Transplant Tourism: A Euphemism for Organ Trafficking!

What could possibly go wrong? Take the survey  and find out!

What could possibly go wrong? Take the survey and find out!

I am studying a Science Communication paper this summer semester, and instead of studying new topics for all the different styles of writing and presentation, we are covering the theme of organ transplantation and organ availability for all our various media.

So-o-o-o interesting, to really study a topic in depth that was completely foreign to me.

One of the communication methods we must discover and use is writing and analysing a survey. If you have the time (just 5 or 6 minutes maximum) I would really appreciate it if you would take the survey our group designed.

We want to find out about what types of legislation you would feel comfortable with the New Zealand government enacting, should they decide to try and increase the supply of organs for transplantation, which is currently very low, globally produit viagra sans ordonnance.

Sorry the survey is now closed

 

Snooze and SOZO go hand in hand!

Snoozing
Snoozing

I had a wonderful day today at SOZO ministry training in Silverdale, with an amazing English emergency doctor, now working for Bethel Ministries in Australia. Kate Jutsum showed us how simple it can be to help pray for people to be released from the fear and bondage that can sap the strength out of their lives. By encouraging them to speak with Father God, they find a new way to have a relationship with the one who cares for us more than all others. They can be ‘Sozo’-ed – saved, healed and delivered, to enjoy the full presence of God in their lives.

Some take home one-liners I will remember:

  • The Coathanger of Mystery: We can’t afford our experiences to water down the truth of who God is!
  • We have to believe through the circumstances and believe God can do it!
  • We can get ‘slimed’ by coming under an atmosphere in a place and that can stay with us, e.g. in Islamic nations we can get ‘slimed’ by the atmosphere of martyrdom.
  • God can turn negatives around so profoundly that you might be tempted to think He put the stumbling block in front of you in the first place – He didn’t!
  • The enemy can sow a lie into the ruts of our wounds!

And what does Snooze have to do with SOZO? Well, adjust the letters and you will get “en sozo”. I spent alot of time in prayer today – well that was my excuse. In fact, I had such a busy week, I snoozed off a couple of times listening today!!! Not because it wasn’t interesting, but because candles can only burn at two ends for a short while before they burn out. I was burned out after late nights working, and busy days with school visits this week at my new job at Kelly Tarlton’s.

So, if you want some transformation in your life – find out more about the SOZO transformational training.

Kia Kaha Ireland – Gifted Awareness Week 2013

Gifted Education Awareness Week Ireland 22 - 27 September 2013
Gifted Education Awareness Week Ireland
22 – 27 September 2013

In essence, if we want to make someone more aware of something, we need to first educate them. Educating people about the gifted should help people to become aware of the idiosyncrasies that often accompany these special people. But to be aware, you need to know more than the facts; you need to be intimately acquainted with the subject.

Some synonyms of awareness are:

  • alertness – more than just knowing, alertness implies you have a keen sense for the presence of the attribute.
  • appreciation – having a sense of awe about the subject, and keen to treat it with respect.
  • consciousness – keeping alert in the presence of the subject, ready to attend to the needs.
  • experience – being familiar with many varieties of the subject.
  • perception – have the ability to discern what is actually happening deep down; not just a surface impression.
  • realisation – when you can put all the pieces together to make sense of something.
  • understanding – knowing more than the when? where? and who?; knowing the what? how? and why?

This sort of awareness of giftedness is not going to occur in a 2 – 4 hour lecture in a pre-service education course – but it’s a start. It is not going to happen in a week of national awareness of the plight of gifted education – but it’s a great start.

Just as average New Zealanders have lately become more knowledgeable  about racing America’s Cup catamarans through prolonged exposure to the racing in San Francisco Bay, gifted education will need repeated exposure to break through the ignorance and diffidence of many mainstream educators.

Teachers make a difference in students’ lives. If they are to make a positive difference, then they need to know what actions they take that have a positive impact on their students. Over 20 years ago, William Purkey developed the Invitational Learning Model (Kane & Fielder, 2010) on the basis that learning thrives with enthusiasm. Enthusiastic teachers of the gifted will find out what encourages the development of their students, and seek to provide an environment that invites them to take part. These teachers will model an attitude of encouragement and expectation, and gifted learners will likely perceive themselves much more positively.

Kane and Fielder (2010), described Purkey’s ‘four different levels of invitation’, starting with the least inviting at number one, to the most inviting at number four:

  1. Intentionally disinviting: purposefully harmful; degrading and destroying self-worth in an individual. This occurs when teachers have personal biases that manifest in thoughts of the gifted as a form of elitism, ‘you have just got a bad attitude’.
  2. Unintentionally disinviting: Careless, thoughtless boundaries. Commonly used when teachers say, “Of course, everyone is gifted in some area” or “I have never had one in my class”. They simply don’t know what they don’t know!
  3. Unintentionally inviting: These teachers have positive results with gifted students even though they rarely plan for it specifically. This can lead to a lack of consistency, and can confuse learners as a result.
  4. Intentionally inviting: This is the highest level of professionalism and realises human potential to the greatest extent.

There is a darker side to awareness which should be kept in check, too. As with all economic decisions, we are often asked to show the value of what we do – is it worth the financial investment? Can we add value to distinguish ourselves from the competitor? Hunt and Merrotsy (2010) cautioned us in selective schools to be sure the value we add comes directly from student needs and does not degenerate into a mere comparison of education providers in leagues tables. I would add, gifted learners’ results should not be just used to ‘advertise’ a school to encourage future attendees, but should be part of a transparent process of achievement for ‘all’ learners.

Clickenbeard (2007) added to the economic argument in advocating for gifted learners, when she called for the need to consider higher societal or aggregate benefits. Providing for gifted learners, she maintained, would not only result in a higher tax take (presumably from their advanced learning generating higher incomes) and greater productivity and GDP. She went on to claim this would also be offset by savings in costs from crime and prisons, where, I guess, some of the more ‘notoriously intelligent’ end up after a compromised education that didn’t meet their needs!

In New Zealand, Moltzen (2003) explained that the move to greater awareness of gifted education was linked to the change in the economy of the country from a more subsidised, agrarian-based economy to a more diversified, innovative economy. Clickenbeard (2007) also looked at the argument for school funding reform that could return the savings made by government through the years of acceleration (and lost opportunity cost to schools for the years the gifted learners are ‘not’ enrolled and subsequently funded) and have it returned to schools as extra funding for gifted education.

I am a keen Kiwi sailor that has just been through the last few weeks of nail-biting trauma, as our boys in black, Emirates Team New Zealand, tried to lift the ‘Auld Mug’ from Oracle Team USA. America’s Cup yachting started in 1851 as a race between the British and the Americans and has been a hard fought contest ever since. I believe our boys were winners on the day, even without the trophy, as they displayed humility and determination to succeed right to the bitter end. Their attitude won the hearts of a both New Zealanders and Americans. They quietly advocated for themselves, knowing who they were and what they could achieve, even under pressure from the naysayers.

These boys are a group of gifted sailors who persevered despite all, and we loved them for it. Advocacy all comes back to people knowing how to portray themselves to the world they are living in, appealing to the funders to support their campaign, and doing the best they can with what they have got. Many negative ‘non-yachties’ who thought the New Zealand government spend of $36million was extreme now support the cause simply because of the humility of the spokesperson and skipper, Dean Barker, and his afterguard. They may have been ‘unintentionally inviting’ in their approach – but how much more can we win hearts by being ‘intentionally inviting’?

Could we ever see the day where gifted education wins the hearts of the country simply because of the humility of the advocates? This might be a tall ask, but it might be the end of the pendulum swing we need to head towards. We have a Maori saying in New Zealand, “Kia Kaha” – “Stay Strong”. So, to all the Gifted Advocates in Ireland, Kia Kaha!

References

Kane, M. & Fielder, E.D. (2010). Invitational Learning: Classrooms with enthusiasm. Available from www.seisummit.org/Data/Sites/1/PDF/invitationallearning.pdf‎

Clinkenbeard, P.R. (2007). Economic Arguments for Gifted Education, Gifted Children: Vol. 2: Iss. 1, Article 3. Available from http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/giftedchildren/vol2/iss1/3

Moltzen, R. (2003). Gifted education in New Zealand. Gifted Education International, 18, 139-152.

 

Restoration and Prophecy

HydrangeasProphet Kris Valloton prophesied the restoration of marriages over those who had a broken heart. He followed with a message about what happens when God has given you a prophetic word and the brook dries up!

1 Kings 17: 1 – 7

You may be doing exactly what God has called you to do, but for some reason time has passed and what you expected to happen just doesn’t and you feel like God has left you hanging with regards to His prophecy. Kris explained that some prophecies have an expiration date. It can be our own fault they ran out. You may have been disobedient to God’s intention! You might say you’ll keep standing on your prophetic claim until hell freezes over. Well, Hell has frozen over, so you might as well do something about it.

In Exodus 32 Moses hears from God that He is so angry with his people that He is ready to destroy them. Moses reminds God of the promise He had made to Israel and God relents. He tells us that sometimes we receive words from God like an obedient slave rather than a close friend. Often times He is testing our heart rather than determining our destiny. A friend of God is someone who interacts with Him, not just one who obeys. Moses tells God that unless He goes with them into the promised land, they did not want to go. They felt compelled to be in relationship with Him which also showed their influence with Him. What is the purpose of all this, God?

In 1 Kings 17: 8, God tells Elijah to go down to Zarephath in Sidon, to a widow who was to provide for him. When Elijah arrives, the widow is about to eat her last meal with her son and prepare to die, because they have so little. Elijah says to her in faith, just bake me a loaf of bread first. He told her God promises that her jar will not run out, and it doesn’t. Kris reminds us that when all around looks hopeless, and yet you have had multiple confirmations for what you are doing, stop feeling sorry for yourself and start prophesying into your own situation.

Kris also warns however, that there is a spirit of entitlement brooding over the body of Christ. We are sons and daughters of the king – the Bible tells us so! He makes it clear that we don’t become a king until we have been a good slave. He put it this way – some people are so busy working all their way down from the top! Sometimes our head gets too big to wear the crown designed for us.

In 2 Kings 4: 1 – 7, when there was a famine in the land, Elisha helped a poor widow. She thought all she had was a small jar of oil, but Elisha used this and her faith to multiply what she had and she was able to earn enough to repay her husband’s creditors.* So many times we compare what we have or don’t have to meet our needs with the size of the need. This shouldn’t be the case in God’s kingdom. With Him, all things are possible. Jesus fed 5000 with just a small lunchbox.

In 2 Corinthians 12: 9 we are reminded that God’s grace is all we need, and that our weakness can combine with God’s strength to accomplish all. We are not just our strengths – we are also our weaknesses. But, God has divinely designed us to be flawed in areas so we have to depend on Him or others around us to function properly. If we have weaknesses, when we divinely accomplish something, we certainly know God has had to be there for it to happen. We are to give to others, and our standard of measure will return to us in the same standard. Give abundantly and reap abundantly. The measure itself is not of amount, but of sacrifice. God expects equal sacrifice, not equal giving.

Hebrews 11 reminds us that it is faith that pleases God. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. If we stop hoping, our heart can get sick. In verse 13, the heroes of faith all died before their promises had been received. Hope feels; Faith sees; Lover never fails. There is no such thing as blind faith! To do the impossible you have to see the invisible.

 

Who decides what giftedness is?

WCGTC logoNew Zealand may have lost a World Conference on Gifted and Talented Children, but Kentucky and technology has kept those of us unable to attend this one very well connected. It was just like being there ‘in person’ (ahem, she coughs), as I listened with passion to Roland Perrson’s Keynote address –

“Who decides what giftedness is? On the dilemma of researching and educating the gifted mind.”

So much better to hear his words, than to have to wait for the printed versions later.

To me, the biggest take-home (even though I am already at home!) had to be –

  1. We in leadership need to adapt more to the traits of our gifted scholars, those of risk-taking, setting things straight, not being afraid to challenge the status quo, question established traditions (some ideas from Winner, 1996) and challenge current knowledge monopolies, if we are to make a difference.

Are we ready to become more like those we advocate for? Or are we there already, and people find it hard to work with and accept our passionate personality type?

This last question also relates to the second ‘take-home’ from his address.

  1. To be in a place of influence, people must first adopt, conform and prove loyal to the dominant knowledge monopolies and their influential leaders; their allegiance must be proven before they are rewarded. Many of our gifted would find the sort of compromise needed an almost insurmountable challenge, given their traits identified in number 1 above!

This gets to the very heart of the acceptance of giftedness and following on from this, the funding of education provisions that will promote it. I agree with Roland, that their potential contribution to the global economy, to solving global problems, and meeting their own specific needs are important.  I love his comment, with regard to new threats in synthetic biology, nanotechnology, machine intelligence, and manipulation of genetic structure (Bostrum, in press):

“Will this human error become human terror?”

Roland (from Sweden) identified two problems that cause gifted education to suffer with problems of theory, implementation, and worldwide recognition, namely:

  1. Dogmatism ( a closed mind, characterised by stubborn refusal to acknowledge truth; a wilful irrationality leading to unsound thinking; something that can contribute tremendously to survival), and
  2. Frequent failure to recognise human nature (and take it into account in research and application).

Roland makes a great case for why this is so (you will have to listen to his speech here) but I want to look at the ability of creative gifted people to compromise, or work within the status quo.

I believe policy makers may want the ‘intellectual profit’ from our gifted population, but only if they can fit into their predetermined goals. Roland reminded us that Galileo was imprisoned for his scholarly opposition, and today the same sorts of ‘opposing scholars’ (read here, our creative gifted individuals) might also be viewed with antagonism if they are not conforming to societal expectations. As Roland reminds us, gifted often refuse to accept that which does not conform to their own logic, conviction, or insight. Their conclusions often don’t coincide with the dominant knowledge economies and therefore they may experience challenges with cooperation or eventually, continued employment. If this is the case, I wonder if there is a ceiling placed on funding ‘general education’ for the gifted and talented, but avenues outside this that government can selectively fund to promote their own ideologies.

This shouldn’t be, and probably hints at scepticism. But, Roland’s address also hinted at scepticism and Big Brother tactics, and I think realistically, we need to consider everything that might be causing a disjunction for our gifted and talented. We need to BE the change our gifted population needs; we need to encourage them to know this themselves and be their own best advocates. But, we will make more inroads if we can work with the system than fight against it. Roland spoke of Clickenbeard (2007) encouraging educators to increasingly emphasise the economic benefits of their work when interacting with policy makers to be listened to.

Funding in industry follows economic benefits – in the absence of any other form of economic benefit analysis in education, we now have National Standards! As educators, we need to be accountable for our work with the children – scary as it might sound to some. Others who have worked outside of education know only too well what accountability looks like. It is a reasonable expectation that we will be measured against some sort of goal. We would be listened to better if we were offering targets for our gifted education goals to be measured against, not just rebelling against the pre-set standards. Pro-activeness, like shown in our recent Gifted Awareness campaign is a great step forward. Encouraging our gifted students to advocate for themselves is huge!

Roland Persson started with the question, “Who decides what giftedness is?” The New Zealand Education Ministry has left that to us, to every community, to decide it for themselves. Let’s keep the momentum rolling and support those members of our gifted education organisations, advisory services, special interest groups, public and private organisations, and anyone like me, who just simply believes in gifted education and wants to see the best for our gifted kids, so they cope well into their gifted adulthood.

Roll on Odense in 2015! Saving my pennies already.

References

Bostrom,  N.  (2013).  Existential  risk  prevention  as  global  priority.  Global  Policy,  in  press.

Perrson, R.S. (2013). Who decides what giftedness is? On the dilemma of researching and educating the gifted mind. Keynote address at the 20th World Conference of Gifted and Talented Children, 10-14 August, 2013, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

Winner,  E.  (1996).  Gifted  children.  Myths  and  realities.  New  York:  Basic  Books.

Dangers and Responsibilities of the Internet

note_from_the_teacherHere is a timely reminder to keep an eye on what our gifted students need to be careful of as they participate in open online courses and MOOCs for meeting their needs. So much is available free, outside of the “walled” offerings that are paid for. Watch out that “free” sign doesn’t become more costly than you’d ever imagined.

http://blip.tv/core-ed/online-dangers-and-responsibility-not-so-virtual-4442139

Thanks to Brett for his words of wisdom.

What all teachers in regular classrooms can do for the gifted … # 1

gifted education blog
Making learning different and meaningful for all.

Teachers often think they just haven’t got time to differentiate the curriculum for gifted students. They may not use these exact words, but they look at all the other things they have to report on each week, and doing something extra on top of that for a small minority is beyond them. Besides, if they don’t really have training in teaching gifted students, what should they do?

Here are a few things that could be done in the regular classroom that would help gifted students and not hinder the rest of the class along the way. And it won’t take too much extra time, but will probably save you much stress and time in the long term. It is the start of an ongoing set of ideas especially helpful when getting started with meeting the needs of gifted children in the regular classroom.

  1. Accept there are gifted students, even if you don’t know what they should look like. If a parent tells you their child is gifted, it is usually not out of pride or bragging. It is because they have lived 24/7 with this child for their entire life, and they know there is something different about the way they think and do life. Being accepted as they are is one of the best things you can do for a gifted student, and it doesn’t take you any time at all, short of a thank you or a smile when parents offer you advice that might help you with their child.
  2. Think about what sort of investigations could be done at a deeper level right at the planning stage. This is the time you should be thinking about your gifted students, not just when they finish early or start to cause you challenges in the classroom lessons. Just as you have to think about ESOL or physical disabilities when you are planning, so you should consider how what you are planning will affect the child who might already know what you are planning to introduce to everyone in your classroom.
  3. Use labels  and practices that will not alienate your gifted child from their peers. If you say “Extra for experts” you imply that only those who complete the task at hand are experts, and worthy of a greater challenge. Gifted students are worthy of a challenge all the time, as is every student in the classroom. If they already know what is being taught, they should not have to repeat it just to earn an extra challenge. Try finding out what level each child is at before you start a topic; pretest, or maybe challenge them with the “Five most difficult first” strategy. If anyone is already familiar with the difficult level, then they should have an advanced level made available to them, or something that will challenge them to apply this knowledge in a new way.
  4. Choice is paramount for gifted students. This involves being flexible in what you will accept as an outcome that displays what the student has learned. It might be negotiated individually with the gifted student, or be part of a whole class choice system. Having a variety of products based on learning preferences, or Bloom’s taxonomy, or The Six Thinking Hats, or allowing a different context for a standard problem will accommodate the needs of gifted students to work on meaningful tasks that they are passionate about.
  5. Have a variety of question starters at all levels of thinking displayed prominently in the classroom to provide the opportunity to “differentiate on the spot” when challenged by a student needing something extra “now”. Ask the student to reword a topic with a particular question starter, or decide it yourself.   Useful starters are … In what ways could you…? Thinking about this from the …’s point of view, how else could you …? Show how many different ways it might be possible to …? From your experience, how has this helped you …? If you are not very creative, ask someone else in the school who is, or brainstorm some good question starters at your next syndicate or staff meeting.
  6. Ask your gifted students what they are interested in – it could be Antarctica, Roald Dahl books, Science Fiction, trains, aliens, or anything that they can sit and learn about for hours. Try to incorporate these passions into the curriculum they do at least once a term. Ask them a question about it at least once a week. Give them a smile at least once a day, especially when you see them reading or hear them talking about their favourite topic.

Try these six ideas out over the next few weeks, or whenever the time is appropriate, and let me know how you get on.

Halfway House

pink ribbon girlNo! I am not in rehab, if that’s what you were thinking. But I have shifted and I am halfway back home to my house on the Shore! Actually just waiting for the last flatmate to shift out and then I’ll be back with my precious grandson as we all prepare for the arrival of his baby sister later in September. He will be such a good big brother. He already looks after himself and his mummy like a good young man should.

It only seems like yesterday when I had two youngsters packing their own lunch boxes into their bags in the morning and getting their shoes ready at the front door ou peut on acheter du viagra. They also had to eat their breakfast, clean their teeth and put their pjs under their pillows, from three onwards! Those were their daily chores, and they got a little surprise each week they managed to do them. Made things much easier for a quick getaway to work in the mornings.

Tyrell started basketball training again tonight. All of 5 years old, playing on the Breakers’ own court. So proud of him when he took the shot at goal that would either earn them all a drinks break, if he got it in, or five pushups for everyone if he didn’t. He did a few bounces and then shot the ball way above his head and straight through the hoop! He’s been practising shooting the hoop since he could just walk and I bent a wire coat hanger into a ring for him and mounted it on the retaining wall outside. Four years and about ten different height hoops later, and he can shoot with the best! He is not even daunted by the full size hoop at the local park – giving it a go with great gusto – and nearly sinking it much to everyone’s amazement! He is still a little shorty like his Mum, but he is reaching the heights of his Dad!

For many parents with a gifted child, they can be erroneously given the name “pushy” when they make opportunities for their children to excel in their given field. Just as we have given Tyrell the opportunity to excel in his sports, and encouraged him to do his reading homework every night, parents of the gifted mathematician, or acrobat, or social justice promoter are keen to give their children opportunities to excel at what they love to do, too. They want to expose them to all things so as not to prematurely cut off their potential. But as the title of a recent thesis I read on gifted education said,

“If you talk, you are just talking. If I talk, is that bragging?”

So sad, and yet, so true in many unfortunate cases. Parents of gifted children too often have to enjoy the pleasures with their children quietly, so as not to seem like they are bragging. Yes, we have all heard those that speak far too much about what their kids can do – and that is why this situation exists. But, deep down, we are just cutting off their flower heads, (poppies are often used here), the most beautiful aspect of the flower. But, in doing so, we kill the stem and support of these kids – both that of their parents and their self-esteem. These people end up living to limbo – another sort of halfway house – where they are not so sure they have a permanent place where they can be happy for their kids or not.

In the Bible, Jesus wouldn’t let the little children be stopped from coming to Him. He embraced them all with open arms. Advocates in gifted education are ever hopeful that our children will be embraced with open arms – and their parents, too.