Teaching Gifted Children

Teaching gifted children in the regular classroom can be rewarding and challenging for those who are open-minded and willing to try new things.

Some educators may need to alter their methods and consider the gifted student's ideas and needs. 

They can get help and ideas through Classroom Based Coaching. 
Basically, this involves professionals going into the classroom with the educator to give hands on help on how to differentiate the curriculum to better serve their students. 

Another fairly new idea is the flipped classroom put simply, the flipped classroom consists of students listening and watching the “lectures” at home and doing the homework in class.

They access the videos on YouTube or other sites and come to class ready to do their homework.

Challenging the Gifted Child

Having gifted children in your class can be exciting because they are thirsty for knowledge and look to you as their guide.

They are anxious to learn new things and are waiting to be challenged. You are the one who can make this happen.

It's not enough to give them more of the same work the rest of the class is doing; they need different, more suitable work at their level.

This is an important factor when it comes to these children. Loading them down with thirty spelling words while the rest of the class does ten, is pointless.

Some educators use Bloom's Taxonomy to help them determine where a student is in terms of what he understand and where he needs to be challenged. 

Differentiation of the curriculum is essential for gifted students to move forward and learn. With planning and a willingness to change, this can be done in a way that benefits all students. 

There is also the concept of ability grouping which is the idea of grouping students according to ability. This is sometimes done within the classroom to teach and practice reading. 

Teaching Gifted Children

It's hard for gifted children to sit in class and wait for their classmates to catch up.

They can get through the work quickly and sit there bored and waiting.

This can lead to them becoming frustrated and perhaps losing interest in school.

When parents hear their child say they are bored in class and sometimes feel like crying, this is heartbreaking to every parent.

Let them move on when they're done and not go over the same thing because some of their classmates need to.

Teaching Gifted Children requires teachers to allow them to work at their own pace on challenging material and watch them thrive.

Make them sit there and suffer when they've already mastered the material and watch them wither up.

We need to stop all the cuts to Gifted and Talented Education (GATE). It's not enough to say we want to be competitive in the world. Our actions have to match our words. 

A Few Changes

Teaching gifted children requires a few changes to their classroom experience. This can really improve the quality of their lives.

Asking them to be an aide or to help others when they're done is not always a good idea because they think and learn in a different way. 

Raising the bar is another way of making a difference in the classroom. Often, schools lower the bar to meet the needs of those students that may be struggling. Changing this attitude, helps those students deemed average who may be bored, and gifted students as well. 

Gifted students may enjoy journaling because it allows them to use their imagination and feel free to write about whatever is on their mind or expand on chosen topics. 

Have a sense of humour and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Research what you don't know or aren't sure about.

Be aware of how your attitude and words affect the children in the classroom. Teachers can affect the atmosphere in their class by how they speak and what they say to their students. 

Making a Difference

Communicate with parents. This is key. Most parents of gifted children advocate for them. Get them involved. They are willing to help.

Don't view parents as pushy or expecting too much. All they really want is for their child to succeed and do well.

Listen to what they have to say, they know their child best. No one wants a child to sit in class bored. Therefore, be aware of feelings of indifference. 

What a feeling to know that you made a difference in the life of a gifted child.

Ultimately, parents and educators want the same thing. For children to be successful and for them to learn. 

I recently read an article written in 1959. It shows just how little has changed. The authors of this article referred to school as a prison of boredom for most gifted children. 

"Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges." Joyce A. Myers 

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