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Social vs. Intellectual Ability

Education Expert Advice from Barbara Callaghan

Q: Our child is a 1st grade student who excels in math, science, and reading. Recently the teacher suggested that the child be placed with third grade students. What do you think of this?

A: The idea of placing a first grade student in third grade initially sounds inappropriate due to developmental stages the child needs to go through, social skills to be learned, and the age and size of the children in third grade.

As a second grade teacher, I sometimes have students who can read very well and have a solid grasp of math computation. What they don't have is the ability to explain their work or the higher level thinking skills they need for computation. They are unable to write answers based on inference, analogies, or evaluation.

There are children, however, who will benefit from skipping a year because of the individual circumstances. Meet with the principal and discuss all the advantages and drawbacks and then ask what she would do if it were her child.

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After teaching in California for nearly ten years, Barbara Callaghan moved to New Hampshire in 1985 and became a principal. After 10 years as a principal, she returned to teaching, her first love and true vocation.


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