Personalizing The Curriculum To Challenge Gifted And Talented Learners
All students show an aptitude for certain subjects, but what about those students are significantly advanced in areas such as math, language, music, and arts? Those are the students that are admitted into gifted and talented programs around the country in hopes to support and expand their learning capabilities. Just like athletes, gifted and talented students require a specialized teacher to guide them.
Although there are more than 3 million students that are identified as gifted and talented across the United States, there are no specific requirements or guidelines for teaching these children. Federal law acknowledges that these students have different needs that are not typically offered in a traditional school setting, but the programs are currently limited to the responsibility and leadership of the individual school or district.
Students In The Classroom
Most gifted and talented students that are admitted to the program do so because of a teacher, school administrator, or an involved parent. Without someone recognizing their talent, they wouldn’t be challenged in the classroom.
Programs for gifted and talented students are not “one shoe fits all” programs. Each student is different and will require different learning environments. The idea is to curate a program that can adapt to the student and not the other way around. As most services are determined locally, rarely rising past state level, a good program should provide accommodations within a regular classroom with the addition of assignments in both their regular classes and special classes. Allowing the student to stay within a group of students with similar abilities and talents can prevent the deterioration of skills and enable the meeting of minds. The program should always provide a grade advancement portion for those that are prepared to move on to the next grade.
Teaching Gifted Students
As an educator, the goal of teaching a gifted and talented student is to allow them to reach their full potential and providing the support they need to achieve it. Teachers that work with these students will have the same responsibilities as all other teachers, but with the addition of challenging their students and pushing their limits within and outside of the classroom.
Gifted and talented teachers have to plan challenging course lessons and stimulating assignments that allow students to work at their ability levels. They have to develop and learn new methods as well as gathering new materials and resources to best benefit their students, rather than keeping them at the usual level. Keeping students and parents up to date about the different opportunities open to the student, also including the various difficulties that the student may face. The teacher should, if they are a secondary education teacher, assist in the picking of career and college.
Gifted and talented students thrive when placed into the proper programs, or into any program that supports their learning. Students who are not may become victims of bullying and segregation within their school. They can be called names, like a young gifted and talented student at Jefferson Elementary School in New York who was repeatedly called “nerd” and “egghead” as reported by Educational Leadership. Giving students the right environment to succeed in their learning benefits them both in the short-term and long-term.
Why Is Curriculum So Important?
The purpose of school is to create an environment for students to thrive in and therefore the environment needs to be adjusted to suit different learning levels and styles. Students that qualify for gifted and talented programs flourish when provided a challenge versus students who do not show the same enthusiasm or focus when it comes to education. Creating a specialized curriculum will help these students grow and continue to provide opportunities allowing them to move forward. The current curriculum will staunch development when the real goal should be enrichment.