Welcome to my blog on giftedness and gifted education in Canada. Here, I cover topics relevant to gifted advocacy for the accommodation of gifted (including 2e), bright, and creative students and their needs in the educational setting, as well as parenting gifted children, and living as a gifted adult. With a Canadian twist whenever possible while also inviting comments and participation from visitors worldwide.
Why do I cast the net wide here to include bright and creative students? And why don’t I write much about IQ testing as such? The reason is straightforward. While students who score high on IQ tests are obviously gifted in the areas spanned by the tests, testing does not by any means capture all students who might benefit from enriched education.
For example, divergent thinkers such as creative students, bright students who don’t test well, and twice-exceptional students (gifted with other special needs) may not even come close to the gifted cutoff in some districts. Test anxiety is another reason why some students’ abilities aren’t caught by standardized tests.
This is why, in my view, gifted identification should be far less dependent on testing, and more focused on the whole student. Educational funding, however, doesn’t always make this individualized approach possible. But are the talented writers, deep thinkers, and violinists in a classroom any less deserving of enrichment than the math virtuoso? Testing, I’ve come to believe, is far from the whole story, and I think that it should be limited to the detection of discrepancies on subtests that could point to a learning disability, and only used as one piece of information in gifted identification, if at all.
A central question examined on this blog is: How are Canada’s provinces and territories doing with respect to educating their gifted students — from preschool through the university level? I hope that educators, school administrators, and parents will find this blog and participate in discussion here regarding accommodating the needs of gifted students in this country.
There are many misconceptions out there about the nature of giftedness, and the best ways to meet the needs of gifted students. (e.g., It’s not just ‘smart’ or academically advanced; gifted education is not an ‘elite’ practice, but is one that touches families across the socioeconomic spectrum; gifted students *do* need support) In Canada, provinces have jurisdiction over education, and whereas some provinces consider giftedness to be a special need, others do not.
Research demonstrates that gifted students who are unengaged at school tend to drop out and/or not fulfill their promise. Canadians claim to be concerned about a ‘brain drain’. However, the brain drain does not begin when gifted students graduate from university, but much earlier, when nurturing these young people in their intellectual and emotional development. Does the onus for the beginning of the reversal of this brain drain not reside with our schools, and with parent advocates for the gifted?
Please jump in and add your voice to this conversation by commenting here, and taking constructive action in your child’s school or school district. You don’t have to live in Canada to be part of the discussion. Thank you for reading and commenting!
Who am I?
I hold a Ph.D. in the humanities, and am a researcher, a university lecturer, and a published author. I’m also a former school principal. I’ve written my share of IEPs, and have educated my teachers on special needs accommodations, including giftedness. Most importantly, I’m the mother of a young child who is gifted, 2e, and creative.
I’m also a member of Mensa Canada, Liaison between Mensa Canada and the Association for Bright Children, Ontario, and past coordinator of a program for the highly and profoundly gifted. I’m an advocate for my child’s needs, and believe in the power of parent advocacy to help fuel the special needs accommodation process.
I’m available to consult with parents and educators to guide them in meeting the educational and parenting needs of gifted, talented, bright, and creative students, from kindergarten through postsecondary admissions. For more information, please click here.
I worry about children who are not well served in the classroom — the bored, the uninspired, and the daydreamers, the ones who associate formal education with unpleasant emotions — all of whom may fall behind in their work and become underachievers. They are not given the nourishment they need to develop their gifts and contribute to society as grownups. They deserve better. So does our society.
Giftedness is a lifelong way of being, thinking, and seeing the world that does not end at the age of eighteen. At a certain point, however, gifted individuals transition into living, studying, working, dating, marrying, and parenting as gifted adults and no longer receive special accommodations. Gifted adults are on their own. This is one site where contributions (anonymized is fine) from gifted adults as well as parents of gifted children (the two often overlap) are very much welcome. I look forward to reading your comments.
Dr. A.D. Lobel