Friday, December 6, 2013

What Can We Do For Gifted Females?

After reading Ch. 9, you should be able to describe specific interventions to support gifted females. Summarize the most critical need for this population and describe three steps you will take in your school to meet this need. 

59 comments:

  1. I felt like the overall need for girls as defined by the text - whether it be related to one's body image, schools experiences, mother-daughter relationships, or friendships - could be summarized in a lack of confidence in oneself. As stated on p. 198, the pace at which gifted students learn combined with the unique social and emotional needs of females can create heightened angst and perfectionistic tendencies in gifted females. These are all driven by fear, which can then lead to becoming "deferential, self-critical, and depressed" in adolescence (p. 199). Educators and parents must pay careful attention to how things such as body image, mother-daughter relationships, school experiences, and friendships influence these attitudes in gifted females.

    In my classroom, I know one thing I must work on is being less critical/more praise-giving. I have quite a few girls in my classroom, especially, who I need to make sure to build up the most. In my mind, I tend to look for what students can do better and can sometimes forget to build them up along the way; in doing that, I fail to nurture their strengths and build on times when they do the right thing. Oftentimes, too, my perfectionist students are already so critical of themselves that I have no need to say anything to them to improve their work.

    A second thing I can do as a teacher is be a model and a mentor. I have to be prepared to exhibit confidence in myself but at the same time demonstrate both personal strengths and weaknesses. Admitting that "oops, I messed up" (and laughing about it) is one step in this. Another example might be sharing personal experiences and stories of fears and overcoming challenges; sharing personal writing, for example, is a real world example in my classroom in which I have an in-road into my gifted girls' attitudes. Being open and ready to listen is still a third aspect, in which part of this comes from having an inviting classroom - the "My teacher gets me" environment listed in the Seven Habits video.

    A third intervention deals with expectations. I should have high expectations of girls and boys regardless of the subject. Girls are just as gifted in math and science as boys (and conversely boys are just as gifted in reading and the humanities as girls). No gender stereotype here should exist, and I must encourage girls and boys equally. I can also introduce females in the math/science fields to further encourage females who are hesitant in these typically male-dominated areas.

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  2. Two things immediately stood out to me as I read Chapter 9--the concept of girls becoming "invisible" (p. 196) in adolescence, and our "girl-poisoning" culture (p.197). I think our current cultural values and the messages being sent to adolescent, gifted girls are causing many girls to be crushed under the pressure to be great at everything. While all girls deal with the sociocultural influences of our world, due to the characteristics of gifted students and the unique make up of their brains, gifted girls are often deal with more intense levels of perfectionism, sensitivity, nonconformity, and introversion, which can be crippling (p. 198). I think dealing with societal pressures is the most difficult situation facing our gifted females today. I think we need to provide avenues in our schools to speak POSITIVE messages to girls and help them feel confident and empowered within their own talents and gifts. We need to help girls realize that they don't have to make a choice between being gifted vs. having friends (I thought the quote by McDonnell on pg. 201 was so sad!), and help them find female peers who share their interests and intelligence.

    A few steps I could take to help meet the needs of gifted girls are:
    1- Help to create friendship groups where girls share similar intellectual interests and also honor differences. These groups could serve as a way to help females interact with other gifted females who they may not ordinarily associate with. These groups could start as early as elementary school, but may be even more beneficial in middle and high school as gifted girls become "invisible" and try to mask their giftedness.

    2- Provide opportunities for gifted girls to interact and learn from females from math, science, technology, and engineering fields and expose students to positive success stories of these women. Provide girls with not only role models, but mentors to meet with and help them navigate the way to achieve successful careers in these fields. These women could also help teenage girls learn to balance their future professional and personal lives.

    3- Reading about gifted adolescent females, as well as underachievement, I think especially for me, I can focus on providing opportunities specifically for minority gifted females. While I only teach a few, I have recently seen the many ways that these students are marginalized and feel that they don't "fit in" to one specific group, even as early as elementary school. Even more so than white, middle-class gifted girls, these girls need positive role models and encouraging messages of success constantly. I myself can do a better job of being a mentor and friend to these students, even though I am unable to identify with their needs completely. These girls need someone to believe in them and encourage their gifts and talents!

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  4. In short, the most critical need for girls is to have a sense of self despite socio-cultural norms and pressures to conform. Ginny Maurer quotes Orenstein (1994): Without a strong sense of self, girls will enter adulthood at a deficit...less able to fulfill their potential...to take on challenges...to defy tradition in their career choices” (p. 197). It is more important to intervene with gifted girls because gifted girls are more sensitive and have more intense feelings regarding these pressures that lead to drops in IQ, self-criticism, depression, and negative body image (p. 199).

    I feel, based on the reading, interventions for gifted girls should address three main areas: healthy decision-making, effective coping skills, and developing like-minded friendships.

    Setting up a Gifted Girls Group (GGG) is the first step. One way to make this work in my school would be to take our 5th period Intervention class, which is mostly about remediation and study hall, and create a 5th period GGG during this time slot. Gifted girls rarely need intervention with academics, and this program would deem much more appropriate for gifted girls’ issues. During this time, the topics mentioned above would be addressed.

    Classroom strategies for the GGG would include cooperative grouping where girls would be introduced to topic such as peer pressure, body image and the media, boyfriend issues, academics v femininity, etc. and have them write journals, speeches, and prepare debates for the purpose of sharing and bringing awareness to issues. A second classroom activity could relate to a realistic literature to encourage girls to share their connections with the characters and offer solutions related to the story or article. Bringing in media clips and short films that deal with girl issues is also a platform for awareness and sharing. Finally, a weekly physical activity should be incorporated with healthy light exercises such as yoga, dance aerobics, or walk/jogging which not only encourages bodily health but emotional health as well as girls realize that exercise is a key factor in releasing stress.

    During this time, not only are topics on healthy decision-making and effective coping skills being addressed, but at the same time, the girls are creating the like-minded friendships- which have declined since the early 1900’s (p. 205) - in which girls create a support system for one another that avoids the current friendship behaviors of “competition,” “relational victimization” and “hurt” (p. 204). This group would have a different bonding goal besides being social “besties.”

    A great end goal for this group would be for the girls to form other groups in the school that reaches all girls.

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  5. I believe the most critical need for gifted females, as well as all females, is the need for a positive self image. Chapter 9 discusses a lot of psychological problems that gifted females encounter. One problem discussed is how we live in a "girl poisoning" culture which causes girls to stifle their creative spirit and destroys their self-esteem (p.197). Many gifted females lose confidence in their abilities because of the negativity they receive from their peers and sometimes parents. It is mention on page 199, "A lack of awareness about the self coupled with a lack of resiliency to stave off incessant societal pressures encourage girls to go outside rather than inside the self to seek validation and develop internal integrity. Teachers need to encourage these gifted girls to believe they are worth something and they shouldn't let outside influences change that perception of themselves.

    One way my school could meet the need of having a positive self image is by having woman role models from across the county come speak to the girls about being a successful woman who has overcome the obstacles of societal pressures. Having women relate to their problems and showing them that everything can turn out great if you stay positive could have a big impact on them.

    Another way we could encourage a positive self image is by open discussion groups or counseling offered. Some girls may not have friends or parents they feel they can talk to about their problems. Having someone to talk to could keep these young girls from turning to negative outlets such as eating disorders, behavior problems, depression, or self mutilation (p. 199). This could also encourage friendships with other girls who are experiencing the same types of problems and pressures and help them to feel more "normal". Having peers that share the same intellectual abilities and having someone to talk to about academic aspirations could increase their self esteem.

    The third way schools could encourage positive self image for gifted girls is by doing some sort of physical activity to get them involved in sports or exercise. A big part of self esteem for women has to do with physical appearance. Exercise is also very positive for women and their attitudes. Just like from the movie Legally Blonde "Exercise produces endorphins, and endorphins make you happy! Happy people just don't kill their husbands." Girls who exercise are more likely to have a happy attitude and positive self image about themselves. This is not only physically but will also help them to be happier people when it comes to stress. Exercise is a great stress reliever! On page 210 in the text it states, "Examining current sociocultural influences on gifted girls' potentials, one would be remiss not to address the lasting and negative effects of the mass media's bombardment of messages about sex, thinness, and flawless beauty." I am not mentioning exercise because I feel like it is important for gifted girls to be physically fit, but I am mentioning it because it is a part of society that we can not ignore. A positive image of yourself on the inside I agree is more important, but having a positive self image on the outside can only be an encouragement.

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  6. Like others stated above, one of the things that stood out to me in chapter 9 was that of the girls' self image. This really hit with me because I have a gifted sister who I believe suffers from poor self image issues. She felt the need to be perfect and when she couldn't live up to those expectations, I think she shut down. She started college after high school, but struggled with some of the classes that she needed to take for her desired major, so she quit. It is hard for me to right now to see my highly gifted little sister working a minimum wage job, barely making it raising two children because something failed her along the way. Since I accepted the gifted position at my school, she often tells me how her gifted classes were always just play time and she never really had anyone to guide or encourage her. I'm not sure where the turning point was in high school, but she she became very depressed and still struggles with this at times.
    Looking back at her situation, one thing that I think would have been helpful for her and would be helpful for my girls, would be having positive women/young adults to look up to. Like I said on the other blog post, I would love to set up some some experiences between the gifted girls at the high school and my girls. I could see that if these relationships would bloom early, it would be great for the girls well through college.
    Something else that we could do at our school is to have regular times where it is just the girls. I have 4 classes and each class is a half and half mixture of boys and girls. I could see doing a mini-field trip or lunch with just me and the girls to discuss what they are dealing with. I want my girls to know that they can talk to me and that I am there for them anytime.
    Lastly, the other thing that hit me when watching this and the other video was that I wonder if anyone ever shares this with parents. I recently had a discussion with the dad of a 5th grade gifted girl and he told me about how much she has changed this year and how she likes to keep to herself more now. I would like to have more information readily available for parents of gifted girls when the girls start to undergo those changes and the parents are seeking information.

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  7. The most critical need for gifted females is simply self-confidence. It is extremely difficult to like yourself and feel confident in your intelligence as well as your body when the world around you is constantly telling you that you are not good enough. You begin to believe the hype and doubt that you will ever achieve at the level that those who love you most envision for you. Sadly, adolescent gifted girls who have these self-perception issues grow up to be women who believe they “used to be gifted”. They fail to realize that the same tenacity, eagerness to learn, and resilience that got them through adolescence will propel to do whatever they want to and are destined to be great at in life.

    Absolutely vital in this fight for self-confidence is someone beating you over the head with the themes:
    “You are beautiful.”
    “You are smart.”
    “You can do anything that you put your mind to.”
    “Your greatest enemy is yourself.”
    “You can only be great at something you are passionate about.”
    We usually call these people mentors and starting a mentoring program can be the first MAJOR step to help building girls confidence. If they feel like they have someone in their corner that is rooting for them and pushing them (but not in a negative way) they are bound to better for nothing else than to make that person proud.

    Gifted girls also need to participate in a club that is purely female. This is a space in which they understand that it is ok not to be perfect because no one is. It is a place to vent and grapple with real issues both inside and outside of school. These issues could range from negative body image to academic distress, to basic survival. It will be a place where they will learn that it is possible (and totally awesome) to be both feminine and intelligent. (After all, in the long run, no well-intentioned person wants a dumb wife.)

    Lastly, gifted girls should be involved in some kind of exploration or service project that allows them to explore things that they are interested in and find out how they can use their interests to change the world. After all, educating a girl educates a community.

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  8. The one thing that really stood out to me in chapter 9 is the diminishing self-image of gifted girls and their lack of resiliency resulting in the lowering of their IQ. Because society pressures girls to conform, often gifted girls give in to the pressure. Without adult guidance these students will not be able to overcome to damage these girls will endure. Gifted girls have heightened sensitivities and feel many of the same pressures of other non-gifted girls. However, these heighten sensitivities intensify the societal pressures. It is the responsibility of both educators and parents to pay close attention to the self-concept of gifted girls to ensure that our girls do not fall into the downward spiral of the diminishing self-image.
    Three things I will do for gifted girls in my schools:

    Take the time to point the things that are right in their work first and foremost. Use positive language instead of critical language when discussing items of improvement.
    Clearing a block in my schedule for one on one appointments with girls to work on socio-emotional and affective needs and an all-girls club time to work on self-image.
    Setting up mentorships with successful females within the community with similar interests.

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  9. I think the most critical information from the resources presented in this module is to continually challenge and push gifted girls towards success. Gifted girls need to be encouraged, praised, and allowed to explore their fields of interest as they age. It is important to help gifted girls to be comfortable with who they are and have a strong sense of self so that their giftedness can survive the complexities of adolescence.

    First, They need positive female friendships and an association with intellectual vs. chronological peers. For many gifted girls the fist step in spiraling out towards the "loss" of giftedness, or at least the watering down of talent and potential, comes in wanting to be like their friends. One possible way to inhibit this loss is to encourage friendships with intellectual equals. This can be encouraged with classroom clustering, academic clubs and competitions and extra curricular involvement in activities of interest. These structured environments create a common ground from which intellectual friendship can grow.
    Secondly, these girls need Self-Image/Body Image awareness and activities and biblotherapy. Some of this can and should be the responsibility of the gifted teacher. I really like the idea above about having time with a group of girls on their own, without boys around. Creating this environment @ school would allow for some honest dialog and some girl specific lessons. This would give girls some awareness of the way girls are portrayed in the media, realistic expectations and what a healthy self-image looks like.

    Thirdly, I think mentors and positive female role models are extremely important. Creating opportunities for successful women to come and speak to students is critical. Creating a mentoring program where gifted girls can interact with women who have successfully navigated high school and college would provide them with perspective and vision for their own futures, beyond the "now" would also help them to stay on target during the rough adolescent years. This kind of program will also keep them in a comfortable, pressure free environment which can be a rare and beautiful opportunity during this time of life.
    Lindsey Irvin

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  10. Being gifted is hard enough, but being a gifted female can be quite demanding. Chapter nine discussed the many influences on these young girls. I found it interesting when it was stated that “gifted girls are at an increased risk of not reaching their potential due to their brain development” (p.197). They have an “intense need to achieve” (p.198). They strive for perfection and are very competitive. They have unrealistic expectations for themselves; and today’s society has unhealthy perceptions about our self.
    As I stated in my last post I want to involve my gifted females in the Distinguished Young Woman Program. One of the main focuses is for young girls to be their best self. There are five elements that help define your best self: be healthy (physically fit and drug free), be involved (serve your community), be studious (stay in school), be ambitious (set and achieve goals), and be responsible (live by moral and ethical principles). I think focusing on these areas would be beneficial in helping these girls learn to lead successful and productive lives.
    I would like to help my girls in the area of female friendships. Girls tend to see each other as competition or as a threat. They can be quite hurtful. I have seen this first hand among my gifted girls this year. I think forming a girls’ club would be beneficial in helping them build interpersonal relationships. Our book stated that “same-sex friendships play an enormous role in the formation of self” (p.205).
    Having struggled with the obsession for perfection, I want to show my gifted females that it is okay to make mistakes. We all make them, but how we persevere during these times is what is important. I want to invite female role models to come and share their experiences with them. We have a tendency to see these role models as “having it all together and perfect”. However, no one is perfect. Even our best role models have made mistakes.

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  11. As I stated in the previous blog about gifted girls, my school and the base has a lot to offer. The current gifted teacher has many students involved in Lego Robotics and STEM activities. The biggest issues I see are at the middle school level. Going through puberty and dealing with self-image and worth, those types of things. Creating a positive learning environment and helping the girls explore their personalities and feelings is very important.

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  12. One of the most critical needs for our gifted girls is maintaining a positive self image. This confidence is what will propel them forward in life. If girls are able to be confident in their academics, not hiding it from others or trying to "play dumb" like society tells them to, they will excel in school and their careers. Nothing irritates me more than when my female gifted students refuse to speak up when I know they know the answers in class, but don't want to appear smarter than others. Like our text said, we need to surround the girls with other girls who think like they do in order to encourage them. No more hiding their talents, but instead encourage the girls to show them off and be proud of who they are and what they are capable of accomplishing.
    I am in charge of an engineering club for my fifth grade students and I pushed many of my girls to join. I think it is important for them to see that boys are not the only ones that can be good at science and math. I also think it is important to ensure that girls are placed in groups at school that will foster relationships with other girls who will promote higher order thinking. Finally, I think educators should be aware of their female students' talents and create school projects that will allow them to shine.

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  13. Positive self-image, positive female relationships, and positive role models are three things gifted females absolutely need to be successful, particularly starting at a young age. Studies show that girls are suffering from self-esteem issues from as young as elementary school age, and it is absolutely vital to begin interventions for this population to ensure success and emotional maturity. To accomplish this, as stated in my response to the previous blog post, I believe schools should create a “girls’ club” of a sort, allowing gifted females to come together on a regular basis. This would allow for building of relationships between the girls, provide opportunities to share their feelings, and also allow for easy visitation from community role models.

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  14. The most critical need for the support of gifted females is instilling a strong sense of self. Often times, as they progress through developmental stages, they lose sight of who they really are because of the expectations that society, their parents, or their friends bestow upon them. Because there is such a strong need to “fit in”, be emotionally connected, and to simply please, females with gifted behaviors and talents may hide such characteristics so as not to stand out from their peers. Although this seems to happen more in adolescence than in the early years of development, educators, parents, and society cannot wait for the middle school years to begin instilling this sense of self and attitude of confidence in who she is. The book discusses four sociocultural factors that can positively effect a gifted female’s development. I believe that attending to these factors from the beginning to the end of a gifted female’s educational journey will instil not only a strong sense of self, but also allow this student to blossom into the game changer her community and this world needs.

    The four sociocultural factors frame the steps to take in the classroom to ensure the success of the gifted females in our schools. The first step to success with gifted females is the school experience. It should include equal opportunities for girls and boys to participate in everything in the learning environment. Starting in kindergarten, teachers must make a conscious effort to call on girls as much as boys and to shy away from making decisions that reinforce a gender stereotype. The learning environment needs to show the successful women of the world, this country, this state, and our community. Having girls identify and celebrate the successes of women, even in the elementary years, demonstrates the need for her gifted behaviors and talents as well as options that exist in society for women. I also think that the learning environment should include some level of female mentorship at every grade level so that girls can see success as real, close, and personal.

    The second step a school should take to meet the needs of gifted females is taking the emphasis off of body image and projecting success in terms of leadership skills, teamwork, academic achievement, artistic achievement and talent, and citizenship. When a girl can see that she is much more than something cute to look at, she starts to view herself in terms of the inner talents and abilities that will make her successful. She begins to build a sense of self that reflects her inner self instead of physical appearance with which she has little control. The tough part is counter-balancing the message that the mainstream media and society bombard our female students with on a minute by minute basis. Such messages should not be ignored, but rather brought to light in such a way that this population is allowed to think critically about the detrimental views that these messages are spreading to not only gifted females but to women in general.

    The third step schools should take would be to foster the mother-daughter relationship that is key to every girl’s development. Because the mother is the single most influential person in shaping the female student, opportunities to bond the mother and daughter (through class projects, class outings, in class activities and the like) will develop and reinforce a fundamental key to positive growth and maturation.

    Simply being aware of the challenges gifted females face can lead to sweeping change and promising reforms in our classrooms. We must know who we are before we can every hope to make a difference. We should be taught to stand up and stand strong, to believe in the courage of our convictions, to follow the compass of our gifted talents and abilities – this should be the mantra of every gifted female student.

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  15. Throughout chapter 9 - the theme seemed to be that girls - especially GT girls - need to be reminded that they are strong, talented and productive students. I believe that this is demonstrated through the girls' willingness to participate in science and math extra-curriculum activities. However, I think that this is something that may seem to decline as these girls enter into middle/junior high school.
    So, as elementary GT teachers, I believe that there are several aspects that we must focus on specifically in terms of our female students. First and foremost, girls need to have a strong sense of self. While many of my girls do not have a problem with strong of self, I believe it can occur without support. This support includes teachers, parents, and the students themselves.
    In addition, girls must have female relationships with both peers as well as adults. I believe this can be done well - as long as adults are willing to take the time to address the strengths of the girls as people and students. I especially believe that the mother daughter relationship is important to a girl's self worth. However, that is not always possible. This is where GT teachers, gen ed teachers, and counselors can step in to fill the void as necessary.
    Thirdly, I believe that GT girls need to be encouraged to continue to acknowledge and honor their achievements. This can be supported through all avenues of education - administration, teachers, students, and parents. By laying a strong foundation of the benefit and beauty of academic and other successes, GT girls may well be able to move through the middle school years without so many negative images about their own personalities and strengths.

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  16. Nellie hit the proverbial nail on the head when she said that “instilling a strong sense of self” is the most critical need. I feel that so much stems from a strong sense of self that it is necessary to have that as a central point. That, however, begins at a very young age; it’s not a instantaneous transformation which happens after one discussion or interaction. Young GT girls need to see positive role models and have positive relationships with other females. As we begin to foster that positive sense of self, I believe that other areas would be affected. I can’t help but think of the line from The Help - “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.” That’s what young girls need to hear rather than words focused on beauty.

    One thing that really stood out to me in chapter 9 was the section discussing body image. As something I struggled with as an adolescent, I have great interest in helping other girls now. Our text says that “we may be obsessed with our bodies, but we are hardly accepting of them,” (p. 200). I believe that young girls need to hear “strong, not skinny.” Being proud of your body and not overcome with the desire to look a certain way, as well as being comfortable enough to involve yourself in class rather than fade into the background is something that can be helped through fostering a strong sense of self.

    Within my school, I believe that in order to meet this need, we should first develop the aforementioned Positive Female Program. By giving GT girls a positive peer group, role models, and some viable outcome, I believe that positive sense of self would rise. Secondly, my school should take the time to educate the faculty about not only GT girls, but about the GT population as a whole. I don’t feel like enough is shared for this population. Finally, we need to take the steps to foster positive relationships. While having role model guest speakers visit is great, it cannot take the place of a positive female friendship. GT girls could be pared with outside adults, teachers, or staff members in the school.

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  17. I was very intrigued with this chapter because it pertains to me. I have many memories of growing up at school as a gifted female. There are so many sociocultural factors that affect girls in their growing up years. Body image, school experiences, mother/daughter relationships and friendships all affect the way a girl feels about herself. Since many girls don’t know how to develop a healthy sense of self, their academics can suffer. Our society has also placed a greater and more intense need for women achieve and defines success in unrealistic terms. Even though this generation has many mentors, role models, and women who have impacted history, there is still unrealistic pressure that is placed on women and young girls.
    I have found that I let myself fall into this trap of achievement and perfectionism occasionally. I have to refocus and really on my faith in order to get through and change my perspective. After reading chapter 9, I feel more prepared to support gifted females. There are specific steps that can be implemented.
    First, I would focus on building up the confidence in my students through accentuating their strengths and then supporting their weaknesses. I have noticed that I focus more on the weaknesses and ways for students to improve rather than telling the students how proud I am of them for their strengths. In order to support their areas of improvement, I must first build that positive relationship of pointing out their talents and skills.
    Next, I would make sure that they gifted girls in my classroom are surrounded with a solid group of strong peers. Girls need support from their friends almost as much as they need it from their families.
    Finally, I would instill a mentoring program for the girls in my school. It is crucial that gifted girls have role models that they can look up to for support and advice. They need to be guided and see that others who have gone before them were successful.

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  18. Chapter 9 contains a myriad of information and I definitely appreciate that it has been broken off into easier to digest “chunks.” One overwhelming theme that I found to run through the chapter is the importance of young girls’ self image. It is important that girls see themselves as valued, intelligent, capable, independent, and loved starting at a young age. The chapter approaches some ways to help that take shape for girls. Some of the important needs that are involved with gifted girls and their sense of self that the book approaches are as follows: school experiences, body image, mother and daughter relationships, and friendships. These four sociocultural factors work together to help create a healthy adult woman. I think it is obviously important to be a basic role model for girls (as I teach 12 year-olds who are working very hard to figure out themselves).
    In my own school and classroom, I can approach these factors with many different strategies. Encouraging strong female friendships can be done by forming book groups or by forming clubs for gifted girls. These groups will provide a connection to other gifted girls that is so needed in the formation of strong female friendships. Many schools are embracing an anti-bullying attitude as a current trend. This is going in the right direction, but I think it would be valuable (especially for girls) that self-bullying be affectively addressed. Approaching body image in this way could be an avenue that would open dialogues and create an atmosphere where girls are encouraged to love themselves as much as (if not more than) their classmates, peers, and teachers.
    Creating a classroom culture that is rich with experiences is an obvious goal for any teacher trying to be affective. When girls are given opportunities to succeed in many different disciplines, they are likely to do so. All of the stereotypes and negative images that come with being “smart” in the classroom must be destroyed. Creating a classroom where success is celebrated and encouraged can help destroy the desire to not be a “know-it-all” or “nerd.” It is important to see academic success as a positive move towards the future rather than “uncool.”

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  19. After reading the plethora of information that chapter 9 presented, I feel that the most critical need for gifted girls today (or just girls- all ages- in general) is to focus on having a positive self- image. With all of the negative advertising, weight-loss miracle drugs, and revealed beauty secrets, girls have a very small amount of self-confidence/worth. When their confidence is failing, so does everything else. Most of the time, girls tend to give up and expose this "I don't care anymore" attitude. As educators, it is our job to not only teach students the curriculum of the academic world, but also to live the lifestyle of a healthy and happy person. This is especially important for girls.
    When I look into my own classroom, some ways come to mind that could help gifted girls. First of all, there needs to be a program/class/club for just girls. This would focus on the affective issues that gifted girls, or girls in general, are faced with on a daily basis. They would also be surrounded by girls who are of the same mind-set as they are. I think that something like a book-study that has a focus on character's that are dealing with worldly issues/pressures that many girls are facing today, would be beneficial as well. Secondly, girls need to recognize their strengths and talents instead of their weaknesses. This will help girls develop a sense of worth and boost self confidence. Finally, mentors should be in place to help girls who struggle with the issues the world, society and family deals them. These mentors would have received some type of counseling in order to correctly handle the problems and situations these girls are going through. The ultimate goal is to help girls recognize success and gain self confidence in their lives.

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  20. I believe that many gifted girls in today’s society suffer from a lack of a positive self-image. They are living in a world with so many social influences that affect their confidence and motivation. In addition to their own issues of being perfectionists, these concerns combined together sometimes result in a negative body image. Many times these girls will eventually want to blend in with the crowd and would rather have friends than to be smart. There are ways to meet the needs of this group of girls. Other female friends are a critical piece to the puzzle of developing a positive self-image. There are definite psychological benefits to having other female friends (p.209) to talk to. I know that I can’t become their “friend” but I can be an encouraging female role model. I can put forth an effort to get to know them, what they are interested in, and what things bother them. In turn, I can talk to them about messing up and being okay with making mistakes. Second, I believe that there is no better way to overcome self-image problems than to tackle them together. I would like to create an informational group for gifted girls to cover hot topics dealing with body image. This could be a time to look at positive and negative issues: diets, eating disorders, unhealthy and healthy responses to our bodies, nutrition, and exercise, how the media portrays “what a perfect body looks like”, and coping skills. We, together, could study and talk about what is realistic and what we can all do to help each girl feel better about herself. Finally, I believe that this group of girls needs praise and recognition for their successes. They could receive a small token from me to acknowledge something that I know is important to them, or they could accept an award from other teachers and administrators. As a school, I believe we need to take the responsibility of encouraging and inspiring these girls to be the best they can be in all areas of their lives.

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  21. Read any research on gifted girls and the word perfectionism will be uses. We (as students in graduate school) even joke about how our “OCD” will not allow us to strive for less than perfect. Why do we do this? Do we joke about men being perfectionist? In the elementary and middle school arena, I frequently hear teachers refer to girls as being perfectionist but cannot recall a single time that a male student has been called a perfectionist. So the question is, as educators do we expect less from girls or just expect them to be perfectionists? As teachers, we want our students to strive to be the best they can be and want them to follow their dreams but at what cost? Are girls just predisposed to be multitaskers? I think as teachers, we need to help girls discover what areas are the most important to them and do everything we can to be successful in that area. Sadly, women are expected to play the role of several people at once but are not given the credit for being successful at multiple roles. It is like being a one woman show with five scenes and a dozen different characters to play but the Tony Award goes to the lighting guy.
    We need to inform our girls first that they do not have to be perfect if they do not want to be. It is okay to sit back a do nothing (every once in a while). However, we also need to teach our girls to have a voice and speak up for themselves. Life as a girl is never easy and honestly I am not sure we can “teach” our girls how to be everything to everyone while being true to herself. We have to lead by example and offer positive guidance and direction.
    We need to continue to inform the public that it is okay if a gifted female chooses to be a stay-at-home mom or a rocket scientist. Both jobs are equally important. Time and time again we hear people say that being a stay-at-home mom is the most difficult job there is yet the women who chose this are never referred to as gifted.
    We need to somehow remove the double-standard that still exists in today’s society. We strive for equal rights and fair treatment but do we really expect it? Why do we continue to expect women to choose between motherhood and a career? We do not expect men to choose between fatherhood and a career. We need to teach our girls to have a strong sense of self-worth and let them know it is okay to choose one area over another.

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  22. Giftedness, image, self-worth, relationships – all interacting – sometimes pulling in different directions at the same time bombard our gifted girls. This is the critical need. It is important for our young girls that we support them, guide them, encourage them, challenge them as they find their voice. As I mentioned in the previous blog, providing a time in the day for our young ladies to talk and discuss life/school/home/friendship issues would be beneficial. Providing experts in the various fields to take part in the discussions would help strengthen the young ladies. It would also be helpful to have times where their mothers could come, and then another time their teachers would join us. Discussing the issues out loud and discussing ideas, strategies and solutions through role-playing might be effective. Sometimes knowing about a problem/issue and thinking about a solution before it happens is helpful.

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  23. I believe a very critical need with gifted girls is self-esteem. I believe gifted girls need a group of friends similar to themselves that they can relate to. I believe a gifted club would be great for them to go, and share interests with other gifted girls. I believe young gifted girls need role models to show them that they can make a difference. I think a leadership program for young gifted girls who are interested would help improve this issue. I believe all girl classes in male dominated subjects should be offered to show young gifted girls that they have the same options that boys have if they are interested. For example, I believe all girl math and science classes would be great because I feel like it would make young gifted girls who are interested in those areas feel more comfortable taking those classes.

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  24. Gifted girls, and girls in general, struggle with self image/worth. Most of this is due to how society views us and we can become “invisible”. We also don’t have very many positive female role models that show us how to be smart and caring and ourselves – or stay friends with other females in life-giving relationships instead of the catty nature we find ourselves in. I think three things we could do would be to bring in positive role models – see if Leslie Knope can make the trip ;) and also encourage positive female relationships to encourage one another. Also, build up self esteem – this is easier said than done, but moving past just “you are sweet and beautiful” to “you are smart and strong and valuable”.

    -Anna Miller

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  25. I think that the most important need that our gifted girls need met is their social/emotional needs. Bibliotherapy can help address this by encouraging deep thought about their identity development, by providing characters through literature that they can relate to, by enabling them to live vicariously through female literary models, and to address issues such as fitting in and self-image.
    I also think that we need to challenge gifted girls appropriately. Sometimes their abilities are underestimated or not valued.
    Lastly, providing opportunities for gifted girls to socialize with other gifted girls as well as providing strong women role models can validate gifted girls strengths. I think that it is important to provide women role models in a variety of different roles, not just those who are successful in careers. Females can be successful in many other ways besides a career.

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  26. Katherine Kiser

    I could not agree more with Michelle's post about helping girls to develop a more positive image of themselves. This is a crucial time for any child, as they are discovering new things about the world and how they see themselves in it as an individual. I see girls as young as eight years old that copy the way that others girls dress, talk, and treat one another. As we become more technologically advanced and our students find themselves in a world of information, both positive and negative, we need to help them see what truly matters.

    As teachers, we can have a positive influence on the lives of our students. Whether, we like it or not, we are role-models to our students. As we develop meaningful relationships, especially with our female students, we need to be aware of how they are processing everything we say and do. What do we tell them about our lives? What do we think about ourselves and say to our students? Are we healthy? Are we lifelong learners? Are we passionate about what we do? Do we have goals?

    We do need programs in place to help gifted girls understand what it means to be a female and how to embrace it. Whether it is an all girls book club, a counseling session, a math team, or a discussion about issues that they face, they need to KNOW that someone is listening. They need to SEE that there are successful women who have followed their passions. Gifted girls need to FEEL the presence of someone who cares and guidance to make positive life changes and decisions.

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  27. This particular section of reading has been the most interesting to me- I'm certain it is because I can identify with some of it, but also because I see this through the middle school girls that I coach. As most of the previous posts state, the thing that girls need as they grow is a positive self image and understanding of self. Because I have taught kindergarten through sixth grade and currently coach middle school, I have had the opportunity to watch the evolution of some girls as they grow and change into preteens. It is amazing how much their personalities, friendships, and interests change strictly based on what and who is around them. I completely agree in the reading where it addressed our "girl-poisoning" culture. Girls are getting the message that you have to dress a certain way, react a certain way, and think a certain way to be worthy of attention and praise. Between social media, movies, and music, our girls are getting a healthy dose of really skewed perceptions of what is important and honorable.

    The most important thing that I can do for the gifted females that I teach is to be a positive role model for them. To do so, I need to continually reflect on my own life and career in an attempt to be my best self. In doing so, I am showing the girls that I teach that it is ok to be your own person, to be free from stereotypes, and to be successful (however that is defined for each person). This, obviously, does not mean that I will be a "perfect" model of what it is to be a female in today's society, but it does mean that I will make a conscious effort to reflect upon things that I say and do, knowing that the girls that I teach are watching carefully and formulating opinions about female strength and success based on what they see from me.

    I cannot speak enough to the value that I think a good mentoring program could have on our gifted girls. I do not think that there is enough "sisterhood" fostered among our girls today, and by having a successful, older female invest in the younger students, it could be a life-changing event for many of them. I am currently looking into a mentoring program for my sixth grade gifted ladies using the gifted or IB students from our feeder pattern's high school. To hear that it's accepted to be smart and the value that comes with knowing that is worth the trouble to set up the times and arrange the meetings.

    Lastly, I think it is extremely important for all (regular classroom and gifted) teachers to continually push the girls in all subject areas. Often times, teachers traditionally do not challenge the girls in the areas of science, technology, and math. Often times, girls are expected to be more docile and obedient in class, while boys tend to be more rambunctious and vocal. I do not think that teachers intentionally put higher expectations on our male students, but I do think that we need to recognize that it happens. In doing so, we can begin to make changes. I am working to pull together a STEM group specifically for female students, in hopes to not only foster confidence in these areas, but also give the ladies time to work together and form bonds through academics.

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  28. The problems that seem to plague gifted girls most often are that of self image, getting a positive outlook into the future (finding good role models), and making good female friendships that are true and based on sincerity. I do agree with some of the earlier posters in that possibly female only classes might help foster these kinds of girl/girl friendships that are built on trust and sincerity. Getting to know each other every day on a deeper level leads to these kinds of relationships. Also mentoring which is super important to help keep giftedness going anyway. It needs to be a major endeavor to constantly search for and keep a steady line of gifted and talented successful adults coming in. No matter if it's for speaking or helping or whatever reason. Closeness with these adults will help assure our gifted youth that there IS a purpose to pursuing their gifted talents. Self image is SUCH a problem with girls in general. I know there are programs and campaigns that address this. I would make sure they are aware of these and possibly even develop one for just us, just for our school and for our class that helped these girls focus on the positive all the time.

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  29. I completely agree with my classmates that this portion of the text was probably some of the most interesting and thought provoking I have reviewed to date. I could think of a number of reasons why it is so interesting to me, but I am sure they are much the same as those of my classmates. I teach these girls. I have one of my own. I am one.
    In Chapter 9, the resonating theme seemed to me to be that young gifted females center around their own self image. I believe so much of what we do in gifted education is about fostering solid emotional development and meeting social and emotional needs.It therefore becomes our job as gifted educators to work towards creating educational experiences to help build a positive self image for these young ladies.
    I believe offering parental support is a wonderful way to work at building up our girls. If parents are made aware of importance of their relationships with their young daughters perhaps they will work on strengthening that bond. Providing parents with resources for understanding their child's giftedness is imperative along with information about negative stereotyping.
    Young women draw so much of their self worth from their peers. I think working with young girls on developing healthy friendships is imperative as well. Our young girls have almost unlimited access to their peers through technology and understanding the responsible use of that technology with their peers is daunting. I would love to focus on cultivating healthy friendships in person and online with my girls.

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  30. Summarize the most critical need for this population and describe three steps you will take in your school to meet this need.

    This was an eye opening chapter, from gender stereotypes to how girls relate to their mothers and families. On page 199, Ginny Mauer discusses the idea that many girls do not know how to develop a healthy sense of self. That should be our first and foremost goal. Who are you if you are not yourself? There are so many forces acting on a girl's self image, it is hard for them to determine what is considered 'good.' We need to help gifted girls develop confidence, resilience, and self-reliant, while keeping in mind what their 'reality' is. Considering background and family life that may not be well known at school is important so that you, as a teacher, may understand the child's values and perspectives. Understanding what is important to them will help you encourage and create experiences of success. This may include discussing gender stereotypes with gifted girls, encouraging them to be zealous in their studies if they love math. Being understanding when they like to do things that 'boys' usually do. (My daughter's friend always orders her Happy Meal with a 'boy toy.' I love it.) It's okay to be smart, it's okay to be different! Not being self-confident will hinder the thinkers of our future!
    If teachers (gifted teachers) don't understand the hurdles gifted girls must overcome, their families may not either. Family involvement will connect the learning to home and will prepare families to help their gifted girl develop this positive self image.
    Families of today are so diverse, typical culture roles may look different.
    Finally, gifted girls need to be introduced and mentored by sucessful females. Seeing that success is possible in a wide variety of fields will motivate girls to go for their goals. They may see females in a position of success, but mentorship and building relationships will allow the girls to see that challenges have been conquered and remind the girls to go for what is important to them.

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  31. Chapter 9 discusses a lot of psychological problems that gifted females encounter. One problem discussed is how we live in a "girl poisoning" culture which causes girls to stifle their creative spirit and destroys their self-esteem (p.197).Gifted girls need to be encouraged, praised, and allowed to explore their fields of interest as they age. Encouraging positive self-image, constructive female relationships, and positive role models are three things gifted females absolutely need to be successful young age.

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  32. I have 4 children, 3 are girls. Girls process life differently than boys and have the added influence of hormones. Although to be fair, 5th grade boys also work through hormonal issues. My point is girls need support at different points in their social/emotional/physical/intellectual development. I agree with the research in the book about the focus on body image being a negative factor. Have an awareness and making efforts to remove emphasis on body image is one step. Celebrating success and achievement is also a step in confirming girls' abilities. For example, I showed a Ted Talk video in which Aya Bdeir demonstrated how/why she created littleBits. LittleBits are electronic devices. This was powerful because Bdeir is a beautiful woman with an interest in electronics. Girls in my classroom became interested not only electronics, but also coding and programming. Opening the door for new awareness to generally perceived male interest for girls to overcome that stereotype and achieve is a step I would implement. I also think girls need time to interact with other girls with similar interests. On page 209 the author of the text book discusses the changes of the brain in relation to cooperation being experienced. An additional step I believe would impact relationships formed in the gifted class is having girls eat lunch and hang out together in the ACE classroom. Forming friendships in an informal and non-structured environment would support building a positive image for them. The final hurdle is helping girls accept themselves as they are and know who they are. So difficult...

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  33. Many factors fall into play when trying to dissect the mind of a female :)
    It is unfortunate to know that gifted females are a greater risk of not reaching their full potential than are others. Many gifted girls do not know how to develop a healthy sense of self (p.199) which keeps them from even realizing the depth of their full potential. As girls begin to grow up they stop self evaluating about "who am I and what do I want?" and it changes to "who does the world want me to be?" Gifted females especially seek perfection, and often become frustrated or give up, feeling like failures when they cannot achieve self-set expectations. Females also value friendships. One quote that stood out to me from a Harvard Medical study was that "not having close friends or confidants was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weigh." Because of the increased media presence today and social media, self image is a constant struggle with young girls, as they are being bombarded with photos of what they "should" look like. The increased amount of time spent on trying to become "perfect" takes a gifted girl's attention and efforts away from her creativity and can be detrimental to her development. According to the text, the mother/daughter relationship also plays a vital role in the full potential development of gifted girls. (and all girls)
    In order to help support gifted girls, I have 3 suggestions:
    1. Begin a girls gifted club of some sorts at school based on interests where the girls can develop friendships and find commonalities and support.
    2. Provide opportunities for females to learn about prominent female characters and their contributions to society. Mentor pair girls up with successful women in the community and encourage more girls to become involved in the fields of science and math by choosing female mentors who have succeeded in those areas.
    3. Provide opportunities to develop the mother/daughter bond and plan activities where they can work together to complete tasks, have discussions, or serve others in order for them to see each other, not as just mother/daughter, but as people.

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  34. In the past, females traditionally filled the roles of wife and mother rather than having a job outside of the home. While this is an important job, females today are “doing it all” and having a family while working outside of the home. In Chapter 9 of Castellano & Frazier’s book, the obstacles that females have to overcome are discussed. There are several sociocultural factors that play a role in the risks of gifted female learners. These factors include school experiences, female friendships, body image, and mother/daughter relationships. Each of these factors overlaps and creates a long list of needs that female learners have. In order to meet these needs there are several things that teachers can do to help. One step I can take to help gifted female learners is by helping them focus on developing their potential by matching the female students with a female mentor who works in the career field in which the student is interested. This would allow the students to see that it is possible to work in any field. Another step I can take to help female students is to have students complete a biography research project. Students can research a famous female and see some of the difficulties that females have experienced in order to reach success and how they had to practice resiliency in order to do so. Finally, I would provide PD to teachers to show them the research and common signs to look for in gifted females. Gifted females are more emotional than males and tend to disguise their giftedness in order to fit in the social norms. Teachers need to be aware of what this looks like so that they can be more diligent in identifying gifted females and helping retain them in the gifted program.

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  35. I have experienced a lot of the gender stereotyping with my children. I have often had to educate my husband when our boys were younger, as to why it is perfectly normal if one of our sons plays with vacuums and kitchen toys and the other football and ESPN. One of my children is more creative and nonverbal while the other is completely verbal. It is funny how even my parents gender stereotype the toys. My mother would apologize to my husband for buying our son a vacuum. I was like come on you have got to be kidding me!.
    Girls are often expected to act a certain way and behave a certain way. I can tell in my classes how some of the girls are the "cool Mean girl" group, while others are happy with their uniqueness. They tend to be accepting of the other girls but role their eyes if they have to be partnered with them. I encourage my students to sit with different people each week to get outside of their comfort zone and talk to people they may not know. THis is very hard at upper elementary age level.
    Maurer states that because our most gifted females are oftentimes misunderstood and allowed to slip through the cracks, we need progressive educators who have the ability to demonstrate care and compassion through their actions and discourse. We are working on coding and wow some of my girls have really taken off. I do have some that are soft spoken, but most are leaders that will do whatever it takes to beat the boys!

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  36. Gender stereotyping is very common in most schools still today. This is a very sad reality because girls tend to be very successful because their social skills develop at a high rate with is a crucial aspect for many careers and occupations today.

    In my school, I plan set forth a new focus on developing a sense of awareness about gifted females and their need of encouragement in the classrooms and life situations in general. Also, I plan on establishing a class time where gifted females can come to my classroom for additional support, encouragement coaching, and additional advanced education topics.

    I feel that offering additional services and support to gifted females could be one of the most important things we, as educators, do for gifted females because they will hopefully be less-likely to develop a negative view of being a gifted female which could keep them from losing focus in their educational success.

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  37. Chapter 9 discusses several psychological problems that face gifted females. This chapter addresses the concepts that girls becoming “invisible” (p.196) in adolescence years, and our “girl poisoning “culture (p.197). Many gifted girls lose confidence in their abilities because of negativity from their peers. I think our cultural message to our young girls is for them to unrealistically be great at everything. They should be provided support that build self confidence in their own talents and gifts.
    Three things that I could do to help meet the needs of gifted girls:
    1. Create a “BFF Club” afterschool for girls to interact with each other. The club would be divided into different channels depending on their interests,
    2. Scheduling guest speakers to visit our school. This would promote a positive self-image encouraging girls to rely on each other for support.
    3. Promote the idea of exercise and fitness. Girls who exercise regularly possess a more positive attitude and exercise also relieves stress

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  38. Women have come a long way since the 60's and 70's, when I was growing up. I have vivid memories of being praised for my looks, of being criticized for speaking my opinion, and of being teased and berated by my peers for being a rule follower and an intelligent person. As an elementary school student, I spoke my mind, did my best in school, and showed immense creative abilities. Although I continued to portray these same characteristics at home, my image at school gradually began to change. I began to be very self-conscious about my appearance, what I said, and what I did. I began to "play stupid" to attract the attention of boys. I paid more attention to my friends and what they thought than to my school work. I had always been a very good student, but as time went on, my grades slipped. I never did really poorly, because I was always smart enough to get mostly B's and some A's without studying, but I did not perform to my capability. By the time I reached high school, I was a different person entirely. I began to hang out with all of the chorus kids, who were also the smartest people in the school. This should have been a good thing, but my confidence was so low that I no longer thought of myself as smart or creative. I went through high school and then on to college thinking of myself as average in every way. It wasn't until I was out of college and had my first job that I realized how truly intelligent I was. It wasn't until I began teaching some 10 years later that I realized that I was an extremely creative person.

    Girls today have many more choices than they did when I was growing up. A woman can literally be anything she wants to be; a CEO, an astronaut, a soldier, even president of the United States. However, girls still face many challenges than boys. Girls are still encouraged to behave, to make the most of their looks, and to be polite and respectful to the detriment of their opinions. Women in today's society are still objectified and sexualized. Television, the movies, the internet, and magazines still portray women as beautiful only if they are thin and pretty. Girls today are more likely than ever to end up depressed or with an eating disorder, trying to keep up with society's expectations. It's no wonder gifted high school girls are more concerned about their social lives than their grades. While society will be more difficult to change, we can help gifted girls in our schools and gifted programs.

    We can start by complimenting girls on their positive actions and their successes instead of on how pretty they are. We can set up student-run clubs and organizations for girls who are good at math and science. We can encourage girls to take higher level math and science courses when we feel that they are capable. We can give girls opportunities to take leadership roles, not only in all girls clubs, but also in clubs that accept both boys and girls. We can encourage girls to debate and argue and be opinionated. We can model for our female students by being strong and opinionated; by fighting for what we believe in. We can encourage our female students' parents to be more aware of the challenges that women face in our society and assist them in strategies at home that will encourage their girls to be strong, powerful women.

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  39. Bri Chaffin RichMarch 6, 2016 at 3:42 PM

    Chapter 9 was definitely one of the most interesting chapters so far. It relates to exactly what I see so often in my own classroom-gifted girls who often feel invisible and like they have to please others. I have often wondered what could be done to help these girls. Some of my ideas consist of:

    1) Bringing in a guest speaker to speak with the gifted girls. It would be best if the speaker was a successful woman working in a job that is typically done by a man.

    2) Start a mentoring program with the older gifted girls (8th graders) who would mentor the younger girls (6th & 7th).

    3) My students usually begin the year with a living museum project where they select a famous gifted person to research and conduct a speech on. I could alter this project so that gifted girls were required to research a famous gifted female in history or someone currently around today.

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  40. After reading this chapter, I think it is incredibly important for me, as the gifted teacher, to teach these girls the importance of “being you” and being completely confident in that. It’s impossible to be perfect at everything, and gifted females need to understand that at a young age.

    Three different programming options that schools could begin:

    1. Providing mentoring opportunities between high school females and elementary females—this may help eliminate some elementary females falling victim to perfectionism and even underachievement early on if they are paired with a successful and respectable high school female. They would have someone to talk to discuss their feelings with.

    2. Establish female-only clubs or sports early on in elementary school. This will provide opportunities to be a part of something, learn responsibility, take on leadership roles, and even develop/teach a specific talent. I began the first-ever yearbook club at our school—there are 11 girls and each one has been given a specific job (photographer, assistant photographer, writer, editor, etc.) and they have really impressed me with their drive to get things accomplished.

    3. One-on-one or small group counseling for gifted females—discuss career opportunities, study successful females, etc. Bringing in guest speakers would be incredibly beneficial.

    4. We also do something very similar to what Bri Rich does with her class. Every year my 4th and 5th grade students participate in what we call “I Want to be Like…” They pick someone they look up to and respect and someone who has done a great deal of charitable work. This year I had a student choose Kasey Cooper, an Auburn softball player from Dothan. She struggled to find enough information online, so I encouraged her to see if she could find a way to interview her. Luckily, she was able to and got to have a lengthy telephone conversation with her. I truly believe it inspired my student so much. Projects like these can open up so many doors.

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  41. What was intriguing to me was the frequent push of girls to succeed. While I understand the need to motivate and encourage students, girls need an extra touch. Sometimes, I think girls can take encouragement to be involved into a new phase where they become perfectionists and take on too much. This can further limit them socially, academically, and even athletically. Girls need to be able to explore their options, however, carefully to ensure that they are not becoming overwhelmed. They need some extra help and support if this become the case. I think gifted girls should be encouraged, given positive feedback, and constructive criticism.
    One of the things that I try to do in my classroom is that I try to point out creative ideas, good effort, and offer support to my students, especially my girls. I have an open door policy with my students. They know that they can come to be before, during, and after classes. They are also able to email me. When my female students have a problem to discuss, I also invite a female coworker or the guidance counselor as well. This not only provides a safe environment for both of us but it allows the student to have another female’s opinion.

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  42. I feel that gifted females struggle terribly with a need for perfectionism. I saw this in my own gifted mother. Her desperate need for perfection coupled with depression led to her tragic suicide.... another brilliant mind lost to feelings of inadequacy while struggling desperately to be perfect in every area of life.

    Our gifted female students need other gifted female students as peers in and out of the classroom. They need mentors who assure them that it is OK to be a gifted female - that it is OK to be intelligent AND female. They need mentors who show them what gifted females can achieve.

    Gifted female students also need bibliotherapy. They need to read books which show them other gifted females who have struggled and have also succeeded.

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  43. After reading Chapter 9 I couldn't help but to think and relate the information to my youngest sister who is now a sophomore here at the University of Alabama. The text discusses several sociocultural factors that play a role in the risks of gifted female learners. These factors include school experiences, female friendships, body image, and mother/daughter relationships. In reflecting about my sister I saw each of these factors and how overcoming each ensured that her high school experience was all that it should have been without sacrificing her extreme intelligence and giftedness. All of these categories overlap so I will just discuss her experience and how the challenges were overcome. In 9th grade my sister was in what most consider a very predominant public high school in our area. She was very smart and struggled to find her place. Because her area of giftedness was intellectual and not athletics there were not many places and she did not feel that even the most advanced classes she was able to take gave her what she needed to succeed in a college setting. The first two years she settled for the best she could get and tried to fit in within the athletic setting….this was not her place and she was miserable. Once she received her drivers license she completed her last two years of high school at a local private school. It was here that she began to thrive again. They had a more challenging curriculum, offered performing arts of several kinds, had required service projects, were required to mentor an elementary school child that was struggling in a near public school, travel/networking opportunities and were paired with a specific female counselor that motivated her and cheered her on all the way to her receiving her scholarship to UA. Schools need to make sure that they are providing these opportunities to females and not slack off after they leave the elementary school setting. I would dare to say that it is even more important to provide this support in the middle and high school years to females as this is such a pivotal transitional time in a young woman's life; it can make or break their foundation for success!

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  44. I think the most pressing issue facing gifted girls is for them to feel comfortable with who they are. This includes what they look like as well as how they think and express themselves.
    An interesting activity or unit for the females in a gifted program (or any females) could be to investigate the media's portrayal of women. They could learn the tricks that photographers and editors use to make the women appear altered from their real selves. They could write and possibly send critiques of advertisements. This might help the girls to avoid setting unrealistic goals for their bodies and appearance.
    I would also praise my students' great ideas, creative thinking, effort, and other traits not related to appearance or other feminine-linked traits. I could even jot these ideas down in a log or a journal and periodically share them with the students to keep their self-image grounded in their true abilities and accomplishments.
    Also, I like the idea I have seen others post about concerning mentoring. Younger gifted females could be paired with older gifted females who successfully transitioned through the middle school years where females have a tendency to withdraw from gifted programs. The mentors would understand exactly what their mentees were going through and could offer support and advice.

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  45. I try to read as much as possible about interaction with gifted females and take heed of the advice that has been contributed by female teachers and students. Part of the responsibility, I think, of being outside a certain group is to let them speak for themselves. Instead of operating on my own assumptions based on my experience, I have to read and learn from other people's experience. One thing that I think is remarkably clear is that our expectations of females to fulfill certain roles are based on outdated ideas that can linger longer than one might expect them to. The anxiety of self-image is a struggle that I think that most people can relate to. I think we all occasionally feel underdressed or overdressed for certain occasions, but the customs involving dress are much more complex for females and the accompanying anxiety of this is something I haven't experienced. This is just one of many examples that one could give about the extra things that women have to deal with that many men, despite reasonable attempts to overcome it, will remain oblivious to. So in order to counteract some of the more pernicious beliefs and attitudes, I will
    1) promote opportunities for females to take on leadership roles that they may not have otherwise had
    2) implement lesson plans that promote an idea of gender equality that is sensitive to the needs of females and that pays attention to the way that women have are sometimes repositioned into places because of assumptions no longer seen as valid.
    3) I will implement lesson plans that introduce literary and historical highlights of women that may have been overlooked in other areas of the students lives.

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  46. Chapter nine was enlightening and thought provoking. After reading it I will implement the four steps below to help encourage females to pursue what they are passionate about.
    1) Incorporate social media that portrays women in power positively. Social media is a powerful tool that has been used to train girls to think that their body is all that matters. We as educators need to use social media (magazines, websites, blogs, ect.) to show other perspectives. We need to use social media to show young girls that there is more to themselves than their body. Recently there have been several publications that have published articles on powerful women. Magazines such as Sports Illustrated, Forbes, and others.
    2) Gifted girls need women mentors. Connecting girls with successful women in the community will offer the girls hope and someone they can trust.
    3)Educators must praise achievement and not looks for both women and men. Educators fall prey to praising looks and behavior in girls and achievement in boys. This sends a subtle message to the females that they should look and act a certain way and that boys should perform academic tasks a certain way.
    4) Expose gifted girls to successful women all fields. Gifted females need to know that a women has succeeded before. With dedication you can incorporate successful women into every unit of study which will give gifted females a sense of hope. It will also help gifted girls feel like they can pursue something that the society is telling them not to.
    Lydia Hinshaw

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  47. Girls play with that “perfect” Barbie from their early years and see the perfect women on television, in magazines, and on the Internet. They are told they can do anything and “have it all.” Young girls should be encouraged to go after and achieve their dreams. They should be encouraged to be the mom they always wanted and have the career they wanted. They also need to have women show them truth. No person is perfect and yet we project superwoman perfection in the media all the time. There are many options for females as mothers, wives, workers, community and business leaders, and CEO’s of the home. Girls should be given examples of all types of opportunities so they know it doesn’t have to be just the way they grew up in their home culture. Some will opt to be homemakers, some will be moms, some will be career women, and some will be a little of everything. Some may never be mothers or marry. However, they should see different successful women in all those roles to know that what they choose for their life is just as acceptable as another way. I think to help girls flourish with their gifted ability and self-concept schools can do many things.

    1.) Schools can help gifted girls with bringing in excellent role models in different aspects of the community to share what they do. This could also be a type of mentoring situation, or a mommy and me club. Any of these ways would be a support to girls defining themselves and seeing different perspectives.

    2.) Schools can help gifted girls by bringing their educational strengths to light. Focusing on the positive achievements of females in all subject areas and through academic clubs would help instill self-confidence. Also, academic opportunities for leadership will help gifted females feel validated and helpful to causes.

    3.) Schools can help gifted girls by providing examples of female success through bibliotherapy and in the content areas. By putting emphasis on women who achieved success in math, history, science, literature, etc. it would give each unit of study a focal point for gifted girls to pay special attention to. This acknowledgement of female success can build possibilities in the minds of young gifted girls for their own future endeavors.

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  48. There are many students overlooked that are gifted. Female students are being faced with challenges everyday. I think my school should recognize the gifted females efforts more. Most of our schools top writers are gifted girls and go on to compete at county. I think gifted girls should be more exposed to successful women in their community. Perhaps starting a mentor program for these girls. We discussed the benefits of mentoring gifted students and I think this would boost the confidence in our gifted girls. I also think having a group were the girls can motivate and build each other is good. They could take a trip or participate in community service projects. At my school we have the YLD girls (Young Ladies of Distinction) that is targeted at at risk girls or girls that demonstrate exemplary behavior or academics. They go on trips, host dances, and do community service activities. This same idea can be done for gifted females. Giving these students the support they need and the encouragement to continue being their awesome self.

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  49. The most critical need for this population is to have a strong sense of self-worth through, positive school experiences, healthy friendships, a healthy body image, and non-captive mother daughter relationships. Three steps that I will take to meet this need I form more of a personal relationship with me students. I believe this will help me to understand where they feel pressured in life and allow me to be a role model for them. Through being a role model, I can show them that it is okay to mess up and it is not necessary to be perfect in order to be successful. I need to praise my young girls to help develop that sense of self-worth. I need to be more specific in my praises. The third thing I can do is to guide them to ask the questions, ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Who am I?’ ‘What do I want?’ I think it is important, especially at the middle school age, for these young girls to develop a strong sense of self-worth. When they develop that sense, they will have healthier relationships with their friends, with their mothers, they will have a more positive school experience, and they will have a healthy self-image; which is not something I had in middle school.

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  50. “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man…” Like some of you, I grew up singing this Peggy Lee song that advertised the perfume Enjoli, so this is not a new topic for me to reflect on. Although I still believe that it is hugely important to continue to raise our daughter with confidence, grace, and an unshakable belief in self, I believe that it is even more important to teach our boys to respect girls and each other.
    In my opinion as we have encouraged women to take what they want as men have always done, women have been taken off the pedestal and men have not been given any new positive instruction. As a result, girls and women are being a violently assaulted at an alarmingly high rate. A horrid example is in my day when a young woman was intoxicated or had passed out, the party was over and she was left alone to be carried home by her friends. Sadly, now days if a girl is intoxicated or has passed out, a percentage of men think the party has just begin.
    I also concur with many of the things brought up by Ginny Maurer in chapter 9 and would add that both boys and girls should be brought up with a strong sense of self so that they realize their full potential’s. That their creative spirit, positive body image, and same gender parental relationship should be celebrated and encouraged. Further, girls should be enlightened to the socio-cultural pitfalls known to cause gifted girls to lose their potential. And guest speakers should include career women. I used to think that it was self-serving to display pictures of myself as a young construction worker, police officer or firefighter, but I am rethinking that thought. I would like my student to see firsthand that women can careers that require them to be physically and mentally strong without losing their femininity.

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  51. I believe that one of the most important needs for females is confidence. Not only confidence in social settings, but confidence in academics as well. I was struggling with this blog, due to the fact that I have never seen any of my female students struggle with the fact that they are highly intelligent or feel like they should “dumb themselves down”. Call me sheltered, but I have been lucky enough to teach at two magnet elementary schools where my female students are confident and love to be acknowledged for being academically gifted.

    I did go and speak to our gifted specialist in the building to make sure I didn’t have my blinders on. She agrees that she has never seen it in the schools I am from, but has seen the struggle in high school and middle school students.

    So, what can I do as an elementary teacher? I can make sure to promote positive self worth, positive value in education, and provide students with role models/mentors that are in middle school, high school, and even college.

    Self worth- have students create a journal about their feelings. Have a group meeting where they are allowed to express their thought and opinions. Mentor them up with someone who shares their interest and values, so they can discuss topics and feelings.

    Positive value in education- They can use their mentors to see how far education takes them in middle school, high school, and college. We can build projects around successful women that interest them. Have strong leaders from our community to come and speak with them.

    Role Models/Mentors- I think this will be the best because it is like the “Little Brother program”.

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  52. One of the most critical needs of girls is for them to realize their self worth and have confidence in their strengths. After reading chapter 9 and learning that girls are too often judged by how they look based on our media-saturated, "girl-Poisoning" culture, it is imperative that society embrace our gifted girls for their strengths and accomplishments, just as society has embraced our gifted males. Three steps that could be taken to address this issue are:
    1. Celebrate and learn in the month of March about women. March is National Women's History Month. Each year there is a theme and two female role models are chosen. This is a great opportunity to highlight accomplished females.
    2. Encourage girls to share their strengths and try to partner them with female mentors or role-models within their field of interest.
    3. Interaction between student and teacher can sometimes be one of the strongest components of building a student, male or female, up. Get to know your students and take a genuine interest in teaching about their interests when possible. Encourage girls to follow their dreams regardless of the stigma attached to some jobs.

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  53. Even growing up in schools in the 80s, in the gifted class with girls and boys, I never felt the pressure not to be smart or exactly who I was. My girl friends didn't either. In my own classroom, I had one student in the beginning who was showing some signs of dumbing down for laughs and I nipped it in the bud reinforcing the values of the classroom - doing our best work, putting forth our best efforts and learning something new every class. She quickly changed her tune when this "dumbing down" was not reinforced and I moved her from the boys around her.

    To me, it wasn't trying to dumb down that was an issue, it was fear of being caught out as "not smart" and a fraud for not being smart enough.

    To reprise, the three things I do and will do in my classroom especially for gifted girls are:

    1. Emphasize trying and that mistakes are allowed - especially for girls - perfection is not required!! of them or me - and practice makes better (not perfect).

    2. Female role models and mentors are important. And be careful especially of male / female roles / stereotypes or marriage princess mentality of being saved by marriage or love or whatever. These roles and assumptions are often subconscious - Especially in math and science, I think girls and boys look at men as more competent. Today I was at a regional technology competition. I (the female) was the one with the deepest technology knowledge that guided the teams through their technical challenges. I brought chess sets to play during down time. The kids assumed my male colleague was better at chess than me, but he put the kibosh on that and acknowledged I was the better, more experienced chess player. My husband is now the main cook in our house. We have to be careful about our cultural / gender assumptions.

    3. Hard work does not mean you are not "smart". In fact hard work makes you successful. This last is my effort to both combat and prevent underachievement. I remember wondering if I had to work at something that I was worried other people might think my "smartness" was a fraud. I make a concerted effort to highlight and reward hard work and praise effort as well as debunk the "smart = no work myth" early in these elementary years so that when the going gets tougher later, these nuggets will hopefully be remembered :-) (Bronson & Merryman Nurture Shock, 2009). Like Michele said - a lot of this is conveyed in student-teacher interactions and we need to be mindful of these building discussions.

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  54. Hm. So many of the references in Chapter 9 are old, old, old! In some ways, this is depressing because we’re still seeing women and girls sexualized in the media, girls downplaying their intelligence, and being socialized to serve. However, these issues, in the past ten years, have majorly moved to the forefront and we’ve begun to really improve, I think. Parents are pushing back against gender-specific toys and clothing. Gender is becoming more fluid and less socially restrictive. There are also many more examples in the media of strong female role models.

    For both genders, it’s critical that we continue to improve all girls’ plight by focusing publicity on young peoples’ accomplishments, on characters who operate outside historically perpetuated gender roles, and on women who model strength, assertiveness, humor, and self-value.

    We need appropriate education and open discussions about issues like sex trafficking, language and its contribution to a larger “rape culture”, and the media’s sexualization of girls. This is the sex education that is hidden and unspoken. However, it is the harsh reality of what girls around the world face every day. The upcoming generations will need to be informed so they can support the rise of girls and women out of these horrid cultural restraints that make education and achievement of goals impossible for so many gifted female minds.

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  55. The most critical need for this population is mentoring. If young ladies see other women being successful in a field they're intrested in, it will encourage girls specific interests.
    Again, three steps I can take in my school are:
    The first step I can take at my school to create a positive female program is actually already in progress. I’m working on creating a running team for the school next year (spin-off from the 5K). I’m really considering making this an all-girls running club and this module along with the Dr. Reis’ speech from the last module are encouraging me to take that path.
    Second step: create trusting relationships with those girls
    Third step: lead by example, relate to their pressures by sharing some of yours, and ENCOURAGE, ENCOURAGE, ENCOURAGE!

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  56. I agree with Dana. Girls need mentors! Media, television shows, magazines, etc.......highlight females more often than not in one certain way. Young females need exposure to successful women from all fields of life. Females need to understand that their success is limitless. I reiterate that young females will benefit from mentoring, special clubs just for them, and special time with their mother or another significant woman in their life.

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  57. The most critical needs for gifted females is the ability not only to develop their own potentials but also to analyze their own experiences. Therefore, I will strive to help support gifted females with gaining the proper information and guidance necessary to create their own knowledge. To accomplish this task, I will collaborate with my school counselor to implement the following aforementioned interventions:

    1. Develop counseling sessions designed to help females realize their potential.

    2. Identify one-to-one mentors who will encourage females to recognize and utilize their talents.

    3. Organize a reading club or book study club designed to encourage females to read and discuss biographies of successful multicultural women.

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  58. Today's young gifted females experience pressures to a great extent. Socially, they may struggle to fit in with other female friends. They may feel pressure to be accepted by females and males. Some females even play down their smartness. Society imposes certain images as to how females should look and behave. Some gifted females feel that is more important than being comfortable to be themselves.

    These are three steps I feel important to implement at my schools to create a 'Positive Female Program.'
    1. As a gifted teacher, I can encourage gifted girls and be
    their cheerleader.
    2. Get the faculty and staff at the schools on-board to
    recognize and further develop the female's giftedness.
    3. Provide opportunities to partner with female mentors so
    students can see it is good to be successful and how
    others are empowered by success.

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  59. I think that we need to find a way to preserve the vitality that our gifted females possess before they reach their adolescent years. Hold on to the I can conquer the world and be whatever I aspire to be and embrace the feminine changes that began to occur in adolescents without loosing sight of goals and aspirations.

    The programs I would implement school-wide would be as follows:

    1. Mentoring programs by successful females.
    2. Programs that allow girls to explore and experience the technical aspects of careers such as welding, auto mechanics, and construction.
    I would also develop a technical scholarship program for gifted females.

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