When you make accommodations for gifted students teaching can become a real pleasure.
Accommodations for gifted students at school
It is wonderful for teachers to see children absorbing information much more quickly than is expected and to be excelling at many challenging tasks you put before them. At the same time, few teachers actually understand the best way to approach gifted students. Especially if they are comparatively much less developed emotionally or socially.
It might seem natural to praise them, put them on a pedestal and give them more work to do. But in fact, treating them out of the ordinary or any different from other students can bring about a number of problems, which in turn make the entire learning experience far less enjoyable and rewarding. Instead, it is best to take other steps in best accommodating their presence in the classroom.
Accommodations for gifted students covers areas such as:
- Differentiation strategies for gifted students
- Strategies for gifted students in the regular classroom
- Tips for teaching gifted students
- How to challenge gifted students
- Assistive technology for gifted students
- Curriculum for gifted students
What you should NOT DO with gifted students
First up, here’s a better look at what sorts of things you SHOULD NOT be doing when you have gifted students in your classroom.
1. Expect perfect behavior
Just because they are gifted academically, does not mean that these students will be developed in all other ways. In fact, gifted students tend to get bored more quickly, especially if the work put before them is not mentally tasking enough. With extra time on their hands, it is easy to turn to bad behavior and start acting out.
The problem can be heightened if they see how much you value and take pride in their great academic performance and use this as a means to test your patience with them.
2. Fail to give them suitable supervision
Just because a student is gifted and can work through questions and problems on their own, it doesn’t mean that they will do it. Simply giving them a sheet to work through and expecting them to get on with it is a big mistake. Instead, give them just as much attention as you would any other child.
You need to ensure they stay on track and have the right motivation to work to the best of their abilities. As such, never leave them to work in a different part of the room in isolation.
3. Make them assistants to your lessons
It can be tempting to continually showcase the excellent work your gifted student does and then use them to help advance the learning of others in the classroom. This is in no way approved by education boards as it can do the child a lot of harm. It can lead them to quickly feel different and isolated from their peers, as if they don’t belong.
Many other students could come to resent the fact they are being taught or led by someone their own age and possibly bully the student outside of the classroom.
4. Expect high performance across all subjects
Just because a student is gifted in one subject matter, it does not mean they will excel across the board. Every student is different and their mind may work best at solving certain problems. For example, they might take to mathematical problems far more easily than those involving the written word.
Also, even within subjects, it can be a common mistake to assume that a student will excel in all aspects of the curriculum. For example, they may have a reading level that is very advanced for their age, but be unable to maintain this performance when it comes to writing their own stories.
5. Assign them extra work when finishing early
If a gifted student finishes some classwork or homework early, then this does not mean that you need to load them up with more work right away. You might think that doing so is helping to advance their learning. However, this can be quite far from the case. Assigning them more work is, in essence, punishing them for being smart.
At least, this is how it is oftentimes perceived by the student. Instead, it is better to praise their efforts and allow them to enjoy the added freedom their excellent work rewards them.
What you should DO with gifted students
On the flip side, there are plenty of things you should be doing in order to promote a healthy learning environment for everyone in your classroom.
6. Take your own education to a higher level
If much of the information discussed here is new to you, then it would be best to further develop your understanding of gifted students. There are plenty of courses around, both online and offline, that allow you to gain deeper insight into best practices for teaching gifted students.
In turn, you benefit from having a better knowledge on the matter of teaching and your students have a more able teacher.
7. Identify which areas they are most gifted in
As discussed above, gifted students are not necessarily gifted in all areas. It is therefore very useful to identify early on where they are gifted. In turn, you can devise a tailored approach to their learning that allows you to capitalize on their strengths and help support areas in which they are weaker. This process might take a few weeks and might require you to speak with them privately and to assess their relative mental development.
It would also be wise to speak to other teachers that have taught or who still teach the student, and to create a plan together.
8. Include additional curriculum-approved units
Over the years, a number of curriculum units have been developed and approved which are tailor-made for gifted students. These go beyond what is typically involved in the curriculum, but do not push gifted students too far beyond their development.
There are a few different ways to find such units, and the following websites can be good places to start:
9. Create collaboration between gifted students
Isolating gifted students away from the rest of the class is never a good thing if done all the time. However, this doesn’t mean that gifted students should not be allowed to work together. Instead, pairing students who are both excelling in different areas will allow them to enhance their learning by pooling their combined skills. This collaboration doesn’t have to be fostered solely in the classroom.
Instead, finding suitable Summer programs or weekend groups could be a good place for them to discover like-minded individuals.
10. Rounding off
Just remember, every student is different, regardless of whether they are gifted or not. Every student has specific needs so should be given time and attention in order to enhance their development.
Hopefully now, you are better prepared to create the perfect environment for a gifted student whom you have the pleasure of teaching. If you’re a teacher sign up for your free funding account today.
Interesting read: Best Practices in Education