Chapel Park Elementary
Overcoming Perfectionism in Gifted Students
Maria Boyle, Baylor University
Christina Johnston, Mentor Teacher, Chapel Park Elementary, Midway ISD
Melissa Besch, Mentor Teacher, Chapel Park Elementary, Midway ISD
Jina Clemons, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University
Studies have shown a correlation between anxiety and perfectionism. Arale (2007) found that "the hypothesis that self-oriented perfectionism would predict overall anxiety, as defined by the total score of the MASC-R was supported” by her research and that “socially prescribed perfectionism is connected to depression and anger” (p. 29 ). The link between maladaptive perfectionism and mental health shows that it is crucial to identify and interfere with the development of perfectionism. As an intern in a fifth-grade classroom, I have noticed a gifted student struggling with perfectionism to the point of having meltdowns. The four main “antidotes” for perfectionism, as found in the book Teaching Gifted Children Success Strategies for Teaching High-Ability Learners are empathy, self-reflection, encouragement, and dialogue (Greenspon et al., 2018). In order to show empathy one might ask questions such as “What makes being perfect seem so important?” and “How does it feel to make a mistake?” with an attitude of curiosity and acceptance towards these feelings (Greenspon et al., 2018). Through one-on-one conferences, I can foster a positive dialogue with my student where I can demonstrate empathy and encourage him in all aspects. Having these conversations opens up the opportunity to dig deep and will help my student feel understood and accepted. I can also self-reflect and see what I can do outside of the conferences to make the classroom a more secure and safe place for my students. I decided to individually confer with this student to lessen his perfectionism and reduce his overall anxiety.
How will twenty-minute individual conferencing during WIN twice weekly reduce perfectionism and increase self-regulation in a gifted student?
The subject of this study is a Caucasian male in fifth grade. He is a gifted student and is diagnosed with Anxiety. I conferenced with this individual during WIN time on Tuesday and Thursday each week for a month. During the first and last sessions, I administered the Child Adolescent Perfectionist Scale. During the other individual student conferences, I was consistent and included the same questions which he was to answer. I would then rate those answers using a rubric on a scale of 1-5 based on how comfortable he was with not being perfect. Answers that show a lack of comfortability with not being perfect will be scored a 1. As comfortability increases so do the scores up to a 5 which shows that he is comfortable not immediately knowing the answers and is willing to ask for help. The following questions were asked at each session:
• “How does it feel to make a mistake?”
• “Would you feel comfortable asking for a mental break?”
• “How do other people’s opinions affect you?”
• “Will you ask for help if you need it today?”
This student showed a downward trend in perfectionism. There was a 63% decrease in
perfectionist answers during the conferences from the first week to the last week. I could also tell that he was becoming more comfortable with productive struggle and with asking for help when needed. This is further backed by his scores on the Child Adolescent Perfectionist Scale. On every question of the CAPS, he either stayed the same or improved. He showed an 8% improvement in self-oriented perfectionism as well as a 24% improvement in socially prescribed perfectionism.
Implementing biweekly individual conferencing has led to a measurable decrease in perfectionist tendencies. This research supports that empathy, self-reflection, encouragement, and dialogue decrease perfectionism as Greenspon stated in Helping Gifted Students Move Beyond Perfectionism. Based on these findings, I will continue to individually conference with this student as well as implement this practice with future students who struggle with perfectionism. I would also like to conduct this study over a longer period of time as well as start the conferences earlier in the year to mitigate the issues that perfectionism could cause. I would also like to teach strategies on advocating for oneself when struggling with perfectionism so that students could receive help in the future instead of suffering in silence, a suppression that can lead to issues such as anxiety, depression, and anger as shown in Arale’s research.
Arale, K. M. (2007). The connection between perfectionism and depression, anxiety, and anger with consideration of ethnicity (thesis). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from http://ezproxy.baylor.edu/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/dissertations-theses/connect
Greenspon, T. S. (2018). Helping Gifted Students Move Beyond Perfectionism. In J. C. Danielian, E. Fogarty, & M. Fugate (Eds.), Teaching gifted children;success strategies for teaching high-ability learners (pp. 326–328). essay, National Association for Gifted Children.
Effects of Flexible Seating on Student Interactions
Korbyn Woodard, Intern, Baylor University
Ashley Crumpton, M.S. Ed, Mentor Teacher, Chapel Park Elementary, Midway ISD
Blythe Guerra, B.S. Ed, Mentor Teacher, Chapel Park Elementary, Midway ISD
Jina Clemmons, M.S. Ed, Intern Supervisor, Baylor University
Throughout my time at the school, I have been impressed with the use of the new flexible furniture that is in each classroom. I started to wonder how flexible seating affects students daily. Another thing that I observed was how much my students liked to talk during instruction. I then started to wonder if the flexible seating affects how much students talk. Does one style of furniture keep students engaged for longer? Is another style more distracting to students? Is there any relationship between them at all? In my research, I found that it is often stated that flexible seating has positive effects on student engagement because students are allowed to move around during instruction (Havig, 2017). However, I started to think that there have to be other effects. I seek to determine the best flexible seating option for the chattiest students.
How do different flexible seating options reduce or encourage disruptions among students during instruction?
In this study, I selected 5 students in my classroom that I noticed had trouble with keeping quiet and being engaged during instruction. Within the 5 students, two were Caucasian males, one was an African American male, one was an African American female, and one was a Caucasian female. Over the course of four weeks, I assigned each of the students to a different flexible seating options that is offered in my two classrooms. The selected students rotated to sit at each of the four seating option for one week. each The seating options that were available were a regular desk and chair, high top tables with high chairs (these chairs have wheels, they spin, and have height adjusting features), a large table with wobble stools, and a table on the floor. I did not choose the exact seat each student sat in and I did not alter who sat next to the student unless a behavior problem occurred. Twice a week, two times a day I collected data for this study. To collect data, I watched the selected students for a ten-minute period while active instruction was happening. During this period, I tallied the number of times each student talked out of turn or to another student and recorded it in a table. I did not count the student’s utterances if they were called on or were allowed to turn and talk to a partner. I combined all utterances for each student and each seating option to see if any option had a significantly different number of utterances. After I collected all of my data over a four-week period, I found very interesting results. The large table with wobble stools had the least amount of utterance by a margin of 24 less utterances than the next highest seating option. In contrast, the high top table with high chairs showed the most amount of utterances with a margin of 51 more utterances than the next highest seating option. With this large of a margin, it is reasonable to assume that the high top tables cause students to talk to one another more often.
Based on the results of this study, we can see that different flexible seating options do effect students interactions with each other. The seating option with the least amount of utterances was the large table with wobble stools. I would recommend that the students who tend to talk the most and cause disruptions sit at this seating option. In opposition, the seating option that was shown to encourage the most talking and disruptions was the high top tables with the high chairs. I believe that this is because students are sat very close together and facing each other. This makes it easier to start chatting to their neighbor. I would recommend that disruptive students do not sit here. This seating option would be very beneficial for students that struggle to speak up or make friends in class. Based on these findings, I will encourage distracting students to sit at the large table with wobble stools. I will avoid having those students sit at the high top tables. Students have free choice where they would like to sit in one of my classrooms. In this classroom, I will use this information to make educated decisions when I need to remove students from certain areas of the classroom or from certain classmates. In my other classroom, students get assigned to sit in specific places at the start of each week. I will use these results to help make informed choices when assigning students to certain places in the classroom.
Havig, J. S. (2017). Advantages and disadvantages of flexible seating (Doctoral dissertation, Minot State University).
Burgeson, S. (2017). Flexible seating influencing student engagement.