|A father introduces his son to Froebel's gifts.|
Gifted and talented is a program that parents generally support because they want their own children's gifts and talents to be acknowledge by others, particularly in school. And those parents with "gifted and talented kids" are usually those who who have a greater level of persuasion when it comes to school board policy.
The idea of "gifted" is also problematic. Usually students with recognizable "gifts" are those whose parents have the greatest level of participation in their children's learning, "gifting" them opportunities in the form of museum visits and educational resources in the home unavailable to children living in poverty and whose parents may be working two or three jobs to make ends meet.
The problem of bored children who may have greater intelligence than average, or are developmentally advanced is one that falls into the problem of class teaching and graded schooling. In real life, where our learning is seldom "class learning" and we are no longer assigned to specific grades, we may be tested by circumstances to achieve real objectives. The artificiality of schooling sets it apart form real life. To be honest, I consider the notion of "gifted and talented" as being an invention of the 60's that should be eliminated from schools. The notion is elitist and offensive. If we recognize that all children have potential gifts (areas of interest) and talents (skills resulting from application of effort), then no child should be set apart and elevated over his peers by anything but his or her own efforts and schools should be equipped to recognize and employ a diverse range of talents (skills).
The wood shop is one area of schooling in which all the forms of human intelligence can be explored and activated, and if every school was equipped with spaces in which hands-on learning might take place, and if all children were able to explore their own capacities freely in such places, we would have schooling in America vastly different from what we have now, directed toward much greater and more meaningful lasting effect.
Today in the wood shop, I will be sanding boxes, and applying Danish oil finish.
Make, fix, create, and insist that others have the opportunity to learn likewise.