2e From an Eight Year Old's Perspective
This post is by a guest blogger; an eight year old boy who presented his perspective on the needs of gifted and twice exceptional children for a workshop run by Massey University. His wisdom was something that we felt should be shared, so over to the ratbag:
This week I got to do a presentation to some doctors and teachers who were learning about gifted education and twice exceptional children. Twice exceptional (or 2e) is when you learn quicker but still have disabilities. My strengths are things like maths, reading and engineering. My disabilities are writing (dysgraphia) and organising my thoughts.
What’s made school better for me?
- Having the ability to choose how I present my learning, instead of having one given way for example being able to do a big presentation (with PowerPoint), writing a fictional story with factual information in it, or doing a play.
- Having a list of steps to stay organised in a task. I need a list of things I need for an activity, then step-by-step instructions. Having written instructions lets me look at them again and again if I forget the steps.
- Using technology for sharing my learning (not being expected to write long stories). I have an iPad with a keyboard and apps like PowerPoint, Word, and Pages for graphs. I also have some apps that help me organise my thoughts.
- Being able to present my learning instead of being asked question after question. Being asked questions makes me really, really, really tired quickly. I need to be able to think about the answer and present the whole answer in one go when I have it.
- Being with other kids who are learning at the same level. If I’m on my own then I feel isolated and by myself and other feelings that I don’t want to feel.
- Having a mentor to be able to talk to about the subjects that I’m at a higher level at, especially when the school (or home) don’t have the supplies challenging enough for me.
What hasn’t worked?
- Having people assume that all Year Threes are up to Year Three maths (and Year 4 etc). It’s just boring because I’m doing stuff I’ve already learned a long time ago and it’s just not a challenge, and is a waste of time.
- Having something in a worksheet. Worksheets just don’t work – they don’t match my thinking.
- Substitute teachers – they bring along colouring ins etc, and it’s too much for me head when I’m not doing good learning.
What’s it like being a twice exceptional kid?
- Being a twice exceptional kid isn’t always a good thing because it’s annoying when I’m expected to be lower than I am, and I’m expected to be higher than I am, and I’m actually lower than my own age level in some things. It’s frustrating!
- When I’m in a high level it can be lonely, but when I’m with kids my own age I’m not learning anything and it’s a waste of my time. Being in a class with kids who are a range of ages helps, so I have the challenge from other kids, but I also have other people my own age.
- Making friends is easier with kids who are my own age because they share my interests and humour. Older kids don’t share my humour. My best friends are my age and also gifted.
- Lots of people underestimate me, and other people overestimate me. When people underestimate me, they make me do things at a boring level. Other people think that because I’m ahead in maths I must be ahead in everything else and then they expect me to do stuff that I’m not ready to do yet. It can be annoying when people forget that I am only eight!
Did you ever read Matilda? There is a principal called Miss Trunchbull. She said that regardless of ability, everyone should be at their age level. My teacher is like, regardless of their age, they should be learning to their ability level. Teachers – don’t be Miss Trunchbull!