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Teaching gifted kids in normal classes

WEDNESDAY, JULY 26, 2017 11:18 AM

Gifted children aren't always whisked off to a higher grade or special courses and schools. In fact, many stay with their peers in age-appropriate grades. This can become an issue if the gifted students aren't properly challenged. They may act out and not get the most out of their education. Teachers who have gifted kids in their regular classes should consider these tips to ensure they are addressing these student's needs:

Don't actively separate the gifted students

Edutopia wrote that some teachers try to provide extra stimulation to gifted students by offering them opportunities to serve as their assistants. This unfair treatment can make other students upset and is not the right way to challenge gifted kids. Separating these intelligent students into a position that may make their peers feel they have an advantage can harm the gifted kids' social development. It's hard enough navigating primary and secondary school as a regular student. Gifted students can learn at a higher level than their classmates without being actively separated in the classroom. Provide gifted kids with more difficult homework that challenges them - they can work on the assignments in class or after, reducing the potential for boredom.

Help gifted kids develop their talents

Teachers spend a lot of time with students, and they are in a great position to identify interests and skills. Gifted kids are particularly likely to show an aptitude for specific topics and activities so be sure to pay attention. If you notice a student really enjoys math, spend extra time challenging him or her in the subject. Offer all your students opportunities to dig deeper into topics they enjoy - this will keep them interested in school and help further development into what may become a career choice. 

Provide leadership opportunities

Educators must offer all students the chance to show their leadership skills. Gifted kids are in particular need of this opportunity as it may provide an excellent challenge that everyone in the class can learn from. Make sure every student can try their hand at being responsible for small group activities, in-class discussions and more. Gifted kids may take on these roles themselves because they are naturally inclined to lead. They may even consider becoming mentors to their classmates on specific subjects they have mastered.

Offer a mentor

Gifted students can benefit from seeking academic stimulation outside of the classroom. By working with a mentor or tutor after school hours, these kids can receive more individualized attention and learn outside of the Common Core State Standards. They may participate in regular classes and still learn there, like navigating social cues and interactions with same-age peers, while also spending extra time learning in a more personal setting. Teachers can assist parents in finding proper mentors or tutors to work with on overall education or specific subjects. Gifted kids who excel in math, for example, may choose to dig deeper into more complex mathematical concepts and equations outside of normal class.