The Growth Mindset : Telling Penguins to Flap Harder ?

Disappointed Idealist

I’m not sure whether this particular blog might lose me friends. It’s not intended to, but I’m going to stumble into an area where I know some people have very strong views. It was prompted by a post-parents’ evening trawl through some blogs, and I came across this blog by Dylan Wiliam :

I’m generally a fan of Dylan Wiliam, although I once tried to joke with him on Twitter, and I’m not sure my humour survived the transition to 140 characters. If I made any impression, it was almost certainly a bad one. Oh well. In any case, it’s not actually his blog on feedback which is at issue here – it’s a good piece, and I agree with the central message about marking/feedback. The bit I want to write about is this :

“Students must understand that they are not born with talent (or lack of it) and…

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THE FABLE OF KINTSUKUROI

I dream of one day being mended with gold, by someone eager to show the world that I am more beautiful for having been broken!

WISDOM STORIES TO LIVE BY

Once upon a time, in the far, far east, east even of Eden, lived a great emperor, in a great palace, gorgeously stocked with the richest of goods. It was early spring, and the season of royal visits, when kings and princes called on one another and admired each others’ choicest possessions, gave wonderful gifts and enjoyed bountiful banquets. And this year was special, because the visitors would see the investiture of his beloved son Kintsukuroi as Crown Prince of the empire.

The emperor was excited this year because he had a new and beautiful bowl to show to his friends, specially made for him by the finest of craftsmen from the finest of materials. Imagine then his horror when on going to his cabinet he discovered that it was broken apart, into a hundred pieces. How could it have happened? No-one knew. What could be done about it before…

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Environmental Tweaking Over Artificial Remedies!

The fact that millions of schoolchildren require vision remedies on a daily basis so they can more readily assimilate into the culture of public schooling does not mean that these children are damaged. It means something is very wrong with the whole idea of shooling!

Some are better at seeing things up close, some see things better afar, but that does not mean that anybody can feel at liberty to try to remedy their vision with unnatural appendages to their faces.

My perspective is one of a parent of an elementary school aged child. There is now an inordinate amount of time spent sitting and testing of these children and it seems to worsen every year. The high stakes tests are now tied to teacher performance and most importantly their pay raises. This has led to rampant (mis)diagnosis of nearsightedness and farsightedness of very young children by people that are far from qualified in making this call. My child was “diagnosed” by a new principal after a five minute classroom observation. The classroom had a substitute teacher that day and the child was squinting and grimacing. The principal called me at home to tell me the child needs to be remedied in order to perform well in school.

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The other gifted adult

Someone like me…

patchwork poppies

 photo e05cb0cc-7984-4416-aea7-8ea4715b8a2e_zps93fdd636.jpg(photo by, Tony Hisgett)

This might resonate more to those that feel they never quite lived up to what they knew was their potential. There are gifted individuals that are fortunate to live a life where their traits and talents have allowed them to flourish.  They have their (very well deserved, hard earned and respected) paper degrees and their dream careers. Then there are those who are still struggling with where their traits and talents should have gotten them as an adult.  The “other” gifted. The one who doesn’t have the paper degree and career to show for.  Or maybe you do have a paper degree and a career to show for but it might be worthless to you and its not your dream career – you feel lost and frustrated. You’re the one who is still searching and striving to feel accepted and have worth in this world… I…

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No, Not Everyone Is Gifted!

“Of course this readily graspable concept designed to make everyone feel good about their own potential has mass appeal. Too bad that Gladwell’s convenient and simple ideas . . . are wrong.”

There is an aspirational attraction to a theory that says you can be greater than you think you are, and no one has the right to downplay the honest efforts of someone who genuinely wants to improve. However, this ambition to succeed is a far cry from dismissing the role of heredity (or downplaying it substantially) in determining intelligence, as these “everyone can be gifted” authors contend. You can’t just toss out 150 years of psychological evidence to the contrary to make the general population feel superior.

The real damage done by these Pop Psychology gurus is this: their theories are based on the idea that the best way to deal with giftedness is to make believe it doesn’t exist at all; rather, it is “created” through effort, practice, and the occasional raw deal that life hands you.

Yet those who deny or diminish a biological basis to intelligence are very selective in which branches of the genetics tree they prune. I can’t imagine that any of the above authors would deny that hair color, height, predisposition to diseases, or nearsightedness have at least some basis in the genes we are dealt. If this is so for virtually every other element of our human existence since birth, then how can they deny the rightful place of genetics in determining one’s innate level of intellect?”http://terrybradleygifted.com/no-not-everyone-is-gifted/

Genius Doesn’t Exist: The Complex Myth Of Highly Intelligent, Creative People

“We call Steve Jobs a genius presumably because he saw connections where others did not, and leveraged them to create an empire. Andreasen says this is a critical difference: the effect of making hidden connections. It underlies entire swaths of her research into why some lead lives of creative stardom, while others succumb to sickness.

“Of course, having too many ideas can be dangerous,” she writes. The biographer Walter Isaacson, for example, found in his extensive interviews with Steve Jobs’s friends and coworkers that the Apple co-founder often sucked people into his “reality distortion field,” a perilous zone in which the regular laws of the working world didn’t apply. He’d bark at people to start outlandish projects with impossibly short deadlines, and most of the time, his madness gave way to progress. But not always. As Isaacson explains, at Apple there was a lot of crying.

“Part of what comes with seeing connections no one else sees,” explains Andreasen, “is that not all of these connections actually exist.”

Another part, of course, is communicating with all those that do not see all the connections…

Genius — highly intelligent creative people

Are You A Multipotentialite*?

She may as well have named her example woman Eirin instead of Rachel…

Your Rainforest Mind

I am not a multipotentialite. But I’ve known many. Many. I’ve lived with one. Most of my counseling clients fit the bill. Several friends. I suspect that I’m not one so that I can better help all of you who are. If I were one, too, well, things could get messy.

CC Flickr Martin Lambe CC Flickr Martin Lambe

For those of you who are new to the term, let me explain. In an earlier post, I described how you may be overwhelmed  by your extraordinary curiosity. Not only that. You may, in fact, be as capable in the field of chemistry as you are in philosophy or as skilled in music as you are in literature. And you want to do it all. Depth and diversity are exciting, stimulating and necessary.

You’re afflicted with multipotentiality. Thus, you are a multipotentialite. (a term coined by Emilie Wapnick*, thanks Emilie)

You may be like my client. I’ll call…

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A teacher’s concern for a student caught me to the quick today, and made me write a really long answer:

“Hi there. I work in a school with many GLD/2e children. There is one little chap I am currently working with who seems to be displaying many ADHD behaviours. The parents won’t have him assessed because they are fearful of the outcome. In the meantime this little chap is desperate to learn and is becoming more aware that everyone around him is staying on track, he can’t and he doesn’t seem to know what ‘on track’ is. I suspect that he is overwhelmed by the amount of ‘stuff’ out there and so cannot filter what he is supposed to attend to. He is driving his teacher and class to distraction. Does anyone here have any tips/strategies on helping children to concentrate. I do work with him one-to-one and even then he struggles to attend. I only work two days a week so there is limited time I can work with him. He is such a wonderful young boy, with so much potential and so willing to learn, it breaks my heart to see him struggle so much. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.”

My first reply:

Read up on overexcitabilities, and try to shield him from distractions as much as possible (ear protection, room dividers or other screens). Then provide him with some way to move. Something like this could make it easier for him:

https://www.google.no/search?q=exercise%20bike%20desk…

 

To this, the teacher responded:

“I know the OE’s well – student of Dabrowski’s work. This presents differently to Psychomotor OE.”

 

I was so impressed with this person, I could hardly contain myself! Here is my loooong reply:

Glad to hear someone KNOWS the OEs and can spot ADHD in a gifted boy, you are a rare specimen! The boy is lucky to have you for a teacher, especially as the parents are more concerned with the stigma than their child’s suffering.

That may sound harsh against the parents, but as a gifted ADHD woman raising a gifted ADHD girl, there is no doubt in my mind that the boy in question is suffering! A part of him is always aware of his true abilities, and therefore every attention slip and every motivational challenge feels like him failing. A hundred times each and every day, he blames himself for not “just doing it”. Up to a hundred times during a single lesson he is aware og the ease with which the others remain calm and attentive, and blames himself for not being able to to something do simple.

The only times he gets to shine and let others see (some of) what he is truly good for, are short tests or, if he’s as troubled as my daughter, during discussions about subjects he’s passionately into.

You see, ADHD is not really an attention deficit disorder. It’s more if an attention overload disorder. On top of that, it’s a motivational disorder. People with ADHD are physically unable to make themselves do something unless 100% motivated.

Perhaps it is possible to show his parents this? I was diagnosed a year ago, at 43, and only when I started trying Ritalin last October did I realise how much I had missed out on, and how much I had been damaged by all those years camouflaged as a normal person with occasional spouts of brilliance.

On medication, it is actually possible to stay in a conversation without having three alternative dialogues going on in my head. On medication, I find myself able to actually listen to people before planning my response, and this makes a difference much larger than I ever thought possible. On medication, so many things all if a sudden become almost effortless, I no longer have to work so hard to find something, anything, that would motivate ne enough to finally get down to business and then repeat after the hyperfocus is gone due to some tiny disturbance.

If the parents had any idea how exhausting it is to live every day on maximum effort, they would not deny their son the possibility of relief. If they knew how deeply rewarding it is to finally get some recognition for how smart you really are, not to mention for all the effort you kept putting in (instead of constantly being scalded for not trying when really, he is trying as hard as he’s able to, and then some!), they would wish for their boy to have that opportunity.

I used to think that ADHD was equal to obnoxious boys with bad parents, as most people apparently do. Then I got to see the change in one of those obnoxious troublemakers. That tortured look on his face that used to define him disappeared, and he started smiling! After a while, I also noted that the their home no longer suffered from his rage, there were no more destroyed doors, walls or clothes. He started to get positive feedback, for the first time in his life, and his mother was finally getting a reprieve from all the concerned calls from school, authorities and other parents. After a while, he even started getting invites to birthday parties, and even sleepovers! He was no longer shunned, and began to make friends. Imagine that! Friends! People that actually preferred his company, instead of wishing him to disappear!

People who suffer from ADHD (and I really do mean suffer!) cannot help themselves get better. Even adults depend in someone caring enough to suggest doing some research. I scoured the Internet for a full four months before being able to sort the real information from all the bogus. I can spare others some time by telling them to search for the name Russel Barkley. His research and extremely well backed up presentations (easily found on YouTube) Brough the message home to me and got me started on the long and thorough examination that concluded with the diagnosis and an exoneration from all the guilt I had carried with me all my life.

It took my daughter’s teacher a year and a half to finally see that she might need at least an examination, as they just could not spare an adult to push her back on track every three minutes. As the girl is smart enough to easily compensate for any attention lapses, it still has not dawned on them that her performance level is really at least twice as high as the books and tasks given, they just see an extremely slow worker who rarely finishes anything, yet manages to score amongst top 20 % on every single test (often the beat or second best in class), and somehow seems to know something about everything.

In second grade, the teachers were more concerned that she did not manage to finish her two animals for the class’s Noa’s Ark, but they did not marvel at the effort she had put into carefully drawing, colouring and cutting out the very difficult outline of a…. Komodo Varan. She got a lot of negative attention throughout those three weeks, an no recognition for being the only kid in class who even knew about that animal.

In the early years, gifted children easily compensate for their ADHD, but school keeps getting more demanding for every year they age, and sooner or later they will no longer be able to piece together the information they catch in between paying attention to all kinds of other things. Refusing to refer a child for an evaluation guarantees that there will be a brick wall rising up to hit that child in the face at some point (it sounds as if that may have already started in his case?). Parents who know this will not sit idly by and hope for the best!