Education & Skilling

Teaching gifted children

20 Feb 2017, by Amy Sarcevic

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Teaching gifted students is no easy feat. Easily bored and often more knowledgeable than their teachers, these children frequently come in the guise of class nuisances or even under-performers.

Yet, like any other child, gifted students have a right to an education which stimulates and stretches them.

The question is ‘how?’.

Christine Ireland of AAEGT spoke with Informa ahead of her presentation at the Special Educational Needs Summit, shedding light on some of the intervention strategies that all schools must be putting in place to ensure that gifted students receive the education they deserve.

“Our current system often represses gifted students” she says. “It tends to foster and identify specific types of achievers – traditional, academic achievers”.

Deborah Glass, President, AAEGT is due to speak at the Special Education Summit in Sydney this May.

This is despite the range of ability domains – including social, creative and physical – that are now recognized as areas in which a person may be ‘gifted’.

“A child could have no interest in regular classroom activities and continually under-perform in tests; yet excel in leadership, piano playing or dancing, for example”, says Christine. “If these skills are not identified or cultivated, a child may become disinterested or even rebellious”.

Christine notes the success of schools which do not force children into strict academic molds and instead provide a range of elective, extra-curricular activities to showcase and nourish their students’ diverse talents.

For intellectually gifted children the issue lies in the frustration of coming to school to learn information that was acquired years prior. “Intellectually gifted children tend to mentally ‘shut down’ if they are not pushed beyond their current ability level. They may become isolated and often disruptive”, she adds.

Christine cites the importance of developing “whole school awareness” in helping to combat the isolation that is often associated with being distinctly talented, as well as developing flexible lesson plans that cater for a variety of intellect levels.

She will talk in depth about these intervention strategies at the Special Educational Needs Summit, reflecting on her own two-decade career in teaching as well as her more recent work in consulting schools on the subject.

Learn more about the Summit and book your place here.

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