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Gifted History

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

Also visit Readings on Gifted Children

An analysis of the Literature on the Education of Negro Gifted Children from 1940-1950
Even as early as Plato, attempts were made to identify and train the most able youths for leadership.  However effective these methods which existed to identify and educate the gifted child, present day evidence impels us to regard it as unsystematic and inadequate...
 
Arithmetical Prodigies by E. W. Scripture, The American Journal of Psychology, April 1891
Can we learn anything of practical use from the prodigies?  The Roman abacus, the Chinese swanpan, and the success of the numeral-frames used in our primary schools, seem to point to the fact that it is best to teach "calculation" before "ciphering."
 
Autobiography of Lewis Terman
I venture to offer the following credos, which range all the way from tentative beliefs to fairly positive convictions:
- That mental testing is in its merest infancy and will develop to a lusty maturity within the next half century; that its developments will include improved tests of general intelligence (in the reality of which I believe), tests of many kinds of special ability, and tests of personality traits which no one has yet even thought of measuring;
- That within a few score years school children from the kindergarten to the university will be subjected to several times as many hours of testing as would now be thought reasonable;
- That matrimonial clinics will become common and that couples in large numbers will submit themselves to extensive batteries of ability, personality, interest, and compatibility tests before deciding to embark together;
- That the major differences between children of high and low IQ, and the major differences in the intelligence test scores of certain races, as Negroes and whites, will never be fully accounted for on the environmental hypothesis;
- That the Freudian concepts, even when their validity has been discounted about 90 per cent, nevertheless, constitute one of the two most important contributions to modern psychology, mental tests being the other...
 
Case Study about Richard P. Feynman submitted by Sylvia Zinser
Feynman was a highly gifted person who had found his position in life. Coming out of a very supportive environment he was free to explore all directions of science and life. He created an image for himself - the way he wanted to be seen by others. This image included behaving like nobody expected him to behave. But this self-image also lead Feynman into believing that he was not at the right place in his young age. He saw himself as a ”faker”. Despite this he kept showing this image to the outside throughout his life...
 
The Child: His nature & his needs
(contains a chapter, "Provisions for Intellectually Superior Children" by Leta Hollingworth beginning on page 277)  It is of incidental interest that teachers rate bright children higher in all respects so far reported than their parents do. This is because teachers know a great variety of children, including the incompetent; whereas parents know well only their own children and those of their own friends, constituting usually a very restricted range of competency...
 
Children's Reading: A guide for parents and teachers by Louis Terman (1925)
The enjoyment of good literature requires a cultivate taste.  Of the hundred six million people in the United States, approximately fifty million may be included in "the reading public."  Of this group, the majority read nothing but the daily news and light fiction...
 
The difference between ratio and deviation aptitude test scores by Margaret DeLacy
Or why gifted IQ scores don't accurately differentiate gifted children...
 
Education for Excellence a documentary film (1960's)
Gifted program documentary, filmed in NYC public schools in the 1960's.  Also view Education for Excellence, Part 2 (click the "View" button in the left margin of each page)
 
The Education of Karl Witte: Or, The Training of the Child by Karl Heinrich Gottfried Witte
Then the public have been unkind enough to say: "If Witte did this with his son, and at the same time ensures us that equally good results may be obtained in the case of every child not directly neglected by Nature, why do not our schoolmasters accomplish the same?"  Nothing could be more unjust than this request...
 
The educational achievement of gifted children by Gertrude Hildreth (1938)
(Originally published in Child Development, 9(4), Dec. 1938)
 
A Forgotten Voice: A Biography of Leta Stetter Hollingworth Recommended by Anne Klein
Dr. Klein has woven the threads of Leta Hollingworth's life and the strands of educational philosophy (both past and present) into a cloak well worth the trying on...
 
Foundations of the field of gifted education (historical perspectives) by Jennifer L. Jolly
The research and practices undertaken by the pioneers in the field of gifted education were foundational extensions of the work of Galton, Binet, Yoder, and Cattell. Questions posed about individual differences, intelligence, and degrees of intelligence in both childhood and adulthood could now be reexamined in light of advanced statistical procedures, measures of intelligence, and empirical observations within educational settings.  Hollingworth and Terman set in motion the work of the field of gifted education...
 
Sir Francis Galton
...includes many of Galton's original journal articles and books, in their entirety!
 
"General Intelligence," Objectively Determined and Measured by C. Spearman (1904)
(first published in American Journal of Psychology 15, 201-293)
 
Genetic Studies of Genius by Lewis M. Terman (first 5 volumes on-line)
Volume I. Mental and Physical Traits of a Thousand Gifted Children
Volume II. The Early Mental Traits of Three Hundred Geniuses
Volume III. The Promise of Youth; Follow-up Stories of a Thousand Gifted Children
Volume IV. The Gifted Child Grows Up; Twenty-Five Years' Follow-up of a Superior Group
Volume V. The Gifted Group at Mid-life; Thirty-Five Years' Follow-up of the Superior Child
Volume VI. The Gifted Group in Later Maturity by Carole Holahan, Robert Sears and Lee Cronbach (Amazon, or Amazon UK)
 
Gifted children: Their nature and nurture by Leta Stetter Hollingworth (1929)
Or read it right on the computer Gifted children: Their nature and nurture (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Hereditary Genius by Sir Francis Galton
Those who are over eager and extremely active in mind must often possess brains that are more excitable and peculiar than is consistent with soundness. They are likely to become crazy at times, and perhaps to break down altogether. Their inborn excitability and peculiarity may be expected to appear in some of their relatives also, but unaccompanied with an equal dose of preservative qualities, whatever they may be. Those relatives would be "crank," if not insane...
 
History of Influences in the Development of Intelligence Theory & Testing
An interactive map and supporting details on the history from Plato to Sternberg, Gardner and Catell of today...
 
Leta Hollingworth's writings...
Functional Periodicity: An Experimental Study of the Mental and Motor Abilities of Women During Menstruation
Variability as Related to Sex Differences in Achievement: A Critique
Social Devices for Impelling Women to Bear and Rear Children
Provisions for Intellectually Superior Children, a chapter in The Child: His Nature and His Needs, edited by M. V. O'Shea, 1924, (beginning p.277)
 
Influential people in gifted education by Frances A. Karnes and Stephanie A. Nugent
Who are the persons who have influenced the history of gifted education? What are their accomplishments that have shaped our field? Read about the most influential persons in gifted education and their accomplishments...
 
The Intelligence of School Children by Louis Terman (1919)
Opening with Some Principals of Intelligence Testing, and Amount and Significance of Individual Differences, Terman continues by describing the various differences in groups of school children at various ages ...
 
Julian Stanley (1918 - 2005)
Julian shone light on individual differences in learning rates and how tailoring the pace of the curriculum toward the individuality of each student engenders more learning for all even if individual differences in achievement increase...
 
Lessons of a Century 1999 series in EdWeek (requires free registration)
A year's series in their weekly newspaper about various aspects of the history of 20th-century American education...
 
A Nation At Risk: The Imperative For Educational Reform April 1983
Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. This report is concerned with only one of the many causes and dimensions of the problem, but it is the one that undergirds American prosperity, security, and civility. We report to the American people...
 
and the follow-up report...
National Excellence: A Case for Developing America's Talent October 1993
The United States is squandering one of its most precious resources--the gifts, talents, and high interests of many of its students. In a broad range of intellectual and artistic endeavors, these youngsters are not challenged to do their best work. This problem is especially severe among economically disadvantaged and minority students, who have access to fewer advanced educational opportunities and whose talents often go unnoticed. Reforming American schools depends on challenging students to work harder and master more complex material...
 
Special education, the handicapped and the gifted report of the Committee on special classes, 1931
Have things changed, in all these years?
 
Special talents and defects: their significance for education Leta Stetter Hollingworth, 1923
Speculation Concerning the Nature of Ability, Results of Quantitative Investigation...
 
A Study of American Intelligence by Carl Campbell Brigham, 1922
The army mental tests give us an opportunity for a national inventory of our own mental capacity, and the mental capacity of those we have invited to live with us...
 
A Study of Talent in Drawing by Herschel Thurman Manuel
What are the essential psychological characteristics of persons talented in drawing?  How may the test method be used in the diagnosis of talent in drawing?
 
Transitions in the development of giftedness by Fred A. Bonner, II
Because this research investigation included only a small number of participants, it is difficult to provide an exhaustive list of recommendations. However, it is certainly possible for the reader to take information gleaned from this article and the ensuing recommendations (programmatic and research) and use it in similar educational contexts...
 
An Untold Story of Resistance: African-American Educators and IQ Testing in the 1920,s and '30's by Alan Stoskopf
Research and experience demonstrate that this version of "education reform" will negatively impact all students, especially students of color from lower income backgrounds. We also know that the best assessments originate in the classroom and are an ongoing part of a student's reflection of her or his progress. Few people realize that current critiques of testing and the calls for more authentic forms of assessment have been built in part upon the pioneering work of African-American intellectuals in the 1920s and 1930s...
 
The Vectors of the Mind by L. L. Thurstone (1934)
Thurstone first conceived and worked on statistical proof of intelligence as many faceted rather than just "g."  (Address of the president before the American Psychological Association, Chicago meeting, September, 1933. First published in Psychological Review, 41, 1-32)
 
White House Conf. on Child Health & Protection: Special Education: The Handicapped & the Gifted; report of the Committee on special classes
(section on gifted children begins on page 537)
 

Last updated April 08, 2014
 

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