From the perspective of an administrator in Gifted Education
We have to be knowledgeable about gifted learners. We have to be curious, have outside passionate interests, show our talents with the gifted and be honest when we don't know the answer, but willing to find out together. To act on the principle that our gifted have as much right to learn. Assess the child's zone of proximal development and move the child beyond a certain point. Understand the gifted child and have the humble desire to further our knowledge.
Gifted educators and parents need flexibility in working with their children. They need to have a desire to understand their child's behavior and realize that their child might not ever fit under the "normal" category. It seems from the stories in the book that a tremendous amount of patience is required when working with the school system as well. They also need a sense of advocacy to speak for their children.
To create an environment where the highly gifted can thrive, we need to be constant learners ourselves, and work to stay informed about the options and possibilities in educating and helping the highly gifted to thrive and grow intellectually, socially and academically. We need to be flexible in grouping, teaching, and very open to providing opportunities that support learning needs. One needs to be an advocate in the strongest possible manner in searching out learning opportunities and nourishing the learning interests of students. As with any other child, one must look at every individual student as a whole person with many layers, and work to help the child achieve his or her personal best.
In order to create an educational environment for a highly gifted child we need to know that child's interests. We need to be creative in our offerings. Giving the child many different kinds of opportunities for exploration. In other words not just looking at computers as a way to give information. We need to be willing to be with the child and also have the child beyond us. With many things in education we need patience. These things are important to continually spark the child's interests. Patience is necessary to combat frustration both of the child and of the educator.
I agree with Patricia that as we must also be constant learners. We must be willing to say "I don't know, but let's find out!" We can't be expected to know everything, but being enthusiastic about learning and about the child's interests will go a long way.
Dear Naletta, you mean you agree with me, Solana, when I said, we as educators need to show our talents with the gifted and be honest when we don't know the answer, but willing to find out together. My question is: Do alot of educators do that? I'm kind of skeptical about that. Do to previous experiences with my own kids.
If we are to teach the highly gifted students I think that teachers will need to: Be advocates for them, provide relevant curriculum at the level they require it to be, be flexable to a fault and give these students exceptional latitude in their education, understand that they are brilliant but they are still kids that need adults help and we need infinite patience. We need these qualities because these are the kids that may really have the ability to make contributions that can change the world they are going to live in.
We need to have an environment that is consistently in touch with knowledge. By utilizing the internet or other resources (magazines/journals) we need to be able to answer questions or interests as well as have resources available for the child to explore the information themselves and then incorporate it in to their daily lives. We also need an environment that is open and accepting so the child is not afraid to be who they are.
I agree with Oliverl's comment that we need to remember that these are kids. At times I think that many educators assign gifted students activities to take up time while they teach the other students. Thus taking away that quality teacher/student time that many thrive and need. They are going to make differences and we need to make sure they have the nurturing they need to make good social choices.
Response to Sandra Hardie:I wonder if the comment you made about gifted kids being assigned work to do while the teacher teaches the other students happens more in the elementary school. In the middle school, that doesn't seem to happen as much. Most of our students have the ability to work at a grade level ahead (at least in math) and that seems to challenge them enough so they are not isolated. They still receive the same amount of time as the other students (although there never seems to be enough per student when classes are an hour long).
We need to create an environment that nurtures the gifted mind. It should be based on discovery, giving the opportunity for research and exploration. I agree teachers should model how to think and hypothesize about interesting issues. These students often have a keen sense of right and wrong and need the opportunity to formulate the sense of how and just where they will fit in this world. Choice is important for these children and they should be allowed various ways that their learning can manifest itself. The way these children think is seen early on in their development. Teachers and parents who recognize the social and emotional needs of these children are better prepared to nurture and plan appropriate learning paths.
Judy, I agree with you on taking the social and emotional needs of the gifted very seriously. When we have so many daily demands to meet, and our days are filled with all the things that we need to do, it is so easy to overlook or to take the time to look at, address, and nurture the specific social and emotional needs of the gifted.
Oliverl, I agree with you when you say that we need to "understand that they are brilliant but they are still kids that need adults help and we need infinite patience." Because of the asynchronous development of the gifted, it can really be tough to remember that the brilliant child who presents such mature and unique ideas at times, still has the fears (sometimes intense) of a young child. WHen they have supportive adults around, it certainly makes them feel safe and enabled to keep growing and exploring those advanced areas, but also comforts their areas of need.
Reply to question 4--Many skills are necessary to create an educational environment for the highly gifted child.1. Knowledge of the resources available for the gifted child.2. Knowledge of the nature of the gifted child.3. Knowledge of how to advocate for that child.4. Refusing to accept less than what can be done for the child.5. Patience, patience, patience with everyone--from the school system down to the child.
I think that as a teacher, I need to be flexible, ready for anything, and have a sense of humor! I need to continue my learning, so that I can respond to the needs of my gifted learners. I also need to show empathy to my students. I feel that I need to continue to pursue my wide, varied outside interests to show students a different view. I agree with Solanaw when she says that we must be honest when we don't know the answer but be willing to find out together. I also like Patricia Kassir's thought about looking at the gifted child as a whole person with many layers.
As an educator, I would have to be a lot more flexible in my classroom in order to accommodate a profoundly gifted child. I would have to research ways to encourage their curiousity. As a parent, I would have to develop a lot more patience!
I also agree with Oliverl. We need to remember that, above all, these are kids and they need the best we can give them. We shouldn't always expect their maturity to be far above their age.
As an educator and parent, I would like to develop or acquire skills that would to help gifted children manage their sensitivities. It seems that many times, the gifted child is exponentially more affected by harsh discipline, tragedies, negative experiences, and failures (lack of perfection) than other children. It saddens me to know that some gifted childen do not reach their full potential because of the fear of failure, fear of not being perfect, or because a negative experience has caused them to become jaded or to quit trying. I would like to better understand their point of view in regards to the above mentioned situations, and be able to provide them with feedback that is meaningful, helpful, and enduringly useful.
Gifted educators and parents may need to continue exhibiting flexibility, willingness to learn and patience while working with highly gifted children. As an educator, creating an educational environment for highly gifted would require listening and discerning each student’s needs. By needs, I am referring to the social, emotional, and educational needs. The atmosphere would be one of safety where each student felt encouraged to express his/her ideas, concerns, and interests. Personally, my learning curve would be on the rise for surely, admitting that I do not know something and expressing my willingness to find the answer together with the students or finding the pathway for them to follow or just get out of their way to learn would be in play. I have already made a commitment in being a life-long learner and working with highly gifted would allow that commitment to continue to flourish.
Judy Canon, I agree creating an environment that nurtures the gifted mind based on discovery, research and exploration is most important…along with creativity and choice in meeting their educational learning styles. It was delightful to see others on this blog as well as yourself address the social and emotional needs of these children.
It is important that, as a teacher, I am an advocate for these students. I should be current and familiar with strategies that can be used in my classroom with the gifted and talented. I should be able to confidently direct parents to websites, organizations, and books that will help them learn about their child and how to also be an advocate for them.
I see that Patricia and Oliveri talk about advocates for the gifted students, and that always interests me, since I see that others talk about how most of these kids just slip through with doing busy work. So thinking about what Patricia and Oliveri said, to be advocates, I think it would be great to create an organization within the district consisting of parents, teachers, and administrators, who are interested in the gifted, and talented students, and who advocates for gifted and talented education. That way parents can meet with teachers, and administrators to provide an opportunity to learn about what is being gifted all about, how to deal with the problems of giftedness, solutions, and find out more about what is happening in gifted education. I think that would be an initiation to advocacy in the district. Would the district consider engaging in something like that?
Reply to Kathy M:I agree with your point regarding the need to be very patient with our gifted (all levels). Many times their boredom manifest itself into negative behaviors (all forms) and it is very important to recognize the cause of these behaviors. Having patience in dealing with such behaviors could prove priceless in the teacher-student and parent-child relationship and the student's learning.
I have to be willing to not have all of the answers and to ask for help. For example, once the highly gifted is identified in my class, I will need different materials and possibly support. Being open to a wide range of possibilities is also important. The gifted child is still a child with social and emotional needs to be identified and met. I cannot take for granted that this giftedness will be equal in all areas. Fear of failure and ease of frustration can also impede learning.
Post a Comment