Ungifted

Ungifted

Intelligence Redefined

Book - 2013
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Child prodigies. Gifted and Talented Programs. Perfect 2400s on the SAT. Sometimes it feels like the world is conspiring to make the rest of us feel inadequate. Those children tapped as possessing special abilities will go on to achieve great things, while the rest of us have little chance of realizing our dreams. Right?

In Ungifted , cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman--who was relegated to special education as a child--sets out to show that the way we interpret traditional metrics of intelligence is misguided. Kaufman explores the latest research in genetics and neuroscience, as well as evolutionary, developmental, social, positive, and cognitive psychology, to challenge the conventional wisdom about the childhood predictors of adult success. He reveals that there are many paths to greatness, and argues for a more holistic approach to achievement that takes into account each young person's personal goals, individual psychology, and developmental trajectory. In so doing, he increases our appreciation for the intelligence and diverse strengths of prodigies, savants, and late bloomers, as well as those with dyslexia, autism, schizophrenia, and ADHD.

Combining original research, anecdotes, and a singular compassion, Ungifted proves that anyone--even those without readily observable gifts at any single moment in time--can become great.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2013
ISBN: 9780465025541
Branch Call Number: 153 .9 KAU
Characteristics: xxiii, 397 p. :,ill. ;,25 cm
Additional Contributors: Doutsiopoulos, George

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synchdoc
Mar 02, 2014

A very detailed review of assessment of intelligence and ability to learn. An excellent academic reference, but it got quite bogged down at about the halfway mark by just having way too much detail and technical information to make for an easy read. The final chapter about how to change the educational system, based on all the previous chapters' analyses was a bit fluffy. I think what I wanted was less proof that the types of assessments we are doing now are not working (I already had that figured out) and much more about what CAN be changed and details about how such a system would work. A terrific buildup and then a let-down when it came to how to make concrete changes in the system.

ksoles Sep 19, 2013

At age three, cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman developed a central auditory processing disorder that slowed his understanding of speech. As a result, teachers put him on the special education track until middle school, when he convinced his parents that he could succeed in a "normal" classroom. Kaufman's "Ungifted" describes how he overcame his learning disability and provides an extremely detailed overview of historical developments in standardized tests, cognitive psychology and current research.

Kaufman readily admits that children with learning disabilities need to develop alternative learning strategies and to work at their own pace but he remains critical of "special" classes that underestimate children and use IQ tests to label them. Such stereotyping causes learners to have low self-esteem, diminishes their motivation and turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As another reviewer noted, Kaufman often adopts a bitter tone; his (perhaps justified) resentment of the education system wears thin as the book progresses. Additionally, lengthy sections about research and history, while important, eventually become tedious and skim-able. But, ultimately, Kaufman presents a strong argument for the need to redefine "intelligence" more broadly. He provides an inspiring affirmation of human potential grounded in expertise, associative thinking and creativity.

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