Enhancing Learning Outcomes for Diversely Gifted Adolescents

Dona J. Matthews
1998 Journal of Secondary Gifted Education  
Two major problem areas are addressed. First, young women and students from minority groups, who continue to be underrepresented at the highest career achievement levels, tend to find social/emotional issues more salient than they find standard academic fare. Secondly, and more broadly, the world is a rapidly changing and increasingly dangerous place, requiring stronger networks of support than ever, particularly at transitional stages like adolescence. Unfortunately, however, many of the
more » ... , many of the traditional support systems, like family and community, are dissolving and disintegrating. An empirically and theoretically defensible approach to addressing both of these areas of concern is the implementation of a Human Development course of study, starting early and building systematically over time. In such a course, students could be helped to construct principled understandings of social and emotional functioning, becoming more aware of the benefits of social diversity, and wiser decision-makers. Applications appropriate for working with gifted secondary school students are discussed. Problems Under Discussion Gender, Culture, and Achievement Just over thirty years ago, Brian Moore's (1966) novel, I Am Mary Dunne, was published. A disturbingly vivid illustration of feminist issues, it constitutes a still-relevant and psychologically accurate case study of what happens when a sensitive and intelligent woman is dependent on and constrained by others for many aspects of her survival and social position: an objectification of the self, a pervasive insecurity, and an emerging sense of depression and/or madness resulting from the loss of an authentic sense of self. A fictional exploration of similar alienation and disenfranchisement issues relating to being black in America can be found in Richard Wright's Native Son (1940). While women are no longer prohibited from entering most professions, there continue to be many subtle and powerful influences working against their achieving at levels commensurate
doi:10.1177/1932202x9801000202 fatcat:6cw34qq4abaldccih2qswt3zdi