Gifted or Precocious?

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s book Nurtureshock is a great parenting book – it’s like a Freakonomics for parenting. What I liked about this book is that the authors keep reminding us that things are not always as they seem. Humans by nature make far too many assumptions that they believe are true, but in fact, are wrong. Unfortunately, in trying to simplify their explanations, some of their claims are presented as generalizations which may lead the reader to assume that there are no exceptions to their theories. They claim. for example, that it’s usually just precocious kids that do well on IQ tests before the age of 8 and schools that admit based on this principle don’t give late bloomers a chance. In general, that is what the research says, and from my own experience, I would mostly agree. The problem with generalizations is that I have worked with many young students who are truly academically advanced kids. Their needs are different and they need to be met.

Having said that, this article that appeared in the nytimes today with the headline, More Pre-K Pupils Qualify for Gifted Programs got my attention. How many of these kids have the potential to be part of solving some of the globes big problems? How many are just precocious? I hope you answered ALL to the first question.

Nurtureshock is definitely a good read. Any author that uses Carol Dweck’s work on mindsets as a catalyst for a book, is worth reading.

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One thought on “Gifted or Precocious?

  1. Ah, the gift of giftedness. I have been having more conversations about giftedness lately, as happened last spring, too. This weekend, I will visit with other Heads, many who run schools “for the gifted.” I’m intrigued to hear how gifts are spotted, measured, nurtured. Fascinating that even Dr. Johnson, president of the Association for the Gifted, knocks the gifted preparation industry in the article.

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