Over the weekend I read an interesting article titled Gifted Ed. Is Crucial, But the Label Isn’t. There are many points where I agree with the author, but there are just as many I don’t. I have heard this saying, and I believe it: Gifted Education is good education. As I see it, what Gifted Intervention Specialists do in the classroom, and what parents of gifted homeschoolers do in their homes are strategies that would benefit all students.
The author tends to have an issue with labels. So, how do labels help us? It is good to know that a student is 2E, ADD, ADHD, or LD? The label, in my opinion isn’t an adherence to children.It’s who they are. They are gifted and/or talented. Remember, giftedness is a something that can’t be changed. Our gifted children are born with that, talented students have an ability that they were born with, but can personally decide to show or not. With or without the label they are still gifted and/or talented. I am not saying that labels are the end all be all. What I am saying labels, in any case can help educators separate students, and have a predetermined understanding of what their abilities may be like.
When the author comes across and says the giftedness isn’t relevent to K-12 education, I have a problem with that. We have a full curriculum. We have classrooms full of students of various intelligence. It’s hard to get through a “rigorous” curriculum. Knowing which students are gifted, and knowing what their abilities are will make it easier for teachers to give those students the appropriate curriculum they deserve. It’s no different when a student has a learning disabilities. They need to get the appropriate curriculum that is appropriate for them.
It seems we are continually fighting the battle of perception. I know what when my students come to my class they are having fun, but they are learning. I am challenging them in many different ways. Some of my collueges believe my class is seen as “fluff” or something that can be taken away from a student like a bargaining chip, because my class isn’t graded. But, would it be appropriate to not serve a student with learning disabilities because their class isn’t graded? Of course not. Gifted education is just part of special education. Students need to be recognized and respected for their academic abilities. Every student in school should have fun in every class. Every student should be learning someting new everyday.
We just can’t throw the word “gifted” away. I have written about this before, just because a student as a label, doesn’t mean that you have to emphasis it. Teachers and parents need to be sensitive to the student. I have students who are gifted, but prefer not to be called out as gifted. I am fine with that. They know who they are. They take the challenges, and succeed. At the same time, I have students who hate to be labeled gifted, and hide that they are gifted. In either case, we don’t just let it go. They are gifted. Having that label doesn’t change who are students are. It doesn’t give them any un fair advantages in school. We are just delivering an appropriate education based on their needs.
If everyone is so up in arms about the label gifted, then maybe we should get rid of the label “athletic.”