Identifying and Educating Gifted Children
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 policy and practices in Malaysia
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ammu7475

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 

hi my name is Lakshmi Chellapan. Currently doing my postgraduate studies in University of Canterbury, New Zealand. I would like to seek help from anybody here who can help me to find out about policy and practices of gifted children in early childhood education internationally. I tried to fiddle in my net but i am not happy with the result that i found. all i need is some policy and practices from countries such as australia, hong kong, taiwan, singapore, Japan, U.S...please do help me. thank you.

Melanie

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Lakshmi,

I live in the U.S.  I am a parent of a twice exceptional child.  Our experiences with our son during his early childhood years was not good.  We were discouraged from all attempts to educate and foster his mind. 

Our son starting reading just at or slightly before his 2 year old birthday.  By 2 1/2 he was playing chess and starting to do math.  His reading was also getting better and was able to read current news from CNN and other sites.  He new how to fully use a computer and was able to do some programming.  At 4 years old he began playing violin and at 4 1/2 he was started studying advanced music theory and playing the piano.  By this time, his math skills were about the 4th and 5th grade levels. 

 All "experts" told us that what he was doing was not "age" appropriate and that we as parents should take away all reading materials and so forth.  We should hop that he forgets how to read and the like only to have him relearn it when it was age appropriate. 

We decided at that point to keep him home and educate him ourselves.  Once he reached school age we found an online charter school that would let him work at the levels that he was comfortable at.  He is now 6 years old.  Last school year, the teacher said that he was ready for algebra and was studying latin and greek.  He has been through ancient world history, medieval world history, and now is working the Renaissance world history.  In science he loves chemistry and astronomy and particularly likes math formulas associated with these disciplines.  He also pulblished his first website last year using the HTML language and began reading works from Charles Dickens.

All this to say...... that we as parents are thankfull that we didn't listen to all those people that discouraged us from teaching him.
Robotlady

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Melanie, I am glad you did not listen to others, too!  It's hard to believe people told you to take things away.  Crazy...

I'm a mom of two gifted children, 8 and 11.  I also own a robotics business which started long before I knew they were gifted.  We sell all types of home robots, robot toys and educational robot kits online.  Recently we started getting into educational robot kits for Jr High and High School kids.  We plan on continuing to increase our catalog while providing excellent service and advice to our customers.

The more I think about it, the more I have realized robots are a great way to teach kids science, technology, engineering and math.  A kid that grows up monkeying around with robots will have a solid foundation for anything he or she may want to do in the future.

In case you are interested in looking further, here is our web site:

http://ParadiseRobotics.com

Maltabound

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #4 
Lakshmi:

In the United States and undoubtedly elsewhere, gifted education has always fallen short of any credibility (particularly in early childhood education, as evidenced by Melanie's situation).  As of late, however, the problem has worsened and gifted education has taken a back seat to a new fascination with 'Special Needs' education.  In many local school districts across the US, gifted students are lumped in with special needs students, and in some cases are put in the same classrooms.  A twice gifted child such as Melanie's would have been very quickly labelled as having some flavor of autism (undoubtedly Asperger's Syndrome) and placed in the same classroom as a student with Down Syndrome or other physical and emotional developmental issues.   

The association of 'gifted' with 'special needs', I believe, has grown up with the latest generation of teachers in the US alongside a definite change in the attitude toward the profession of teaching.  I do not believe that the great majority of teachers in the US consider teaching a vocation any longer as they did in the past.  As a result, children who are the greatest challenge are subsequently left to intellectually fend for themselves or worse (i.e. the parents are persuaded to drug them). 

Gifted programs in most public school districts in the US are only equipped to handle children whose IQ is no more than 2 SDs above the norm, which is, in reality (particularly for a parent of a gifted child) fairly low.  This means that most available gifted programs cater to children who are actually 'above average' but not truly gifted.  Customization of these programs to each student's need is negligible given the lack of funding and overstretched teaching staff.

There are some private schools that are equipped to handle gifted children.  Melanie's son, for instance, may have some refuge - for a short time - in a gifted school wherein he can be exposed to other students with the same exceptional talents and grow emotionally and develop social skills that might not otherwise be available to him. 

These schools, however, are very expensive and any scholarship opportunities are few and far between.  Most of them only go up to an 8th grade level, leaving a child entering into puberty left with no option other than perhaps entering college early.

There are universities in the US that claim to have education departments that wish to work with highly gifted students, but in my experience many of them are merely testing grounds for new drugs or have some very interesting hypotheses that they are trying to prove using the child as a guinea pig (many times these hypotheses include justifying federal and state funds for increased research in autism, where assumptions are made that all gifted children are developmentally 'special needs').

I would recommend the following to assist you in your research:
1.  The UNDP has some general data on literacy rates and expenditures on education. This will give you baseline figures with which to frame your assessment.
2.  Survey the top universities in the countries you are interested in, looking at their education departments, any published CVs for professors, courses for matriculation, etc.  This will give you an good idea of each country's demand for specific educational experience (e.g. are there separate courses on gifted education?) as well as any national practitioner testing review information.
3.  In country's like the US, where state and local credentials are typically required, you can find valuable information in licensing requirements which are usually published on the state/canton or city websites. 
4.  Depending upon your linguistic skills, compiling a bibliography of each nation's most recent (i.e. past 10 years) publications on gifted education (such as with the Gifted Press).  Categorize them by subtopics of interest, such as perhaps 'Twice Gifted Students', 'Emotional Development of Gifted Students', 'National Funding of Gifted Education Programs', etc.  A lot may be surmised by the number and type of publications you find.  These publications will have a great deal of fundamental and anecdotal information to guide you in your research.  Additionally, the authors may be available online to assist you with specific questions. 

Good luck!  I can't encourage you more in your pursuit!  Creative and unique solutions are required for this area on a global scale, and it starts with proactive students like yourself!
slimack

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #5 
Hard to believe that "professionals"felt it necessary to remove all the opportunities for learning for your son!  I have taught gifted students (ages 7-11) in public schools.  It is very difficult to accommodate such a highly gifted student in a public school setting.  Online seems to be the best way to enable students to work at his/her own pace.  But they still need someone (in addition to parents) who are trained in handling the emotional needs of a gifted child.  I hope you have been able to help him understand his giftedness and any emotional issues that he is having to deal with!  Bless you for persevering and listening to your heart and mind as a caring parent!
Maltabound

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #6 
I agree with you, slimack, it takes a great deal of courage and effort to find alternatives for a child such as Melanie - but it is worth it in the long run!  Additionally, I believe that you are very correct in emphasizing the use of extra-parental authorities.  It is not only incredibly useful for the child to learn to receive instruction and communicate with people outside his comfort zone, but it is also very useful for the parents as they get ideas, have a 'partner' in the process, and are more easily integrated into the latest techniques and technologies.  Sometimes it can take awhile to find a teacher that fits the child's and family's personality, but the search is well-worth it. 
jai

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melanie
Hi Lakshmi,

I live in the U.S.  I am a parent of a twice exceptional child.  Our experiences with our son during his early childhood years was not good.  We were discouraged from all attempts to educate and foster his mind. 

Our son starting reading just at or slightly before his 2 year old birthday.  By 2 1/2 he was playing chess and starting to do math.  His reading was also getting better and was able to read current news from CNN and other sites.  He new how to fully use a computer and was able to do some programming.  At 4 years old he began playing violin and at 4 1/2 he was started studying advanced music theory and playing the piano.  By this time, his math skills were about the 4th and 5th grade levels. 

 All "experts" told us that what he was doing was not "age" appropriate and that we as parents should take away all reading materials and so forth.  We should hop that he forgets how to read and the like only to have him relearn it when it was age appropriate. 

We decided at that point to keep him home and educate him ourselves.  Once he reached school age we found an online charter school that would let him work at the levels that he was comfortable at.  He is now 6 years old.  Last school year, the teacher said that he was ready for algebra and was studying latin and greek.  He has been through ancient world history, medieval world history, and now is working the Renaissance world history.  In science he loves chemistry and astronomy and particularly likes math formulas associated with these disciplines.  He also pulblished his first website last year using the HTML language and began reading works from Charles Dickens.

All this to say...... that we as parents are thankfull that we didn't listen to all those people that discouraged us from teaching him.


Hi Melanie,

I am from California and I have a son who is 6 years old and he is found to be gifted. As a baby he was curious about many things  by 1 year he could recoginize all geometric shapes and he too started reading at the age of 2. He is now in 2nd grade and he can do math up to 4the grade level. he loves math, science and astronomy. He loves to do experiments. he built a rocket and used water instead of fuel and also built a anemometer. all this he has done at the age of 3.5. He has joined a robotics class and doing very well.

He loves music and is learning piano. He loves to listen to bethoven, mozart and bach. Very highly emotional and lacks friends. He is a happy child but he is not able to make friends.

I wanted to teach him physics and chemistry ( eg. matter,  periodic table etc..) as he is very much excited to learn about it. How do you suppose i start teaching from the basics so he understand the concept of it. Are there any books which you think might help.

Thanks
Jai

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