Gifted and High Achievers in the same ‘gifted’ classroom? My husband had a discussion today with a coworker. Most of his coworkers know that I’m a certified teacher with training in teaching gifted. Sometimes this brings up interesting discussions at his work. Today’s discussion was with a single mom who had been doing her research. She said the school officials wanted to put her daughter in a gifted class at the age of 7 or 8 years old but the daughter had not tested gifted – she was a ‘high achiever’.
What the coworker discovered was that high achieving students do quite well with the gifted student up to about grade 5. Then a wide gap in processing and thinking becomes noticeable to the students. The high achiever losses confidence at about this age for a number of reasons but to add the fact that ‘you used to be smart’ when compared to others in an ‘elite’ class can do some serious damage to a young person’s academic confidence. It becomes even more complex if the parent has talked up having their child in a gifted program.
My husband’s coworker really feels strongly that there should be classes for the high achievers but she felt that clumping them with the gifted may not be the answer. There are several school districts in the area that have adopted this strategy. Through my professional training, I was encouraged to locate and read research from both sides of an issue before making a decision regarding the education of any child. I would hope that these school districts have done their research.
I’m always impressed with parents who spend the time really digging through the complex issues of rearing a gifted child or any child for that matter. We all want to do our best for our children. I’ve listed several great sites on my “For Gifted Minds: Parents & Teachers” link to start researching the difference between a high achieving student (which the world truly needs) and the gifted child (which the world truly needs) and begin educating them appropriately.