A lot of Gifted children never learn how to learn properly, because all they get in their curriculum is far too easy.
Gifted students understand everything that the teacher tells them so quickly, that they never have to use their memory.
As a result the gifted child doesn't learn how to effectively use their memory.
This can result in a lot of problems during Highschool. In Highschool the curriculum (sometimes) does require the use of their memory.
Since gifted children never learned how to use their memory properly, they can get very frustrated. They don't know how to learn for their tests anymore. They feel insecure, can even develop performance anxiety which can result in black outs during tests. I know what I am talking about, I've been there.
In the Netherlands the schoolsystem is rather different than in the USA (for more information read this blog about the Dutch schoolsystem).
My story about being gifted during Highschool:
I was a very good student during 'de basisschool'. When I went to the 'Middelbare school' I went to the'VWO'. This is the highest level of the 'Middelbare school'. When I was in the 3rd 'grade', I couldn't handle the curriculum anymore. I kept trying and trying, I am not a quitter, but I simply didn't know how to learn. I was so insecure (because during the 'basisschool' I never had to learn anything) that I thought I was very dumb. I started learning longer and longer, while I never had the feeling that I got it. I learned in a very wrong way. I kept reading and summarizing the curriculum, which I wasn't good at. I had a very hard time to distinguish primary and secondary issues. And that's why my summarizings took me a very, very long time. I never finished them, before my test was there, the next day. This made me feel even more insecure. And I always have been very shy on top of that.
I don't think my teachers believed in me. They didn't see the very bright student that I really was. I don't blame them, I think none of them ever heard about Giftedness back then.
My grades dropped and at the end of the 3rd grade, school told me that the best thing I could do, was go a level lower (HAVO). Because I already knew I wanted to be a teacher (and I didn't need VWO for that), had a very low confidence level and because my parents thought this was the best for me (they both never studied), I went to the HAVO the next year.
It felt like failing to me, but like I told before, I am not a quitter. The learning went easier again, because I didn't necessarily need my memory while learning. Still I think I could have done a lot better during the HAVO too if there would have been anyone who learned me HOW to learn. Who would have seen how I was struggling. Nobody did.
My parents did the best they could, the sent me to tutoring lessons for Math. I don't blame them for not knowing. Even my teachers didn't notice anything!
Maybe you ask yourself why I am writing this? It is probably not very 'American' to write about your short comings.
I write this, because I want more parents, teachers and students to know what it feels like feeling stupid, while in the meantime you are (probably) gifted! (I don't know for sure if I am gifted and I am still doubting sometimes. I never got tested and am still doubting about the importance of testing to me.My oldest son is a tested gifted child, my youngest definitely is way ahead of his peers and I know my husband is gifted as hell while he has never been tested. After reading this, you know I am still insecure about being gifted or not...).
I hope a lot has changed since I graduated Highschool, but I am not so sure about it!
To students that recognize themselves in my story, please ask for help. If you recognize yourself in these charactaristics, you might be gifted! There should be people that are able to help you. Talk about it with a (AT?) teacher you trust and that, in your opinion, knows about being gifted. The sooner you ask for help, the better people can help you.
Talk about it with your parents! There might be a big chance they are gifted too! (Even if they don't know themselves!)Being gifted is heritable, but I can't find a clear answer to the question how heritable it is. Fact is that gifted children often have at least 1 gifted parent (and no, that isn't always the dad!) Search together for the help you (both) need.
For parents the following websites could be helpful:
- GT World - to find other parents of Gifted Children
- SENG website for Parents
- Facebook page about Giftedness
- Facebook Page IEA Gifted
- Facebook page About Being Gifted (partially Dutch)
To teachers (I am a teacher myself ) I want to say the following: please know what the charactaristics of giftedness are. There are a lot of assumptions about giftedness, don't buy them! Read, educate yourself! I know a lot of teachers can't get the additional training they want, because there simply isn't enough money for that. But you can read it yourself! These are a few articles that can help you with that:
All people that want to ask me questions about this blog, and don't want to reply were everybody can read it, please feel free to e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. There are no dumb questions! If you don't ask questions, you will never learn!
By the way: I turned my 'negative' story into a 'positive' story: I became a teacher, one who does see (gifted) children and helps them. Or at least I used to be that. Since I moved to the USA I became I stay-at-home-mom. Because my two sons will be going to school fulltime after this summer break, I am trying to find a good job that can make me help the (gifted) students the best I can!
I will write a next blog about how exactly a teacher can help gifted students.
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