Thursday, March 29, 2007

EdWeek conversation with Karen Isaacson and Tamara Fisher

Education Week has a fascinating transcript from an online chat with Karen Isaacson and Tamara Fisher, co-authors of Intelligent Life in the Classroom, posted on their website. The chat covers all sorts of topics, but I found a few especially noteworthy.

For instance, the authors suggest having kids advocate for themselves. "I've found that the child speaking up and asking for harder spelling words (for example) is much more powerful than me or a parent doing it," says Fisher. "And over time, the more kids who speak up to the teachers about a need for more challenging curriculum, the more likely the teacher begins to realize that it's a real need (rather than it being just the GT specialist or parent bugging them yet again... although I've found most teachers don't feel that way and are generally open to it.) I tell my kids that if they are going to self-advocate, they need to follow the 3 P's: 1) Be polite (don't say "this is boring." 2) Do it in private (not in front of the rest of the class.) And 3) Provide proof (that they've actually mastered the content.) For some kids it is a good idea to role-play the process ahead of time. Usually the kids meet with success (i.e. a receptive teacher and accommodations)."

Since we've been talking about self-reliance on this board, that strikes me as very good advice.

The authors also suggest asking absent-minded professor type kids what strategies they think will work best for getting them more organized about school work, getting places on time, etc. This at least gets them thinking, and changes the model from combative to trying to solve a problem together. They note that one GT program is called "Extended Studies" instead of that tough word "gifted" -- and that removes some of the stigma. Then they offer this list of gifted links though, ahem, Gifted Exchange is not among them. But we'll forgive that, since overall, this chat was a very enlightening overview of the issues in gifted education.

1 comment:

Tamara Fisher said...

Hi, Laura :o) I have added a link to your blog on the list. I apologize for the oversight! I discovered your blog a few months ago and have enjoyed reading your insights.