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How easy is it to forget that our gifted learners have truly unique needs? How easy is it to plan lessons straight from our textbooks and use unaltered pedagogy from our credential programs?
This amazing article by Dr. Karen Rogers reminded me of three counter-intuitive facts about gifted students’ learning:
Gifted Students Learn Better When You Go Faster!
By better, research indicated significant retention improvement and by faster, the research says twice to three times as fast as a typical classroom pace.
Gifted students are significantly more likely to retain science and mathematics content accurately when taught 2-3 times faster than “normal” class pace.
I know my reaction to bored students’ faces is often negative. But perhaps they simply already got it. And isn’t that my goal?
As if this weren’t incredible enough, the inverse is true as well…
Gifted Students Learn Worse When You Go Slowly!
As counter-intuitive as it seems, extra review and practice causes forgotten or misunderstood material! Further, research indicates that more than three drills or repetitions can be excessive!
Gifted students are significantly more likely to forget or mislearn science and mathematics content when they must drill and review it more than 2-3 times
Allowing students to demonstrate mastery and then move on isn’t just a nice option to include occasionally. It is an essential part of teaching gifted students. Unnecessary repetition can actually harm students’ learning.
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They Really Do “Just Get It!”
When your students stare blankly in response to the inevitable “but HOW do you know?” research shows that it is simply a result of their gifted thinking:
Gifted students are decontextualists in their processing, rather than constructivists; therefore it is difficult to reconstruct “how” they came to an answer.
Although it is frustrating when students simply “get it,” imagine their frustration when they are repeatedly told that understanding isn’t good enough.
Go With The Flow
Is it wrong to want students to work slowly and carefully, to practice thouroughly, and to understand how they arrived at an answer? Absolutely not. But it is vital to remain aware of the traits of gifted students and remember they are not simply “smart.” As their teachers, we must remain sensitive to their unique understandings and never work against their giftedness. Let’s stop this from happening:
Gifted adolescents consistently report dramatic episodes of being pushed to the point of doubt and despair by insensitive teachers… Helping Adolescents Adjust to Giftedness Buescher and Higham