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    justinwilliams, Jessica D, Xtydell, lll, A WA parent
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    Originally Posted by JonahSinick
    @ Val — I hesitate to question the optimality of your daughter's choice of activities without solicitation & hope you'll forgive me if it's unwelcome, but have you and her thought about whether spelling bee preparation is the best use of her time?

    Training for spelling bees may build discipline, constitutes cognitive exercise, and if done in the way that she's doing it, can improve one's understanding of language. But there are more conceptual activities that utilize higher order thinking skills to a greater extent. And very few people gifted people (or people more generally) pursue professions that utilize the subject matter learned to a nontrivial degree.

    I tend to think that it's better to learn

    (a) Ideas that have broad ramifications (such as some of those from psychology, philosophy, economics and evolutionary biology), or that fit into rich conceptual structures (such as those from math or physics)

    and

    (b) Skills that are useful in many real life contexts, such as writing, and programming.

    There may be important considerations in favor of spelling bees that I'm missing, and I'd be interested in hearing any. I recognize that gifted children are often involved in spelling bees, and that there may be social benefits to being involved even if the activity isn't the most valuable in the abstract.

    As a practicing researcher in one of the areas you mentioned in point a, I actually don't think a child should focus too much in them. I think social science is still relatively subjective and requires experience even a PG child would not necessarily have an easier time acquiring beyond their age. Time is better spent in mastering a more foundational subject. Math and etymology are both fine use of time.

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    @ Thomas Percy — Thanks for your thoughts! I've worked primarily with high school and college aged students, and am still very new to thinking about what's optimal for elementary school aged students, so hearing different people's perspectives is very helpful to me.

    I know many people who share your view. I've had some uneasiness about embracing it on account of awareness that I'm biased in favor of math because of its sheer beauty.

    If you're inclined, I'd be interested in hearing you flesh out your thinking. There are reasons to think that you're right, e.g. I know children who are 10+ years ahead in math and I don't know children who are anywhere near 10+ years ahead in a social science (nor adults who were as children) and this is evidence, but I feel as though I don't have a good intuitive sense for what's going on from the inside. What experience do people gain as they get older that prepares them for social sciences?

    My own understanding of social sciences developed rather late, but I don't know whether this is because I didn't have enough experience when I was younger or whether it's because I didn't come across books or people that explained them well to me (I could imagine it going either way).

    Last edited by JonahSinick; 03/03/14 06:28 PM.

    Advising for gifted children available at Cognito Mentoring.
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    Jonah,

    For one thing, I don't even know what 10 year ahead in a social science means. Let's use economics for example. The best preparation for a econ ph.d program is a major in math. You do need a few courses at the undergraduate level but no need to major in it. So one year worth in undergrad and five year of graduate study qualifies you as a professional econimist. That does not mean this five year of study can happen without a solid foundation in quantitive method and critical reasoning. But those skills are not economics per se. I cannot say I know much about philosophy. But psychology and other social sciences are similar. They need a lot of skills to really be a student of them. But these skills are better built through majoring in math or English. I hope this makes sense.

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    I want to add that as hard as physical science is, social problems are generally less tractable, messier if you will. They tend to be further from a child's life compare to natural phenomena. But not as abstract as math or linguistics that you can ignore real life if you are so inclined. There is a reason we have had precocious mathematicians but I don't think any one younger than 20 has done anything worth mentioning in economics.

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    Quote
    children who are 10+ years ahead in math
    Yes, math tends to follow a standard, predictable progression, making it relatively easy to measure how advanced a student may be, beyond other children their age.

    Quote
    I don't know children who are anywhere near 10+ years ahead in a social science (nor adults who were as children) ... don't have a good intuitive sense for what's going on from the inside. What experience do people gain as they get older that prepares them for social sciences?
    A common trait in gifted children, often listed amongst identifying characteristics, is alternately described as "advanced moral reasoning", "well developed sense of justice", "moral sensitivity", "advanced ability to think about such abstract ideas as justice and fairness", "empathy", "compassion". This humanitarian concern may inspire young gifties to be attracted to studying psychology and philosophy, two of the areas of social sciences listed in earlier posts in this thread. Links to lists of gifted characteristics include several articles on the Davidson Database here and here, SENG (Silverman), SENG (Lovecky).

    While gifted kids may choose to pursue interests as varied as juggling, astronomy, and people watching, lists of Davidson Fellows, Theil Fellows, Jack Cooke Kent Scholarship recipients, etc may be especially inspiring by showing what can be accomplished at a relatively young age.

    The confidence of gifted children may be boosted by reading about others like themselves (bibliotherapy). There are reading lists of books whose characters are gifted.


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    Originally Posted by JonahSinick
    What experience do people gain as they get older that prepares them for social sciences?

    Puberty.

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    indigo, You are always so informative !!

    What do you do :-) ??

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    Originally Posted by JonahSinick
    The 1996 study Self-Efficacy Beliefs and Mathematical Problem-Solving of Gifted Students found that

    Although most students were overconfident about their capabilities, gifted students had more accurate self-perceptions and gifted girls were biased toward underconfidence.

    Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg discusses high potential women being underconfident in her book Lean In.

    I've had many gifted female students and classmates/colleagues who have struggled with intellectual insecurity.
    Some who think that underconfidence in gifted girls is a serious problem believe that it discourages them from majoring in STEM. The article below finds that women are more strongly discouraged than men from majoring in economics when they don't get an A in the introductory course. I think I have read about a similar pattern in STEM. But majoring in something you are good at does make sense. It's not clear that men are being more rational than women in choosing whether to major in economics or STEM.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...a-a871-11e3-8d62-419db477a0e6_story.html
    Women should embrace the B’s in college to make more later
    by Catherine Rampell
    Washington Post
    March 10, 2014

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    Not gonna stop me from buying DD STEM toys or encouraging her to flower in that direction but...

    Reality of differences between boys and girls


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    Originally Posted by madeinuk
    Not gonna stop me from buying DD STEM toys or encouraging her to flower in that direction but...

    Reality of differences between boys and girls

    From the article:

    Quote
    And, as Geary recently told me, “One of the largest and most persistent differences between the sexes is children’s play preferences.” The female preference for nurturing play and the male propensity for rough-and-tumble hold cross-culturally and even cross-species.

    Someone should tell DD9, because I'm hearing "Wanna wrestle?" from her lately at least once a week. Her and her (female) friends keep dragging me out to the yard to play tackle football. After football, they usually go and play with their dolls.

    I found it quite humorous that the author was surprised that there were no boys in the American Girl store.

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