Sunday, January 15, 2012

gifted education

I've spent the last few days reading up on gifted education. I've worked my way through 6 modules of the ed qld pd course at specialisation level so I figure I now know more than most teachers. But I still know precious little.

Here are some thoughts.

- the main issue here is equity. Each child deserves to be taught at a level appropriate to them. Parents spit at the thought of other people's kids getting special treatment because they are bright, but we all need to get over that way of thinking. The aim is that each child works at a level that is challenging (but achievable) for them. This will mean a differentiated curriculum.

- An undifferentiated curriculum will mean significantly worse outcomes for gifted children socially, emotionally and academically.

- Grade advancement is being shown to have great outcomes for gifted kids.

- Many kids who are intellectually advanced are also emotionally and socially advanced - though they may not look it. They may appear to be loners but it is possible that they feel they have nothing in common with children their own age. Different things interest them and they may be looking for a poor-our-hearts-out-to-eachother friend while their peers are really just looking for someone to kick a ball to. It can be really satisfying for gifted kids to hang out with kids a few years older. This should be encouraged.

- Gifted kids who aren't adequately catered for in the school system have a much greater chance of depression etc later on. And gifted teenagers are already likely candidates for depression.

- Perfectionism is a blessing and a curse. Need I say more?

- Identifying gifted kids can be tricky. Some models say kids with IQs in the top 15% are gifted (but then introduce categories of gifted within this - mildly gifted, gifted, ? gifted, profoundly gifted...), others limit it to the top 3%. I'd be happy to run with either model if kids arrived at school with IQ scores... The trouble is that gifted kids often go under the radar. Some perfectionist types decide early on that's it's safer to go undercover and bludge their way through school. Other kids' abilities are masked by disabilities (these kids are called 'twice exceptional' and basically, no one knows what to do with them!), or by anxieties.

- Most teachers (according to studies) are profoundly uncomfortable with giftedness. They would prefer to teach students more like themselves, who think in a straightforward way, who won't challenge them. Gifted children sense this and learn very early on not to share the fact that the theme in x children's book was developed much more interestingly in Boethius' Consolations of Philosophy.

- If my classroom is to be a place where gifted kids can work and thrive, I need to make changes. In another post I'll outline my plans.


  1. Just worth picking up on the third-last point: I think the identification issue is especially vital early on; if schools have missed id-ing a kid within the first few years, they'll have picked their own coping strategy already, and it'll be hard to shift them from it. I got tagged towards the end of year one (ie second year of schooling) and can still remember the palpable sense of relief when the boredom lifted. If it had taken much longer, I suspect I'd have been too grumpy to make it back on board!

    1. Anthony - after you were identified, what happened? And how were you id'ed?

    2. Threaded replies/small print - swings and roundabouts!

      As to the how, my memory is that we (the entire school) were all IQ tested (which, for a 6 year old's memory, means the whole class).

      That explained why I was seeking to redefine the extremes of irritable, and why even today the scent of Cuisenaire rods will strike fear into my heart! It was pretty close to the end of the year, and my relationship with my class teacher was probably irreparable, so I think I was pulled from class during maths time and went up to the principal's office where she'd lined up some logic puzzles or something - so I was swapping boredom for something vaguely interesting, I guess - not an educational goal so much as stalling for the next year with a more talented teacher. So Year 2 went well, plenty of extension work available, and when I got to year 3 I was ready to propose to my teacher. (Well, I only got as far as pledging undying love in a letter at the end of the year; tragically, Miss C became Mrs W over the Christmas break, so I took that as a no...)

      My parents also kept an eye out for gifted/talented holiday programs, and I think the general strategy was to let me work my way ahead in school stuff. An endless supply of books also helped - my parents coordinated the school's Scholastic books orders, and in those days that meant we got to keep all the extra books sent in error!

    3. I don't think the whole class would have been tested. A kid's IQ test is expensive - $800 - because it has to be done by a psych (school guidance officer) and takes hours to administer and then more hours to report on. Nice, though, that you didn't feel it was just you who did it (though it probably was.)

      Sounds like things were managed okay from year 2. Glad you were assessed in year one rather than sent to a school for behaviourally challenged children. Your teacher did something right.

    4. Which brings up the whole issue of how to identify gifted kids. At $800 per test, no school is going to pay (or set aside the time) to IQ test 1 kid, let alone a whole group of them. There needs to be a cheaper, less time consuming method for schools to make a commitment to it. Does EdQLD have any formalised procedure/tests for identifying gifted kids?

    5. Well, it was on Sydney's North Shore...

      It may have been a cheaper option back then - and let's face it, even today you can do a bodgy one for free on the web. Mum had some story about peeking at the results while the school admin were distracted - and my mum's not the imaginative type who'd come up with an elaborate cover story, so I'm pretty confident that we all did something.

    6. Each ed old school should have a GEM - gifted ed mentor. How good this person is is variable. Our GEM is currently trying to educate the staff in what giftedness looks like. Teachers can be hard to teach! One staff member thought 15 of her students were in the gifted category!

      So Mel, no formal procedures. But short of an IQ test, identification is just tricky. One of my kids was IQ tested by our school. They will do it if it's deemed necessary educationally.

    7. My recollection is that in NSW in the 1970's the whole school did some kind of IQ test in grade 4 (I think it was done then as part of the selection process for "opportunity classes"), but parents were never told the results. My mum, however, was once told that the deputy principal at our school knew all our IQs, but couldn't tell her what they were. But I would think the tests were quite different to the sort of testing done individually these days.

      My parents didn't really believe in gifted/extension programs, but my feeling is that school for one of my children has sometimes been a deadening experience when no provision has been made for his particular needs and abilities. And it doesn't necessarily mean working at a "higher level" than the rest of the class, but more some kind of flexibility which encourages his strengths and doesn't expect perfection in every area.

    8. Hi Caroline, do you happen to know the name of the IQ test they were doing in 4th class in the 70's? I remember sitting that test and there being a bit of a fallout afterward, I'd like to find out more about it.

      BTW many of the scores did get out at my school even though they were meant to be kept from the children. The story I got was parents were instructed not to tell their children if they identified gifted because of the belief it made them "arrogant", huge mistake in my opinion and a bit of a waste of time too since being called up to the office to discuss being sent to a selective school was a dead giveaway.

  2. Can I just mention that bored gifted kids can be big trouble in a classroom (and in a family)? I don't think my eldest is in the gifted category, but he is well above average in some things. If he gets bored, he is likely to cause great trouble in the classroom (as opposed to going "underground"). He is both mentally and physically active, I wish there would have been more teachers in his younger years who would have sensed that and been willing to send him on a lap of the oval or give him something more challenging, or both.

  3. It's been really interesting for me (kind of like case study work)growing up in QLD and being trained as a QLD teacher and now seeing and learning how it all works in NZ. Obviously some of what I see here is school specific and therefore linked to the socio-economic standard of the school community (each school in NZ is scaled based on this - used to calculate government funding - and Ben's school is on the highest level), but some of it is also clear directive of the nationwide NZ curriculum.

    Here's a brief summary of how the whole gifted/talented education is handled. Differentiation of kids starts right from when they start school(Kids start school on their 5th birthday (except it is not compulsory to attend school until you turn 6). A month after starting they have their first test for literacy (upper and lower case letters and simple sight words) and this is used to help group kids for reading and writing. There is about 5 groups per class (class size in NZ is 20 kids) each group working an ability appropriate level, with a specific reading or writing goal. Though out the year as the teacher works with each group most days they progress through various levels/goals.

    Then as each child turns 6 they are tested (what is known as the '6 year old test') for literacy (recognising all lower and upper case letters - in isolation and within words); script decoding; writing down as many words as they could think of in 10 minutes - to help identify correct/incorrect writing of letters, spelling and word knowledge). This test is basically used to differentiate the kids either gifted/talented or average or below national literacy standard. This information is used to help when they are placing kids in classes for the following year (along with recommendations from their current classroom teacher based on observations of personality, behaviour, learning style...).

    Starting in year 2 (kids are 6 turning 7 that year), the school has a GATE group (Gifted And Talented Education) - this is a specific school initiative not a NZ ministry of education standard program. This is a group of 15 - 20 kids which have been identified as gifted/talented (the rest of the class in made up of kids that although not identified as gifted/talented, have been identified as the kind of kids that would benefit from that kind of learning environment). They are all in the one class, and the teacher is able to teach at a more advanced level than the rest of the standard year 2 classes. This kids the stay in this 'GATE class' for the rest of their years at this primary school.

    1. I don't think I like that way of assessing gifted kids. Kids who are not strong (at that stage) in literacy will not be picked up - thinking of kids like my boy Joel, who has very high IQ yet also has a learning disability which made reading very hard in the early years (he's good now - going into year 6). Being grouped with the less clever kids almost drove him to insanity. He had all the thinking skills, ideas and comprehension of the top kids but was put in with the bottom ones. Mind you, he is unusual.

      I think I'd want to see other entry points into that class. Also want to check that the other classes aren't disproportionately loaded with tricky kids.

    2. There may be opportunity for kids to enter at a different point, I just haven't experienced it yet as we are only at the year 2 stage personally.

      I totally understand what you mean with Joel, and as your stuff said his situation is one of the things that make idenification 'tricky'. I think the way they try to accommodate this in NZ is each student is assessed independently for reading, writing and numeracy, so are not necessarily is the same level group for all 3.

      Also I don't think the other classes are disproportionatley loaded - in the case of year 2 next year, there is 4 other classes apart from the gifted class to spread out the tricky kids (this is one of the other factors they consider when planning classes for the following year) and they are still grouped and taught at their academic level within the class.

      Unfortunately there is never going to be a totally perfect solution. My impression is that NZ does a much better job of differentiating all kids and the teaching practice actually teaches to the multiple levels in the same class.

  4. Now to comment on your thoughts:

    #2 - An undifferentiated curriculum results is worse outcomes not just for gifted kids, but for all kids - gifted kids bored, struggling kids left behind and average kids time wasted while teacher spend more time behaviour managing the gifted and struggling kids.

    #3 - Not sure I agree with this as a blanket outcome for all gifted kids. I've taught some 'grade advanced' gifted kids and I think it actually didn't improved their outcomes as they weren't emotionally or socially advanced in maturity to deal with relating to the older kids/more mature culture. A very specific example is reading - in the early years of school if you have an advanced student, the reader books for their level usually contain situations/content that they aren't familiar with/doesn't interest them yet because they haven't had the same life experiences as the 'average' older child that the books are written for. This then makes it harder for them to comprehend and interpret the text.

    #6 TOTALLY Agree! Just wondering did you reading say that it is very common for gifted students to be perfectionists?

    #7 Agree with the radar thing. Had experience with a few kids who because they have the brains to so the task quickly, just stuff around for most the time and they quickly get something down on paper right at the end (which is at a much lower standard than what they could have achieved had they spent more time on task)

    #8 Just like there are gifted kid academically, there are teachers who are 'gifted' to teach these kinds of kids.

    #9 I'm keen to read you plans. But also think there is a certain amount of politics/school structure/culture which means you will always be limited in what you can do.

    This has turned into a very long comment/s. Hope I haven't bored you.

    1. #2 - yes.
      #3 - For grade advancement, I think you have to pick your kid carefully. You don't advance kids who are just clever. It needs to be based on a full psych assessment. Kids who are profoundly gifted (top 0.5%) across the board will likely already be craving the company of older kids. There are ways of doing it that work better than other ways.
      #6 - Perfectionism is a fairly normal (and often disabling) trait for gifted kids.
      #9 - Yep!

      Not bored at all!

  5. My firstborn entered Kindy (4 years old in WA) with a grade 3 reading age, so we took him to have an IQ test and he was consequently accelerated and started grade 1 the following year. He still finished that year well ahead of everyone else in literacy and at the top in numeracy. We chose to homeschool* because the system struggles to accommodate kids like him - I know as I was a teacher. He, and his younger siblings, all do much better at home where they can learn at their pace and follow some of their unique interests.

    The thing with educating gifted kids is, however, that they don't just need harder work, they need to be taught differently. They have a greater capability for thinking laterally and more deeply, and so the breadth of their learning needs to be increased. They can cope with more questioning and more reasoning - they need to be challenged, and this is not simply done by 'accelerating' learning, they need richer learning experiences. (Another thing my research showed me is that if one child has a high IQ, then siblings are usually within 5 points, even if they have not been as obviously gifted - and therein lies one of the problems you mentioned of identification. It's easy to spot a gifted kid who reads novels when only 4! Other kids display their giftedness in more subtle ways.)

    Bec :-)

    *We homeschool for other reasons too, not just academic :-)

    1. Thanks Bec. I absolutely agree with the different - not just accelerating thing. Trying to work out what that actually means in practice.

      Well done for working out what your kids need and catering for it.

      I think it's a real shame, though, that the public education system couldn't cater for your kids. It should be able to - other parents with similar kids won't be able to stay home and teach them, so what are they to do?

      The sibling thing is food for thought for me.

      I'd love to hear more about your kids. Feel free to write a long response...

    2. All of my kids have been early talkers, saying their first clear word that wasn't dada/mama at 10.5 months (except my 7 month old - will have to wait and see!), all bar 2 speaking in complete and clear sentences at 2, and the other 2 by 2 and half. While late speech doesn't mean a low IQ, research shows early speech does correspond with a higher IQ.
      #1 child (10), boy - visual learner, began reading just after 3rd birthday, fluently reading skinny novels by 4th birthday. Great at maths/science, but off the charts in terms of literacy. Very bright, but no intrinsic motivation and doesn't like challenges - if he can't work it out in a few seconds in his head then he can't be bothered, frustrates me no end!
      #2 child (8), girl - visual learner, began reading just before 3rd birthday, but took a bit longer to get going (plus mum had less time with more babies...) but was fluently reading by around 4 and a half. She is an amazing speller. She would not achieve as well at school as she is often 'off with the fairies' and needs to be brought back on task. She takes a longer to complete maths tests and the like, but does very well when given enough time.
      #3 child (6), girl - aural learner, began reading at 4, fluent by 6. She spells everything phonetically but as she doesn't have a perfect knowledge of all the digraphs makes lots of mistakes, and doesn't have the visual memory to know they don't 'look' right. However, she writes copious amounts as she doesn't worry about correct spelling and is happy to have a go, while the older two did not write much at her age as they were so perfectionist! She is a wizz at maths!
      #4 child (5), girl - kinesthetic learner, by far my most challenging! She is just learning to read now and it takes lots of repetition for things to stick. She is showing good maths skills too.
      #5 child (3), girl - visual learner, so much like my first born that I know she would be reading now if I had more time with her! I haven't done too much with her as I am busy, but also because I don't want her reading before her sister, as I know she will pick it up easy. Already she has taught herself half of the alphabet. She is very articulate and well-spoken.
      #6 child (2), girl - I think is a visual learner, time will tell. She already counts to 10, she just picked it up, and has one-to-one correspondence up to 3. She loves books!
      #7 child, (7 months), boy - who knows! But he is already very vocal, and has made sounds that are very word-like, not just baby babble - has made us do several double-takes as we think, "did he just say x?"

      That's just a brief description... ;-)

  6. I'm not sure either of our boys would be classified as 'gifted'. 4yo is most likely - he was advanced from very early on, and it seems to me that his emotional and ethical development is highly advanced. I'm not sure that his maths and literacy skills are all that advanced - he shows no real interest in learning to read, but has a very large vocabulary and can speak in complex sentences and put them into a long chain (he correctly summarised Gen 3 off his own initiative the other day in one long monologue).

    His reasoning ability seems extremely well developed (from my limited experience of kids) - able to make good arguments, and analyse bad ones. Jen reported a conversation where he asked her how God pushed himself into baby Jesus. When he was told that God did it by speaking, 'because God does everything by speaking' he immediately applied that to the crucifixion narrative and asked where in the story was Jesus speaking when he died. When Jen pointed to him saying, "It is finished" he then wanted the whole narrative read again, and at the end said, "How was God doing this when the soldiers were doing it all" - which then entailed yet another round. He's only been four a couple of weeks.

    That seems unusual to me, but I don't know how it fits into the 'gifted' paradigm. He's definitely a perfectionist, and most things come very easily to him, and he doesn't like trying if he can't do it more or less straight away, but I doubt that qualifies him as gifted either. Jennie and I suspect that he's going to have problems with school of the same kind that I did, but it's too early to tell.

    I'm not sure I fitted the 'gifted' category, although I think a case could be made for it - I (apparently) tested high on an IQ test, and have done very well on things like the American SAT system. I wasn't a good fit with a normal classroom - extremely disruptive (and extremely bored for 12 years). I was and am a perfectionist who learned to deal with that by not trying too hard - very much the 'do it at the last minute and still place high but not at the top kind of guy', which something I'm still trying to unlearn. (I think my Maths teacher in year 12 was aghast when I failed the content section of an exam, but passed overall because I got 100% for the process questions. I still remember him publicly calling me on it.) But possibly due to hyperactivity and my parents' marriage breaking down I didn't have all that much self-directed learning going on to harness either, mostly escapism. I thrived more once I got to Uni and discovered an approach to education that was more about teaching you to think things through, and maybe that might indicate that I needed the kind of 'different' and 'broader' approach, not just a higher year of the same style.

    From the discussion that could mean I was gifted and it wasn't identified and harnessed correctly. It could just mean I was another bright child from a troubled background who didn't fulfill all their potential. My Primary school did start a class for gifted kids, and I was transferred to it some time after it began. I suspect my teacher didn't want me in the class, (did I mention I was disruptive? I spent most of second year outside the classroom), and I was thrown into a Montessori-style environment after all the norms had been established as well as the teacher of the gifted class not wanting me in her class: I didn't last a week. As all the parents couldn't handle the existence of the class, it didn't last more than a month or two.

    Not sure what that says, except that dealing with this issue in a school isn't easy. And that if I am an example of a gifted kid who wasn't handled correctly, then it matters a lot (I can't really express just how ambiguous I feel about inflicting school on my oldest) but in my case it wasn't make or break, God was kind.

    1. Mark, you just described me with your description of being a, 'do it at the last minute and still place high but not at the top' person. In primary school I was pretty much in the top 2 students all the time, and I was one of only 4 high school students on the honour board for our graduating class, but I remember rationally making the choice in upper high school that if I could get really good marks with no effort at all then why bother studying x hours every night to only increase a few percentage points and be the 'best'.

      The research I mentioned above about siblings of gifted students usually being similarly gifted, also stated that the parents of such children generally have an IQ within 5 points also. So if you are very bright, and your wife, then it is highly likely that your children will be too.

      As for school, if you are worried about the school environment is homeschooling an option, even for just the early years? Homeschooling until a child is more mature and emotionally ready to cope with the peer intensive environment and the sometimes negative socialisation that can occur. It's certainly not a choice for everyone, but it may something worth thinking about.

      Bec :-)

    2. Mark, there's no doubt at all in my mind that you have a gifted profile. Your ability to synthesise material in a subject area and present it with your own original ideas is quite unusual. I'm thinking here of your work in Genesis 1-2.

      [I'm also reflecting on your... um.... home filing systems ... (which may have changed [slightly] in the last decade) and think that they indicate a different mode of thinking.]

      Kids with your profile - different learning style, disrupted home life, ADD type behaviour, often end up as very dysfunctional teenagers - drug dependance, depression, suicide. God was kind.

      Age of reading is an interesting thing that I'd like to learn more about. Reading is actually a low-order intellectual activity. Basically anyone can learn to do it - even people with very low IQs (they sometimes learn more quickly than kids with higher IQs) - so I wouldn't necessarily look at later reading age alone as a sign of ungiftedness. Reading is just a tool. No one is awarded a nobel prize for reading.

      I think you are right to be thinking about options for #1's schooling, but remember that he has heaps more going for him than you did. Stable home, etc. Has he displayed ADD tendencies yet?

      You know I'm a fan of public education. When was his birthday? If you're in QLD (Yay!) he should be due to start prep this time next year... Find someone with a similar kid, move near them and send your kids to school together. He just needs one friend.

    3. Hi Bec, You and I sound similar, although in my case there wasn't that kind of rational decision - I was escaping the pressure of perfectionism, so it just happened. Getting me to think about the choices I was making got a lot of resistance as the goal (not conscious but still there) was to create a situation where I couldn't meet very high standards.

      I'm aware about the likelihood of IQ's being in the same kind of ballpark. But every parent thinks their child is a Mozart, so we're keeping an open mind and trying to see what we actually have in the two specific boys we have. Even if they're formally of a similar intelligence, most highly intelligent people I know do certain things with a flair and other things not so much, and that isn't captured by a number.

      Homeschooling is definitely an option. And if school seems to have the same very negative effect on 4yo that I think it did on me, then we will likely homeschool. The only argument I really accept for not doing that is that homeschooled children tend not to be good at thinking kinds of stuff as schooled children. Given Jennie's and my strengths that's (at this point in time, family dynamics as they grow up could change things) more likely to work the other way for us.

      While I dissent from Simone's 'the gospel calls you to not invest in your children for the sake of others' position of last(?) year, I think something like that does apply to Jennie and I. I think we're both meant to be teachers and ministers of the word. Depending on context that might be both of us doing things (my preference if that freedom is there), or me doing it and Jennie supporting, or (very unusually but possible) Jennie doing it and me supporting. But our partnership has more scope for both of us being given over to the ministry of the word in our own right than for many couples with one person in paid ministry. In our case I think the level of education we can get for a relatively low time cost for Jennie (and me) doesn't justify homeschooling as a first option - that is time that Jennie and I should be using in the cause of the gospel (or possibly using for a low level part-time job for Jennie as we work out finances and being responsible about the future).

      But I'll fight for the freedom of Christian parents generally on to make that decision for themselves without thinking its an obligation for everyone, and if the equation changes then our decision will (likely) change as well. Our kids don't need the best education. But we do have a responsibility to give them a good one, unless we are making an unusual sacrifice that involves the whole family (like going to Chile...). If we're living a more-or-less normal life in the country of our birth then they should be getting a more-or-less normal childhood, including an education that is equitable for them.

    4. Simone,

      Thanks for the thoughts. Interesting that I 'definitely' fit the gifted profile - and your reasons for it. (What's wrong with my 'home filing systems'?!! Everthing is in the house that is in the house!) That gives me a bit more of a handle on it. Your list of consequences for undiagnosed gifteds rings a bell, although I (obviously) didn't get all of them, but a big part of that has to also be attributed to the break-down of my parents' marriage, in my view.

      And I agree with you about 4yo having more going for him. He isn't ADD, not in any sense (he could concentrate for hours on a single, very complex toy from a quite young age). He is extraordinarily energetic, however. Being in the same room as him for an hour tires out any other parent with a similar aged child that we have met. I cannot see how he could possibly sit or stay still for long periods of time. Except when he's really sick he does laps up and down the corridor regularly throughout the day to burn energy and get enough motion. So we will almost definitely be sending him, but I can see serious potential for 'square peg, round hole' coming up.

  7. Have just read through this post and all the replies. Very interesting points made by all involved...

    My kids attend a public school, which used to stream classes in each year level according to academic ability. Then a new principal arrived and that system was scrapped...we didn't mind too much as he brought lots of other new and good ideas with him to the school (and he's a Christian too so we were pretty happy about that!).

    A couple of years on and the school is now introducing a class for Years 3/4/5 which seems to be specifically targeting gifted/academically bright kids. Our eldest son has been placed in this class for this year (Year 4). Last year he was in a Year 3/4 composite so was able to work at higher levels in many areas which we thought really helped him as the year before that he had a few behaviour issues which his teacher that year thought came from boredom because he was finding things too easy.

    I'm looking forward to this year. All the kids in the new class will do extension activities eg. they are all going to learn French as an extra subject. They will be encouraged to participate in music/drama/dance or whatever performing arts they are keen on. All of them will do the University of New South Wales competitions as part of their extension program.

    It will be interesting to see how it all works out...we've never considered him to be "gifted" but probably just a bit more academically advanced than other kids the same age (I've never been sure if that's what teachers mean when they talk about being gifted??). I was always ahead of other kids my age at school in the same way, but I had to work at it pretty hard. And I did have (and still have) perfectionistic tendencies....although that has worn off to a great degree as I've had more children!?

  8. Jo C here from Chile. I just don't have an account...
    This has been an excellent post to read, thanks Simone for the start, and everyone else for the contributions. We have just made the decision to take our oldest (now nearly16) out of school here in Chile. He is gifted (we had him tested in Aust before we left) and has suffered with mediocre schooling for many years. We had two fun years homeschooling about 5 years ago, and he had a glorious 6 months at Trinity Grammar in Sydney (bless them for their generosity!!) on our last Home Assignment. Unfortunately that made the change back to Chile unbearable, and my boy has been begging me to take him out again. So that is what we have decided to do. It was nice to read something that confirms a lot of what I have come to understand about him, and to see that it would be a great unkindness to leave him mouldering for any longer at the back of a noisy, slow, unstructured, unchallenging classroom for more than 8 hours a day. Hoping that his last two years are an opportunity to really enjoy learning again....

  9. Hi Jo.

    I think it's really sad that he couldn't be catered for in school. So sad. It sounds like you made the right decision in taking him out but... what does that say about the state of education (in Chile - at least in this case, it's not Australia!)? Others are surely in the same boat. I've prayed that these next two years are a blessing to him and that he finds a likeminded friend to hang out with sometimes.

    Glad the post was helpful. I'll write follow ups to let you know how it's going.

  10. I don't know of any school in Chile with a Gifted and Talented programme. Of course that doesn't mean one doesn't exist, but it is not on the radar. Our school divides kids into two groups for Maths and English (ESL) but not Spanish in Year 8 and above, so we are lucky. Catering for kids with learning difficulties is sending a letter to the parents to say they should go and see and pay for a professional to help (on top of the $8000 pa they are already paying). The state of education is not good! And we get the graduates in our seminary! So we experience firsthand the effects. Reform is tricky, as it needs to be long term and from the top down. Hard to know where to start. I know people complain about the state of school in Australia, but really there is a wealth of resources and a mentality that is absent in many other areas of the world. I'll look forward to further posts. Jo