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Unruly Behaviors
Old 07-03-2007, 11:35 AM
 
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After researching gifted underachievers I learned that their giftedness is often masked by "inappropriate" behaviors, poor grades, etc. I was wondering how often teacher's refer these students for testing and if the teachers do refer a student as described, how many referred usually meet eligibility requirements? Do these behaviors usually diminish once in the program? or what strategies have you used to help these children reach their full potential? Do students have to maintain a certain grades/behavior to be in the G/T program?


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Underachievers
Old 07-03-2007, 02:48 PM
 
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First, we no longer have a grade/behaviour requirement for our program. When they were self contained, and were in a GT class all day, they had to maintain an 85 in content areas. Now that we've gone to a pullout program, we don't do that. There's never been a behaviour policy. Behaviour is treated the same there as any other.. if they're a behaviour issue, then they're sent to an alternative school just like anyone else.. and they still have to be served as GT while they're there (I went through this with two students, where they were in Alternative and I still had to provide them with GT work).

As for the underachieving questions. I totally agree, that most GT underachievers are not identified because they don't complete work, they don't behave the way others would like them to, they're failing, etc. My daughter became one of these when she changed school districts and wasn't being challenged and they had no GT program. They were repeating things she'd learned the year before in an accelerated program, she was bored, and refused to do the work. We ended up having to take her out and homeschool for four years until she entered high school and could go honors/AP/etc. I've had students in summer school who were failing and ended up testing them for GT and they qualified. In general, I don't think teachers refer these children for the most part... these are the ones that parents end up requesting they be tested. Point in case, I had a teacher this year who referred four students for testing - none of the four qualified, they were bright - percentiles in the 80's, but not gifted. He had two other students whose parents requested they be tested, and on the teacher checklist and information he rated them low... yet both qualified for GT... and one we discovered had a reading disability that no one had ever noticed because he'd learned to compensate on his own.

As for the diminishing, when we had a self-contained program, I did see the behaviour improve once the students were in the class. However, now with the pullout, what I'm seeing is students who have a totally different attitude on the day they're with me than on the four days they're in their regular classroom. One in particular was a constant problem, refused to do his work, hated writing, loved math. I gave all my students Saxon math books (we no longer use them in our district, and have loads of them lying around) for the next grade level up. Several teachers used them in the regular classroom as replacement task for the regular math, just found a lesson on the same concept at a higher level. HIS teacher told him "you can't work in that book unless you do all your fourth grade work" (He was halfway through the book with me in less than two months, and was making 100's on every page. He would leave one week, come back the next week with about 10-15 lessons he'd done on his own at home, and make 90-100% on them everytime!) He was like my daughter.. why do I need to do FOURTH when I can do FIFTH!?!? And WHY do I have to do TWICE as much work!?!

All that said... My goal, as coordinator for this new program, is to teach teachers HOW to differentiate, use replacement tasks, compact, accelerate, etc... and hopefully solve some of their problems.

The other thing we've done is cluster all our GT students into classrooms with teachers who have GT training, and will be continuing their training throughout the school year in how to differentiate in the classroom... so that should help also.

Finally, we're training teachers to recognize GT characteristics in both positive and negative light (i.e. "masters concepts quickly" can be seen as "refuses to do repetitive work already mastered")
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