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I side with the CON viewpoint, mainly because 1) a single, isolated gifted
program (or school, in your case), cannot possible always include everyone
who is gifted; and 2) meeting the needs of the gifted within the regular
classroom doesn't always work either - because those of us who have 25+
kids per class don't have enough time to develop curricular alternatives or
other challenging activities for the gifted - and so they just vegetate!
Howard Gardner published several books now about his theory of multiple
intelligences - there are so many ways individuals can be gifted, it seems
the best approach would be a wide range of placement options. I would bet
there are a lot of art teachers out there who have seen kids blossom in
their art rooms, definitely demonstrating giftedness, who were discipline
and/or behavior problems in their academic classes (often academic failures
as well). These kids are the ones who would get passed over when selecting
students for gifted programs.
To support your PRO side - I teach in a situation where there are no gifted
programs, so those of us who choose to do something special for the gifted
do, and those who don't care, don't. They are the ones who will always
claim the gifted can take care of themselves. (Not all of them can, and if
left along long enough, I believe some even lose interest in taking up the
challenge of their special abilities.) But it takes a lot of time to
develop curriculum that addresses the needs of the gifted, as well as the
disabled, and all the other children one sees. It takes some training too.
The best approach would of course be to do both - incorporate things for
the gifted within the regular classroom setting, as well as having some
special programs just for them (for all of the various manners of
Sandy Hildreth <shildret>
7-12 Art, Madrid-Waddington Central School, Madrid, NY 13660
Art Methods, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617