Gifted Girls

The transcript of the #gtie Twitter chat on Gifted girls is available here.

Gifted girls have unique needs in part because they tend to hide their ability more than boys. This was a lively and interesting chat. I would be interested in your views on it. feel free to leave a comment below.

  • It seems that parents, teachers, society in general, all treat girls differently, even inadvertently. Girls internalise it.
  • Teachers are more likely to attribute achievement in boys to ability but to hard work in girls.
  • Gifted girls hide intellectual ability in order to conform to their peer group norms.
  • Research suggests that girls try to avoid competition in order to preserve relationships.
  • Take a look at their moms. Some model this – “I have their dad help with their math homework.”
  • By early teens, girls learn that to fit in, they can’t be too smart, so they dumb down. Then they lose confidence in their ability as they get older.
  • Reis  mentions girls thinking they need high grades to succeed, boys don’t.
  • Certainly they (feel) they have to work harder than men to be seen as ‘worth the job’
  • The fall off happens in middle school, apparently. When fitting in with their peer group becomes their driving need.
  • How much is the fall off the result of media and advertising portrayal of women? Ads tend to be gender stereotype ads.
  • It seems to be the result of messages from parents, teachers, peers and, no doubt, the media.
  • Society doesn’t always help: we had a stupid “I’m too pretty to do math” t-shirt debacle last summer over here.
  • How can parents affirm their girls’ intelligence? Can they do it without making them ‘tomboy-ish’? – though aware of the values there!
  • Girls are taught to be pleasant and polite. Boys can be leaders, but girls get labelled bossy!
  • It’s important for mothers to model being smart and for fathers to respect smart women.
  • The top three legal positions in Ireland are now held by women for the first time.
  • Standardized tests with short fill-in or multiple choice type answers reward bold, quick answers and willingness to take risks, characteristics more typical of boys than girls
  • An ad released by EU to encourage women to get into science – see what you think
  • What messages do we need to say to gifted girls to get them to accept their ability?
    • Mentors are invaluable for girls and women. Make more of a difference than for men.
    • We need to start very early by being aware of the subtle messages we give them, even without meaning to.
    • In all things, the clothes they wear, programmes on TV they watch etc
    • There are some great role models out there now, such as @aoifemcl and @aoibhinn_ni_s (Aoife McLysaght and Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin)
    • I think men/fathers have an important role there too. I wonder should ante-natal classes include a bit on gender stereotypes?
    • We need to get parents BEFORE the pink baby-suit!

Social and Emotional Issues Faced by Gifted Girls in Elementary and Secondary School by Dr. Sally Reis. This is well worth a read as it covers just about everything.

Many Gifted Girls, Few Eminent Women: Why? by Anita Gurian, PhD Focuses on possible reasons why giftedness in many girls fades as they grow older. Another great read.

Gifted Girls by Joan Franklin Smutny Particularly useful for teachers wishing to identify gifted girls in the classroom and to bring out their talent.

Why Smart Girls Abandon Their Dreams and How to Stop It by Dr Barbara Kerr.
“If we want smart girls to become not just experts but innovators, we need to encourage their taking on challenges, letting go of perfectionism and bouncing back from mistakes. We need to promote time alone and de-emphasize the need to be liked. We need to help them learn that their bodies are not their identities.”

Smart Girls: A New Psychology of Girls, Women, and Giftedness by Dr Barbara Kerr.

Gifted Girls’ Passion for Fiction: The Quest for Meaning, Growth, and Self-Actualization by Susan Lee Stutler
“Time spent in solitude reading fiction helped the girls overcome adversity, allowed them to resist enculturation, and caused them to question the split between the way things are and they way things should be. The girls used fiction to self-educate as they began to realize their lives’ purpose.”

Helping Gifted Girls Reach Their Potential by Dr Linda Kreger Silverman

Do Gifted Girls & Boys Interpret Difficulty Differently?
“Bright girls were much quicker to doubt their ability, to lose confidence, and to become less effective learners as a result.” Carol Dweck.

Hoagies list of books for/about gifted girls

“You Could Be Doing Brain Surgery”: Gifted Girls Becoming Teachers by Colleen Willard-Holt.
“There is little question that our society desperately needs teachers who are gifted. Yet gifted students who express an interest in a teaching career are often discouraged by family members, friends, teachers, and counselors.”

Parenting Gifted Girls: Focus on Math, Science and Technology by Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, Ph.D., and Pamela J. Piskurich, M.S.

Perfectionism: The Crucible of Giftedness by Dr Linda Kreger Silverman

2 extras:
Career Counselling: Special Problems of Gifted Girls by Dr Linda Kreger Silverman

Gifted Girls to Gifted Women presentation by Lori Comallie-Caplan There is a huge amount of information in here.

And, now your reward:

Thanks to Peter Lydon for that little gem!

by Peter Lydon & Catherine Riordan

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