Talent will out

30th August 1996 at 01:00
The parent who didn't want to be seen as "pushy" decided not to tell the reception class teacher about her daughter's giftedness (TES, August 16). She fears she may "jeopardise" her daughter's position, apparently assuming a vindictive teacher. But how can withholding this information help the teacher to do his or her best? If the little girl is indeed gifted she needs appropriate educational care to develop her potential, and so the teacher needs to know about it from the start.

Teachers are not fools, and are of course likely to discover this "secret", unless the child takes careful deceptive measures to ease her mother's worry. This five-year-old could, for example, conform to the class norm by pretending that she can't read, pretend not to know the answers to questions, pretend to struggle with new learning, hold back from classroom discussion, and so on. But what a strain on a small child.

Of itself, honesty is neither boasting nor pushing, and it is the easier and more positive route.

PROFESSOR JOAN FREEMAN 21 Montagu Square London W1

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