First, Best, or Different

My husband has always said this about sales – you need to get to market “first, best or different”. He means, first with a new product to market; making the best version of the product; or making your product identifiably different! All these can maximise sales.

The same three words could describe gifted students. Are they often first to understand? Is their work generally up to a personal high standard in some area? Do they sometimes interpret the question with a different understanding and produce something unique? These three factors can be what distinguishes them from an average student.

First and best are the lesser two categories that cause problems. The “different” space is the area I want to address. Continue reading “First, Best, or Different”

Everything … or nothing?

Some days I just get overloaded with everything I seem to want to do. We can fill our lives with so many activities, that we scarcely have time to take a breath and enjoy it! And when push comes to shove – I have to resist the temptation to become paralysed by overload, and end up doing nothing at all!!

Our gifted kids can be like this, too. Some are perfectionists, and a quick brush with a topic is not rewarding for them. Life can become too full of activity – music lessons, tennis coaching, tutoring in maths, orchestra practice, ballet, homework – trying to reach their potential in all they can achieve. Then, suddenly, one day, they can simply say, “I have had enough!” At this point – no, preferably, way before this point, we should be seriously considering “what are good limits?”

Continue reading “Everything … or nothing?”

Change is in the Air

Do you sometimes just want to do something different. Ever felt like that? Take a different route to school? Cook dinner a different way? Or maybe, expect something to happen in a different way? I thrive on change, but amongst some of our gifted children, I would be the outsider, not the norm.

You don’t have to be gifted to find change difficult, but there is a tendency among some of the gifted to find change increasingly stressful. A change of teacher, timetable changes and transitions, a sudden change in the arrangements for an outing, or even a change to normal routines at home, can bring out a tenacity in some gifted people that will resist change at all costs. Often it could be a resistance to changing their opinion, or a resistance to seeing things from someone else’s viewpoint, or simply a resistance to finishing what they are working on.

Continue reading “Change is in the Air”

Boredom is so last year …

You hear it at home, at school, at your friends’ dinner party… I’m bored!

If you have ever stubbed your toe, you know how much it hurts. But, do you go around saying my toe hurts when you haven’t stubbed it? No!! You only say it hurts when it has actually happened to you.

Likewise, these kids probably are bored! They might have covered that subject in a book, video, tv programme or on the internet, already. What is to stop these children from saying they are bored? Things that don’t bore them, surely!

Now, I know every subject at school is not going to interest every child, every time. Continue reading “Boredom is so last year …”

And now to Attitude …

“Yes…some of you might say – their attitudes are the problem. They just don’t try to fit in.” I agree, some gifted students, me included, can sometimes have an attitude that does not easily engender harmony, but we are all human. We are all different, and what do you use to define a good attitude? Compliance? Questioning? Conviviality? Open-mindedness?

I have had to step back in my class many times and ask myself – “Is getting ruffled by this student’s apparent bad attitude going to help the situation, or hinder it?” Some students look at life with such a different lense to myself, that I have to remember, I am the adult here. I am supposed to be the teacher – and I need to find a way to reach this child no matter what their attitude is. My attitude has got to be professional.

Continue reading “And now to Attitude …”

Thinkers Online is back …

Hmmmm . . .

I’m thinking . . . where do you start when you have so much to say?

Have you met a disillusioned parent of a gifted child who is not enjoying school? They have every right to expect their child should be able to enjoy their school years as much as the next child, but sadly, so often, they don’t.

There are many different reasons for this, just as there are many different reasons for being late home from work!! I couldn’t cover them all in two years of blogging, but I am going to have a try for as long as I can. If one little morsel helps one gifted child to enjoy school, or one teacher enjoy their gifted child more, or one parent of a gifted child to sleep with less anxiety, then I will be pleased.

But for now, what do I start with? The letter “A” is one idea!

“A” might be for anxiety, acceleration, awesome activities, assessment, asynchronous development, or attitude!

I’ll start with asynchronous development – the meaning of which is developing in uneven levels depending on the factors being studied. Often, our gifted students are exceptionally good at some activities, but very average or even under-developed in others. It would be sad to think they would miss out on working with their strengths, in favour of dealing with their weaknesses all the time. You know, the very child who misbehaves in a regular class is not allowed to take part in the extension class, where his/her behaviour might miraculously improve because of the fact there is real challenge for them in a subject they enjoy.

Oral language can be way above reading development and spelling, or academics way above social development. That’s ok, it is what makes our gifted even more unique, and difficult to generalise about. We will just have to treat them as individuals, and start personalising their learning just as we are asked to do for all students.

And then there’s “Johnny” – great sportsman, wins all the titles, exemplary behaviour, but put him in the classroom with a pencil and paper – and suddenly, turmoil on the planet! But “that’s ok, he’s just not an academic!”

Why do we accept that someone is a great sportsman, but not very good academically, but if the shoe is on the other foot, and we have a great academic who doesn’t enjoy sport, we are told for their own benefit, they should be given a broader education outdoors and be compelled to join a team?

Life’s not fair – I accept that, but can’t it be not fair on everyone, to make it fair?

Just a thought to leave you with …