How to Help Gifted Children at School
Gifted children often pose a problem for teachers at school as they don't know how to provide for their needs. How can a teacher help gifted children at school?
The key to being able to help gifted children is to offer them activities that will really test their abilities. We’ll be giving you some tips to help you with this difficult but rewarding task.
Many teachers already include activities for gifted children in their daily classes, as sometimes conventional exercises aren’t motivating enough for these students. The teacher needs to use all their imagination and skill to exploit the potential in these children.
Nowadays it’s common to hear the term “gifted children” in school meetings. However, even though it’s becoming more common, finding the right way to teach them continues to be a real challenge.
It’s essential to remember that, regardless of whether they’re gifted or not, they’re still children as well as their classmates. For that reason, they should be treated with the same respect and understanding.
If these children are offered appropriate activities according to their abilities, then this will really stimulate them. If they can carry out small but interesting challenges on a daily basis, then the good results they obtain will be sufficient motivation to help them progress academically and excel.
What is a gifted child?
A gifted child is one that stands out on an academic, social or emotional level. They can stand out in all three, in two, or in only one. In Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, we can see that any given child can excel in one area or more, and, at the same time, develop normally in others.
In addition, these children usually have an IQ of well over 130, which can mean they’ll excel and stand out when they receive the right stimulation. If they don’t, then frustration or lack of self-esteem can cause the student to go unnoticed in terms of academic results.
Recognizing gifted children
To recognize or detect gifted children, you need to take into account the signs or characteristics that define them. Here are some of those signs:
- They get higher results than other children of the same age.
- They show excellent abilities early on. These can be the ability to detect unnoticed details, memorizing and learning easily, showing sensitivity towards certain topics, or asking a lot of questions.
- These children are motivated by difficult intellectual challenges.
- They usually get bored in class.
- They relate well to older children.
Although we can’t generalize, it’s quite common for gifted students to have social or emotional problems. By having a higher than average development in some fields, they may feel misunderstood or even frustrated.
This is especially the case with students of the same age group. This can create a rejection on both sides. For this reason, they sometimes feel more comfortable with older students, as they have a similar level of maturity.
By making use of appropriate activities for gifted children, teachers can easily turn a conventional class into something out of the ordinary. Using good planning to create more creative and complex activities will help these children discover their skills.
Activities to help gifted children
It’s a good idea to find and promote appropriate activities to stimulate and help gifted children at an educational, social, emotional, and cultural level. It’s essential for the children to take part in these activities in order for them to find more acceptance in the class.
In general, gifted students get bored when they have to carry out repetitive and monotonous activities. That’s why it’s important for them to do activities that involve abstract or divergent thinking, research, and even advanced exam papers.
These activities should be innovative, creative, original, entertaining and involve a constant challenge. Some of them can be:
- Proposing complementary, more advanced activities in the curriculum. These should be on the same topic that the rest of their classmates are studying.
- Knowledge enrichment workshops related to new technologies. These can include computer science, robotics, or advanced sciences. They’ll help them to go deeper into the topics using research and exploration.
- Using humor, through riddles and puzzles, to encourage them and increase their motivation.
- Using games, logic problems, and puzzles
- Encouraging them to attend classes in theater, dance, the performing arts or music. Another option is for them to participate in sports, especially team games.
If we want to find activities and help gifted children, we must use their opinions and interests as a starting point. In addition to this, we must ensure that these activities meet their demands and needs.
We’ll know that we’ve found the ideal activities when they start to show pride in their achievements.