My aha moment was on page 122, "once admitted to NAASE, the students receive academic, social, and emotional support from program staff as they navigate their way through their first year of college". I think this is very important since some of these students entering college can be as young as 13. They students are not emotionally ready for college. Yes they are academically ready but may not have matured yet. I can think of many of my students who are very intelligent buy they are still "little" kids who are not as mature as some of their other peers. I feel they need the extra suppport from college staff in order to be successful...
I think that there are 2 Ah-Ha’s in these chapters. The first is a theme that seems to run through the sections where administrators talk about why their programs are successful. The best quote, I think is on page 121, “Immaturity, poor time judgment, and keeping the same study habits used at the high school level.” Most of the comments from the administrators seem to mention the maturity, or immaturity of students as an overriding indicator of success or failure. Maturity may be difficult to access and teachers may have a different opinion than parents concerning maturity but the time management and study habits are very evident to teachers. Most of the difficulties that middle school students have can be directly attributed to simple poor time management and a lack of study habits because in many cases students have been allowed to coast through school. When assigned rigorous work students do not, or do not know how, to apply themselves and operate at a higher academic level. College is a major wakeup call for many students where they compete with students on the same academic level. The second Ah-Ha was on pages 140 to 142. The statement “The goal of the TAMS experience is to develop the whole person – but the focus of the experience is in the academic program”. I had a student participate in this program and she was very successful. Her experiences are very similar to those described. The main thing I remember her describing was the multitude of activities that she was involved in. She came back from college one of the happiest students I have ever seem.
I think that mixkids comment about students thinking that they are still "little" kids is valid to point, but one thing that I have noticed is that if students are treated and expected to conduct themselves in a mature responsible manner that most will rise to the challenge. The added support is nice but just being in an environment where maturity is the norm may be more important for the students.
My “ah-ha” moment was reading chapter 6. I learned most of these early entrance programs are not only about the academics. Yes, academic advancement is the main reason gifted students are in these programs but I learned that these programs take a holistic approach. They cater not only to the academic needs but encourage campus life involvement thus social/emotional needs are taken care making for a well rounded student. Not only are students responsible for their course work, expected to devote four to five hours of homework (page 100) but students are “fully involved in all facets of campus life” as shared by Ms. Susan Colgate, Director of AAG. I enjoyed reading that students perform in music ensembles and theater, serve in several college clubs, campus committees and have served as presidents of such clubs/organizations such as the Physics club, president of the campus future medical doctors’ association (page 106-107). The encouragement of being involved in campus life not only allows students to keep evolving academically (sharing thoughts and ideas about a particular subject matter) but socially and emotionally too. In my opinion, it facilitates long lasting collaboration and early trustworthy networking opportunities. Dr. Muratori explains it best when referring to the early college entrance program experience for gifted students but this can be applicable to being active in campus life. Muratori posits “this common denominator of experiencing early college entrance can help program participants to break the ice and establish some peer relationships in their initial months on campus, which may be comforting and reassuring to them during this critical time period in their adjustment to college; I must add that in some cases, friendships that blossom in these programs are enduring and very meaningful” (page 98). I agree with her statement, in my case most of my meaningful friendships initiated in college because of my shared interest and involvement in campus life which has helped with personal and professional networking today.
My A-ha moments: I found the descriptions on the early entrance to college programs very helpful and interesting to read. I especially focused on the program at the University of North Texas (TAMS) pages 139-143. It is only open to Texas residents, and each year, they accept about 200 students. This is a good size for a group of students to form peer relationships with. They also have live-in counselors and people that help the students to be successful in the program. One thing that was very clear is that they do not need gifted underachievers. They need self-motivated students who are resilient and love to learn. I think this is the key to any student being successful in these types of programs, and in any college setting.
In response to oliverl’s posting of July 7th:I agree with you that if you treat students with respect and expect them to behave with a reasonable sense of age-appropriate maturity, students will generally respond with maturity. Moreover, the classroom environment as a whole, benefits from this type of interaction between teacher and students. In the classroom of all gifted learners (5th grade) that I work with, we expect students to behave with a certain level of maturity, especially since we deal with topics that are advanced in nature. We are always impressed with the level of maturity that most students exhibit when dealing with topics that usually make 5th graders giggle.
My "Ah-Ha moment; which occurred throughout the entire section was that so many of programs are math and science oriented. Many seemed to stress those disciplines and focused on producing engineers, mathematicians or scientists. I really liked the Mary Baldwin program (p125 -128) which seemed to be a good compromise between a boarding school and college. I know if I had 14 or 15 year old daughter I would be reluctant to let her live in a residence hall with 18 and 19 year old almost adults.I did not realize that there is a program here in Texas (p139 - p144). That one looks ideal for students who come from less than perfect homes. Over and over again, the Deans stressed that a key to a students success was supportive parents and a good home life. Many of the students I teach with don't have that in their lives.
Oliverl in regards to your comment "“Immaturity, poor time judgment, and keeping the same study habits used at the high school level.” - I think that applies to any college student, regardless if they are 13, 15 or 18! Time Management is such a difficult skill to learn!
PKassir - I wonder if the high school guidance counselors are familiar with the TAMS program at North Texas? It seems like an idea fit for students whose home life interferes with their academic success.
I agree with OliverL comment "Most of the difficulties that middle school students have can be directly attributed to simple poor time management and a lack of study habits because in many cases students have been allowed to coast through school. When assigned rigorous work students do not, or do not know how, to apply themselves and operate at a higher academic level. College is a major wakeup call for many students where they compete with students on the same academic level."But again for some students they never figure it outno matter how old they are. College is a wake up call and sometimes some kids don't have the skills to handle the "freedom" and next the extra support at college, which is what the TAMS program would provide.
In Chapter 6, on page 97 and 98, the special programs offered to early entrants does seem like a good idea in acclimating them to an environment with fellow young early entrants where they can identify with each other perhaps a little easier and find a common bond or kinship in the challenges they will be facing. On page 98, it states that the program can be tailored to meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of the gifted student. This indeed can allay some fears that very young early entrants may have. In Chapter 7, on the other hand, if you forgo the option of a special program then the early entrants must be ready to assume all the academic challenges of their older classmates and be able to assimilate into the college world. On page 150, the fact that college institutions can be picky about allowing an early entrant to their school may be based on not just their academic talents but their social and emotional maturity level seems reasonable to me also. It is not surprising that the truly gifted child would want to attend an elite school such as Harvard, but questions arise that must be answered. Is it the right fit for that individual and how will the college accommodate this gifted child’s needs? On page 167 in Chapter 8, the To Do List is important for the early entrant’s seeing the whole picture and realizing their readiness for such a change in their life.
I was intrigued by the goals of the GAMES early entrance program in Georgia which is part of the University System of Georgia. On p. 119, it states that "the goals are to nurture the talent of their students and to encourage these talented individuals to stay in Georgia". This takes "home grown" to a new level. "The end result of the GAMES program is to keep the best minds of math, engineering, and science in Georgia"...Academy graduates will significantly influence and contribute to the development of business, industry, educaton, and research in Georgia...can help make Georgia more competive with other states and the US more competitive with other nations." This program claims its' goals as benefiting the state of Georgia, first, and then the nation by "giving high school juniors and seniors the chance to complete high school and earn an associate's degree in math or science concurrently". I like this approach that seems to be a "hybrid", a choice between the high school environment and full-fledged university. They also believe supportive, caring, and educated parents are immportant to the success of their students. So true.
I agree with PKassir when she said that "if you treat students with respect and expect them to behave with a reasonable sense of age-appropriate maturity, students will generally respond with maturity". Students seem to rise to the level that they are challenged to achieve.I have observed that they are proud to be treated among those who can achieve more.
One of my aha moments is in response to the Q/A section. When questioned about factors hindering success, the director of AAG replied that often times parental pressure and the inability to give up complete control is one of the biggest factors (110). Parents must learn to be a support system for their student allowing him/her to adapt to the program's structure. In fact "students who discover true, visceral learning, who have to really think for the first time may struggle, but still exmplifya version of success" (109). Another aha is most EEPs 9early entrance programs) provide not only the acedmic support but are able to provide the nurting students might need during adjustment periods (114).
In response to Oliverl121, “Most of the difficulties that middle school students have can be directly attributed to simple poor time management and a lack of study habits because in many cases students have been allowed to coast through school.” You hit the anil on the head! Unfortunatley this continues throughout high school as well resulting in a college unprepared freshman struggling to cope.
On page 114 and 115, I found the EEP program of the California State University Los Angeles to be one that has been well planned out for the early entrants. Their idea of the staff maintaining close proximity to the students certainly does allow them to create a high school like environment which supports , guides, and counsels them while they take on the college curriculum. In Chapter 7, the questions that are presented from pages 153 to 157 are important ones for the early entrants to consider. What is most important to the gifted students? Answering these questions can help them narrow their choices of what college institution they would like to attend. In Chapter 8, after one has been accepted to the college of their choice, the early entrant must “get his ducks in a row” in order to be best prepared for this major adjustment of college at a young age. Preparedness is essential and one should proceed with caution and not just celebrate the acceptance letter and sit around with anticipation of starting college without going through the steps offered in this chapter.
I found the six questions listed and explained on pages 152-157 interesting. I was surprised to find that they were questions that I think any prospective college students should ask themselves, not just those considering early entrance. I had assumed that these questions would vary slightly but I suppose they illustrate the idea that while younger students are faced with different social and intellectual issues than your average college entrant, there are more similarities than differences in the decision process.
page 167 - I like the idea of creating a "Don't list". Being someone that tends to wait until the last minute, it seems like a wonderful thing. I think that it would be very useful for younger students too, since they most likely do not have much or any experience with large lists to complete. If you forget something prior to leaving for college it could have a much greater impact than something forgotten in high school.
On page 150, in the discussion with the Dean from Northwestern Univ., they state that " We would not consider admitting a student much younger than that (14 years old) Younger than typical applicants would have to be just as prepared as older applicants..." Shouldn't that be the feeling of most universities? She goes on to talk about how they would contact counselors to check the maturity of the applicant. Shouldn't the applicant, and their team already consider that? This should not be a shock to anyone if they are doing their homework.
Page 129. Admissions Criteria- Wow- Ah-ha, and all of that. These admissions appear to be some of the highest in the reading. I know in the past I have heard from some of the top graduates of my school come back and "complain" that they are no longer in the top of their class and there are so many others that are smarter than they are. Page 150, -- The reference to "boarding schools". It makes total sense that students who have grown up in a dormitory life style would be more successful in conquering the college dorm life style. And this made me think of the Village School in Houston that offers boarding opportunities for high school students. Are we now trying to help students get more prepared for college living?
Re: of Life The comments on Tams. The students that I had attend there were from families with fathers who were professors. The one from the lower class family wanted to go, but the family could not manage her coming home for the visits during the semester among other things.
In response to canonj:I agree with you that Georgia's GAMES program is a great approach that "seems to be a "hybrid", a choice between the high school environment and full-fledged university. They also believe supportive, caring, and educated parents are important to the success of their students. So true." I think in any of these programs and just regular students preparing for higher education in most cases you must have supportive parents that will be there for you every step of the way encouraging education and to go above and beyond the normal expectations.
canonj said... I agree with PKassir when she said that "if you treat students with respect and expect them to behave with a reasonable sense of age-appropriate maturity, students will generally respond with maturity". Students seem to rise to the level that they are challenged to achieve.I have observed that they are proud to be treated among those who can achieve more. I agree with this statement. This pretty much sums up the Golden Rule of the classroom.
In response to oliverl's comment on the importance of gifted students' maturity level...it is true that teachers are skilled at recognizing their quality of study skills and may confuse this with a maturity level. Students who have excellent study skills, may not always equate with a high maturity level. In advanced curriculum, we expect students to behave with a certain level of maturity.