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  1. #31
    Wannabe genius Splittet's Avatar
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    That's interesting aelan, but what I want is far removed from it. A main reason for all the social problems in your country is that special programs must have been far too common, which leads to competition and that many expect to be in a gifted program. My goal is to help the half percent of children with severe learning problems connected to their high intelligence. If only 1/200 would go to these schools, as early as possible, solely based on extensive IQ test results, it would in every case be regarded as something very special by the environment. No one could expect their child to be one of these very few, which are why it would make no conflict and that no one, would feel they were less, just because they were not 1/200. As far as socialisation goes what would be positive in these special schools would be a lot safer environment with much more social contact for these children, from an early age. I would like to see heavy measurements for avoiding any kind of elitism. If you know it is a potential problem, I think it is very possible to deal with.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splittet View Post
    That's interesting aelan, but what I want is far removed from it. A main reason for all the social problems in your country is that special programs must have been far too common, which leads to competition and that many expect to be in a gifted program. My goal is to help the half percent of children with severe learning problems connected to their high intelligence. If only 1/200 would go to these schools, as early as possible, solely based on extensive IQ test results, it would in every case be regarded as something very special by the environment. No one could expect their child to be one of these very few, which are why it would make no conflict and that no one, would feel they were less, just because they were not 1/200. As far as socialisation goes what would be positive in these special schools would be a lot safer environment with much more social contact for these children, from an early age. I would like to see heavy measurements for avoiding any kind of elitism. If you know it is a potential problem, I think it is very possible to deal with.
    I see your goal, the focus is more on providing for the smart, learning disabled kids, vs excluding, and it is comforting that you make the distinction between elitism and intelligence, which is the key to me. I also like that you'd emphasize socialisation, which is crucial as high intelligence kids can sometimes focus on developing their IQs to the exclusion of all else - disconnect with reality becomes a danger sometimes. I just wonder socialisation with whom though? If only with their own, it creates a barrier already?

    Any such programmes would cause a great deal of debate, I'm sure, more so in the West where equal opportunity sometimes results in "everyone is special".

    Ergo "no one is".

    And the bullying you and the rest have observed on the intelligent kids.

    Some clarification here, hope it helps you avoid the "mistakes" I feel we've had.

    * It is meant for the top 1% of each year's cohort. So while not as rare as 1/200, it is still rare enough, methinks?

    ** Testing starts at 8 (or 9, depends on when's your birthday that year). Kids are segregated from that age on. Previously, they had a second round of intake at the age of 12, but this was dropped as it was found that those who joined later had difficulty catching up. This raises an interesting point for you if mixing with normal kids "dumb down" the intelligent ones though, but I hesitate to make that clear a correlation since there could be a lot more factors involved.

    *** Rationally, I agree with you that since it is rare, people should accept that specialness will not happen to everyone. But in reality, the rarity makes parents want their children in it more. Since the tests are based on English, Mathematics/Logic and IQ (I recall I did 5 tests in all, but this is hazy since I'm now much older), many kids are made to train for it by parents / peer pressure. I'm sure you're aware that many of such tests can be trained for.

    Perhaps acceptance comes easier if you know your child is stupid (blunt here, sorry), but the greatest pressure is on those who are e.g. in the 75-99%, where a little bit more training could make the difference; or the lower nth% of the 1% - failure to maintain your results could mean being booted back to "normal" schools?

    **** I disagree there that people would accept it that simply and there's no conflict, especially since going to the right schools is also tied to better chances for scholarships, which are linked to stable career paths and jobs. And I'm not certain how you could delink the future from the education of the kids. Would you educate them in special environments, then have no further plans after that?

    ***** I guess the biggest concern I have is what measures could be put into place to ensure the kids and their parents, do NOT grow up feeling elite and superior to others, and in a sense, take on responsibility to contribute more to society, given the intelligence they've been blessed with, vs turn their noses down on those less blessed.

    It sent shudders up my spine, when one such kid said, "get out of my elite, uncaring face". Or a 12 year old wrote a letter to a local newspaper, saying how she didn't like mixing with "mainstream" people, and preferred to mix with "people like us".

    Providing for the needs is one. I do hope you'll focus on seeking an equal return / contribution for it - I think this could be the key in breaking the elitism - knowing that much is expected in return from the intelligent.

    Good luck with pushing it, hope this wasn't too cold-water a lecture.

    Edit: Splittet, PM me if you want a wiki writeup on the programme. I didn't want to put it up as it'd identify where I'm from.

  3. #33
    Wannabe genius Splittet's Avatar
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    That's a very good post aelan, but in a way also quite depressing. I can't help but think that there are maybe too many prejudices out there to help these children. All these prejudices make it really hard to come up with something that would work.

    At least in Norway we don't have a scholarship system. Everyone can take higher education here, it is basically free, and all students get cheap loans sponsored by the government. Norway is a small country, so we don't have that many universities, and they are not at all competing for status in the same fashion as American colleges. There is basically no status differences between the universities. I think it is great.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splittet View Post
    That's a very good post aelan, but in a way also quite depressing. I can't help but think that there are maybe too many prejudices out there to help these children. All these prejudices make it really hard to come up with something that would work.

    At least in Norway we don't have a scholarship system. Everyone can take higher education here, it is basically free, and all students get cheap loans sponsored by the government. Norway is a small country, so we don't have that many universities, and they are not at all competing for status in the same fashion as American colleges. There is basically no status differences between the universities. I think it is great.
    Thanks for the points, hope the link gives you more food for thought.

    Yea. It is a battle on both ends re prejudices. For the haves to not look down on the have-nots, and for the have-nots not to rebel against the haves.

    I guess I've been on both ends, having been an "elite" by default, despite rejecting the place. Even now, most think I'm "one of those kids", and I'm able to hold my own in that circle. But it is more important to me that I'm able to work with and gain the acceptance of ordinary folk too. I've spent the last years working off and on with kids who did not have opportunities due to a lack of intelligence and wealth, and the bitterness saddens me. No matter which way it is diced, some one will feel left out, I guess. That's the reality.

    Mine's a tiny country too. So the scholarships are important if you want to go overseas, since an average family is not likely to be able to afford an overseas education for their kids, and the loans will not be cheap. No status difference would be great.

  5. #35
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    Hmm, I think the question of elitism is larger than Splittet's original focus of 'on just IQ, not grades' (to paraphrase). I think the idea of privelege and elitism in schooling encompasses and actually eclipses IQ or intelligence. And it also speaks a lot to the existing culture where the schooling takes place.

    The elitism Aelan speaks of is also apparent in America, but it's much more dependent on socio-economic status than test scores. And it's much more masked behind a magnanimous exterior. Probably for similar reasons that white man's burden spawned here.

    Because in the Western and modern American scholastic traditions, you are ostensibly supposed to be magnanimous and benificent with your superior intelligence if not downright democratic. You know, help the retards and the idiots because you are supposed to guide them and make sure they don't muck up society. This kinda reminds me when my Yalie friend told me Yale was 'very liberal' -- OMG how I wanted to ROFLMAO except she was serious. A lot of people who have been blessed with privelege or are part of elite institutions don't quite see it the same way as outsiders.

    Also, in the states you see whiz kids and elite university grads starting innovative non-profits and 'green companies' and this hybrid form of business where you make money but also help the world.

    Still, the best ranked schools from private highschools to colleges and universities are generally on the east coast with a deep history of privelege and elitism (including male only entrance). Though public education is relatively affordable and plentiful (I point to the high number of foreign exchange students at public schools in CA) private education is still very expensive and economically impractical or not possible for many.

    I think the problem is that name schools have conflated 'high intelligence' and worth with status. It's very possible to have a pedigree but not very academic or even really that smart. People assume that if you were able to get into such a school or have the degree, not only must you be really intelligent, but you are MORE intelligent and deserving of a good life than people who didn't. Or that if you go to a state school you are less worthy.

    I also don't think that a one-size-fits-approach works AT ALL. Children have different needs, whether it's because they have a learning disability, are more inclined to one of the 7?9?intelligences, or are intellectually ahead or behind their cohorts. While you may not want to totally segregate children, you will necesarily have to split them up at some point to meet their needs. It's kinda just an extension of how all schooling is split into different grades. There are differences and rivalries between freshmen and seniors, but you still are part of the same larger unit and school culture.
    Last edited by CzeCze; 01-05-2008 at 06:22 PM.

  6. #36
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splittet View Post
    That's a very good post aelan, but in a way also quite depressing. I can't help but think that there are maybe too many prejudices out there to help these children. All these prejudices make it really hard to come up with something that would work.
    That's kind of what I was talking about... I was exploring some of the reasons why there are no provisions, or what effects it has when there are. And I do believe that one reason why there is much less available for the exceptionally gifted than for those of below average intelligence, is quite simply that it looks better, politically, for a society to be seen to cater for and include kids of low ability, to support and help them achieve independence. It makes better ratings, makes you look more politically correct.

    Even admitting that there exist people who are just naturally born brighter than others is such a horrifically non-PC concept these days that you have your work cut out just to come out of the closet as a genius without having all the 'snob' and 'elitist' labels slapped onto you along with all the bullying and isolation. I definitely do think that this attitude is responsible for why so many children dumb themselves down and underachieve... they learn early that achieving highly makes them unpopular.

    It's bad enough with middle/upper class kids in fee paying schools (in my experience), but (also in my experience) it's a zillion times worse in deprived, inner city areas where underachievement is sorta de rigeur for a person to feel part of the community. For example, I know a woman from a very poor family who took up web design classes in her 20's, but gave it up after six weeks because she just couldn't bear all the teasing and spiteful comments she got from her neighbours, who wouldn't talk to her any more, and snide remarks from her family about how she was 'getting above herself'.

    It reminds me of a story by Terry Pratchett, where Death takes a vacation and starts playing darts with the locals in a pub, but being a perfect immortal being, he never makes any mistakes, so people start to hate and resent him for always winning. He learns to make really poor shots on purpose, and to make them comically awful, and instantly becomes everyone's best pal.

    In order to figure out a solution to a problem, it's necessary to first of all assess the nature of the problem itself and the causes of it. And one cause for the lack of provision for gifted kids is the lack of public demand/support for such facilities; and that in turn is due to the social/political factors that I was playing with.

    In democratic governments that are voted in for short terms, they have to do whatever gets good headlines, whatever makes good copy and gets the most votes next time around. Quite simply, it's more fashionable these days to make a big fuss about being inclusive of those with disabilities and low ability, than it is to show sympathy for those of high ability, who are regarded publicly as needing no help - they have it all already.
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  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splittet View Post
    My questions are then... How is the situation for gifted children in your country in school? How should school for these children be? If you are gifted yourself (especially interested in 140+ IQ responses, and please mention your IQ), how did you experience school?
    Like others have mentioned, it does depend on state and school district.

    My situation was a little different. I was part of the public school system elementary through junior high. There weren't any special 'gifted' classes or anything. However, in hindsight I think the school district was pretty top notch and did a really good job of preparing students and challenging them (as opposed to the school district my brother went to for high school after my family moved to a different state, which was just a joke).

    I was in the top 3-5% in grade school on standardized tests, and was in the top 2% by junior high, as far as IQ-equivalent standardized tests went. But my parents never shared any of this with me (I only learned of my scores last year, actually), and they didn't feel the urge to enroll me in 'special' classes. They didn't push me towards intellectual stuff, and didn't send me off to special summer camps or anything....I got to choose what I wanted to do. And I'm actually extremely thankful for that.

    Junior high was a nightmare for me, socially (but I'd say this is the case for the majority of people, so don't think IQ/intelligence is the only factor - although yeah, it didn't 'help' my social standing that I was diligent and got A+'s ), and the thought of going to the public high school was terrifying to me.

    In the city I grew up in (pop. around 100,000) there was a university and there was something called a laboratory school, run by the university and you had to apply to get in. So I applied, and got in. It was known for having a very high % of 'smart kids' -- I mean, it wasn't at all an average cross section of your population.

    Although I still hated high school and was still extremely lame socially, it was a lot 'easier' I think for me than if I'd gone to the public school. (although I guess it's possible that at the public school of 2000 kids I would have just merged into the masses, which I couldn't really do at the one I went to, which was 600) My school had a few 'Accelerated' classes that I took -- like, I took Accelerated Chem rather than the regular one. And then I took Advanced Placement Calc rather than the regular one. I could have also taken AP Lit, or AP Chem, but I didn't have the interest in taking those ones. I was one of 16 valedictorians, out of a class size of 150 -- all of us had 4.0's. That might give you an idea of the high % of over-achievers at my school.
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  8. #38

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    I don't have all that much to add, but this is a very concise version of what happened to me. Skipped a grade at age 11 on a teacher's initiative, after taking a whole bunch of mental aptitude tests (no idea if they got an actual IQ result from it, my parents got the reports from this and I haven't ever seen them, but I have taken a more recent IQ test). I did barely ok in junior high, went to 2 different vocational high schools (and then did my last year in a normal HS). Basically the only reason I can even go to uni now is that I got exceptional grades there with little effort, and uni admissions here is for all intents and purposes only dependent on gpa. Didn't use to have any discipline or work ethics to speak of. Oh and I had no functional social life from age 11 to about 18/19.

    I've since gotten it together academically (or rather, I'm still in the process, and this spring will be the last step of this "getting it together", before starting the uni studies I actually want to do), and I have an ok social life, finally.

    I don't know how much of this has been my fault or me being socially underdeveloped, but from my experience skipping a grade is as close to social suicide as you can get, and certainly doesn't increase motivation for school.

    About schools for intellectually gifted people, do you think the implementation of such would work in a country geographically fairly large but tiny in population, such as yours? You would have like 1 or 2 schools where all the families would have to relocate for their kids to attend... I guess it's not that much different from any other country, but I just don't see that happening so easily.

    PS: I'm not in your "gifted" category of >140. According to the most reliable IQ test I've taken I'm close enough to most likely be one of those whose parents would complain that the limit was arbitrary and unfair, even though you obviously have to set it somewhere (argument of the beard...), as I think FMW mentioned.

  9. #39
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    I want to add my $.02 to this discussion.

    I have a close friend who is Dean of the School of Education at a local university. The main curriculum that she emphasizes is "inclusive education" which basically means all types of students participate in the same type of classes without any stratification. According to her inclusive education from a properly trained educator is the best for every type of student except for two small groups: the highly gifted and those with severe emotional problems.

    Since her focus is inclusive education she doesn't have an elaborate program for the highly gifted, but she told me that it is in their best interest to receive some type of special education whether it be independent study, dual enrollment in college classes, or something more elaborate.
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  10. #40
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    I highly doubt the children you speak of will suffer the consequences of an intellect underdeveloped in reference to IQ because of poor schooling. I have an IQ of 145, which is handy, but definitely not genious. Although, perhaps if I was a Thinker, I would be more impressive. I love your idea of schools for the gifted. I must admit, I have been intellectually challenged and stimulated by my INTP father all my life, so perhaps I can accredit him to my intelligence, but I wouldn't. A smart child will be compelled to challenge himself, and boredom in the class or at home does not translate into intellectual hopelessness.. the child will seek out stimulation.

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