Saturday, September 28, 2013

Revelations: The School for Gifted Potentials

Revelations is the second in a series ~ The School for Gifted Potentials ~ from Allis Wade and is as engaging as her first book – Orientation. In this new volume, we see Everett and his friends adjust to everyday life at their new school.

From my review of Orientation:

“Set one hundred years in the future, this story has the familiarity of a young
adult fantasy/science fiction novel …an enchanting tale of a boy unaware of
his origins and unsure of his future. Ringing dystopian for some and utopian
for others, the main character – Everett – lives in a world where gifted children
are sought out for their intellectual gifts and talents; and then whisked off to
a residential school where they are rarely ever allowed to see their families
again.” (The full review may be read here.)

Revelations lives up to its title. There are many answers revealed from the first book, but just as many new questions are raised. The tangled web woven by his mother begins to unravel as the reader learns the truth behind Everett’s admission to the SFGP. But … all is not as it appears at the School for Gifted Potentials!

One thing is for sure … there is nothing predictable in this story line – nothing! It is layer upon layer of good writing and great strategies for parents and teachers of gifted students. Allis Wade takes complex concepts associated with giftedness and makes them understandable for all. Her experiences with gifted children are evident throughout the book.

The author does not shy away from difficult situations ~ separation of mother and son, sibling rivalry, and the inequity prevalent in real world schools between regular education and gifted education. She delves deeply into parental struggles … love lost; a fatherless child; lies told to children in an attempt to protect them; a mother’s love so strong she is willing to lose her child in order to provide him with the best possible education.

Who is the audience for this series? Gifted students will learn how to deal with bullying, perfectionism, coping with failure, asynchronous development and Dweck’s work on mindsets. Parents will learn about Dabrowski’s Theory of Over-Excitabilities. Teachers will see how to incorporate Project-Based Learning into their curriculum, build meaningful relationships with their students and see the possibilities of ‘teacher-as-coach’.

There are many books written about gifted education and giftedness. Good fictional tales, however, involving gifted children are few and far between. I encourage parents to read these books and then pass them on to their children as I believe both will benefit from the them.

Everett has a tough decision to make about his future at the end of Revelations. The reader has an easier task – awaiting the arrival of the next book from Allis Wade. I personally hope that the wait is a short one!

Postscript: Discussion questions at the end of the book are just what you would expect from an author who is also a teacher. This addition makes the book a perfect choice to be used in a gifted classroom. These thought provoking questions will guide the readers to a better understanding of the nature of giftedness.

Addendum: My thanks to the author for providing a digital copy of this book for review. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Why I Believe in Gifted Education in Public Schools

  • It is a basic tenet of education that EVERY child has the right to experience growth ultimately leading to the attainment of their own full potential.
  • Removing gifted education from the public realm promotes elitism … only the wealthy can afford private schools, tutors, enrichment.
  • Failure to support and nurture our high flyers, our creative types, our innovators and yes, our dreamers … ultimately slows the progress of human development.
  • All segments of society are educated in public schools – thus providing a reservoir of potential to be identified as gifted.
  • Dismantling gifted education programs in public schools spurs the creation of alternative forms of education which drain the entire system of financial resources meant for the education of all children.
  • Failure to understand the nature of giftedness and how a lack of challenge may cause the loss of individual potential will be reflected in a nation’s loss in research and development, economic viability, and competitiveness on the global stage.
  • Public education offers the best opportunity (when available) of peer interaction for identified gifted children.
  • Public schools overall are made better and stronger IF and WHEN they choose to provide gifted students an appropriate learning environment.
  • And because … history will one day look back and question the shortsightedness of those who chose to ignore the needs of the gifted student.

Think about the choices you've made or had to make as the parent of a gifted child. I am guessing that many of you, in retrospect, would have made different choices had they been available to you or within reach. Advocating for strong gifted programs in our public schools for the sake of all children just makes good sense.