Reflections from the Texas G/T Conference 11/16/06

I recently attended the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented in Austin Texas.  There were a few quotes that, to me, were thought provoking or funny.  Here they are:

“Show me your passion.”  J. Delisle (This was stated during his key note speech regarding what teachers could say to a student rather than “show me your product.”  As teachers, we are too often interested in what the children can do, rather than what they are highly interested in.  If we give a child the option to do an independent product, we should let it be independent.  Let them show us their passion.)

“How can one be proud of a straight “A” report card when the work involved was so little.”  J. Delisle (This was a quote from a graduating senior that he read from a book he had written.  This student did not have to work hard to get her diploma, she was never challenged in high school.  How many of our brightest minds feel the same way, and furthermore, how many of our brightest minds just quit school, take the GED and get off to college a year or semester quicker.  As educators and record keepers, we may never know.)

“Set your student’s goals very high – so high it makes you nervous.”  M. Thompson (You could tell this man was an excellent teacher who could move kids to that higher level.   In this particular breakout session, he was showing us how learning Greek and Latin stems could increase a student’s vocabulary at a tremendous rate.  He also had a list of 100 classic words that our youngsters should be exposed to early on.  His examples of listing words from a story and asking us what story it was from was thought provoking.  His first example was James Barrie’s “Peter Pan”.  There are many classic words in the story which we, as educators, are told students aren’t ready for yet but they are.  I believe this presenter was ‘right on the mark.’)

“It’s hard to learn nonsense.”  M. Thompson  (Sometimes what we teach is not presented in a way that makes sense to a gifted learner either because it is information they already know or there is no cohesive, organized manner in its presentation.  We have to know our students.)

“We know things that others don’t realize, we are teachers.”  M. Thompson (This statement stands on its own.)

“Enrichment is great but it is not sufficient for the gifted appetite.”  J. Juntone (Gifted students want real life, important work, they want to know that what they are asked to do has some importance, purpose.)

“It takes an awful lot of study to be stupid.”  J. Delisle from a reading from “Star, Bright” a novel.  This student had learned to read well before kindergarten.  In kindergarten, she was told by the teacher that should could not read or cut with scissors yet.  Star decided that to ‘unlearn’ what she had learned was the best way to satisfy the teacher.

“Giftedness is a greater awareness, a greater sensitivity, and a great ability to understand and transform perceptions into intellectual and emotional experiences.”  A. Roeper (J. Delisle likes this quote from his ‘grandma’ in regards to defining what gifted means.  AnneMarie Roeper is 89 years old, she just published a novel about being gifted and being elderly.  She also played a key role in the Roeper Review which now is a respected repository for studies and reports in many fields.

“Being great means tackling every challeng as they come along.”  How often do you hear a teenager say this.  One gifted student in J. Delisle’s studies wrote this.

“Stop paying interest on a bill you never owed.”  J. Delisle (Think about this as it relates to your life….)