The author says, “It is my hope that this series of posts on gifted children helps answer some common questions for the parents of gifted youth, establish some camaraderie, dialogue, and strategy among us for nurturing them, and perhaps inspire our educators to seek more creative, cost-effective, and successful programming in our public and private educational systems.” Learn more…
ScienceDaily (June 2, 2009) — For more than a century, the notion that females are innately less capable than males at doing mathematics, especially at the highest levels, has persisted in even the loftiest circles.
Now, however, in an analysis of contemporary data published June 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison report that the primary cause for the gender disparity in math performance at all levels is culture, not biology.
“It’s not an innate difference in math ability between males and females,” says Janet Mertz, a UW-Madison professor of oncology and one of the authors of the article that analyzes and summarizes recent data on math performance at all levels in the United States and internationally. “There are countries where the gender disparity in math performance doesn’t exist at either the average or gifted level. These tend to be the same countries that have the greatest gender equality.”
Contrary to what many people believe, highly intelligent children are not necessarily destined for academic success. In fact, so-called gifted students may fail to do well because they are unusually smart. Ensuring that a gifted child reaches his or her potential requires an understanding of what can go wrong and how to satisfy the unusual learning requirements of extremely bright young people.
One common problem gifted kids face is that they, and those around them, place too much importance on being smart. Such an emphasis can breed a belief that bright people do not have to work hard to do well. Although smart kids may not need to work hard in the lower grades, when the work is easy, they may struggle and perform poorly when the work gets harder because they do not make the effort to learn. In some cases, they may not know how to study, having never done it before. In others, they simply cannot accept the fact that some tasks require effort. –Scientific American, 9/8/08