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    #237778 - 04/17/17 05:05 AM Are gifted kids different today?
    dusty Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/16/13
    Posts: 36
    I saw a Facebook page that talks about how most gifted kids today aren't really gifted and that they're not like the gifted kids from years ago. I agree with a lot of its posts. Why do gifted kids behave differently from 50 years ago or hundreds of years ago? If 2% of kids had behavioral problems from giftedness why wasn't it discovered and studied years ago? Is it more to do with parenting, and parents being aware of giftedness and maybe subconsciously treating them differently? And if high achievement goes with being bright then how did we get to this technologically advanced state we're in? Where have all those stereotypically gifted kids gone?

    #237779 - 04/17/17 05:50 AM Re: Are gifted kids different today? [Re: dusty]
    madeinuk Offline

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1448
    Loc: NJ
    I've asked myself similar questions - but not the same ones because giftedness and achievement are two different things. Were you get the conjunction of the two you may see greatness but the two should not be conflated.

    One of the major differences is that in the western world, high ability kids are not as a rule grouped together anymore - 50 years ago they tended to be from what I remember.

    Not having peers will tend to cause 'maladjusted behaviors, I am sure. Also, 50 years ago the focus of schools tended towards academic excellence. 50 years on, they tend to ignore or treat gifted kids as freaks because to an outside observer, the primary focus these days appears to be with making under achieving demographic groups appear to be excellent performers by lowering standards which further increases the sense of alienation that a gifted kid might feel - and act out. Honestly, standards are so lowered now that NT kids from yesteryear would present as gifted today, I am sure.

    Also, dare I say it, corporal punishment was still alive in schools and actively used (on me too) when I was a kid so I think that all kids acted up less then out of the fear of consequences that don't even exist now.

    Who knows? I certainly do not have all the answers and would love to see further discussion around this topic.

    Edited by madeinuk (04/17/17 05:57 AM)
    Become what you are

    #237780 - 04/17/17 06:51 AM Re: Are gifted kids different today? [Re: dusty]
    longcut Offline

    Registered: 02/25/15
    Posts: 266
    Are they different? When my parents were kids, they were less reticent to accelerate kids, and they thought of childhood differently. There was tracking, and trades, and some people who might've been nurtured in today's climate checked out and went to work rather than make an intellectual investment in school. Or you'd see 16-year-olds in college and there wasn't talk of how young they were (perhaps closer to the time when children worked at younger ages, compared to now when it seems like youth is more extended). In fact, I know a few who went to college without graduating high school, because they were ready, and states didn't have such strict four years worth of credits required rules for a diploma or college acceptance, if you could show you were ready. Plus, back then, not everyone went to high school, much less college. I know someone who surely would have been labeled gifted today, who has incredible spatial and mechanical talents, and could've done well in engineering. My mother's view on giftedness is much different than mine; as she's known how differently abilities present and how they've affected people she's known, both positively and negatively; sometimes the practicalities got in the way of nurturing a particular ability -- some were able to go to college, some got to be sports stars or musicians or artists, some had to go or chose to go off to work, and that was enough. But academia in general wasn't as accessible as it is now, and the population as a whole was far smaller -- in the U.S. it is double what it was when my parents were students, and access to education and information was less, pre-computers.

    Going back to my childhood, which was roughly 30-40 years ago, after tracking started falling out of favor, I knew some gifted kids who fit the same variety of presentations as today. Some were the known as smart kids who didn't need to study, some were smart kids who goofed off all the time, and still got great grades, some went under the radar and hid their abilities, some never fit in and checked out (friend of mine dropped out, died of an OD, but was in the GT program as a tween).

    I think nowadays, more kids might be identified because we can identify 2E better, and there's access to research on those "missed potential" kids. There's a climate now that at once envies the intellectually gifted because they get something different, while also disdaining intellectualism (because they "think they know so much"), but admires sports and arts performance that gets something different. And maybe for some on the cusp in a program that divides kids using percentiles around 95th, with kids in the 90-95th, there's a desire to have their kid identified because if not for the GT extension, they'd languish in an underfunded school that's rigid about in class instruction (no differentiation).

    So really, could we say there is still a gifted population (which numerically increases as population increases exponentially), and a high achieving population (which overlaps with gifted, but isn't all of either population), but also there's a current emphasis on what the average person is capable of, what's expected of a particular age cohort. Which means there may be some who are added to the gifted cohort who maybe aren't true outliers, and it affects what the HG/PG kids can experience in an academic setting, but it's a group that also need something different from their age cohort.

    Considering the future of labor in an automated society, I'm curious how education will continue to evolve. For all the benefits of computers for self pacing, one of my DC craves social interaction in learning, not computers.

    #237781 - 04/17/17 07:04 AM Re: Are gifted kids different today? [Re: dusty]
    KJP Offline

    Registered: 02/29/12
    Posts: 756
    I came across something in my family tree I thought was interesting. One of my Civil War era relatives graduated from college at 17.

    I don't know if he had behavior problems but I thought it was interesting that acceleration was a part of my family's life even back then.

    #237784 - 04/17/17 11:28 AM Re: Are gifted kids different today? [Re: dusty]
    Val Offline

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3289
    Loc: California
    OP, can you supply a link to the Facebook page?

    (madeinuk --- a couple very good points)

    Either way, I suspect that more kids are identified as gifted today. Factors for this include the cutoff line being lower than it used to be, achievement being used as a substitute for IQ scores, and acceptance of single subtest scores rather reliance on overall IQ being above a threshold. The GAI is new-ish and picks up kids with say, slow processing speed but high cognitive ability, and presumably picks up people who would have been missed in 1975. But still, the achievement substitute and other factors are important.

    I suspect that some of this is done in the name of being inclusive. It feels good to be inclusive. Yet too much inclusiveness pushes the 50th percentile in a gifted program to the left, and the kids the program was designed to serve end up being cheated.

    In the 50s and 60s, US gifted programs had a specific purpose: to serve national interests in the space and technology races. The schools had to be serious about identifying kids with high cognitive ability. IMO, US education overall in the postwar period (to the late 60s or early 70s) reflected this fact: public schools were good and universities were cheap or free. And if you didn't go to college, it was all good, because there were lots of decent jobs out there.

    That's changed. We lack national goals now. The US sense of community is diminished, society is much more competitive, and the corporate quest for profit has gone to extremes. Education is seen as something that benefits individuals, rather than society as a whole. Etc. So the response is predictable: everyone is gifted in some way, everyone can/should go to college because...$$, etc.

    So it's not that people with IQs over 130 or 145 or whatever are different today. It's that (IMO), people gloss over icky facts and instead pretend that a) cognitive ability doesn't matter if you practice for 10,000 hours and 2) even if it did matter, all children are gifted.

    Edited by Val (04/17/17 11:37 AM)

    #237787 - 04/17/17 01:39 PM Re: Are gifted kids different today? [Re: dusty]
    sanne Offline

    Registered: 06/30/16
    Posts: 289
    Can we go back just a little further? The concept of IQ and intelligence was developing in the beginning of the 1900's for the purpose of eugenics. The USA was a huge proponent of eugenics, before Hitler was born, and politicians even proposed gas chambers to euthanize those deemed to be less intelligent. Instead, they settled on institutionalizing, forced sterilization (which is still totally okay in the USA, btw), and infecting with terminal diseases within institutions. The government had a department of eugenics (I forget the exact name).

    Where does this leave the other end of the spectrum? Well, intelligence was put on display. Intelligent *and moral* families were encouraged to have more children. In fact, there were competitions in which families were most intelligent, moral, and prolific at county fairs. I think this is getting into the 40's and 50's now.

    The word "gifted" doesn't even come to represent intelligence until after 1950. Before that, "gifted" was used to describe any gift. One could be a gifted poet, or gifted with gab, or gifted with prudence, or money or any other quality. It wasn't used widely to describe intelligence until the Department of Education adopted the "gifted and talented" terminology, which replaced the older terminology of "superior student".

    Attitudes about higher education were totally different before the world wars. Rather than encouraging all students to pursue a degree, educators wrote about intentionally excluding "unfit" students, and accelerating promising students was considered appropriate without reservation.

    The whole gifted and talented thing is entirely a political creation. Intelligent children were (and are?) recognized not to provide the child with services, but to provide the nation with the resource of intelligent citizens.

    The "myths" about gitedness as elitism are WELL FOUNDED in history, as are reservations in IQ testing, sharing IQ test scores, and data tracking in schools.

    #237788 - 04/17/17 02:48 PM Re: Are gifted kids different today? [Re: sanne]
    Val Offline

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3289
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: sanne
    The concept of IQ and intelligence was developing in the beginning of the 1900's for the purpose of eugenics. The USA was a huge proponent of eugenics, before Hitler was born, and politicians even proposed gas chambers to euthanize those deemed to be less intelligent. ...

    Well...this isn't quite accurate. The IQ test developed by Alfred Binet came about because the French government had mandated universal education, and there was an interest in determining which children belonged in special classrooms that could help slower learners. I doubt very much that they had eugenics in mind.

    It's true that an American named Henry Goddard had regressive views with regard to people of very low intelligence. He brought Binet's intelligence tests to the US. According to the link I provided, he popularized the tests, which isn't the same as inventing them for the purpose of eugenics.

    But we're off-topic. Portia made a good point about being made to sit still today, compared to the 1970s/80s and earlier. I grew up then, and everyone ran around outside. My mom's rule after school was that I had to call her to let her know where I was. Most of the kids I knew followed the same rule. On weekends and during the summer, we knew we had to be home for dinner, but could go out afterwards until sunset. A note on the kitchen table sufficed in my house ("Gone to the park with Amy."). ETA: so in that regard, a lot of gifties looked like everyone else in that they went sledding in the winter, rode bikes, raked up piles of leaves in the fall, etc.

    Edited by Val (04/17/17 02:58 PM)

    #237790 - 04/17/17 03:06 PM Re: Are gifted kids different today? [Re: dusty]
    George C Offline

    Registered: 03/12/15
    Posts: 282
    Originally Posted By: dusty
    I saw a Facebook page that talks about how most gifted kids today aren't really gifted and that they're not like the gifted kids from years ago. I agree with a lot of its posts.

    If it's the same Facebook page I'm thinking of, this person also does not believe that a person can be 2e, that the "second e" disqualifies them from being gifted. They also seem to take issue with GAI.

    Those beliefs do not appear to be mainstream.

    #237791 - 04/17/17 03:28 PM Re: Are gifted kids different today? [Re: Portia]
    aeh Offline

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3663
    Originally Posted By: Portia
    As a nation, we aren't really "in it" together.
    I do not think any program we put in place will work until we value free thought, responsibility, and creativity again at a social group level.
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

    #237792 - 04/17/17 07:18 PM Re: Are gifted kids different today? [Re: dusty]
    Cookie Offline

    Registered: 05/28/14
    Posts: 599
    I just figured it out! Blame smoke/tobacco free campuses for less recess.

    In 1972 I was a first grader in a small school. We had a snack/play break in the morning (grades 1-3) and as soon as we went back inside grades 4-6 came out. We pulled one item out of our lunch, inhaled it and ran out to play.

    We had similar at lunch (ate in our classroom as fast as we could) ran out to play for a half hour.

    PE every day!

    2 days of Art, 2 days of Music, one in library ....

    And an Afternoon recess too for grades 1-3.

    Why? Because the teachers needed to smoke in the teachers lounge several times throughout the day.

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