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?’
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.
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/
Sometimes parents of gifted are considered pushy because they make other people feel uncomfortable because they are intense, sensitive and passionate.
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.
Sometimes parents of gifted are considered pushy because they are
perceived to be demanding when they seek to have their children’s needs met.
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.
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
In fact as the Columbus Group 1991 definition of giftedness says
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?