Ways that schools help and hinder Gifted students.

The justification for gifted education is simple: Academically advanced children should be given work at their speed and level, both to nurture their talents and prevent them from becoming bored and disruptive in class.

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I came across an interesting article this week: 4 ways schools help  or hinder Giftedness

This does make links to schooling in America but I believe there are links to Australia too.

Slow growth – it is often found in many schools that students who score highly in NAPLAN (albeit controversial testing) often do not show growth. How can we ensure that high achievers continue to achieve? There are many ways we can do this but change may be needed within the classroom – pull out groups, grouping within the classroom, acceleration, project based activities are just a few ideas.

Identification – are we using the appropriate identification tools for the students in our schools? Do you consider if you have students from a non-english speaking background? Indigenous background? Born overseas? Refugee? Each school needs to consider how they use standardised testing BUT they also need to consider how well teachers are equipped to create high quality pre assessments to gather data as well as good observation skills so they can pick up underachievers and 2e students (Twice exceptional)

Advanced curriculum – How well do we cater for gifted students in the classroom? Do we extend or enrich their learning? Teachers need to consider if they just need to be stretched sideways (problem solving, critical thinking within the current grade outcomes) or advanced to harder content (acceleration through stages). Many Gifted students will benefit from a combination of both but many do not receive this in the mainstream classroom. Teachers do need support for this to happen.

Tailor to students interests – It is really important that with Gifted students – and with other students also, that we tailor to their interests as much as possible. Think about how a lesson can be taught that catches students attention so not only are they excited about learning, they can use the great skills they have to build on skills in other areas. A students who is talented in mathematics can be extended in other ways – not always just in mathematics. They have the reasoning skills and the problem solving skills that may help them to solve environmental issues, humanitarian crisis or just something as simple as an issue in how the school timetable flows.

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