Gifted Learners

I cruise the TAGMAX mail list because I’m interested in the issues that are important to gifted parents as they navigate the social and emotional issues of the gifted child. These parents know what the want in an academic setting and are quite knowledgeable on curriculum and programs. In one of the exchanges the program at: Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School University Scholars Program caught my eye. More specifically, their understanding of the needs of the gifted student in the classroom. On their FAQ page, I found the following points:

* Gifted Learners can become mentally lazy, even though they do well in school.
* Gifted Learners can become “hooked” on the trappings of success.
* Gifted Learners may become perfectionists.
* Gifted Learners may fail to develop a sense of self-efficacy
* Gifted Learners may fail to develop tenacity in the face of obstacles.
* Gifted Learners may not develop study skills.
* Gifted Learners may fail to develop strong peer relationships.
* Gifted Learners may struggle with tasks that require cooperative work.

Any school that says it is there for the gifted learning needs address these issues in their program. I personally experienced all of these issues with my gifted learners as an educator. I struggled with the lazy learner by insisting that they ‘go deeper’ with their interpretations and detail, to adopt good study skills and work in cooperative groups as well as the host of other issues these points bring up.

Further, a teacher of the gifted MUST have the support and tools necessary to help these learners. Not an easy task – and many schools fail. Much of my last teaching assignment was taken up with educating the student on their emotional issues. This was obviously missing as indicated by their performance and behavior. It wasn’t until the last months of the school year did the students begin to respond by turning in quality work by the deadline. I spent an entire school year of dealing with non-academic issues so the student could learn to learn. And this is happening all over the world to our teachers and our most valuable minds!

If you have some hints or tips to share on how to manage these issues, please share them!