While gifted students look perfect on paper, their teachers know that in the classroom they are not all the academic angels and stellar scholars that people assume they are. Successful teachers of the gifted require a special understanding of their students’ social and emotional needs.
All AboutEmotional Needs
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? An amazing article by Dr. Karen Rogers reminded me of three counter-intuitive facts about gifted students’ learning.
No one can deny that our gifted students have great power. They may be intellectual powerhouses, grasping concepts years ahead of peers. They may be emotionally sensitive, becoming aware of issues such as mortality at an early age. They may be leaders of people, showing leadership qualities from the very beginning. How do we teach them to use this power?
At NAGC2010, I attended a session about social and emotional focused on self-evaluation or “sharpening the saw.” Rather than simply offering vague recommendations for students to “get in touch with their emotions,” Tim Gott introduced a very practical pathway to assist children in assessing their own emotions.
I always find a list of the common characteristics of giftedness useful when thinking about my class. However, one list is never enough. So, here’s a list of eleven lists of gifted characteristics and identifiers. Each one offers a slightly different look at the gifted mind.
As a teacher of gifted students, you will be in the unique situation of teaching classrooms with a majority of introverts, a population typically in the minority in general classrooms. Consider how you can set the stage to improve these students’ learning, socializing, and happiness.
What a concept! Students’ behavior will improve when they work with a teacher who enjoys them! However, anyone who’s had to wrangle two or three dozen gifted minds at once knows there’s much more to the story than angelic super–computers who eagerly obey your every whim. In fact, gifted students can present some interesting behaviors that throw off unprepared teachers.
We start the year in language arts with the theme of courage. Here are three quotes I’ve used representing different viewpoints about courage, from Shakespeare, Churchill, and Mark Twain.
After creating a list of gifted characteristic lists, I decided to tackle gifted education myths. Here’s seven lists to separate the myths of gifted students from reality.
In class, a child suddenly explodes at another for making a clicking pencil sound, a student shuts down for the day after making an error while presenting, a distant natural disaster effects children’s moods. As a teacher, this layer of complex sensitivity builds on your already difficult job of tracking academic progress. To be effective, you must also navigate this emotional minefield.