Great Potential Press
Paperback | 448 Pages
ISBN: 978-0910707954
CAD $26.95

Being Smart about Gifted Education, now in its 2nd edition, is written for teachers and parents who want to understand what intelligence, giftedness, and talent are, how high level ability develops, and what they can do to support and encourage it. It connects current research in the cognitive and neurosciences and developmental psychology with practices in education, illustrating the important roles that appropriate support, challenge, practice, and persistence play in high academic achievement.

Foreword

Foreword to Being Smart about Gifted Education by Rena Subotnik, PhD

Psychology has lots to offer gifted child studies and gifted education, and always has. Most of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the field were trained in the discipline, as were many of their rebellious “sons” and “daughters.” This wonderful volume continues that tradition by promoting evidence-based practices that have been carefully culled and vetted through psychological science, education and evaluation research, as well as by the deep expertise of the authors.

Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster’s conceptualization of “Mastery” versus “Mystery” approaches for gifted education and gifted child studies unveils the source of conflicting outcomes we see in the gifted education literature. They make it clear that unless the preparation provided to teachers and the consultations we provide to parents are grounded in some form of definitional consensus, our field will undermine its ability to play a greater role at the table of school reform and policy development.

The authors explicate the arena of gifted education in a number of constructive ways. They do not accept hearsay or ideology as an excuse for promoting practices in identification, curriculum, evaluation, or counseling services. They provide solid advice to parents, educators and decision makers in language that is accessible to all interested readers. Every reader, from those with little exposure to the field save experiences with their own children and their children’s teachers, to those who have been immersed for decades in serving the needs of gifted children, will find this book a welcome reference.

Rena F. Subotnik, PhD
Director
Center for Gifted Education Policy American Psychological Association

Table of Contents

Being Smart about Gifted Education

TABLE of CONTENTS

SECTION I. BEING SMART ABOUT GIFTEDNESS CHAPTER 1. PERSPECTIVES AND PARADIGM SHIFTS

  • What Is Giftedness?
  • Two Perspectives: Mystery and Mastery
  • Shifting Paradigms
  • Origins: Nature or Nurture?
  • Domains of Competence
  • Is Learning Easy?
  • Other Terms
  • Historical Perspective
  • Guidelines and a Definition
  • Questions

CHAPTER 2. CREATIVITY AND GIFTEDNESS

  • What Is Creativity?
  • Can We Measure Creativity?
  • Nurturing Creativity
  • Creative Parenting and Teaching

SECTION II. BEING SMART ABOUT DIAGNOSING MISMATCHES

CHAPTER 3. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT TESTING

  • Who Needs Testing?
  • What Are the Key Concepts?
  • What Purpose Does Testing Serve?
  • When to Test?
  • Where to Test?
  • Why Test?

CHAPTER 4. ASSESSMENTS AND TESTS

  • It Starts with the Teacher: Classroom Assessment
  • Standardized Tests
  • Nonstandardized Measures and Other Information Sources
  • A Synopsis

CHAPTER 5. MISMATCH DIAGNOSTICS: MOVING AWAY FROM CATEGORICAL IDENTIFICATION AND LABELING

  • The Way It Ought to Be: Diagnosing Mismatches
  • The Way It Too Often Is: Mystery Model Identification
  • Labeling
  • Moving Toward Mismatch Diagnostics
  • Early Identification
  • Parents’ Roles

SECTION III. BEING SMART ABOUT MEETING GIFTED LEARNING NEEDS

CHAPTER 6. ADAPTATIONS: THE GIFTED LEARNER IN THE REGULAR CLASSROOM

  • A Flexible Range of Educational Options
  • Options in the Regular Classroom

CHAPTER 7. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: STRETCHING THE BOUNDARIES

  • Whole-Grade Acceleration
  • Gifted Classes
  • Second Language Immersion and Dual Track Programs
  • Specialty Subjects
  • Specialized and Alternative Schools
  • Private and Independent Schools
  • Homeschooling
  • Casting the Net Farther Afield
  • Extracurricular Enrichment
  • Mentorships
  • Career Exploration
  • Books
  • Travel
  • Do-Nothing Times
  • And So…

SECTION IV. BEING SMART ABOUT GIFTED DEVELOPMENT

CHAPTER 8. MOTIVATION AND OTHER ISSUES

  • Motivation: The Heart of Learning
  • Motivators: Practical Strategies
  • Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation
  • Achievement Issues
  • Practical Ideas

CHAPTER 9. HOW DOES GIFTEDNESS DEVELOP?

  • Nature or Nurture? Back to Origins
  • Developmental Pathways
  • Gifted Development in Early Childhood
  • Early Adolescence (Sigh)
  • The Importance of Play
  • Being Smart and Being Funny
  • What’s Love Got to Do with It? The Role of Passion in Gifted Development
  • Effort, Persistence, Perseverance, and Practice
  • Differences between Boys and Girls
  • Cultural Differences
  • Prodigies and extreme Giftedness
  • Twice Exceptional: Learning Problems and Gifted Development
  • Career Counseling and Gifted Development

CHAPTER 10. EMOTIONAL, SOCIAL, AND BEHAVIORAL CONSIDERATIONS

  • Gifted Labeling
  • School Change: Social Concerns
  • Social Skills
  • Self-Concept
  • Perspective and Attitude
  • Excessive Computer Time
  • Suicide
  • Other Behavioral Concerns
  • Solutions: Emotional Intelligence
  • Well-Being, Benevolence, Wisdom, and Leadership

SECTION V. BEING SMART ABOUT FAMILIES, ADVOCATES, AND EDUCATORS

CHAPTER 11. PARENTING MATTERS

  • Making Decisions about Programming, Placement, and Change
  • Making the Choice Work
  • Advocacy: Helping Schools Meet Children’s Needs
  • Supportive Parenting
  • Sibling Relationships
  • Seeking Professional Help

CHAPTER 12. TEACHER DEVELOPMENT

  • Teacher Development
  • Administrative Support
  • Formats
  • What Can Parents Expect?
  • The Dynamic Scaffolding Model (DSM) of Teacher Development
  • Engagement in Teaching and Learning

CHAPTER 13: OPTIMAL LEARNING FOR ALL CHILDREN

  • Sharing Resources in a Changing World
  • University-Based Gifted Education Resource Centers
  • Questions and Answers
  • The Importance of Staying Up-to-Date
  • Being Smart about Tomorrow

APPENDIX I: THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF ASSESSMENTS

  • Interpreting Test Scores
  • A Case Study with Excerpts from a Psychoeducational Report

APPENDIX II: EDUCATIONAL DECISION-MAKING
POEM – They Tell Me I’m Gifted… REFERENCES
INDEX

Excerpt Motivation

In Being Smart about Gifted Education, we discuss many aspects of motivation to learn. In one section, we describe ten different motivators that parents and teachers can use to help children want to engage in learning. Here’s an excerpt, adapted from Chapter 10. You’ll see that we start off with some questions we’re often asked.

“What incentives will encourage children to complete enrichment activities?” “How can I make sure that learning is fair, interesting, and fun for kids?”

We suggest a number of evidence-based strategies that parents and teachers can use to motivate children.

Suspense, Intrigue, and Wonder

Give children opportunities to connect intellectual effort with the joy of discovering solutions. For example, you might say to a child, “It’s a hot summer day, and all of a sudden, the weather turns nasty. Big hailstones and ice pellets start to fall. Ice! On a hot summer’s day. How can this happen?” Children may not know the answer, but they are likely to be curious and uncertain, and they may have some ideas to share.

Guessing and Feedback

These two processes work well together. For example, suppose you start a science investigation with the question, “What do people require, in order to live?” Consider how guesses can motivate learning, and how appropriate feedback can guide and stimulate further inquiry.

Working with Children’s Previous Knowledge

Draw links between new material and what children already know. By connecting new learning to already consolidated knowledge (for ourselves, as with children), we greatly increase the likelihood that it will be accessible later when it is useful. For example, if you want children to learn about a historical event, you might start by talking about links with current similar circumstances. This will help them put the situation into a meaningful perspective.

Controversy and Contradiction

There are usually several points of view on any given topic, and awareness of controversy can motivate learning. A teacher or parent might ask a child to consider the relative importance of one thing as compared to another. For example, “Which is a better form of transportation, a car or a bicycle?” Or one might ask whether a regulation should be rewritten (such as allowing dogs in restaurants). Adults can help children gather information and engage in reasoning, critical listening, and refutation. By encouraging students to give serious consideration to alternative perspectives, controversy and contradiction can be motivating and stimulating.

Adapted from Being Smart about Gifted Education (2009), by Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster

Reviews

Endorsements for Being Smart:

“Being Smart has become even smarter in its second edition. This is an essential book for anyone interested in gifted education”

James BorlandColumbia University

“Talent is transformed into high performance through a willingness to try, invest time in guided practice, and persist when tasks are difficult. These authors describe ways to do just that.”

Frank WorrellUC-Berkeley

“This helpful book points out the nuances to teaching and parenting gifted children, and the fine line between achievement and underachievement. Rich with examples, it highlights the importance of an optimal match between challenging and engaging school and home experiences, and opportunities to develop gifts and talents! A practical, thoughtful contribution by twoleading experts!”

Sally ReisUniversity of Connecticut

“This is a highly readable and accessible volume about the development of children with gifts and talents. It is practical and theoretical; it is informed by the most recent research; and it is filled with useful information and insights. It is a book that will be valued by all teachers, parents, and counselors who care about fostering the development of gifts and talents in children and adolescents.”

Frances Degen HorowitzThe City University of New York Graduate Center

“These authors present exciting new work on mindsets, as well as recent research findings on expertise and cognitive neuroscience, that show the importance of habits of mind in cognitive development. This book will prompt people in the gifted child field to reexamine many long-held beliefs!”

Carol DweckStanford University

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