Your Child is Talented and Gifted: Now What?
Firstly, congratulations! The sky is the limit! It is the beginning of a fantastic journey. What does this mean for you and your family? Assuring your gifted and talented child’s placement in a fulfilling and challenging learning environment takes more planning and consideration than it might in a typical situation. Finding the right academic placement for your precocious child depends on more than just finding the nearest school. With the backup of National Standards for the Education of Gifted Students, this is the best time in history to get your child the best services out there. The best, and first, place to start is with an excellent educator.
The Best Teachers for your Gifted and Talented Child
The best beginning for your child is with the best teacher you can find. You have more power in picking your child’s teacher than you think. But, you have to exercise this power. Finding an effective teacher involves investigating their training, their experience and their interaction with the students in the classroom. The best teachers utilize educational theory and research as well as the latest curriculum strategies to provide the best learning environment possible.
Effective teachers will recognize their student’s strengths and weaknesses, and challenge them accordingly. They should be able to spot the specific cognitive characteristics of gifted and talented students. Designing an appropriate learning environment for a wide variety of students in a classroom, with all of the diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds that can be found, is extremely difficult. A professional Educator should be trained to deal with the specific needs of their classroom population.
Most general education professionals have not been trained to work specifically with children who are gifted and talented. It is not part of the core curriculum in many American teacher education programs. Many districts do not even have a dedicated staff member for this population, much less a developed curriculum. It is important for parents to know their rights and privileges as it pertains to ensuring that their child receives the best education possible.
Thankfully, the number of specialized teacher education programs that are focused on the education of the gifted and talented in today’s classrooms are growing. Because of this, many professional educators choose to specialize in the field of gifted and talented education. From there, they can continue to explore opportunities to master their specialty, as advanced standards and advanced degrees are available to the teachers looking to further their knowledge of gifted students. There are leadership roles within most districts for those willing to take on the responsibility of gifted education programs, specializations, possible research or teacher training.
The best information you will ever receive will come from the educators. Talk to them, ask your questions. Be an advocate for your family and your child as you search for the best placement for your child’s needs.