Maurice is 8 years old He attends a regular grade 3 class at Blueberry Elementary School in Castlegar He lives with his Mom, Felicia, who is a wholistic nutritional and lifestyle consultant
His Dad (Ed) and his little brother (Charlie), who is 6, live up the road in New Denver Ed works as a heavy equipment mechanic for the Ministry of Highways Maurice spends weekends with Ed and Charlie.
Maurice likes his time with Ed and Charlie although they have different ideas of a good time Ed and Charlie enjoy dirt biking and hunting, and are fans of the Calgary Flames Maurice doesn’t really care much for hockey; he reads, lots, and likes to watch documentary programs on TV. Last year he went to a drama summer camp and played the role of Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Everyone said he was brilliant. Still, Maurice, Ed and Charlie get along well and like one another a lot.
Maurice Hates School He begs his mom to let him stay home almost every day. He’s never liked his teachers, and they don’t really seem to like him. His classmates say he’s “weird.”
Stuff he’s good at and likes Last summer Maurice took part in a drama summer camp near Nelson. They staged “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Everyone said Maurice’s “Puck” was just brilliant. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOL5MdbJPJM
He’s learning to play chess… And can beat anyone in Castlegar by now… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S_H7-Fmd7k&feature=related
Worries… Mr. Jock, Maurice’s teacher this year, is concerned about Maurice. He’s taught in Castlegar for thirty years and never met anyone like Maurice. When Mr. J comes into the classroom, Maurice not only doesn’t meet his eye, he turns away in apparent contempt. And he’s a show-off. He asks questions—especially in science—that Mr. J can’t answer.
And Penmanship! Mr. Jock has always valued tidy penmanship. He won’t accept any assignment unless it has clear margins and neat handwriting. Maurice’s work is always sloppy, so Mr. Jock fails everything he does. Maurice’s mom has asked if he could use a computer, but Mr. J. thinks he shouldn’t have that privilege until he learns to be neater.
Is Maurice a Special Needs Student? Mr. Jock has suggested that Maurice be identified as a student with a behaviour disorder. There’s a special class in Nelson he could be bussed to. The district requires psychological testing before that designation is applied.
Test results: Can’t compute full-scale IQ because there is too big a difference between Maurice’s verbal and nonverbal abilities: Verbal—180 Nonverbal 120 Psychologist also noted a significant disability in visual motor integration, but equally and more significant areas of giftendness.
Should Maurice be in Gifted Programming? Psychologist urges he be in an enriched program. Mom agrees, and Maurice seems interested. Mr. Jock and Ms. Ticht, the school principal, say he can move into the program (also in Nelson), when he learns to print neatly and behave respectfully.
Is this fair? Maurice is very disappointed and angry. He doesn’t like being required to do something he finds impossible (neat printing) as a condition of receiving an appropriate education. He is increasingly rude and belligerent in his classroom and openly contemptuous of Mr. Jock and Ms. Ticht.
Maurice wants to stay home and write a novel: He’s started writing a play that he wants to produce at the summer camp next year. It’s about a brilliant eight-year old who saves the world from an invasion of ape-like creatures called Jocks…
Gifted: a debatable term By Ministry of Education definition: A student is considered gifted when she/he possesses demonstrated or potential abilities that give evidence of exceptionally high capability with respect to intellect, creativity, or the skills associated with specific disciplines. Students who are giftedoften demonstrate outstanding abilities in more than one area. They may demonstrate extraordinary intensity of focus in their particular areas of talent or interest. However, they may also have accompanying disabilities and should not be expected to have strengths in all areas of intellectual functioning.
How is a Gifted Student Identified? District practice varies but should include: Teacher observations Records of student achievement Nominations by educators, parents, peers and/or self Interview of parents and students Formal psychological assessments of cognitive ability, achievement, aptitude and creativity. Should be culturally neutral
Districts vary in their supports for Gifted Students Special classrooms Pull-out programs Summer programs Enriched programs within regular classroom Accelerated programs—student advanced a grade Options other than those offered within education system
No supplementary funding available for students within this designation. Failure to support may move student into behavioural/mental health category.
What does “Giftedness” Look Like? Can be global—student is good at all academic subjects Sometimes socially very skilled, sometimes not. Can be specific to one area—language, math, art…
What is Intelligence? Often presented as “g”—a global characteristic that describes a person’s ability to learn, remember, and use information to problem solve. Measured by IQ tests— VIQ (verbal) PIQ (spatial) Working Memory Speed of Processing Is this culturally biased?
Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences Logical-Mathematical Linguistic Musical Spatial Bodily-Kinesthetic Interpersonal Intrapersonal Naturalistic
Assumption Envision a gifted child: What race is s/he? What economic bracket do his/her parents fall into? What is his/her future like? Are his/her parents proud and supportive? Specialist teachers of gifted children are extra intelligent and skilled teachers. Are gifted children happy?
The Good News about Giftedness:Students May Express ideas and feelings well Learn at a rapid pace Work conscientiously Be eager to learn, explore and seek additional information Develop broad knowledge Be sensitive to the feelings and rights of others
Make original and stimulating contributions to discussions See relationships easily Use reading skills to obtain new information Require little drill for learning Contribute to enjoyment of life for self and others…
The Bad News:Students May Be glib, making fluent statements without basis Dominate discussions Be impatient to move to next level of task Be nosy Choose reading at the expense of participation in activities Struggle against rules, regulations, and standardised procedures Become bored by repetition Be manipulative and sarcastic Lose interest quickly Be diagnosed as hyperactive
Academic Intelligence Does not mean a student is emotionally mature Student may have no patience with teachers or classmates Student may lack awareness of his/her “gifts,” and just feel like the odd kid out.
How to evaluate gifted students’ learning: Grade level learning objectives? IEP goals… Address specific areas of giftedness Address specific areas of interest Challenge student Need not cover all academic goals. Should cover adaptations if student has areas of disability as well as supporting his areas of giftedness.
“Tiering” Accommodates a range of ability within a classroom, from relatively low to gifted, for example: History of railway in Canada (gr 7) Student with Intellectual Disability: visit railway station, do presentation on visit Regular class: track role of railway in European settlement of Western Canada Gifted student with interest in history: track relation of Canadian & US railways Gifted student with interest in art: In addition to regular class project: illustrate regular class project Gifted student with interest in literature: write brief short story about labourers building railway.
Mentoring Community members with specific skillset can mentor gifted student Builds relationships Provides access to broader range of abilities than within education system Need for collaboration between mentor and school
So Now… What can we do for Maurice? What can we do for the Jock/Ticht duo? (is this an issue? If so, why?)