I have parents come to me all the time and say that they can see why their first child tested into the gifted program, but boy they just aren't sure about number two. . . Number one is driven, follows rules and likes order. Number two is just all over the place! Their room is a mess, they day dream all the time, they don't know which way is up!
Don't fret just yet! Thankfully, there is not just one way to be gifted! Kids can think in equally gifted but totally different ways! For some reason, we see gifted kiddoes fall into two primary thinking styles(or some combination of the two- like me!). We have our concrete-sequential kiddoes and we have our abstract-random kiddoes.
Basically, Concrete Sequential people are black and white people. They like order, structure, rules and logic. The world of school and the world at large was geared for these kids! This is what we value, and that is why the kids at the highest end of this thinking style are those that we are most likely to consider gifted.
On the other hand, our Abstract Random people are like creative endeavors, they see the gray area in logic, and they think outside the box. They are inventors, writers, and discoverers. We never would have found North America without them! This is not necessarily the thinking style that we value in our society. Thus, kids that are at the highest level of this thinking style are not usually considered gifted. Our schools, tests and programs are often difficult for them, as well, which contributes to their underachievement and problems in school. . .
Still a little uncertain? Here is a little chart to help you see the personality types and to try to find yourself and your children somewhere along the line. . .
Concrete Sequential are characterized by:
- Order and quiet
- Exact directions
- Guided Practice
- Know the accepted way of doing something
- Can apply ideas in a practical, hands-on way
- Are given approval for specific work done
- Cooperative work
- Assignments with room for interpretation
- Balance of social activities and work
- Noncompetitive atmosphere
- Personalized learning
- Are given personal attention and emotional support
- Lecture and reading
- Follow traditional procedures
- Work alone
- Logical explanations
- Are respected for intellectual ability
- Trial and error approach
- Hands-on experiences
- Brainstorming and open-ended activities
- Produce real, but creative, products
- Original and unique approaches to problem solving
- Self-directed learning
Also, so that you are aware and able to be an effective parent and guide for your children, I also want to share some challenges common to these different thinking styles.
Concrete Sequential struggles with:
- Making choices
- Open ended assignments and "what if" questions
- Dealing with opposing views
- Taking new approaches
- Interpreting abstract ideas
- Seeing the forest
- Working alone
- Attending to details and giving exact answers
- Working within time limits
- Concentrating on one task at a time
- Being corrected
- Expecting less emotional response from others
- Expressing emotions
- Working cooperatively in groups
- Writing creatively
- Taking risks or facing the unpredictable
- Open ended problems
- Placing grades in perspective…reducing perfectionism
- Pacing and meeting time limitations
- Completing projects
- Choosing one answer
- Keeping detailed records
- Accepting others’ ideas without showing another way
- Accepting when change is impossible
I am not interested in reinventing the wheel; these list came from this article. They have a few others interesting lists and more information if you want to check them out!