It was fun being a fish out of water at this weekend's New England Conference on the Gifted and Talented. Most of the talks centered on social and emotional approaches to social and emotional problems, or looked for emotional causes of academic under-performance, while my own mood-centered talk focused on intellectual approaches to problems that may look social and emotional but really stem from boredom and lack of intellectual peers. Those talks that addressed math focused on math games, manipulatives, and "real life" math, while my math talk argued instead for the opposite: more hard core, abstract math--especially for the mathematically gifted.
Monday, October 25, 2010
I also got into a friendly argument with Ms. Math about whether numbers are adjectives and whether it's OK to say "one hundred and forty five" instead of "one hundred forty-five." And I won one of her $1.00 pig die while playing B-A-C-O-N.
But my most significant takeaway was a comment made by one of the participants at my "How about a Friendly Game of Chess?" talk. We were discussing how teachers often miss the subtle teasing that goes on during group activities, and this participant pointed out that it isn't just that the teasing is often subtle and sub-audible, but that, even when heard, it may not sound even like subtle teasing to an outsider observer. When the quirky kid is the target, it's often quirky things that bother him or her. His/her classmates are as quick to figure out what pushes his/her buttons as they are with more typical victims, but the teacher may have no idea that the idiosyncratic taunts they've come up with are serving this function. In the worst case, the tauntee then acts out in frustration, thus becoming a target of one more person: his/her teacher (and would-be, should-be, protector).