Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pre-judging.

There is a societal expectation that gifted kids are, well, exceptional.  Honestly, this is true -  both the societal expectation and the exceptionality of identified gifted students - yet much of my time as a teacher of the gifted is attempting to defend or justify the behavior or under-performance of a student on my caseload.

By Pennsylvania Law, gifted students are identified as such with an overall IQ score of 130, although the state encourages that a matrix for identification be used to allow for discrepancies in testing, and consideration for performance.  There are a number of students who qualify as "twice exceptional"  (aka 2e) because of their unique acquisition and retention rates that are far superior to others, while they struggle with social issues (usually) with additional exceptionality identifications of autism or (in the past) Asperger's Syndrome.  (Think Rainman or Sheldon Cooper.)

Public education spends a lot of time trying to label people.  Quite frankly, society does the same thing -- let's define the undefinable.  Does that even make sense?

Prejudice or Pre-judging.

There's an interesting TED talk presented by Julian Baggins about the definition of self, that calls upon us to consider how we define ourselves, and how we define other things in our lives.  (It's worth the time to watch.)   My Themes in Lit students are in the process of analyzing themselves metacognitively, with respect to their 101 most influential fictional characters.  This leads to many interesting questions:

  •  What is the difference between favorite and influential? 
  •  Are the characters LIKE you or are they influential because they challenge you to be something that you aren't, but would like to be?
  • Are your characters the same as they would have been five years ago or five years from now?
  • Are you YOU, and how does YOU change?
Suddenly we're waxing philosophical, and looking for labels and definitions.  We took Gretchen Rubin's test to determine an identity, and we did abridged versions of the ever-popular Myers Briggs tests, analyzing ourselves using tools that we, in our minds, criticize, leaving us to wonder whether the very definition of giftedness is doing a disservice to all who are identified as such.

Metacognition hurts my brain.