Written by Rebecca Stinson, a Clonlara School guest blogger (***Clonlara School does not endorse or recommend any product/service in connection with this author***)
Description: Talented children are surely special ones, hence deserve a special attention during their academic years. This article presents useful methods for teaching the gifted.
The main aim of any school is to teach and develop. The major part of its success depends on a teacher – the more qualified, well-trained and motivated the instructor is, the better. However, if one takes a closer look at the modern teaching methods, it becomes obvious that the educators are not as perfect as they should be nowadays. Current educational methods are targeted at an average mass of students, which unfortunately means that children are not taught individually, according to their abilities, potential and requirements. Especially the gifted children. It’s actually a great problem and a kind of ethical dilemma – should talented children be taught individually?
Let’s define the term “gifted child” first. What is so special about these students? Well, “talented or gifted children” are individuals aged between 5-20, whose abilities and potential are exceptional, which can be proven by high achievements, great learning capacities and production. Hence they require individual courses to meet their needs. This term includes the twice exceptional students (children with disabilities) and other talented students with extraordinary abilities. These students are capable of high performance, which implies:
• Creative and unusual ways of thinking
• Some specific abilities (usually intellectual ones)
• Outstanding academic performance
• Abilities connected with art
Unfortunately, the majority of such students get their education in regular classrooms. If we consider the higher educational institutions, it becomes obvious that only a small percentage of the universities do offer special programs. Moreover, only a few states provide their teachers with special training programs, while 36 states don’t have any of those. Thus, it is vital that professors, teachers and other personnel become familiar with the characteristics of their students. It would be easier to develop a range of strategies aimed to meet children learning needs and different requirements. Here are some common methods applied by the teachers while teaching talented students:
1. Avoid any drill or boring practices. Try to encourage active learning. Any child wants to be active, and gifted ones demonstrate even a higher energy level and enthusiasm. Keep these children challenged and interested.
2. Try to be aware of what students already know. Remember that they grasp the material much quicker than their fellow students. Hence, be prepared for this – always have extra challenging tasks and activities.
3. Give a freedom of choice. Let the children establish their own learning opportunities, goals and strategies. Keep them motivated, as they usually need a chance for self-assessment.
4. Provide children with the project-based learning opportunities, as it is rather student-centered model than the teacher’s one. This way students become responsible for their studies and deeds.
5. Involve your students in some extra curriculum competitions held right at your school. This will motivate children, and improve their group interaction and leadership skills.
6. Adult involvement. Find a peer or mentor to work with a student, because even gifted children need “tutors” too!
7. You can also implement Multiple Intelligences theory into your classes, according to which every human being possess seven different types of intelligences, such as: interpersonal and interpersonal, linguistic and musical, mathematical, visual, etc. If you use it correctly, you will see how every student performs in this or that area and subject.
That’s, of course, not an exhaustive list of methods and strategies, but sticking to these common and useful points may help you improve the academical performance and let the children enjoy their studies.
This is a guest blog by Rebecca Stinson, writer and editor, who works for WriteMyPapers. I had been working as a teacher for several years and then decided to start writing.