 09 6343821 usually after about 8.30 -9pm is best for me (no distractions)
I have to say that I felt really hurt when you suggested that I do not "accept" my son for what he is. Had it come from someone else, I would probably have gone into a rage.
I have admitted it, I am still in working through internal conflict as you put it, the discrepancy between internal and external realities. The truth is that I am seeing my son through my own eyes and I cannot shed this framework. I was terribly lonely growing up, my only friends was my grandma who loved me and accepted me in everyway but also taught me that I have to fit in not to stand out and draw attention to myself. Though I no longer believe that concept, I still think it valuable to fit in.
I think that in this matter, my mind is working against me. I am not sure if this is learned behaviour or natural, but I have always been able to see both sides of the argument and I could successfully argue either way. This is partly the cause of the conflict - the fact that I see logic both ways and I cannot decide which one is true to me. Throughout my life, decision making has been a really hard and exhausting process and most of the time I either postpone the decision in hopes that something or other will change to tip the scale one way or the other or I simply pick one option and work with it.
All I want for T is to be happy. I was terribly lonely growing up, played mostly on my own because I hated conflict and chose to sit on the sidelines. But what hurt the most was rejection. I wish none of that for him. This is why I am inclined to believe that he learns to "fit in". The truth is that he is unlike me as much as he is like me. His experience are vastly different than mine were.
Which brings me back again seeing him for what he is and not through my own eyes. This is tough to do!!!! The truth is that I could never completely understand and see his reality as he sees it. And this is the point at which I arrive at (literally at this very moment) the conclusion that I don't have to understand but to ACCEPT. Yes, I have had a revelation!!!
Thank you for your honesty and openness. I appreaciate greatly you letting me "pick your brain". Thanks for your number. I will call when I get a moment. If you would like, we could meet for coffee/tea sometimes if it suits.
Rarely do we get to witness personal growth and today I have been able to do just that!
After my morning revelation, I went back to my archives and re-read several of Stephanie Tolan's articles which made more sense today that they ever did.
It is clear now that this child is profoundly different from me and it would be a great disadvantage to try to draw parallels no matter how obvious. I see my purpose now as a faciliator in his great jouney of self discovery in hopes that self-knowledge will lead to self acceptance - a place where he will not need to seek acceptance from outside but will find satisfaction and motivation within.
I have a long road ahead of me now, but at least it is clear.
Well Elen, I am in awe of the leaps you have made in such a very short time !
Acceptance is a vital TOOL ... one that many many people struggle with. To be able to accept is to be able to see what is - it is the first step on the path to understanding.
In every day life, the term "accept" is often used to imply one condones but, from a psychological perspective, non-acceptance is a mindset that greatly limits our ability to view without bias. When we are unable to accept, its like trying to play cards with only the "blacks" because we make the reds unavailable to us .... kinda hard to play a full hand on that basis.
It is a HUGE thing to be able to accept and I am amazed you have been able to do so so quickly!
I am truly sorry that that comment hurt - it is always a gamble saying something like that - deciding when such a comment will most likely be used constructively.
Catching up for coffee would be great - meantime feel free to contact me by phone!
I am so very glad for you and your son that things are becoming clear and beginning to make sense ..... I wish both of you all the very best on your journey.
For me it was not so much the accepting part that was so hard. It was giving up on trying to understand him in a way that fit my personal model.
I don't really think it was ever an issue of acceptance. I learned a long time ago that digging my toes in did not work, but simply made him dig his toes in too. So we decided that as long as what he was doing was not a danger to himself or anyone else, he was free to try. That meant messes and disorder (in my eyes), but that is the way he learns. I accepted that he did not want to sleep when I thought he should, I accepted all the aspects of his being to the point where we agreed that no matter what is asked of him outside of his home environment by others, he should always be able to come home in every sense of the word and be free to be himself. We ask nothing of him other than kindness towards living things (people, animals and plants) and respect towards others and the home.
The conflict came about when someone (the teacher) suggested that he undergoes this "painful" learning process. Honestly, to us, he never seemed out of the ordinary. It took me a while to work through this conflict and (work it was!! ) to realize that to be happy and fulfilled one has to follow his calling, his heart and only he knows what that is. All we can be for him are guides and facilitators. We cannot hope to understand him any more that superficially, what is important is that he understands and discovers himself.
...and for the first time in two weeks I will sleep soundly...
****I wish I had the streangth and determination to take on homeschooling, but I don't believe myself capable. I believe because T is such a social human being he will benefit much more from learning in a social environment.***
If it is something that you have an inkling of thought for, have another look.
I have come to realise that the most important thing I need to be doing in homeschooling is unconditionally accepting my children. That's it. Once that happens, the rest becomes easy. My stress dissolved. The kids were miles happier. And it's all just fun. They just get on with being themselves.
But that was the hardest point to get to, as I had to peel off layers to get to the point to be able to unconditionally accept myself. How could I ever feel lonely now, as I feel so content / accepting within / of myself?
And learning in a social environment. I believe we learn all the time - not just the 'academic' stuff, but all the other messages we get from being in a society. Look at the messages we learned from society!!! That's not something I wish to perpetuate, so the way I see it is I provide my kids with a social environment in which to 'learn / live' which promotes more positive messages ie: acceptance.
If you are interested in homeschooling at all, some web sites I'd recommend, to put your head into more of a spin (grin!) are...
**** However I feel very much that it's important for my children to be able to write and spell as well as possible so that by the time they're 12-13 and entering college, they'll be able to 'keep up' with their classmates in this area. At only 6 & 8 I have a way to go, but I do feel it adds a little pressue and tends to direct much of the way I HS. Any hints for how to negotiate this would be handy!***
Just an idea to consider. What if you threw caution to the wind and did no writing or spelling until the year before you think they'll go back to school (11-12). Do you think that at that age they'd pick it up really really fast, if they hadn't already? (rhetorical question). Then instead of spending you time on it now, you can all focus on the stuff you all really love, and are passionate about.
I just wanted to clarify "acceptance", well try to anyway.
The giving up on trying to understand him in a way that fits your personal model is an element of acceptance. I use the term in a holistic sense - rather than accepting "aspects of their being" or behaviours or characteristics, "acceptance" of who they are is, in essence, building our framework of understanding AROUND who they are, piece by piece - rather than trying to "fit them into" a model we hold to be true.
What you have achieved in these past few weeks is truly incredible, the typing method certainly seems to work very well for you .... I think you greatly underestimate yourself!
I have absolutely no doubt that you have everything you need already within you that will enable you do understand and appreciate and KNOW your son deeply, its just a matter of looking to the right source to discover that information..... the answers are there, within you and about you.
Remember that EVERYTHING that you have read, that has ever been written, that has been told to you as truth has been filtered through the beliefs of another or others .... biases and perceptions that are the result of their upbringing, their education, their way of processes, their fields required "formats" - that includes every description and every explanation of yourself, your son and everyone around you.
Linda Silverman is VERY clear that she is not, absolutely, definitely not Visual Spatial - it stands to reason that she cannot understand VS in a VS context simply because she has an AS framework. She also works in a field that isnt particularly renowned for creative interpretation with regard to "research" and "studies" and "conclusions". VS is a 3 dimensional visual concept .... to "unravel that" and "convert it" into 2 dimensional, alpha-numeric strings and sequences that conform to the rules of "scientific study" and you will lose something along the way.
I have found that away from "conventional training" , having "reconditioned" myself to use my natural VS processes, I struggle very little with sequential tasks these days - which makes sense actually - working within a 3 dimensional framework, 2 dimensions fits quite easily - with few difficulties at all. Indeed, the appearance of those who are VS being inherently "sequentially weak" seems to be more an illusion than anything else - an illusion created by not providing them sufficient opportunity to exercise and develop their natural neurological and cognitive processes - so, for those who are VS, the more time they spend on VS activities the more "sequentially competent" they are able to be.
That is not to suggest that one cannot be both VS and Sequentially "weak" ... I, can find no logical reason that one couldnt be both. But a very simple mathematical equation tells us that AS fits into VS with "one left over" which, in VS terms equates to "room to spare" .... it stands to reason if that room isnt used sufficiently to maintain its structure and function, it will affect the ability of the whole to function.
Now you have been able to "erase" one framework, it will be easier to do so with others - that is when the time is right to do so .... it is a process and each of us has our own way of doing it - it does seem that your own is very similar to my own - in which case, its rather like "remodelling" the home, a bit at a time - to make room for the entire family to be fully "accommodated" - if you rip down the entire house then there will be nothing holding up the roof .... not to mention the drafts.
And just like remodeling the home one is living in, there can be times of inconvenience but, at least the inconvenience has a purpose.
The other thing to remember is there is a powerful tool out there that can "desensitise" the masses by "introducing" them to that which is unfamiliar and help them to gain a sense of becoming familiar and comfortable. The other day after I had changed my grandsons nappy - he picked up his nappy (in a nappy bag) placed it in the bin then , went and got the hand sanitizer and did the rounds, ensuring we all cleaned our hands before cleaning his own .... my guest chuckled and suggested the nickname "Monk" might be fitting.
I am of course referring to TV .... and the vast range of "Crime" themed programmes that are centred around highly successful, wonderfully unique and quirky folk that are actually valued BECAUSE of their differences rather than inspite of them .... and who are accepted, and well accommodated as they are. People who wouldnt ordinarily "fit in".
Sure, we can dismiss them as being "just tv programmes" - but what is a TV programme if not an idea .... and what is broadcasting if not exposure to those ideas.
What I am suggesting is, that it doesnt necessarily NEED to be a choice between being different and yourself and being accepted by others, including those within the mean range.
My daughter has been through the pain of having others try and "help" her to "modify herself" for the sake of acceptance ..... and I am quite sure that those "helpers" were of genuine intent - good people who would have made different choices, had better information been available to them that would enable them to do so ..... but, back then, initially I didnt know any better myself and when I did .... well it was this wole "big picture" thing that was going on ... that at the time I understood internally but, hadnt yet taught myself to describe - and if even if I had - its a huge shift that takes more than a few minutes of their time to get their head around.
But, you know what, even if I could have summed the whole thing up in a 5 minute conversation - it wouldn't have made any difference - by then, both myself and my daughter had wrongly been diagnosed as having "severe ADHD" .... so in their eyes, we were no longer people .... and anything that came from us, that didnt conform to their way of thinking was dismissed as being "symptoms" of our "disorder".
Funny thing is .... I CURED this "adhd" of mine .... its not "managed" or anything of the sort ..... and I did it simply by working out who I am, how I am and what REALLY works for me.
I think that perhaps, many of us are overly familiar with the IDEA of "teachers" being "skilled, trained, professionals" who "know" how to teach and us , well we are "just parents" - the implied meaning being that we dont have the training or knowledge to "teach" our children "properly".
Of course, what also goes along with that idea is "transplanting the classroom as an institution - into our home" rather than taking the classroom out of learning.
I shant speak for anyone else but, there is absolutely no way, I personally could have ever managed to "school conventionally" at home ... not even with considerable creative "tweaking" to make it more interesting and enjoyable - so, in that respect, my own lack of confidence in my ability to homeschool my own children was realistic.
And yet, here I am .... essentially Home Schooling my grandson!
Not only is C "learning in a social environment" - he is actually learning in much more social environments than a child in day care or school .... and I believe, learning a broader range of social skills because his social interaction is not limited to just a particular "age based" grouping or "persons of authority". Of course, I also get to decide for myself if any given "social interaction" is to his benefit or detriment and respond accordingly.
That is so very true what you said about self acceptance .... since truly making my own acquaintance, I have made a new best friend - one who will never abandon me and will always keep me company if company is what I need ... that new best friend is me!
By working through that process ourselves, we also provide a role model for our children ... they get to see someone elses "process of self discovery and self acceptance" in progress .... what better way to let them know that we endorse them doing likewise ....and by doing it our own way, however that may be - we show them that it is truly ok to work through that process their own way.
Boy have I loved reading all this :)
Hey - I couldn't homeschool too! Once we 'started' people would ask me if we did the work in the morning etc. It took me a while to get it, then , oh! you / they think we do school work - huh why would we do that? I didn't quite realise then that my idea of learning wasn't quite what everyone elses was. And I began to really notice the weight / power people gave to the education system to let them learn, as if they couldn't do it themselves.
Had another light bulb moment yesterday. I was thinking that I must really have a good play with cornflour so I get it (no lumpy sauces) and I thought about looking it up online first, and how that would be great for the kids to watch in terms of role modelling. Then, ping! no wonder school doesn't make life long learners (in general) because it's not a place you see people doing their own passionate learning. (I acknowledge that comments like that might be a bit out there on this list).
As usual I woke with yet another take on it all. In my decision to renovate, I am only building my children a space for suitable for them to grow, but I am also building a space that fits me more as well. We no longer have to live in a house designed by others. Acceptance in this instance is recognizing that the old way does not fit.
Now, we spoke of the educations system. I believe that as a whole the system has failed many generations of children. Wouldn't it be nice if they could do the same - erase all that is known about educating children and start fresh? Not in my life time. I do not mean to belittle the thousands of individuals who are out there on the front lines dealing with children on a daily basis. In my opinion it is one of the hardest jobs on earth.
I told you that I believe that the Montessori method is an excellent education method if followed accurately. Here are a few quotes that illustrate Maria Montessori's beliefs about children and our roles as parents/educators:
“We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master.”
“If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men.”
“One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.”
"If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is little to be hoped from it in the bettering of man's future.”
“The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."
"We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being."
This is truly inspiring and to think that her ideas came in the early part of last century when women did not normally go to school or had a voice. I've always wondered why her ideas are still not widely accepted or even known.
Hiya A mum .... it really is quite special isnt it ... not the sort of thing one gets to see every day. It shows just how powerful the energy of ideas can be - either to block our processes or to enable them to flow.
Isnt it strange how teachers do not role modelling learning to children. Of course, I am speaking generally - I am sure that we must have teachers out there that role model positive things such as learning, ability to change ones mind in light of new information and flexibility of thought and procedure.
Just as I am sure that there MUST be some teachers that role model acceptance of difference.
Glad you slept well Elen! What you say makes perfect sense and by renovating to make room for you to grow as well - and in doing so, you will give yourself greater opportunity to better understand the similarities and differences between your children and yourself (and that naturally extends itself to a better understanding of those within our wider communities).
You know, one of my "enlightening" experiences has been to be diagnosed as "severely adhd" and had Ritalin prescribed .... that revealed things to me that I dont believe I wouldnt have been able to fully appreciate any other way.
What Ritalin did was artificially make my brain "more like a normal brain" - not identical but, enough to enable me to understand why our current education system exists as it does today and why it should be retained.
My Ritalin brain would have positively thrived in the current education system - but there is absolutely no way on earth that it could have thrived in an education system designed to accommodate my natural brain ..... the two really were THAT different and as people we really are that different.
When a particular model or set of beliefs "connects with and is in accord with our way of being" there is a tendency to perceive that as being "completely true" - because for us it really is. Often that creates a form of "black vs white" thinking - a belief that if one is "right" then what appears to be in opposition to that, must be "wrong".
So, people end up in a "power struggle" - a tug of war over which was is "right" and which is "wrong" - not realising that both "sides" are both right and wrong. Its a power struggle where minorities have an obvious disadvantage.
“One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.”
There are HUGE numbers of children happy and thriving within the education system we have - often with generations who have been happy and thrived in that same education system behind them.
To take that away from those it does work for is every bit as "wrong" as imposing it upon those it doesnt work for.
Ideally, it would be possible to access different types and formats of education within the umbrella of "mainstream" so that access to an appropriate education is available to all regardless of socio-economic background.
But, even if it were the case that this one way of understanding children and their learning needs was "right for all" - consider the difficulty that one area of "conflict" has caused you in the last few weeks and how much work it has taken to reconcile that - then multiply that by billions of people .... all with their own experiences and perceptions and way of processing information and personalities.
Peoples minds and brains work in different ways - what seems perfectly clear and apparent to one may never be truth to another simply because it is inconsistent with the way they process information and connect to the world.
Aha, now I see where the rest of the conversation has moved to!
***They just get on with being themselves. But that was the hardest point to get to, as I had to peel off layers to get to the point to be able to unconditionally accept myself. How could I ever feel lonely now, as I feel so content / accepting within / of myself? ***
I'm still working on this, it takes a lot of time and energy I find.
***What I am suggesting is, that it doesn't necessarily NEED to be a choice between being different and yourself and being accepted by others, including those within the mean range.***
This has been a pleasant surprise to me to discover this for myself this year, even if it has taken me quite some years to discover.... Okay, so it was mostly my mentor that accepted me, but it's still it's a nice change to think " hey, I'm allowed to think like this here", than hearing the usual 'what are you thinking like that for?"
***Isn't it strange how teachers do not role model learning to children. Of course, I am speaking generally - I am sure that we must have teachers out there that role model positive things such as learning, ability to change ones mind in light of new information and flexibility of thought and procedure.
Just as I am sure that there MUST be some teachers that role model acceptance of difference.***
This is the aspect of teaching that I enjoy the most, I just get a bit worried that I'm not passing on enough 'Stuff' as well. I think my thought is, is that if they're intrigued by it, and if they know it's okay to have different ideas and to ponder things, they'll head off on a lot of self discovery themselves, so I see that it's more important that I introduce ideas that they can comment on and explore further - and likewise I enjoy listening to their ideas. But thoughts like this were rarely appreciated during my training. and I'm still just discovering how that goes down in a school situation. Anyway, I'm intrigued to see your comments and take them on board for both myself as parent and myself as newish teacher.
****There are HUGE numbers of children happy and thriving within the education system we have.***
What do you mean by thriving? See, the way I see it is that there is a fundamental problem with our education system as it stands. And there are schools that have addressed that, but they are way in the minority. And it's this..it's that they are based on the premise that children don't know best but the adults do, so they choose what to 'do' to the kids. ie: get them to do x,y,z, topic/subject etc. Instead of working 'with' them. The power is fundamentally in the wrong place. The state/adults choose the curriculum and decide what is important. Why can't children decide what's important to them? What do we fear by doing that. (that's a big question for our society I think). What about if we provide a school environment in which they can
a)firstly choose to do what they like, for as long as they like, in the way that they like, and
b) secondly sprinkle 'lots of delight' on the way. Throw in lots of other stuff to give them exposure to new things.
Then the children are in the hot seat. And the adults let go of fear - what if they don't learn...x,y,z. Well if they've spent their whole time doing things that are right for them at the time, when they need to know x,y,z they'll have no fear of just doing it. They will do it. ie: instead of having the overlay of adult fear put upon them, they'll be freer to just be and do.
I see that schools so far do not produce 'life long learners', but people who just do as they are told. As the institution was designed for. If people were life long learners, there would be no fear of doing new things, trying out new ideas. (as this philosophy of learning is also a philosophy of living). But on the whole, although many people are happy, our society is not a bubbling one.
And how this relates to the gifted, well I guess they have more to gain from an approach like this - firstly in the ability of others to be accepting of them (as there's no fear and no competition), secondly in the ability to accept themselves, and finally to be able to learn how they want/need to. (I'm sure there's more and this is a lot more complex however).
So I think for our humanity, the whole philosophical basis of the system needs revisiting for everyone, for the mutual benefit of all.
You're right, there is a huge paradox, dilemma whatever with timing of learning. I'd much rather that kids could choose what they wanted to learn when they wanted to learn it, but I'm hamstrung by the exam syllabus - and most parents want their kids to do well on the exams. Maybe with more experience I can figure out how to cover both 'stuff needed for exams' and 'free range learning' but I'm nowhere near that now. I'd rather that they were excited about learning than scared of exams. I'm sure that when they feel more in charge of their own learning, they learn much better anyway. And I like throwing in as many provocative delightful ideas as possible...
You sound to me like such an inspiration to the students you have.
When I said the above stuff, I meant no criticism of the people in the current system, but just have a different view of what could be in the future. What is, is. But if enough people were to have another look from a bit further away, then I believe it could be different.
Still mulling over how society could run with no control based venues at all. Some wild ideas forming!
Elen, I'm referring back to your Montessori quotes. I also used to think that Montessori was wonderful - we even had a Montessori room in our house with activities that we did at home. My daughter also went to Montessori several times a week. I still believe that much of it works well - esepecially for the younger child. However my experience was that it isn't always 'follow the child'. If the child thinks 'outside the square' to the norm, they can be held back by certain criteria. For example, if they have not completed an activity 'correctly' they cannot move on, even if they show interest and aptitude. Often our children's 'correctly' is not the same as the perscribed 'correctly'. This is when we took C out of Montessori. Since starting homeschooling at the beginning of this year, I've found 2 other very interesting ways of educating from which much makes sense. The first is Steiner - they look at the stages that all children go through and fit the education in around these stages. This acknowleges the child and what they are learning personally at the time and supports that learning. The next interesting one I've come across is 'A Thomas Jefferson Education' by Oliver Van DeMille. I haven't read this first book, but the third which is 'Leadership Education; The phases of learning' has many brilliant insights. One quote I have taken from the book and made into a sign for my white board is 'Inspire not Require'. So many of these 'alternative' forms of education have many great ideas and way more understanding that the run of the mill system. However I would suggest that you take a little from each that suits you and yours rather than wholeheartedly following just one!!
Seems to me that many of you are way out of sync with what is happening in MANY schools. I have had 40 years in the education system and I can tell you that people working in schools have become much more thoughtful and understanding of the way kids learn over that time. Many schools are doing a wonderful job of giving kids ownership of their own learning, involving them in profound learning experiences that allow them to have a profound effect on their communities. The new curriculum is the best thing that has ever happened in NZ schools and provides great opportunities for schools to engage students in deep learning and higher order thinking. I have great faith in the future when I work with the fantastic young gifted students that NZ schools are turning out. We should be congratulating ourselves on our world-class education system – and yes, I work in around 180 schools, so I do know what I’m talking about (and they’re not all brilliant but the majority are)!
Oh, and 'A Mum' about your idea for writing etc. We've started a fun typing computer 'game' which I've added as part of our 'curriculum' and taken out diary writing. I've also taken out formal spelling (some time ago) which I decided was a waste of time as they are learning to spell via a reading programme (A step at a time which I cannot speak more highly of!!). All of these 'programmes' are fun, easy to use and involve the child visually and actively. Therefore the child is more likely to learn. We've also learnt to 'back off' - especially after reading the book I spoke about in the above post - Leadership education. There appear to be 3 major learning phases, the first is the core up to about age 7-8 which is when the child needs to learn right and wrong, true and false, good and bad. The second which should kick in about age 8 is 'love of learning'. I can see this in my 8yr old daughter and I'm so amazed at the information that she picks up almost by osmosis. She watched an 'Evolution theory' documentary the other week and is still thinking and talking to ppl about it. I've never seen my daughter quite so engaged in her learning before! My 6yr old son has always been a pedantic learner - loves to learn and creates opportunities to learn - however I can also see that he needs to learn the core 'lessons' completely before he can build on that. By about age 12 the child should transition into a more formal stage of learning. This is when they'll pursue a line of learning for their own ambitions and can stay focussed for hours at a time. Unfortunately for the majority in our schools, by the time they reach that age, they are so turned off learning, having either never been through the love of learning stage, or just from being sick of being told what, how and when to learn, that they don't transition into that formal phase. Anyway, it's 10am on Monday morning and we haven't started 'school' yet. My son is busy playing a computer 'game' on one computer which requires him to apply maths and reading skills. My daughter is wanting to complete her 'jumpstart world' group of lessons in order to progress to the next level (she still has about 3 months of work left although it'll be probably be completed within 1). I've just told them to have morning tea and then we'll meander into our thinking skills warm up, followed by reading a section of 'mystery diaries' each and then completing the worksheets; on to maths u see worksheets and finishing with making a postcard from our 'Chinese trip' (curtesy of the internet). After lunch, free time and then down to feed the lambs at our local regional park. It's a lovely day outside...
Hi Minnie, Unfortunately I was writing my second post while you were writing yours so I missed it! I worked in a school teaching 2 days a week for 2 years up until the end of last year. My daughter attended this school for 2 1/2 years and my son 6 months. I have nothing against the school, I think it is an excellent school, the majority of staff are wonderful and the AP absolutely amazing. She was one of those mentors in your life that you never forget and think about often. However if you can homeschool - if you are able to financially, emotionally and physically, surely it is a wonderful opportunity for your children! I am aiming to have my children back in the education system by college but right now, I can't think of a better place for them to be. Surely developing a life long love of learning, as well as research, study and other basic skills should be the most important lessons our children learn at such a young age! Education is and has to be a wholesale business at school - it wouldn't work otherwise. Certainly while improvements can always be made, it is a good system and getting better all the time. In our school the teachers are continally learning to better themselves and learning styles are taken very seriously.
I'm not an unschooler and could never be, however our home is relaxed and conducive to learning, the children are never forced to do work they are completely opposed to but do learn all the basics in many different ways. They are also given many opportunities to learn from life experiences and sometimes have to guide their own work. This is best for us at this stage.
I see the topic has changed and taken another turn since I have left...
Rebecca, I see exactly what you are saying. Montessori activities are designed to "work" only one way! And unless that way is achieved, the next step is not introduced. This is limiting, I see that now. Also, Maria Montessori (MM) anchored her method on the concrete and tangible with no room for fantasy. We now know, that fantasy such as daydreaming and pretend play are crucial to children's learning.
Having gone through this "learning" of mine, I understand and accept the fact that my son is creatively gifted which means that he will use the materials not in the designed way, but creatively which may be interpreted as "not having grasped the concept". He CREATES, he does not ORDER. He likes to see what happens if things are done differently, he complicates things. For example, when he was younger, he took all 4 sets of cylinders, arranged them to form a square. Then he took all the cylinders out and put them in the middle. That is 40 pieces of different dimentions in a big pile. He then worked to return the pieces to their places but not in the correct order. Well, one teacher had a fit, while another praised his endevour and asked only that when he was done, he should return it to its correct order for the next child to use. From then on, he was allowed to use many materials in a way that it was not designed. I was told that he learns the "correct" way when first shown the material, but then he wants to see what happens when not done "correctly". This was how he was learning! In this way his learning is multidimentional and not linear.
MM's method is linear and sequential, but it can be adapted to fit non linear/sequential children. I am very thankful to the teacher who saw this in my son and encouraged it.
***I have great faith in the future when I work with the fantastic young gifted students that NZ schools are turning out.***
Sorry Minnie but our NZ schools are NOT "turning out" gifted children - gifted children are gifted by nature - not an "outcome".
In most schools there is little if any understanding of even the most fundamental of differences - ie VS and AS much less how that factor impacts upon the way a child learns and even less schools (if any) are accommodating - there is a whole heap more to the picture than learning the right catch phrases.
Sorry but LOL @ "deep learning and high order thinking" .... calling it that does not make it so. The time schedules of schools demonstrate very clearly that that is not what is happening.
Why would we be congratulating ourselves for having an education system that has clearly shown itself to be failing at least 1/3rd of all its students?
Why should we congratulate congratulate ourselves for an education system that is failing the genuine deep learners and high order thinkers just as much as it is failing those who struggle to keep up?
If our system is world class then world class simply is not good enough for our kids.
A Mum .... the education system has absolutely nothing to do with "whats best for children" .... what is best for children doesnt even factor into the equation though many are under the mistaken impression that it does.
The education system is about what society needs in terms of maintaining the economic and societal structures into the future. Its about ensuring that there is a substantial "core population" of skilled/semi-skilled workers that are compliant and productive.
That is why it is formated around the "predominant" way of learning - to ensure that the desired outcome is achieved .... and by far the majority of people I speak to have children who fit naturally into that particular educational structure and are more than happy to "play that game" themselves.
To take that from them or to suggest it should be taken from them is no more well considered than to try and impose it upon those it doesnt work for .... both arguements are on the opposite sides of the very same coin.
Perhaps you could spend time with the students explaining the concept of "telling what they want to hear" as exam preparation! There is an awful lot of exam stuff that can be faked (heck thats how I got through school) and for many its a far more interesting challenge.
OK my bad - probably not a good idea eh!
But it would surely be possible to combine the two (exam stuff and free range learning) to a large degree - perhaps you will find that the exam stuff will "stick" more readily in a primarily "free range" (or largely free range) context and be easier to recall also .... making more time for the free range because repetition would be less necessary.
But then again, I don't do normal so, it may not work at all well for many students.
Personally, I would love to see parallel systems running - accessible in mainstream education - the one we have and VS classrooms - now that would be fun to see.
Hi Tiz me - I'm sorry you don’t work in the schools that I work in, as you would see the great strides that are being made in gifted ed. I have been in gifted education for over 40 years and the last 5 years are the first time I have been optimistic that the educational needs of our precious tamariki are at last understood. More and more schools are prepared to make the changes necessary to provide our gifted kids with learning experiences that have depth, challenge and pace. I have seen some very profound learning experiences for gifted kids. The vast majority of gifted kids are doing very well - it’s the ones who aren’t who I have the biggest concern for and spend much of my time trying to help. Our new curriculum puts the students at the centre for the first time and I consider myself privileged to have been able to take part in the conversations that are happening in schools around the whole essence of learning. There are some VERY exciting things happening in the world of education. It’s a very salutary lesson to travel overseas and talk to educators about what is happening in their countries and to hear their comments and questions about the NZ system. Of course it’s not perfect and never will be but I’d sure be a lot happier about my gifted child going to school in NZ than in most other countries!
I am DEFINITELY not sorry I do not work in those schools.
Sorry but if elsewhere they whip their kids 50% of the time and we do it 30% of the time thus may be regarded as "better" by comparison .... I see absolutely no cause for celebration or patting ourselves on the back and telling ourselves how wonderful we are.
We can use all the buzz words we like but the reality is that there is virutually no real insight or understanding of learning differences such as Gt and VS - much less real accommodation.
As things stand, a child who is at the upper end of average and is cognitively and neurologically typical has a better chance of ending up in a gifted kids programme than an actual Gifted Child is .... while there are some exceptions to that rule, it still comes down to whether they are identified as Gifted in the first place and there is a very good chance they wont.
Dont you think it would be wise, before making statements such as "the vast majority of gifted kids are doing very well" .... to actually establish who the gifted children are and then making statements based on the facts rather than on what one wants to believe because it makes one feel good to believe it.
Lets do a little math and see how well our education system is doing with the needs of the GT and/or VS .... hmmm both typically have different learning needs to the neuro-cognitively typical students - they make up say, conservatively, about 30% of the student population ..... and the budget for GT and/or VS education is ..... HOW MUCH???
Oh yeah, thats right - what budget for their needs - its all but non-existant.
I suggest that there is a huge difference between what those in education believe they understand and actually understanding the needs of these students.
Accepting and acknowledging that difference is the first step in really changing what is. One of the biggest problems with teachers (generally speaking) is that they seem to think they are the authorities on childrens learning - regardless of how little insight or understanding they have and using the right words does not change that.
The system is not geared for these kids. 80% of all people learn visually. I put this program in my childs class and at home and it made such a difference. www.Icandoitlifeskills.com The thing is that every one can respond to visual learning but not all people can learn from the current system. It would be too expensive to change everything over but slowly as schools replace resources this will be incorporated unfortunately not in time for our kids!