Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 10

In line with his New Year resolution, that in 2014 he will increase his efforts to bust the myths surrounding giftedness and advocate for acceleration and ability grouping opportunities for gifted students, and in preparation for a webinar and Global GT chat on Twitter for the next two weeks, Columbus Cheetah is updating his myth busting presentations.

Columbus Cheetah’s discussion of the myths surrounding giftedness are based in his own brand of cheetah logic and the wonderful analogy of the cheetah to the gifted person given in Stephanie Tolan’s wonderful article ‘Is it a Cheetah?’
http://www.stephanietolan.com/is_it_a_cheetah.htm

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Columbus Cheetah says at first glance this myth, like Myth 4, is a generalization and can be answered in a similar way.
Some parents are pushy and some are not and likewise some parents of gifted students are pushy and some are not.

But this myth is also part of several other myths.

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Sometimes it is used in conjunction with Myth 7

It is often assumed that if the child is gifted it is because the parents had flash carded them to within an inch of their life while they were still in the cradle.
But Columbus Cheetah has already busted that particular myth in https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/columbus-cheetah-myth-buster-myth-7/

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Sometimes parents of gifted are considered pushy because they make other people feel uncomfortable because they are intense, sensitive and passionate.

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Columbus Cheetah says these are common attributes of gifted people.

Cheetah logic says:
The apple does not fall far from the tree
Cheetah cubs are the offspring of cheetahs
It is very likely that gifted students have gifted parents
And if being intense, sensitive and passionate are common attributes of gifted people it is quite likely that parents of gifted could be intense, sensitive and passionate.
But it is not only gifted people or parents of gifted people that can be intense, sensitive and passionate.
And being intense, sensitive and passionate does not necessarily equate with being pushy.

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Sometimes parents of gifted are considered pushy because they are
perceived to be demanding when they seek to have their children’s needs met.

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As we saw in Myth 1 the cheetah population is very low in numbers because of the combination of a very limited gene pool, environmental issues and failure to compete with other carnivorous species.
The limited gene pool means that because of inbreeding the rate of genetic birth  defects and infant mortality is high.
Very few cheetahs are born in captivity.
Columbus Cheetah says that in the wild mama cheetahs are usually good mothers. They do all that they can to keep their offspring safe and provide for their needs and teach them the skills they will need to survive.
They recognise and try to meet the particular needs of cheetahs which may not be the same as the needs of other species.

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Most humans are good parents. They do all that they can to keep their offspring safe and provide for their needs and arrange for them to receive an education that will prepare them well for life. Every child has the right to an education which meets their needs.

Like the cheetah, the gifted are a minority group in the population. Very often the physical and social environments favoured by the general population are not ideal for the gifted and their educational needs are not the same.
As we saw in Myth 9 special education for gifted students is not about giving extra – it is about giving suitable provisions for all students and therefore gifted students
receiving the educational provisions such as acceleration or extension that
they need.

In fact as the Columbus Group 1991 definition of giftedness says

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So when the parents of gifted students ask for a suitable education for their children they are asking for them to be recognized as gifted and for provisions which will meet their needs which may not be the same as the needs of other students.
They are asking for their children to be given the opportunity to work in the flow, in the eyebrow crinkle zone, to learn at the level, pace and depth which suits their abilities and to have the experience of spending time with true peers rather than age peers.

If other parents are not considered pushy when asking for their children’s needs to be met, why should the parents of gifted be considered pushy when they ask for their children’s needs to be met?

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Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 9

In line with his New Year resolution, that in 2014 he will increase his efforts to bust the myths surrounding giftedness and advocate for acceleration and ability grouping opportunities for gifted students, and in preparation for a webinar and Global GT chat on Twitter for the next two weeks, Columbus Cheetah is updating his myth busting presentations.

Columbus Cheetah’s discussion of the myths surrounding giftedness are based in his own brand of cheetah logic and the wonderful analogy of the cheetah to the gifted person given in Stephanie Tolan’s wonderful article ‘Is it a Cheetah?’
http://www.stephanietolan.com/is_it_a_cheetah.htm

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This myth is used as an excuse for not providing
for the needs of gifted students.

It claims that gifted students are receiving extra benefits and that this is
unfair to other students.

However special education for gifted students is not about giving extra – it is
about giving suitable provisions for all students and therefore gifted students
receiving the educational provisions such as acceleration or extension that
they need.

Every child has the right to an education which meets their needs.

It is not considered inappropriate to provide specialist coaching to promising
sportsmen or musicians. Why should providing suitable education to meet gifted
students needs be any different?

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Columbus Cheetah says this myth can be easily refuted by common sense cheetah logic. Playing a simple game of matching the animal students to the education that would suit each one best would show that each group has specific needs. It is appropriate for each to receive the sort of education they need.

Sometimes the claim of elitism of special education for gifted students is used to describe the fact that gifted education is offered to students from higher socio economic groups more often than it is to poorer groups. Often this means that certain racial and societal groups miss out on the opportunities.

However Columbus Cheetah says gifted students are found in every socio-economic group and they should all be able to access suitable education. The fact that they cannot does not mean that special education provisions for gifted students are elitist. It means that some groups are not being given adequate opportunities to receive a suitable education.

 

Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 8

In line with his New Year resolution, that in 2014 he will increase his efforts to bust the myths surrounding giftedness and advocate for acceleration and ability grouping opportunities for gifted students, and in preparation for a webinar and Global GT chat on Twitter for the next two weeks, Columbus Cheetah is updating his myth busting presentations.

Columbus Cheetah’s discussion of the myths surrounding giftedness are based in his own brand of cheetah logic and the wonderful analogy of the cheetah to the gifted person given in Stephanie Tolan’s wonderful article ‘Is it a Cheetah?’
http://www.stephanietolan.com/is_it_a_cheetah.htm

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Columbus Cheetah says the cheetah has an anatomy and physiology which is
perfectly designed for running fast. Cheetahs have enlarged nostrils, chest and
lungs to take in large amounts of oxygen, a flexible spine, long legs and a
long tail for balance.

A cheetah with an injured leg still has all the anatomical attributes of the
cheetah but cannot run as fast

This myth has already been discussed during Myth 3 as one of the reasons that  gifted students may not all  be successful in school.

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The analogy of the lame cheetah to the 2E student is the basis of Feetspeak:
2E shoes  http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/feetspeakforweb01.htm  and Sprite’s Site blog https://spritessite.wordpress.com/

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For more information about 2E see 2E Newsletter http://www.2enewsletter.com/

Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 7

In line with his New Year resolution, that in 2014 he will increase his efforts to bust the myths surrounding giftedness and advocate for acceleration and ability grouping opportunities for gifted students, and in preparation for a webinar and Global GT chat on Twitter for the next two weeks, Columbus Cheetah is updating his myth busting presentations.

Columbus Cheetah’s discussion of the myths surrounding giftedness are based in his own brand of cheetah logic and the wonderful analogy of the cheetah to the gifted person given in Stephanie Tolan’s wonderful article ‘Is it a Cheetah?’
http://www.stephanietolan.com/is_it_a_cheetah.htm

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Related to the Nature vs Nurture debate about the origins of giftedness we find the myth that giftedness can be created in any person by training, practice, hard work and attitude.

When linked to the myth “Gifted students have pushy parents” it is worded as

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Columbus has already dealt with this myth in a reply to Seth Godin’s assertion that

Actually, it goes the other way
Wouldn’t it be great to be gifted? In fact…
It turns out that choices lead to habits.
Habits become talents.
Talents are labeled gifts.
You’re not born this way, you get this way.

See

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/what-seth-godin-doesnt-understand-about-gifted-people-goes-the-other-way-i-think-not/

https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/what-seth-godin-doesnt-understand-about-gifted-people-goes-the-other-way-i-think-not-2/

Using Cheetah logic Columbus explains that cheetahs are perfectly designed by nature to run fast. They have the long legs, flexible arched spine and enlarged chest, nostrils and lungs.
While coaching and training members of other species to run fast may improve their performance it will not alter their basic anatomy and physiology.

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Prof Francoys Gagne’s DMGT model discusses how various catalysts influence the development of innate giftedness into fully developed talent.
But the talents are being developed from already existing innate giftedness.

Making good choices, developing good habits, practice and persistence are great character attributes for mastering a talent and should be encouraged but they will not create giftedness.

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But as we saw in Myth 2 all are NOT gifted and in Myth 3 giftedness is not synonymous with achievement. As Columbus Cheetah says “All cheetahs are animals but very few animals are cheetahs!”

Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 6

In line with his New Year resolution, that in 2014 he will increase his efforts to bust the myths surrounding giftedness and advocate for acceleration and ability grouping opportunities for gifted students, and in preparation for a webinar and Global GT chat on Twitter for the next two weeks, Columbus Cheetah is updating his myth busting presentations.

Columbus Cheetah’s discussion of the myths surrounding giftedness are based in his own brand of cheetah logic and the wonderful analogy of the cheetah to the gifted person given in Stephanie Tolan’s wonderful article ‘Is it a Cheetah?’
http://www.stephanietolan.com/is_it_a_cheetah.htm

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This is a myth which particularly concerns Columbus Cheetah.
It is used to argue against accelerating gifted students on the grounds that either
a) it will be detrimental to the flow of the student’s learning or
b) it will have negative social effects on the student

Columbus Cheetah is very eager to advocate for gifted students to be able to learn at a suitable LEVEL and PACE and to have the opportunity to spend time with their TRUE PEERS who may not be the same age as themselves.

Acceleration is an educational intervention that moves students through an educational program at a faster than usual rate or younger than typical age.
Acceleration means matching the level, complexity and pace of the curriculum with the readiness and motivation of the student.

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In order for students to be engaged in their learning it is important to pitch the teaching at what Dr Katherine Hoekman would call ‘the eyebrow wrinkle level’ of challenge – possible to attain with effort – but neither impossibly difficult nor far too easy.
http://www.positivedisintegration.com/Hoekman1999.pdf

Professor Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, notes that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow when they are completely absorbed in the activity at hand and nothing else seems to matter. For the state of flow to occur the challenge of the task and the ability of the performer need to be matched. The task should be neither too easy nor much too difficult.
You can listen to the TED talk at http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html

For gifted students to find that eyebrow crinkle level or state of flow they may need to be given acceleration.

This could take the form of early entry, year or stage level advancement, subject level advancement, dual enrolment, curriculum compacting or telescoping, correspondence courses or extra-curricular programs or mentoring.

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Regarding pace Columbus Cheetah says this myth can be busted using similar methods of observation of the cheetah’s running gait, physics and common sense as were used for busting Myth 5.

The cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal. It can accelerate from zero to 40 mph in three strides and to full speed of 70 mph in three seconds. As the cheetah runs, only one foot at a time touches the ground. There are two points, in its 20 to 25 foot (7-8 metres) stride when no feet touch the ground, as they are fully extended and then totally doubled up. Nearing full speed, the cheetah is running at about 3 strides per second

Slow motion of cheetah running from National Geographic
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/mammals/cheetah/

Note those two points when the cheetah has no feet touching the ground.
Not only do gifted students learn at a faster pace they also often make great leaps in understanding by seeing the implications of the facts or by associating knowledge from several fields

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One of the main concerns about acceleration is that the student could
have social problems because of being with a group of older students.

Dr Karen Rogers says “Gifted and talented students should spend the majority of
their school day with others of similar abilities and interests”

And Prof Miraca Gross emphasises the importance of finding a true friend who
can be a sure shelter and share at a deep level and that the likeliness of this
happening is greater if the student has been accelerated http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/play-partner-or-sure-shelter-what-gifted-children-look-for-in-friendship

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If there is doubt about whether a student is a suitable candidate for acceleration working through the Iowa Acceleration Scales will give a helpful conservative indicator score.

Iowa Acceleration Scale Manual: A Guide for Whole –Grade Acceleration K-8
The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development
Susan Assouline Ph.D., Nicholas Colangelo Ph.D., Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik Ph.D., Jonathan Lipscomb B.A., Leslie Forstadt B.A
Published by Great Potential Press
http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/Resources/IAS.aspx

You can read more about acceleration at
http://www.templeton.org/pdfs/funding_areas/10112_Final_Rpt_Bibliography.pdf

Hoagies Gifted Education Page http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/acceleration.htm

Policy and implementation strategies for the education of gifted and talented students
http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/policies/gats/assets/pdf/polsuppacc.pdf

Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 5

In line with his New Year resolution, that in 2014 he will increase his efforts to bust the myths surrounding giftedness and advocate for acceleration and ability grouping opportunities for gifted students, and in preparation for a webinar and Global GT chat on Twitter for the next two weeks, Columbus Cheetah is updating his myth busting presentations.

Columbus Cheetah’s discussion of the myths surrounding giftedness are based in his own brand of cheetah logic and the wonderful analogy of the cheetah to the gifted person given in Stephanie Tolan’s wonderful article ‘Is it a Cheetah?’
http://www.stephanietolan.com/is_it_a_cheetah.htm

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We hear this myth often used as excuse for not providing for the needs of gifted students in the lower primary classes.
It is often used as a corollary of Myths 1 and 2 or as part of myths about pushy parents and hot housing and flash carding which we will look at later.

Columbus Cheetah says this myth can be busted using observation of the cheetah’s running gait, physics and common sense.

The cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal. It can accelerate from zero to 40 mph in three strides and to full speed of 70 mph in three seconds. As the cheetah runs, only one foot at a time touches the ground. There are two points, in its 20 to 25 foot (7-8 metres) stride when no feet touch the ground, as they are fully extended and then totally doubled up. Nearing full speed, the cheetah is running at about 3 strides per second

See the slow motion of cheetah running from National Geographic
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/mammals/cheetah/

Gifted students usually learn at a much faster rate than other students.
This is partly because they need to hear fewer repetitions of the material being taught in order to understand and master it.

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In order to demonstrate that the faster you move for the same amount of time the further you will go Columbus Cheetah downloaded a program titled The Moving Man  a physics simulation from the University of Colorado
http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/moving-man

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Using it he showed that travelling the same path for 20 seconds
at 1metre per second the man travelled 20 metres
at 2metre per second the man travelled 40 metres
at 3metre per second the man travelled 60 metres
at 5metre per second the man travelled 100 metres

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Relating this to students, if all the students work for the same amount of time, the ones that learn faster can master more material
If allowed to work at their maximum rate they will complete more work and reach a higher level than those who learn more slowly.

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So if they all start at the same point and work consistently by the time they reach Year 3 the gifted faster learners will be ahead of the others.

However they are usually not starting from the same point.
Some students have already mastered the material to be taught.
At a point half way through Year One some students will be at the average level, some will not have achieved it yet and some would be able to work at level of Year Two or higher.

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The students will NOT all be at the same level by the time they time they reach Year 3. And that is only considering velocity. We have not even started to look at acceleration yet!

Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 4

In line with his New Year resolution, that in 2014 he will increase his efforts to bust the myths surrounding giftedness and advocate for acceleration and ability grouping opportunities for gifted students, and in preparation for a webinar and Global GT chat on Twitter for the next two weeks, Columbus Cheetah is updating his myth busting presentations.

Columbus Cheetah’s discussion of the myths surrounding giftedness are based in his own brand of cheetah logic and the wonderful analogy of the cheetah to the gifted person given in Stephanie Tolan’s wonderful article ‘Is it a Cheetah?’
http://www.stephanietolan.com/is_it_a_cheetah.htm

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Columbus Cheetah says cheetah logic says it is not possible to make generalisations like this.
Some gifted students are polite and some are rude; some are well behaved and some are not; some have neat handwriting and some do not.

Gifted is not a homogenous group!
There are different levels of giftedness and there are many other differences apart from IQ There are different areas of expertise and interest. And there are differences in character traits and different levels of intensity and sensitivity’

To read more about this see https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/the-psych-owl-ogist-6/

In fact Columbus Cheetah says this generalisation would be more likely to be true of teacher pleasing high achievers than gifted students.

Gifted students often do not have neat handwriting. This is because they cannot write fast enough to keep pace with their thoughts and because they are more interested in the content of their writing than its appearance.
Letting gifted students use a keyboard for writing essays is very helpful.
If neat handwriting is valued it is better for the student to learn calligraphy as an art form.

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Columbus Cheetah says that cheetah logic would say that cheetah cubs tend to resemble grumpy little honey badgers! This is a means of camouflage and also a measure of protection against predators.
Manners and behaviour are reflections of temperament, character traits and upbringing. They can also be pointers to the level of comfort or stress the student is feeling. Extreme frustration, irritation or boredom because of unmet learning needs (unsuitable level, pace and depth) can result in rudeness and bad behaviour in usually polite and well behaved students.
Gifted students are more likely to experience this frustration than students who are happy and achieving well at the level of the class.
Gifted students can often seem like grumpy little honey badgers!