Education Opinion

Report from NAGC - Day 1

By Tamara Fisher — November 05, 2009 2 min read
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My first full day of the NAGC convention has concluded and I already have enough ideas to take home to keep me hopping for a while! (Yet there are still three days to go!) I’m hoping to squeeze in enough time to share some of what I’m learning with you during the week while I’m here.

The view from my hotel window is gorgeous :o)

And the city of St. Louis has done a great job of welcoming us here. The restaurant I ate at tonight was a fair number of blocks from the Convention Center and even there (all over, really!) we found one of the little “Welcome NAGC” signs:

And about every other street light has a little welcome sign on it too:

Today (Thursday) were the Board Institutes, which are in-depth sessions presented by NAGC Board members. This morning, I attended the session by Julia Link Roberts on product assessment and this afternoon I attended the session about NAGC’s new Mile Marker Series (which I plan to write about in more depth in a future post).

This morning’s session began with an important and thought-provoking question: “If during the first five or six years of school, a child earns good grades and high praise without having to make much effort, what are all the things he doesn’t learn that most children learn during those years?”

(Take a moment to ponder that for a bit...)

In our ensuing conversation, we shared multiple possibilities, such as:
* the child might not be learning persistence
* the child might not be developing a work ethic
* the child might not be encountering struggles that foster resilience
* the child might not be learning healthy strategies for dealing with frustration (which I’ve talked about here a bit before)
* the child might not be learning how to maintain a sense of curiosity
* the child might not be developing an accurate sense of his/her true abilities/potential
* the child might not experience a sense of satisfaction when actually achieving
* the child might lose pride in his/her work
* the child might not be developing time management skills or study skills
* the child might not be learning how to break an academic sweat (and therefore doesn’t grow or improve in the ways we do when we “break a sweat”)
* (click here and scroll to page 17 for a great article by Tracy Inman on this topic)

Now, granted, kids can learn these life skills via multiple avenues -- it doesn’t just have to be in school that they learn them. However, school is certainly a BIG part of kids’ lives and can have a significant impact on their opportunities to learn (or not learn) these important life skills. We hurt kids in the short term and in the long term if we cheat them out of opportunities to learn these life skills. Providing appropriate academic challenge for each learner is one ideal way to help kids develop and nurture these skills.

What is your answer to the question? What do you think our gifted kids don’t learn if/when we allow them to skate through school?

The opinions expressed in Unwrapping the Gifted are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.