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Within the constraints of traditional education, skipping grades or going to another grade level for a class or two during the day does help to meet the academic need of gifted children. Each case must be handled individually, though, to analyze the possible social and emotional impact moving grades would have on the child. I would propose educators find ways to lower class size and provide differentiated opportunities for students within their own class or grade range, helping schools to evolve and meet the needs of each student.
I would certainly skip the neccesary grades for the kid to be at his/her level, but this decision should be made on an individual basis, case by case. This is a complex situation that isn't easily answer because it could affect the kid in the long run, meaning emotionally and socially speaking.
If you have a gifted child you know how bored they are with the regular, dragging your feet classes in public school. If you are a gifted child you are bored to tears with text books and papers, no lap top, no internet research, no challenges, no one to discuss your knowledge with, it's a terrible thing to waste a brilliant mind.
Yes, the definitely should be allowed to move ahead. Period. They were born a genius to lead the rest of us so let them lead. They will mature normally, but they deserve a change to know all they want to know when they want to know it.
I am a technology professor and I have taught many 13 years old children in college from all over the world, and they can act like adults in adult classes and they are so happy to learn and the adults love having then in their classes.
I appreciate all of your comments.
I participated in the MGM Program back in the '70's and skipped the 3rd grade. In retrospect, it was appropriate academically but not socially. When I entered high school (and it didn't help that I was a late bloomer), I felt out of place among my grade-level peers. I remember wishing that I hadn't been promoted. I excelled at school but failed at social interaction. I agree with others who believe that labeling children as "gifted" can be both beneficial and harmful.
Unfortunately there is no perfect solution for any exceptionally gifted child. He or she will most likely not be on the same level emotionally and socially as academically. Even if that were the case, others would not perceive it as such, making it difficult for all involved. What a child like that needs is support in finding their own way. Passions for academics will only take a person so far. Understanding that everyone struggles in some area is especially important for them to know. Supporting the child into adulthood is critical so that socially he or she can grow at whatever his/her natural rate turns out to be. Keeping an exceptionally gifted child with same age peers will not take care of social/emotional development as there will be some degree of disconnect from same age peers because of the difference in academic interests and understanding. The exceptionally gifted child will be different and that needs to be acknowledged explicitly so that he/she won't feel there is something wrong with that difference.
This is a complex situation that isn't easily addressed in an either/or poll.
As a public school teacher, I have seen positive and negative effects of students skipping grades. I am a 2/3 teacher. As the beginning of the school year, I had a first grader coming to my class for reading and language arts. By January, he was in my 2/3 classroom the entire day. He was not being challenged in the K/1 classroom. He was reading on a 4th greade level and on a 3rd grade math level. By moving him to the 2/3 classroom. I was able to meet his needs and challenge him. If he would have stayed in the K/1 classroom, he could have become bored and not received the material needed to meet his individual needs.
I have also found that split classes can be very beneficial for students. All of our primary classes are split. There are K/1, 2/3, and even a 3/4 split.
This decision should be made on an individual, case by case basis. The questions to answer are: What is the emotional IQ of the child and what support systems is the student willing/able to use with-in and outside the class room?
Consider looking for a scholarship to an appropriate school. Look at the Davidson Foundation and the Bradley Foundation. Check out private schools for gifted students who may be glad to provide a site scholarship for you child. Good luck!
Skipping a grade may have negative effects, but staying with your grade does as well. My parents said no to double or triple promoting me, and kept me with my grade level. I worked independently for math and language arts, so that I would be challenged. Staying with my grade didn't improve my social life. I was still awkward, thinking about things the other students weren't thinking about.
The hardest thing for me, was that I needed to learn how to work at things to succeed. I thought things came easily, if they didn't, it meant you were bad at it. (So I often didn't do work that I thought was too hard.) When I got to college, I saw a lot of students in the same position. Brilliant, but unable to study. And yes, still socially awkward, despite being with their peers. Perhaps its just as accurate to say that more mature students are better able to work with a young classmate, than equally mature peers who don't "get" a gifted child and their quirkiness.
As the parent of a gifted child and a public school teacher as well, I have experienced this issue from all sides. But I still see a paradox. For a long time it has been considered fair, moral and respectful to eliminate grouping by ability, interest, talent, ethnicity and gender. High schools have eliminated tracks for college-bound and noncollege-bound students. While at the same time there is lots of hoopla over the magnet and charter schools for arts or math & science or vo-tech. (hippocracy?)
Why is it then that educational experts see no issues with grouping by age or something as arbitrary as date of birth? Why is age-based grouping of students acceptable or sacred compared to ability-based grouping? Most school systems have kindergarten entry cutoffs by date so that a child born a single day later than another is in a lower grade. Does that make any more sense than ability or interest grouping?
I do not believe age-based grouping is inherently better than any other kind of grouping. While both emotional and cognitive development go through predictable stages, the timing is not cast in stone; As an educator, I have seen mixed grouping significantly lower the efficiency of teaching and many of the issues facing education today really are due to lack of efficient and effective teaching and learning -- and that inefficiency is a great source of frustration for gifted learners.