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SPECIAL POPULATIONS:

GIFTED MALES

Eric Garmon, Erryn


Walker, Catherine
Groundwater, &
Cathy Riley

WARM-UP
With a partner, discuss the expectations
of adolescent males in society. What
words would you use to describe them?

CULTURE SAYS REAL


MEN ARE
Tough
Athletic
Competitive
A Leader
Decisive
Strong
Lacking emotions
Click to view a real man :)

WHICH WOULD SOCIETY


CLASSIFY AS REAL
MEN?

BILLY ELLIOT CLIPS


http://safeYouTube.net/w/vso
http://safeYouTube.net/w/yso

REAL MEN DO NOT CRY


From a young age, boys are expected and taught
to hide their feelings. Boys who are smart often
times do not fit the stereotype of being physically
dominant. If boys are not masculine enough, then
society places them in a more feminine category
which lowers the childs self esteem.

BOYS PLAY SPORTS


According to societal norms boys must play sports
to be masculine. Activities such as playing with
dolls or dancing are atypical.

WHAT IS THE #1 TRAIT GIFTED BOYS


EXHIBIT BECAUSE OF SOCIETAL
PRESSURE?

UNDERACHIEVEMEN
Gifted boys areT3 to 4 times
more likely to purposefully
underachieve than gifted girls.

WHY DO GIFTED MALES


CHOOSE TO UNDERACHIEVE?
- Too concerned with image management
issues
- Learn from an early age what it means to
be masculine
- View school success as a sign of
femininity
- Femininity should be avoided at all costs
- High energy gifted boys can be labeled
as trouble makers when they express
creativity in the classroom.

BENS STORY
Ben is a young man who enjoyed alternative music and had
changed his collared polo shirt, docksiders and khakis for
oversized cargo pants, heavy boots, and sweatshirts. He is a
champion backstroke swimmer for his school swim team and is
known for his lively comical antics when he and his teammates
are introduced at pep rallies. Ben is a gifted student who is
underachieving in all subjects except creative writing. His
report cards include comments like not working up to his
potential. An academic awards assembly is to be held, and
Ben knows that he will be receiving an award for creative
writing in front of 1,500 of his peers. The young man who is
ready to accept the adulations of the pep rally crowd, could not
face the possibility of having to walk across the stage of his
high school auditorium to be recognized as the creative writing
award recipient. Instead, he chooses to skip the awards
assembly, and spends the time hiding in the mens locker
room.

WHAT DOES THIS STORY


SHOW US ABOUT THE
POWER OF THE MASCULINITY
AND ITS INFLUENCE ON
GIFTED MALES?

CHRISTIANS STORY
Christians parents and teachers have always viewed him as academically
gifted. At age 4 he could read The Berenstein Bears all by himself, and by
grade school he had already begun writing short stories in his spare time.
While his middle school peers enjoyed reading graphic novels, Christians
tastes were leagues away; literature from the Golden Era, the Romantic
Era, 1000-page suspense novels, and even the occasional manifesto
couldnt be passed by Christian without him reading it first.
While his hunger for reading and writing made him a star among adults,
Christian knew he was different. He knew he was different when other
boys didnt want to play with him and when the girls snickered as he read
aloud in-class. He knew he was different when he closed the book he was
reading and realized his only friends were still in the pages.
Christian he realized he had a choice: he could become more withdrawn
and lose himself in his novels, or ditch the reading altogether. Christians
parents and teachers became concerned as he began acting out in class.
He stopped doing his homework. He stopped reading. He was never very
interested in sports growing up, but he decided to try out for some anyway
just to do more masculine activities and finally make friends. Christians
grades suffered, but as long as he could be cool like the other boys
anything was worth the cost.

IF YOU HAD TO GUESS


what group do you think is the
most underrepresented of all
student groups in gifted
education?

AFRICAN AMERICAN
MALES

WHY IS THIS?
Poor test performance
Purposeful underachievement due to:

Negative Peer Pressure Do not want to


be accused of acting White by their
African American peers
Concerns about being isolated from their
African American peers
Concerns about being alienated and
rejected by White students in gifted
classes

OTHER ISSUES FACING


AFRICAN AMERICAN MALES:
Need to overcome stereotypical black male persona.
Media also focuses too much attention on successful
African American athletes and entertainers NOT
successful African American scholars
http://safeshare.tv/w/PDhGsyLiob

THE SOLUTION:
We need to create a culture
where academic success among
male students is valued and
encouraged.

HOW DO WE AS
TEACHERS DO THIS
IN OUR SCHOOLS?

SOLUTIONS SUGGESTED IN
THE RESEARCH:
Create discussion groups for gifted males to help
provide adult and peer support to help them cope with
situations where their intellectual ability is not valued
Use biographies of gifted males who faced social
problems growing up to help give students new strategies
to use when dealing with culture
Have successful men from the community come
speak to students and mentor them as positive male
role models
Help African American males develop their racial identity
in a healthy manner through multicultural counseling
Incorporate parental involvement and educate them as
to the issues related to their gifted child

OTHER ISSUES:
(BESIDES UNDERACHIEVEMENT)
Perfectionism
Depression/Suicide
Feelings of being different
Social isolation
Sensitivity

Psychological Androgyny blending of typical male


psychological attributes such as aggression with
typical female attributes like sensitivity
Bullying

RECOMMENDATIONS TO
TEACHERS:
Use speaking and listening in teaching reading
Bring more creativity and variety to reading and
writing curricula
Use more technology
Provide for a greater amount of physical activity in
lessons
Use less lecture and more spatial and diagrammatic
lessons
Include books high on action

RECOMMENDATIONS TO
TEACHERS
Provide accelerated learning in areas of interest.
Create opportunities for gifted boys to move periodically
throughout the day.
Make a variety of co-curricular activities available to interest
boys who are not athletes.
Offer leadership training for gifted boys.
Counsel boys to explore various career and occupation options.
Match boys with mentors who can support them in goal
setting.
Provide gifted boys with male role models who have
intellectual depth.

Responding to Gifted Boys- Minnesota Educators of


the Gifted and Talented

LETS TRY ONE OF


THOSE TEACHER
RECOMMENDATIONS!!

QUESTIONS?