In article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org says...
>Brian M. Scott (email@example.com) wrote:
><<snipped for clarity>>
>: Surely that depends on their interests. I can remember being used as >: a mathematics tutor as far back as the third grade (in the mid-1950s), >: and I remember that it was rather gratifying. And since I became a >: teacher, it may even have been in some way in my best interest. However, >: I also became a mathematician, and there's no doubt that it did nothing >: to further *that* interest: when I was tutoring, I was *not* learning >: mathematics. On that score I'd have been much better off tucked into >: a corner with a 7th grade text. (Fortunately I was able to find such >: things in the public library.)
>Not at all! Yor interest in math was piqued and you learned it ON YOUR >OWN.
If you mean that my interest in mathematics was piqued by being asked to tutor a classmate, you're wrong. That particular interest predates any memory that I still have; tutoring had *nothing* to do with my becoming a mathematician. Yes, I learned a great deal on my own, but I could have learned it a lot faster under more favorable circumstances. (By the way, I'm not knocking my 3rd grade teacher, who was very good.) And had I been somehow placed into a 7th grade math class, I'd still have been learning mathematics on my own: you couldn't have kept me away from it.
>: > Gifted does not mean successful or happy in life.
>: True, but I'm not sure how it's relevant. One of the problems faced >: by the genuinely precocious is that they are so seldom dealt with at >: their own level as children; I don't see how ignoring or misusing >: their talents is going to improve their chances at success or >: happiness!
>I reiterate: the concept of labeling is damaging. There is no reason for >it's use beyond that of a diagnostic. "Gifted" is a particularly >repulsive and ugly term. It is effete and hierarchical in nature and >implies someone has bestowed it on the designee. (Seperation of church and >state could come into play here.)
I have a completely different objection to it: in practice it's been watered down to the point at which it's barely meaningful. The fact that there are often sound economic reasons for this dilution doesn't make it more palatable. But in any case I didn't use the term. No one has to bestow the designation 'precocious' on the children of whom I'm thinking: their performance demands it.
>Those who have shown talent in a particular field should be encouraged >(not pushed) to develop it outside the regular classroom
I have no quarrel with this; I just don't see why the same students can't be encouraged to develop their talents *in* the classroom as well.
> We do it by means of "pull-out" programs. This is not >always the best method but it is the best method that can be afforded by >a public school at this time.
What's wrong with radical acceleration, e.g., putting a mathematically precocious 4th grader into a regular algebra class? I don't see how it could be terribly expensive; after all, it doesn't require any fundamental change in classroom organization.