Whenever I speak about asynchrony (the fancy name for how gifted students develop drastically out of sync), people always identify “social skills” as an area of students’ development that doesn’t keep up with their intelligence.
Has Anyone Taught Them How?
First, I always ask what people mean by “social skills.”
Secondly, I wonder: has anyone taught them how to interact with others appropriately (especially with age-level peers who aren’t intellectual peers)? How do you have a conversation? How do you wait your turn? How do you act interested in something that’s not really that interesting? How do you monitor the other person’s interest in what you’re saying.
If we complain that gifted students don’t have “social skills,” then we should probably do something about it.
We Can Catch Kids Up
This is true for any trait or skill that is under-developed:
- If a 5th grader struggles with handwriting, has anyone sat down and worked with them?
- If they shout out during discussions, has anyone given them a mini-lesson on whole group discussion skills (yelling at them in front of the class doesn’t count!)?
- If they turn in sloppy work, has anyone ever taught them what makes their work sloppy and how to fix it?
- Super common: complaints that a student doesn’t explain their thinking – yet have they ever been taught to explain their thinking
Any time we complain that a kid always or never does something, we should consider this same question: has anyone ever taught them how?
These mini-lessons are perfect for when you pull your brightest kids over to the kidney table but don’t know what to teach them.
Differentiation doesn’t always mean academics!
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