Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In Answer: Acceleration

I thought I would take some time today to respond to a comment made a few weeks ago:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "In Answer: Comments on Gifted Kids in the Regular ...":

I have "extension" activities. Students have a series of different choices when they are done with their work that are more fun and enriching (making a PowerPoint of one of the topics, building a diorama, making watercolor portraits of characters, etc.). I have these prepared ahead of time for each literature unit that my flexible groups do. I do the same thing with math- they have a variety of different activities to choose from when they are finished.

As a parent of a gifted kid, it appears to me that you simply waste their time until the other kids catch up.

My kids favorite teacher would spend about 5 minutes quickly showing my son what was being taught next, then let him go on ahead.

I don't know when acceleration became a dirty word, but enrichment is synonymous with time wasting.

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My response is that I am not opposed in the slightest to acceleration. I have posted several times on issues related to acceleration, and I am considered by many to be an advocate and resource on acceleration practices.

I do know, though, that not all school districts nor gifted programs endorse acceleration as highly as I do, for a variety of reasons. Sadly, teachers who are under that regime have their hands bound by policy. That is something for you to address with your individual teachers and school officials.

As far as enrichment being time-wasting, that is your opinion to which you are welcome. Many of my enrichment activities, though, are tied to state and nationally mandated standards for which students must demonstrate mastery. Building a diorama demonstrates an understanding a setting, creating a PowerPoint is a technology standard, water color portraits reveal both reading comprehension and character discernment. Just because it is a fun and exciting way to show mastery does not necessarily make it wrong. Enrichment is not a bad word when it is tied to actual learning.

However, I do view acceleration and enrichment as a pendulum that needs to be carefully balanced with regards to gifted students. It often only swings between extremes. . . The major complaint of gifted students is that school is boring. Partly because it moves too slowly and partly because of the formulaic method of delivery. Acceleration solves part of this problem while enrichment addresses the other.

Acceleration allows students to move ahead from a further starting point or at a greater speed. Enrichment makes it interesting. No gifted student wants to do one worksheet after another, no matter the rate at which they are given.

I hope this has addressed some of your concerns. Please feel free to comment or email me if you have more thoughts.

2 comments:

  1. "but enrichment is synonymous with time wasting"
    I disagree
    There are many different ways and degrees to learn about a subject. Stalling the lesson plan to take to take time to analyze the different perspectives in each lesson can be fun and valuable for the child.
    Most gifted children usually enjoy dissecting and debating a lesson. It is usually the parents who want the kids to rush to the next level.
    My HGDD loves her enrichment program at school; she always comes with new tricks to show me. She goes to a great school and that is really what makes the difference.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I disagree as well. Enrichment is an important part of the learning process. Thanks for your thoughts!

    ReplyDelete

I love to hear your feedback! This website is intended to be a welcoming and safe space for parents and advocates of the gifted. All wholesome and encouraging questions are invited, as well as questions or concerns relating to gifted topics.