Connie Gordon has twenty years classroom experience working in the field of gifted education, and is the founder of Scholaris Gifted Academy. Under the guidance of Sharon Gerleman, Connie has developed and taught graduate level classes in gifted education and has designed adjunct programs specifically for gifted learners.
The quick response is that there is, as yet, no universally agreed upon answer to this question. Type in a quick Google search to define “giftedness” and you will find a plethora of answers and opinions, many of which are referenced in this blog. Giftedness, intelligence, and talent are fluid concepts and may look different in different contexts and cultures. Some professionals define "gifted" as an intelligence test score above 130, two or more standard deviations above the norm, or the top 2%. Others define "gifted" based on scholastic achievement: a gifted child works 2 or more grade levels above his or her age. Still others see giftedness as prodigious accomplishment: adult-level work while chronologically a child. These are far from the only definitions, yet most definitions agree: gifted children are a population who have different educational needs, thanks to their unique intellectual development.
Asynchrony is a relatively new way of looking at giftedness. Leta Stetter Hollingworth, the foremother of gifted education, viewed giftedness as a set of complex psychological issues arising out of the disparities between these children’s mental and chronological ages. Hollingworth established that the farther removed children are from the average in intelligence, the more pressing their adjustment problems become. As IQ increases, so do difficulties with peer relations. Asynchrony means being out-of-sync within oneself (uneven development), out-of-sync with age mates and the expectations of the classroom, having heightened emotions and awareness, and being vulnerable, due to all of these developmental and psychological differences from the norm.
While all learners are unique, gifted students are especially so, decades of research and classroom experience have made clear that such children require differentiated, enriched educational programming to have the best opportunity to reach their full potential. One commonly-accepted myth is that because of their abilities, gifted children are fine learning on their own, but the truth is that highly gifted children need more from school, not less. At the same time, gifted children don’t just have academic needs; they also frequently have social-emotional needs that may not be addressed in a regular education setting.
The advanced cognitive and/or scholastic abilities of gifted learners are fueled by their desire to cultivate an extensive knowledge base and deep understanding of topics near and dear to their hearts. As abstract thinkers and problem-solvers, gifted learners value logic and precision, and are frustrated when contending with anything less. Their tendency toward perfectionism and self-criticism sometimes impedes production and appropriate risk-taking.
The reality is that gifted children are at risk for school failure unless they are taught differently. Optimally, they benefit most from being grouped with others of comparable aptitude in programs that provide intellectual and academic stimulation, acceleration and enrichment. Accepting and addressing their strengths and needs are critical to helping them develop resilience, fulfill their potential and secure their happiness. Left untended, these gifted learners struggle with underachievement, frustration and apathy; simply put, they turn off and tune out.
At Scholaris Gifted Academy we have a responsibility to provide optimal educational, social and emotional experiences for talents to flourish in as many children as possible, for the benefit of the individual and the community. Please contact us directly for more information on gifted learners or visit one of our upcoming open houses.
Scholaris Gifted Academy will host an Open House on Tuesday, March 11 and Monday, April 14 from 4-7 p.m. Our goal is to assist families of gifted learners and provide the needed educational, social, and emotional support.
Parents in the Scholaris community organize monthly meetings to discuss the developmental needs of gifted learners. Our meeting on Wednesday, March 19, will discuss Gifted Learners in Early Childhood. 6-8PM, Fiddleheads Café, Mequon.
Super Science Saturdays
Our Super Science Saturdays with Jerry Hoefs from Brain Brigade on April 12th is FULL. Mr. Hoefs will also be offering classes during our Summer Convocation. Please contact the school for more information.
Scholaris Gifted Academy is pleased to announce our inaugural Summer Convocation! Sessions include: The Science of Gases - July 7-11; Imagine, Construct, and Fly! - July 14-18; Music! Words! Create! Perform!...Opera! - July 7-11 & 14-18. We are also offering a Young Scholar's Adventure for our youngest learners (K3 through K5).
We are looking forward to completing our exciting first year as we continue the vision and life work of our legacy, Sharon Gerleman.
We are a child centered school serving the social, emotional, and intellectual needs of gifted children.
For more information on any of our programs please contact Scholaris Gifted Academy, 217 West Dunwood Rd., Rm., 113, Milwaukee, WI 53217
Face book: www.facebook.com/ScholarisGiftedAcademy