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?
Gifted students are often noted for their “advanced sense of morality,” even at young ages. They are bothered by injustice and unfairness and will stand up to adults when wronged. How do we handle this complex characteristic?
As we review for midyear tests, my students are working in groups to analyze eight characters from any story from this years’ readings. I’ve given them three dimensions to use when looking at each character. Each dimension is based on concepts created by three different researchers: Howard Gardner, Lawrence Kohlberg, and Sandra Kaplan.
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.
Kohlberg’s levels of moral development are a fantastic tool for helping our gifted kids understand their advanced awareness of moral issues. But it also challenges us, as adults, to step up and push our own moral development higher.