Well, unlike years gone by, I am up and away for a Christmas in the tropics (Auckland has given us a very humid 28C over the last couple of days just to prime me up) – 31C where I am going, and 100% humidity!
But, before I go, I need to share this great recap on how knowing your child’s IQ can help and hinder you. It comes from the Talent Igniter series and is based on policies in countries other than my home country of New Zealand, so I will add a note for my local colleagues here:
NB NZ colleagues The first bullet point in the list:
- You should not go into the school and demand anything. Schools have absolutely no legal obligation to meet the learning needs of advanced learners.
IS NOT APPLICABLE in New Zealand. Our schools do have a mandate to provide an eduation that meets the gifted child’s learning needs written into the National Administration Guidelines.
However, I suggest, the manner in which you approach the school should not be “demand”, as their first sentence rightly says, but more enquire and work with the school to provide what is best. You may need to find a school that understands what that might just mean for your individual child, because in New Zealand, school boards are left with the responsibility to define ‘giftedness’ as their own community feels appropriate.
The following bullet points on the Talent Igniter series list, however, are good advice no matter what education system you are working in.
- You should not go into the school waving the test results round and expect the school to believe they mean anything all that significant. Most educators do not believe IQs really mean much. They will likely point out that your child doesn’t do his work perfectly, that they have plenty of kids like yours, and that just because a child has a high IQ doesn’t mean she really understands all the material at higher levels. (I add – Not a helpful way to get anything done, anyway!)
- You should expect to hear about how there isn’t any money for gifted learners even though what they need generally doesn’t actually cost any more money. Most schools generally already have everything a gifted young learner needs but they won’t allow the learner to go where what they are ready to learn is already being taught.
- Don’t tell them your child is bored and needs more challenge. It’s simply offensive and counter productive.
- Don’t assume or expect that (I add, ALL) the educators at your child’s school have any specific training in the identification, instruction, or needs of gifted learners, what IQs are or what they mean. It is not part of the curriculum in (I add, MANY) schools of education.
I believe the Waikato Association of Gifted Children (in New Zealand) is looking at how to advocate for their children by asking about helpful advocacy ideas used by the other special needs organisations. They initially suggest you take an impartial ‘other’ with you who is knowledgable about what would help your child best. Seems to me like they are onto it down there. Good work!
Well, enjoy your Christmas break, being with your gifted kids, or without them, depending if you are an educator or a caregiver. And I mean that sincerely – some gifted kids are ‘lovable rogues’ and are often hard work. We all need a break to refresh and renew our passion to get on board with them again for an often ‘wild ride’.