Gifted Students Need Help, Too

Though this is an old story, it’s one that points to the limits of one-sized-fits-all education. Another reason why competition and choice rather than top-down approaches will benefit all students.

Ginger Lewman, a teacher of the talented and gifted, told the Emporia Gazette:

“We know classroom teachers are currently overworked with the constraints of NCLB (No Child left Behind) and meeting the needs of so many diverse learners, that often high-ability students are left to make it on their own. Gifted students require challenge to reach their full potential just as any student deserves, but the rigor and depth is not always provided in the very classrooms where they spend the huge majority of their time.”

Another teacher commented that the talented and gifted, once ignored, sometimes”decide to go underground or hide, never reaching their full potentials.”

When children are not challenged to meet their full potential–and helped along that way–we all lose.

Wonder why some kids are bored? Back to Lewman:

“Research tells us that many gifted students enter the school year knowing up to one-third of the content (to be) covered. So then in an optimal situation, students would be learning new information daily.”

But when they’re not, nothing good happens.

Said Marcia Law, another teacher: “We need to begin to look at children based on their skills where they are, and stop tracking by perhaps the least-appropriate method–age.”

Lawman and Law are members of the Kansas Association of the Gifted and Talented and Creative.

They point out that new technologies may help:

The women want high-achieving students to have academic opportunities to take advanced-placement classes, subject and grade acceleration, distance and virtual learning and possibly international baccalaureate classes, among other goals.

“One of the beauties of new technology is that we can bring these programs to any child, regardless of school location.Source: Emporians press for support of gifted children, Emporia Gazette, January 31, 2007.

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