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.

Sorry the survey is now closed

 

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.

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. 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.

When the battle is at your door

Technophobic grandmaHelen Calder finished the conference with another message involving a man who fell short, and allowed a woman to overcome on the day of battle. Men do have responsibilities in life … serious, important responsibilities … but when a man falls short of these, God is quite willing to use a woman to stand in his place. Deborah, the prophetess from Judges 4 gave Barack a word from God, to take 10,000 men and conquer Sisera the oppressor. He would not go unless Deborah went with them. She did, but told him the honour of the battle would instead be given to a woman.

Long story short, the woman to whom Deborah was referring, Jael, went against her husband, and while the wicked Sisera slept, Jael stabbed him dead with a tent-peg, and showed him to Barack when he finally caught up with them. The battle honour was certainly due to this Bedouin housewife. In Old Testament times, her role was that of an enforcer of the Law. But, today, in New Testament times, we must be enforcers of Grace.

In a crisis, when a miracle is needed, we are not supposed to just go with the status quo, we must be dispensers of grace. Helen taught 5 truths to remember when the battle comes to your door:

  1. With God in your life you are powerful. Even one woman, Jael, with God, was the majority and overcame the battle. We may look like we are nothing of value to others, but with God on our side we become mighty victors.
  2. You are significant. It is not about our position, our personality, our part, or about the others around us. Jael was not a thermometer that rose and fell as she went up and down. She was a thermostat – she set the temperature. She wasn’t going to entertain this evil oppressor even though her husband wanted to.
  3. You have everything at hand you need to succeed. And if the battle seems to be overwhelming, you only need to call out to God and praise Him. He will be with you.
  4. Your place is significant. You don’t need to be anywhere else. God has put you in the exact places He wants you to be, to fulfil His desires.
  5. You have options. Are we going to flee at the first sign of difficulty? Or will we be the grace enforcers God wants us to be? We get to choose. Impact others’ lives with the message of good news, or say it’s too hard and leave it for someone else?

Women who find themselves ‘by themselves’ don’t have to fear that they will not cope with life’s tragedies alone. We have a kind and loving Father in Heaven who is ready and willing to stand beside us and support us through the trial. He has placed in us from conception, the seed of significance that no-one can take from us. Choose to rise up today, and claim your rightful place, not in the worldview of ‘feminism’ but in God’s view of equality and joint heirship with His son.

The Course

These have to be the most insightful words I have seen written by a parent, about their participation in their children’s education, in the last two centuries!

The Course

A great blog for those interested in non-school education of the gifted. Thank you all at “Chasing Hollyfeld”

Arguing in a Persuasive Manner

Teaching kids to argue in a persuasive manner
Prufock Press Blog

Gifted Kids can often get into the bad books of their teachers at school because they have a propensity to argue the point. This in itself is not a bad trait, but it can be a little hard for teachers to swallow. I have always said it is better to teach them how to explain their ideas to others in a respectful manner. It seems this blogger at Prufock Press, the’ home’ of gifted education publishing agrees, and elaborates on a good way to do that.

                      http://blog.prufrock.com/blog/2012/11/20/vs9fc56y8o3wvgeab7qj71zt8vgmr4

Nobody likes to be shown up, especially by someone younger, and supposedly less knowledgeable  An effective argument has to have both people committed to listening to each other’s point of view, so the sooner we teach our gifted kids this art of arguing in a positive manner, the sooner they will be able to effectively advocate for their own educational needs.

The Drought Has Broken

I have been in New Zealand for the last three weeks, but my husband tells me that the drought we were experiencing when I flew out has finally broken. The rainy season appears to have come earlier than anticipated by some of the locals.

I had checked our water pipeline on the property twice since the pipes started to run dry. Usually, we would get sparing amounts, but would at least get a flow at some stage each day or two. But it turns out that our “No Water” for ten days was in fact due to our neighbours uncoupling the pipes they had let us tap into .  Seems the attitude is “it’s every man for himself” when the water starts to dry up!!!

I wonder what has happened to the local water authority’s advice that we would have a new sub-main in our road in the new financial year. That was 1 July 2011, and still we are yet to see it! But then, with a drought on, I guess there was no point in putting in a larger pipe, was there?

Gifted Awareness Week New Zealand

This week coming New Zealand is hosting its annual Gifted Awareness Week – a time when we hope to reach more eyes and ears in an effort to alert the general population to this special group of people in our community – the “gifted”. In many ways they have been prone to losing the use of their gifts or having their uniqueness shunned through general ignorance of those around them. Continue reading “Gifted Awareness Week New Zealand”