The topic of ‘giftedness’ is one that merits discussion to further develop our understanding of issues related to gifted students in our education system. I think that one major issue surrounding gifted programming includes our potential misconceptions as educators, about gifted students’ abilities to succeed. Other issues exist surrounding assessment bias, and ensuring that we are also enabling educators to discover Giftedness in all multicultural learners, including First Nations, Metis & Inuit students.
Gifted students are:
- highly sensitive
- keen sense of moral and ethical judgment
- able to process information from an array of topics, and make new connections.
- able to create their own personal organizational systems,
- proficient at using wider areas of the brain,
- possessors of longer memories,
- prone to ‘zoning’ out when concentrating
- keenly able to multi-task many items at a time.
- often more interested in questions rather than answers
- acutely aware of others who are gifted, and those who unerstand their unique needs, versus those who do not
Higher Order Thinking Skills:
Teaching higher order thinking skills is a necessity for gifted students. It helps them to build upon various skills sets, while at the same time giving them the opportunities to struggle and persevere, beyond merely retaining and synthesizing the information learned.
Higher Order Thinking looks like:
- linking cognition to reflections
- connecting empathy to memory
- linking new knowledge to previous experiences
- helping students to search for new patterns and making new conections
- informed decision making
- Engagement and creation of activities that include inventing, designing, composing, planning, decision making and self-evaluation
- promoting ethical and moral intelligence
- elaborating on qualities of character education initiatives and the ‘Seven Grandfather Teachings’ from First Nations Cultures
Considerations for Educators:
- allow for self-directed activities
- help students to set their own criteria, plan and self-evaluate!
- Remember that gifted students also need guidance and instruction just like any other student.
- Strive to ensure that instruction provides opportunities to increase attendance, and improve self-esteem and enthusiasm towards learning.
It is very difficult for educators to intuitively understand what gifted students need, and it takes a very special person to understand these needs. It is important for educators to tap into this ‘intuition’ and knowledge of Gifted students, in order to work to decrease bias in formative and summative assessment procedures, and work toward systemically increase the scores of multicultural groups, including First Nations, Metis & Inuit Students.
© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.