Debate Info

Acceleration is best for GT Acceleration is inadequate
Debate Score:2
Total Votes:2
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 Acceleration is best for GT (2)

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The Acceleration Debate

It is argued that acceleration strategies – from Advanced Placement courses or advancement in one subject, like math or science, to grade-skipping and early graduation – are precisely what gifted students need, but are often seen as either unnecessary or potentially harmful to the student’s social and emotional development. Skipping a grade might cause a child to be unable to start or maintain friendships, for example; or, taking too many Advanced Placement courses might cause a gifted student to “burn out.” This is simply not the case for the vast majority of gifted students, according to evidence in the report “A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students."

Acceleration is best for GT

Side Score: 2
Winning Side!

Acceleration is inadequate

Side Score: 0
1 point

When students had behavior problems in my class, it was almost always a curriculum problem, a mismatch between the material/assignments, and the student. Confusion and boredom present the same symptoms and results. Students are just as likely to have self-esteem issues, be disruptive in the classroom, and drop out when school is too easy, as they are when school is too hard.

Like ALL students, GT students NEED to be challenged, and the most effective way to ensure that happens (in school) is to put them in more challenging classes among peers at their level (whether skipping a grade or being in AP/Honors courses.) They also need realistic opportunities to be successful. You have to strike the right balance.

Personal growth depends on development of intellectual/educational, personal, and social abilities. This requires exposure to difficulties and challenges that are too hard for success at first, but then, through effort and learning, we come to master.

Positive SELF-esteem requires succeeding at things we know through personal experience (like failure) are difficult.

When we always succeed, we tend to believe that whatever we succeed at is easy, not that we are strong, skilled, or impressive. The more we succeed at things we initially failed at, the more we come to believe that we can overcome difficulties.

The trick is to place students in a learning environment that is BOTH challenging AND provides challenges that are surmountable with effort and persistence (and guidance from a teacher/mentor.)

The same thing goes for holding kids back at grade level when they fail to master the curriculum.

In high-achieving students, generally "burning out" is really a result of kids not having enough time in self-directed activities, too little time spent just sitting alone and thinking about what they really want. The difficulty level is not the issue; trying to achieve someone else's (parent's) goals is the issue.

Side: Acceleration is best for GT
1 point

In all honesty, the kids who are excelling at this rate don't ever develop normal social skills anyway. If they were normal, they wouldn't be able to do what they do in the first place.

Side: Acceleration is best for GT
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