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!”

Best Australian Blogs 2013 No 4: Interaction with other blogs and blog tours

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Sprite is keen to demonstrate the interaction that Sprite’s Site has with other blogs by participating in blog tours, leaving and receiving comments and mentions and inclusion in blogrolls.

Last August I received an email telling me that I needed to either close my other blog, Gifted Resources blog http://giftedresources.wordpress.com/  or update it to the newer format. I had neglected that blog as all my blogging energy has been poured into Sprite’s Site for the last few years.

My tech guru, Jamie Tarling, put in a lot of work to update the blog and transfer old posts into it. It was exciting to see the possible formats and themes on offer for the updated version. The picture in the blog header changes randomly from a selection of Gifted Resources pictures at each page refresh. http://giftedresources.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/theres-life-in-the-old-blog-yet/

It meant that I was now ‘two-blog lady’ and had to divide my time between the two blogs. You can read about the reactions of the Sprite’s Site characters here
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/between-the-blogs/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/between-the-blogs-2/

Here is a round up of the posts on Spite’s Site and Gifted Resources blog during 2012 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/that-was-the-year-that-was-2012/

Sprite’s Site participated in blog tours, blog hops, blogathons etc including

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Calling all Bloggers: Sir Ken Robinson blogathon
 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/beyond-our-ken-sprite-tries-to-fathom-the-nature-of-creativity/
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/beyond-our-ken-sprite-tries-to-fathom-the-nature-of-creativity-part-2/

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What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People  – Answers to a blog post by Seth Godin organised by the Facebook group Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Bloggers Group
What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People: Goes the other way? I think not!
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/what-seth-godin-doesnt-understand-about-gifted-people-goes-the-other-way-i-think-not/

What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People: Goes the other way? I think not! 2
https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/what-seth-godin-doesnt-understand-about-gifted-people-goes-the-other-way-i-think-not-2/

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NZ Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tours

New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week
 https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/gifted-awareness-week-new-zealand/

In 2012 I answered the call for posts and filled in TBA (To Be Advised) as the proposed topic for the post. I will be careful not to make that mistake again; as having said I would write about TBA I felt obligated to do so and ended up writing a series with a total of 7 posts for the blog tour.

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Gifted Awareness Week Namibia
The post Namibia, cheetahs and gifted students https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/namibia-cheetahs-and-gifted-students/  was written at the invitation of Roya Klingner from the Global Center for Gifted Education as a part of Gifted Education Awareness Week in Namibia.

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Hilde Buys from Denmark picked up my post Reading to dogs https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/reading-to-dogs/ and commented on it on her 2E Dansk blog http://2e-giftedogdiagnose.blogspot.com.au/
in a post titled ‘Læsning til hunden med Sprite og 2e-footsteps’  at http://2e-giftedogdiagnose.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/lsning-med-sprite.html
I wrote about Sprite’s visit to Denmark  at https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/sprite-in-denmark/

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A set of posters about Creativity was created for
International Week of Giftedness 2012/International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013 blogtour at http://iygc.wordpress.com/
at https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/be-creative-with-the-dabrowski-dogs/

Inclusion in Blogrolls and mentions in posts on blogs and commenting on blog posts.

Sprite’s Site enjoys excellent relations with many blogs and provides commentary and links to posts on them and is quoted and linked to in their posts.
Some of the main blogs which Sprite connects with are:

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Jo Hart’s E-verything blog
http://johart1.edublogs.org/?s=Jo+Freitag

Lisa Conrad’s Gifted Parenting Support
http://giftedparentingsupport.blogspot.com.au/

Global #gtchat powered by TAGT blog
http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/?s=Sprite%27s+Site

http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/?s=Jo+Freitag

http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/?s=Gifted+Resources

VOTE FOR SPRITE’S SITE

Vote for Sprite’s Site (and as many other great Australian blogs as you like) by clicking on the Vote for Me button in the sidebar of the blog. But you can only vote once: so be sure to make the vote count. Sprite’s Site is on Page 4 O-S.

If you have entered Sprite’s Site by following a link to a specific post you will need to click on the title on the blue Sprite’s Site header to see the sidebar.

What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People: Goes the other way? I think not! 2

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Intellectual Dabrowski had finished his experiment https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/what-seth-godin-doesnt-understand-about-gifted-people-goes-the-other-way-i-think-not/ and drawn a neat QED beside the conclusion. They had not been able to induce cheetah abilities, anatomy and physiology in Caramel Cat and the Tortoise by subjecting them to a rigorous regime of making good choices, developing good habits, positive thinking techniques, training and practice.

It could be argued that Caramel Cat had been less than enthusiastic about the whole operation; which could have resulted in less success than expected. As it was, he learned some useful strategies, which did improve his speed marginally and improved his muscle strength and breathing, but did not enlarge his nostrils or ribcage or give him any other cheetah attributes.
Caramel Cat professed to really not being fussed about becoming a cheetah as he considered that, in many ways, cheetahs were not the best model of a cat – “Far from the “best cat,” the cheetah would seem to be barely a cat at all” as Stephanie Tolan wrote in her brilliant analogy ‘Is it a cheetah?’ http://www.stephanietolan.com/is_it_a_cheetah.htm

The same could not be said of the Tortoise. He desperately wanted to achieve cheetah characteristics and worked very diligently at all the exercises and embraced the thinking techniques wholeheartedly. And he did become very fast – for a tortoise! But in every other way he was still a tortoise.
But Imaginational Dabrowski continued to think about the problem for a long time.
Probably it was the phrase ‘Wouldn’t it be great to be gifted?’ that acted as a springboard for Imaginational’s reveries.
Imaginational always warms to discussions that began with ‘What if…?’ and ‘Wouldn’t it be great…’

He wondered about what had motivated Seth Godin to write

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.

Was Seth trying to explain/downplay his own giftedness in an egalitarian –yes you too can have what I have – manner.

Was he trying to create conversation in relation to positive thinking as suggested by his next post at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/02/rehearsing-failure-rehearsing-success.html  or about cause and effect  as in http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/02/signals-vs-causes.html

Or was he, as a commenter on Susanne Thomas’ Building Wing Span blog http://buildingwingspan.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/what-seth-godin-doesnt-understand-about.html  suggested acting as a guru and trying to provoke action in his followers

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Imaginational felt sure that Seth Godin would have a purpose in writing and speculated about whether it might relate to an upcoming project or book.
Was he canvassing opinions about the nature of giftedness or trying to influence public opinion about it?

This paragraph seemed to indicate that he was intending to teach something or change something but his intentions were not really clear

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And Imaginational wondered what if it was possible to create a state of giftedness in yourself? Just because the answer at this point in time seemed to be a clear negative it did not necessarily mean that it would always be the case.

Maybe it was a Cake type argument. To bake a cake you needed to have enough of the right ingredients but how could you generate the original raw ingredients after you had baked it?

Maybe it was a Star Trek type argument. Maybe the arrow on Gagne’s model only went in one direction because on Earth we live in a linear time frame. We are born, we age and develop and then we die. Maybe if we did not live within the restrictions of a linear time frame we could gain experience and mastery which could then retrospectively cause adjustment to the essence and wiring of a person.

Maybe it was an Imaginary/ Imaginal type argument like the argument he had with Intellectual Dabrowski about the possible but highly improbable existence of the Tree Octopus https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/imaginational-dabrowski-counsel-for-the-defence-2/ .  Maybe there would come a time when it would be possible to imagine things into existence and people would be able to create giftedness in themself. And when that time came what would education look like? In fact who knew what developments there would be in education, in medicine, in philosophy?
And if it were possible would everyone want to do it?

As Gilbert and Sullivan observed “When you have nothing else to wear But cloth of gold and satins rare For cloth of gold you cease to care Up goes the price of shoddy!”

If people could create giftedness in themselves would it still come with all the downsides of asynchrony, heightened intensity and sensitivity and the social isolation that are felt by the gifted now? Or would it be the common condition with no negative aspects?

And if self made giftedness became the common condition what would happen to the people who chose not to do it? Would it be considered mandatory to

Make Choices
Build Habits
Earn Talents
Be Gifted

And what about the ones who, like the Tortoise, with the very best will and intention and effort were not able to self activate giftedness through good choices, good habits and hard work?

Imaginational explained all these thoughts to the others.
Sensual sat and scratched his head and Psycho Motor went outside to chase butterflies.

“I think maybe I could imagine being able to create giftedness in yourself” Imaginational said.

“That is just wishful thinking!” scoffed Intellectual.

Emotional Dabrowski said “I think that to even be able to think like that you would have to be gifted already”

This post has been nominated as one of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Rapid Responses to the topic “All children are gifted” To read more responses to this topic see
http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/resources/parent-and-professional-resources/articles/are-all-children-gifted/

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What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People : Goes the other way? I think not!

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When Seth Godin writes something people take notice. He is an entrepreneur, founder of ventures such as Yoyodyne and Squidoo and the author of bestsellers such as Linchpin and Purple cow. He has 184,000+ likes on his Facebook page and 246,500+ followers on Twitter.

So when he wrote this blog post at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/02/goestheotherway.html it caused consternation to many parents, teachers, service providers and advocates in the field of gifted education.

Here is the post in its entirety:

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.

It also caused consternation among the characters at Sprite’s Site.

I found Intellectual Dabrowski setting up experiments to test Seth Godin’s assertion.
He had called in the Psych-owl-ogist https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/psych-owl-ogist/  to provide background information and Myth Buster Columbus Cheetah to help sort facts from common misunderstandings.

“I have explained various aspects of giftedness” said the Psych-owl-ogist.
Here  https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/the-psych-owl-ogist-2/

Here https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/the-psych-owl-ogist-3/

And here https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/the-psych-owl-ogist-6/

I have discussed Prof Francoys Gagne’s DMGT model and how the various catalysts influence the development of innate giftedness into fully developed talent.
But you need to note that the talents are being developed from already existing giftedness.
Note that the arrow in the diagram points only in one direction!

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There is much emphasis today on talent development and that is good.
But talent must not be confused with giftedness.
Giftedness as the Columbus Group definition says is ‘asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm’.
Yes, there is evidence of plasticity of the brain and renewing or changing of neural pathways but becoming proficient at something will not by itself create that initial state of asynchronous development and heightened intensity.
Making good choices, developing good habits, practice and persistence are great character attributes for mastering a talent and should be encouraged.

But the problem I have is with the linking of giftedness to achievement and also the assertion that everyone is/can be gifted. Yes, everyone has areas of ability. Yes, everyone has talents which should be developed and encouraged. Yes everyone is of equal worth as a human being!!!

But no, everyone is not naturally academically gifted. As the film The Incredibles points out “If everyone is special – then no-one is” And if nobody is gifted then we do not need to make any special provisions for their education.
And as Columbus Cheetah says “All cheetahs are animals but very few animals are cheetahs!”

“So Columbus Cheetah and I have designed an experiment” said Intellectual Dabrowski “We know cheetahs are perfectly designed to run fast. They have the long legs, flexible arched spine and enlarged chest, nostrils and lungs.
If Seth Godin is correct we can give Caramel Cat and the Tortoise all the attributes of a cheetah through choice, habits and talent development.
Choices lead to habits.
Habits become talents.
Talents are labeled gifts.
Columbus Cheetah has painted cheetah spots on Caramel Cat and the Tortoise and will be conducting a rigorous regime of training (including concentrated flash carding) and practice, practice, practice in an attempt to produce a cheetah performance and thereby cause an alteration in the very anatomy and physiology of Caramel Cat and the Tortoise.”

“And why are the Pair O’Noids  here?” I asked

“Probably because they recognise Seth Godin as someone with much power to influence public opinion and are concerned that he may add to the myths surrounding giftedness that advocates are already trying to counter.
Also the phrase ‘Talents are labeled gifts’ probably reminds them of the Newspeak of Orwell’s 1984 and the changing chants in Animal Farm
They probably wonder whether Seth was testing public reaction and the reactions of various groups or trying to change opinion when he posted” said Intellectual

Seth Godin’s post was discussed on the Twitter Irish gifted  #gtie chat The transcript can be read here http://www.tweetdoc.org/View/65121/Gifted-vs-High-Achiever

Other blog posts written in reply to Seth’s post can be read here

Pamela Price Red, White & GrewTM
http://redwhiteandgrew.com/2013/02/23/what-seth-godin-doesnt-get-about-gifted/

Susanne Thomas Building Wing Span
http://buildingwingspan.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/what-seth-godin-doesnt-understand-about.html

Sara Wilson Watch Out for Gifted People
http://watchoutforgiftedpeople.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/id-for-love-you-to-be-right-seth-but.html

Mona Eby Chicks Life with intensity
http://lifewithintensity.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/gifted-is-about-starting-point.html

Peter Lydon Gifted and Talented Ireland
http://giftedandtalented.ie/index.php/2013/02/24/sething-it-all-wrong/

Kate Arms-Roberts
http://www.katearmsroberts.com/seth-godin-pissed-my-friends-off-and-he-was-wrong-too/

Jen Torbeck Merrill Laughing at Chaos
http://laughingatchaos.com/2013/02/25/actually-mr-godin-we-are-born-this-way/

Jeff Shoemaker Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher
http://ramblingsofagiftedteacher.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/seth-just-doesnt-get-it/

Kim Modolfsky The Maker Mom
http://www.themakermom.com/2013/02/understanding-gifted-kids.html 

Lisa Rivero writing a post for Psychology Today
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creative-synthesis/201302/actually-it-goes-both-ways

This post has been nominated as one of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Rapid Responses to the topic “All children are gifted” To read more responses to this topic see
http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/resources/parent-and-professional-resources/articles/are-all-children-gifted/

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