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Children in tertiary education

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
As some of you know, I have gone back to school to study science and this week was my first week of classes.

And in my chemistry class, there is a 12 year old girl in my class! I was floored when she came in, sat down and started working.

And no, she is not Asian as most of the intelligent chidren here are.

The teacher was not sure how to treat her, so she treated her like a child but the girl was getting frustrated.

I can understand that the teacher is not used to having children in the class, after all, she has spent 20 years teaching adults.

Do you think it is appropriate for children this young to be at a place where everyone is treated like adults?
My first thought is, what about her childhood? Shouldn't she be out there playing after school and enjoying her childhood instead of worrying about the big chemistry exam or the experiments that we will do? I find it a bit odd, and somewhat uncomfortable. I would prefer my son to be with peers at his own age. I can understand that primary school level work would be boring for her and could cause her to become restless. But isn't that what special classes are for?

I just don't know.
post #2 of 14
If she has a mind ready for advanced learning then she should get it... the teacher may need to brush up on how to interact witha teen...
post #3 of 14
Wow!

I've never had anyone that young in any of my uni classes but I can imagine it would be very difficult to teach a child when you have been trained to teach adults!
post #4 of 14
I don't see the problem. I would make friends with such an intelligent "small adult", treat her the same as any other classmate. I think she will like that and all of you adults including the teacher will be more at ease.
post #5 of 14
Yes, she's getting a higher education and GREAT for her.

My only concern for her if I were her parent is the college boys and if there were any sick weirdos in the class. I hope that her parents are somewhat escourting her to classes (picking up/dropping off) or someone trusted is.

But yea, a little older than this girl, but when I was a senior in high school, there was a freshman that was almost done with her junior year of high school. She was the femi-Doogie Houser. She was very adult for her age, but I know myself personally that if it were me in her shoes, I would either want a private education or do all the homework, hand it in and pretend to the rest of the class that I was a rebel who didn't do her homework.
post #6 of 14
I took both my semesters of Calculus (I and II) in college with a 13 year old girl who had the highest grade in both classes. She obliterated any kind of curve we were hoping for. Her parents escorted her to and from school, and closely monitored her activities. She was not permitted to go on outings with us unless her parents could also come, but we were more than welcome to visit her at her home. She was very nice and very intelligent. Making her continue in middle school would have been hell, as not only would she have been bored senseless, but she would not be an accepted member of her peer group because she is so "different". Bumping her into high school would have been even worse. Having her study with a private tutor (governess, I suppose) would have killed her ability to learn to socialize with groups, which is very important for a young teen. College, IMO, was the perfect move. The students tend to be more mature, so I never saw her get mocked for her intelligence (quite the contrary) and never saw her pressured to join in activities inappropriate for her age (which you know would happen in high school). She had fun with us in school, and was able to learn at her own level rather than hanging back. So, I think it's great.
post #7 of 14
I think it is wonderful that this child is able to be taught at her level of learning. I truly believe a lot of high school dropouts are not stupid but are definitely bored and nobody bothered to help them.

Perhaps the teacher and other students should be treating her based on her intellect rather than her age and size.
post #8 of 14
I was placed in "advanced" classes starting in 7th grade. Mainly the next grade's level. This was in English, science and math. There were several of us students. As we progressed to high school some of this changed. Me for one-I could not keep up with math. But English and science I did. My high school had been open only 1 yr when I started and they were pretty progessive in science classes to include some Chemistry subjects when I was a senior that would have been appropriate for college students. The english followed to college where I did not have to take 1st semester english (english 101) but got credit for this class. As for science I did minor in Chemistry and maybe that why I like cooking and gardening as I enjoyed science for so many yrs.
post #9 of 14
Kellye, my youngest nephew, who technically should be in 6th grade, is studying engineering. He's in a program where he does attend a few classes (like art and gym) at the local school, he has some courses online, and some at the university. He doesn't really "fit in" anywhere, because obviously his emotional maturity nowhere approaches his intellectual capacity, and he hasn't even gone through puberty yet. However, he would be bored stiff in a "normal program" geared towards his age alone.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi
I took both my semesters of Calculus (I and II) in college with a 13 year old girl who had the highest grade in both classes. She obliterated any kind of curve we were hoping for. Her parents escorted her to and from school, and closely monitored her activities. She was not permitted to go on outings with us unless her parents could also come, but we were more than welcome to visit her at her home. She was very nice and very intelligent. Making her continue in middle school would have been hell, as not only would she have been bored senseless, but she would not be an accepted member of her peer group because she is so "different". Bumping her into high school would have been even worse. Having her study with a private tutor (governess, I suppose) would have killed her ability to learn to socialize with groups, which is very important for a young teen. College, IMO, was the perfect move. The students tend to be more mature, so I never saw her get mocked for her intelligence (quite the contrary) and never saw her pressured to join in activities inappropriate for her age (which you know would happen in high school). She had fun with us in school, and was able to learn at her own level rather than hanging back. So, I think it's great.
Excellent points!

As for the girl, if she is very advanced in the sciences, then probably she is enjoying her childhood, just differently from the average child. It's good that she's being challenged. Smart children who are allowed to coast have a hard time developing the discipline and study habits that will become necessary to them at some point. By that I mean: natural abilities will get you only so far, and the crash point is different for everyone, but there will come a point in the life of an intelligent child when she runs into material she can't just swallow whole, and at that point she will be in trouble if she hasn't learned to study and apply herself.
post #11 of 14
congrats to her, i thought you couldnt join college unless you got the high school degree? or does she have that?
post #12 of 14
Last year, I had a 15 year old freshman at my College/University. The problem actually wasn't with me (I'm the teacher), it was with the 15 year old and the other students in the class. While many of the other students in the class were freshmen, they were also 18 - and while 3 years doesn't seem like much of a difference in age - I'm sure many of you realize the changes that happens between these ages. The other students in the class despised working with the 15 year old, and the student himself was very socially awkward in the classroom.

He stuck with it, and is doing well; he's had to grow up very quickly in some respects. My father was very similar; beginning to attend college at age 16 was difficult for him - he couldn't drive a car on his own, and was still not of drinking age when he graduated!

As I have many more years of college (and high school as well) teaching ahead of me, I'm sure I'll run into more of these youngsters, and each one will present special challenges and will be a learning experience for both myself and the other students in the class.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
The girl seems to be doing okay, I try and talk to her sometimes, but shes a little shy, which is okay. But the poor thing, the teacher is a bit condescending towards her, saying things like "are you coping okay with this?" I felt really bad for her. But she does seem to be okay though.
post #14 of 14
The problem is that somehow, society decided that if you're such-and-such age, you should be at such-and-such level of academics, and if you're not, too bad.

It's not easy being exceptional in any regard, whether it's "above" or "below" the bell curve. But an exceptionally intelligent kid is much better off being allowed to take school classes at the level most appropriate for their intelligence. Of course socially they're probably a bit closer to their chronological age, which is why they ought to also be allowed to take part in sports and extra-curricular activities at their "home" junior high or high school with same-age peers, as well as be encouraged to take part in activities like Scouts, youth groups at their house of worship, or whatever else piques their interest. It's also not a bad idea for every adolescent to take part in an activity like a community theater or service club that includes members of all ages from adolescents or younger through senior citizens. That way, kids learn to socialize with people who are not their age and who are not related to them. That's a skill many young people never get to develop because we've decided as a society that we ought to segregate members by age.

I've participated in community-based theater and choirs since I was about 13 and it's really been a great experience all around. 15-year-olds and 75-year-olds and everyone in between interact as friends and peers. Everyone truly benefits. And it's why some of my closest friends are twice my age and other close friends aren't much more than half my age. I think I'm a more well rounded person for it.
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