Monthly Archives: March 2021

Mindfulness: Slowing Down to Speed Up Learning

Mindfulness is a heightened sense of ‘awareness’. Awareness of one’s self and awareness of the world around one’s self. It involves not only sensing things deeply, but also making deep observations about what one senses. Mindfulness requires one to ‘show up’ for lived experiences; to be engaged in life; to express openness to all the possibilities life offers; and to do so calmly and responsibly.

Due to asynchronous brain development, GT students’ self-awareness and ability to deeply respond to their environment can greatly benefit from mindfulness. Their experiences are both qualitatively and quantitatively different than their neuro-typical age-peers. Mindfulness is a powerful tool in their toolbox. Mindfulness enhances a GT student’s ability to be ‘cool, calm & collected’. It can reduce stress and anxiety, increase attentiveness, and promote a sense of well-being.

Twice-exceptional (2E) students face a unique set of challenges based on ignorance, misunderstanding, internal frustration, lack of social access to peers, and intellectual disparity. Mindfulness for 2E kids and the adults in their world can be life changing. Stress reduction, improved communication, ability to more fully focus on tasks, empathy, and self-awareness are all potential benefits. Twice-exceptional students can benefit from mindfulness both at home and at school. Parents can provide a supportive environment at home steeped in mindfulness and schools can provide students with beneficial mindfulness techniques.

Mindfulness can benefit teachers in their daily lives as well as in the classroom. It has been shown to reduce teacher burnout – a significant issue in education today. Teachers can accrue the same benefits from mindfulness as their students … less stress; better focus; the ability to empathize with others; and attentiveness to their own needs and the needs of their students. They who practice mindfulness are able to provide more caring and responsive classroom environments for their students which can lead to greater learning and student success.

Using mindfulness in the classroom dates back over 70 years and yet has only recently gained acceptance as a useful tool for teachers. It has been found to build resilience, regulate emotions, and increase flexibility in thinking. Implementing mindfulness in the classroom begins with the mindful and attentive behaviors by the teacher. Reflective teaching can inspire students to model their teacher’s behavior and increase positive interactions. Promoting mindfulness practices such as self-reflection and metacognition, considering different perspectives, going beyond standardized test-prep, encouraging creative thinking and innovation are all ways to introduce mindfulness.

Where can you find resources for mindfulness? Mindfulness resources are readily available on bookshelves, websites, and evidence-based programs. Many of these resources are referenced below. Parents and educators can also consider calming apps, utilizing guest experts in the classroom, and extra-curricular classes and activities.

A transcript of this chat may be found on our Wakelet page.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1PM NZDT/11AM AEDT/Midnight UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

The Gifted Kids Workbook: Mindfulness Skills to Help Children Reduce Stress, Balance Emotions, and Build Confidence

Mindfulness and the Gifted | IEA Gifted

Implementing Mindfulness in the Classroom | Dorothy Sisk

Mindfulness Practice Leads to Increases in Regional Brain Gray Matter Density | HHS National Institutes of Health

Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom (book)

When Teachers Take a Breath, Students Can Bloom | NPR

Best Practices for Bringing Mindfulness into Schools | Mindful.org

7 Simple Ways to Sneak Mindfulness into Your Teaching Day

Resources for Teaching Mindfulness: An International Handbook (book)

The Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Education Program on Pre- and Early Adolescents’ Well-Being and Social and Emotional Competence | ResearchGate

Planting the Seeds of Mindfulness: Creating the Conditions to Help Gifted Kids (book)

Mindfulness for Gifted Children | Mindfully Connected Learning Blog

Encouraging Mindfulness in 2e Children: Why Mindfulness Matters

Free Guided Meditations | UCLA Health

Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) (book)

The Power of Mindfulness | Child Mind Institute

The Art and Science of Mindfulness: How and Why it Helps Us Feel Better and Be Mentally Healthier | Child Mind Institute

Mindfulness, Life Skills, Resilience, and Emotional and Behavioral Problems for Gifted Low-Income Adolescents in China | Frontiers in Psychology

Response to a Mindful Self-Compassion Intervention in Teens: A Within-person Association of Mindfulness, Self-Compassion & Emotional Well-Being Outcomes | National Institutes of Health

3 Ways Mindfulness Can Benefit Gifted Girls | Prufrock Press Blog

Mindfulness | Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT Blog

On Being Gifted (Blog)

Headspace

Happy Teachers Change the World: A Guide for Cultivating Mindfulness in Education (book)

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Autonomous Learning for GT Students

As defined by Betts & Kercher, an autonomous learner is “one who solves problems through a combination of divergent and convergent thinking, and functions with minimal external guidance in selected areas of endeavor.” Autonomous learners are students who progress from student to learner to teacher. They are set on a path towards independent self-directed, life-long learning. Autonomous GT learners “comprehend the concepts of giftedness, talent, intelligence and creativity.” (Betts 2003)

Autonomous learners are self-reliant but able to effectively work with others. They are decision-makers, problem solvers, life-long learners, critical thinkers and possess self-esteem. Autonomous learners value taking ownerships of their learning and working with their teachers; eventually assuming the role of teacher in their individual areas of passion. Autonomous learners possess skills to effectively interact with others in a variety of settings. They seek out mentors to guide their learning and readily accept teachers as facilitators of learning.

Autonomous learning skills include inter/intra personal skills which enable students to interact effectively with other students; individualized study skills; and organizational skills. Autonomous learners exhibit critical thinking skills, problem-finding skills as well as problem-solving skills, and creative thinking skills. They possess technology skills to guide their passion pursuits, conduct research, connect with mentors and peers, and participate in online seminars. Autonomous learners utilize technology to develop knowledge products.

Autonomous learning produces life-long learners, healthy self-esteem, and effective leaders. Autonomous learners are individuals who possess cognitive, social-emotional, and physical skills. The have a positive self-image and understand their abilities in relationship to themselves and society. (Betts, 2003) Students who are autonomous learners can work independently and in groups. They take ownership of their learning and have positive relationships with their teachers.

Developing autonomous learners often requires a new mindset for administrators and educators. There must be a willingness to cede control of the learning process to the student. Autonomous learning means seeing education from a different perspective. Modifications to the system rather than the student are necessary for success. Education evolves from providing knowledge to facilitating learning. Autonomous learners are developed through curriculum differentiation, SEL learning, removal of time and space restrictions, integrated and cross-disciplinary learning, and in-depth studies.

Promoting autonomous learning in the classroom begins with educating all stake-holders about exactly what autonomous learning is and its benefits. Students are not generally used to being able to direct their learning and teachers may struggle with relinquishing control. However, with perseverance and openness to change; it can succeed.

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1PM NZDT/11AM AEDT/Midnight UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Autonomous Learner Model Resource Book (2017)  

Models for the Gifted: Autonomous Learning Model

The Autonomous Learning Model for High School Programming (pdf 2003)

The Autonomous Learner Model for Developing Potential (pdf 2017)

Presently Gifted: Autonomous Learner Model

Autonomous Learner Model: Optimizing Ability (book)

Supporting the Development of Autonomous Learning Skills in Reading and Writing in an Independent Language Learning Centre | SiSAL Journal

The Autonomy Project Site

What is Learner Autonomy and How Can It Be Fostered? | The Internet TESL Journal

Learner Autonomy FAQ: What is it and why do we need it? (SlideShare)

Learner Autonomy Self Assessment (SlideShare)

Why I Feel I Can Be an Autonomous Learner (SlideShare)

The Six Types of Gifted Child: The Autonomous

Giftedness and Talent in the 21st Century: The Autonomous Learner Model (Abstract/Preview Only)

Fostering Autonomous Learners through Levels of Differentiation (Abstract/Citations Only) | Roeper Review

Growing the Gifted: The Autonomous Learner Model

Autonomous Learner Model (Prezi)

Comparative Study Models Used in the Education of Gifted Children (pdf) |Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences (SciVerce ScienceDirect)

The Autonomous Learner Model (ppt) | Fears

The Journey of Lifelong Learning (pdf) | Betts (2005)

Developing Responsible and Autonomous Learners: A Key to Motivating Students | American Psychological Association

Learner-Centered Classroom Practices and Assessments Maximizing Student Motivation, Learning, and Achievement (book) | Corwin

The Impact of Learner-Centered Practices on the Academic and Non-Academic Outcomes of Upper Elementary and Middle School Students | ResearchGate

Tapping the Voices of Learners for Authentic Student Engagement (pdf) | University of Arkansas (Theses and Dissertations)

The Autonomous Learning Model by Betts and Kercher (SlidePlayer)

Profiles of the Gifted and Talented | Davidson Gifted

Cybraryman’s Learning from Mistakes Page https://bit.ly/38UM7O6

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

GT Teachers: Sage on the Stage, Facilitator or Role Model?

A GT teacher’s role can be many things and occur in many different settings. When GT teachers are placed into regular classrooms, the efficacy of their role comes into question. Much depends on why a school district chooses this option. The benefits are usually accrued by the budget and public opinion.  GT educators who teach in pull-out programs and stand-alone classrooms have much more flexibility on curriculum and teaching strategies to address the needs of their students. The role of GT educators in a general education classroom is often one of being a teacher’s assistant and working with all students rather than students identified for the gifted program.

The idea of being a ‘sage on the stage’ has been challenged in recent years in favor of finding ways to facilitate learning. Most GT students are capable of accessing and understanding content. However, there may still be a role for lecturers in today’s classrooms. The timing and appropriateness of being a primary source of information is dependent on the make-up of a classroom or group of GT students. Also, the age and maturity of the students can play an important role as well. One other important aspect of being a ‘sage on the stage’ depends on teacher qualifications and credentials. At the secondary level, an educator who is also an expert in a particular field may well be the right choice to serve in this capacity.

A3The role of facilitator for a GT teacher is a rewarding one. Facilitation of learning is what it’s all about! As a teaching strategy, it allows teachers and students to connect in new ways. Teachers who serve as facilitators have the opportunity to explore students’ interests with them and assist in finding mentors, internships and research projects to further their studies. A teacher who facilitates learning spends less time on rote learning and more time accessing ways to provide project-based learning, experiential learning, students’ self-assessments, and Socratic learning.

Being a role model for students is an integral part of teaching and learning. For many students, their teacher will be their only role model. It can be challenging to serve as a role model, but it does not have to be all-encompassing. In the era of #COVID19, the idea of being a role model has taken on new meaning. It can involve many aspects of student-teacher relationships; not the least, of better mental health for both.

How a school chooses to provide gifted programming can make all the difference in the life of a GT student and impact a teacher’s role. Teachers are keenly aware of whether or not they have the support of their administration and school board. This impacts the scope of opportunities they can provide for their students. When parents and advocates for gifted education make their voices heard, GT teachers are able to expand their roles in the classroom.

Professional development opportunities at the local level are few and far between; mainly in larger school districts. It’s important to advocate for gifted credentials which increases the likelihood of availability. State and national gifted conferences are excellent ways to receive PD. State gifted organizations also may have regional offerings and online programs as well.

A transcript may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/Midnight UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Tips for Teachers: Successful Strategies for Teaching Gifted Learners | Davidson Gifted

Tips for Teaching Gifted Students

How I Do It: Engage Early Finishers

Five Ways to Support Gifted Students in Your Classroom

50 Tips, Tricks and Ideas for Teaching Gifted Students

How to Engage Gifted and Talented Students in the Classroom

Ignite the Fire with Gifted Instruction: 10 Effective Instructional Practices

Instructional Strategies for Gifted Education

Gifted and Talented Students: Teaching Strategies (YouTube 2:56)

Strategies for Diverse Learners Using the UDL Model Focus on Gifted Learners | Ohio Department of Education

Instructional Strategies for Gifted/LD Students

Teaching Gifted Education

Best Practices in Gifted Programming (pdf) | Arlington Public Schools

Instructional Strategies | Texas Education Association

Selecting Instructional Strategies for Gifted Learners | Focus on Exceptional Children (Research Gate)

Teaching Strategies to Support the Education of Gifted Learners | APA PsycNet

Strategies and Approaches for Instruction: Fall 2020 Return to Learn and Gifted and Talented Learners | Iowa Talented and Gifted Association

Teaching Gifted Children: Success Strategies for Teaching High-Ability Learners | Prufrock Press

Coaching Tool for Classrooms Supporting Gifted Education (pdf) | Arizona Education Department

Talented and Gifted Teaching Methods: Are Teachers Prepared to Teach the Talented and Gift (pdf) | Iowa Research Online

Lessons Learned About Educating the Gifted and Talented: A Synthesis of the Research on Educational Practice (pdf) | Gifted Child Quarterly

Gimkit (App)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Making Connections in the GT Community

This week we chatted about making connections with all stakeholders in the gifted community. Educators have many options to connect with other educators online and soon offline. Of course, educators can connect at the local level during professional development on their campuses or district-wide; in-person when available, but also online. In rural areas and smaller school districts, educators can avail themselves of regional and state-wide learning opportunities which lead to valuable connections. Perhaps the best place is at state, national and international conferences. Right now, they or their school districts have the added bonus of not having to pay travel expenses.

How and where can GT students connect? When we return to a more normal way of life, many elementary GT students connect during pull-out or standalone classes at school. Some may travel to central campuses to learn with other GT kids. Other great places for students to connect is at academic competitions, parent support group sponsored weekend activities and summer academic or arts camps. GT students can also connect online; particularly as their get older through university programs. Schools and mentors can also provide opportunities for them to connect with academic peers.

Where can parents connect with other parents of GT students? At the local level, it’s trickier for parents to connect. Many rely on their child letting them know who other gifted kids are because this information isn’t available from schools due to privacy issues. Parent advocacy groups are a great way to meet other parents. These groups can advocate with their school district to ‘spread the word’ of their existence directly to parents of gifted students. Parents support groups provide a way for parents, parents and teachers, and students to connect. If one doesn’t exist, start one!

Once a child is identified for gifted services, parents can get an idea of how robust the gifted program is at their child’s school. This is a good indication of whether a support, advocacy or both are needed. Parents can ask the school to assist them is alerting of gifted parents about the existence of a parent group. If they are resistant to doing this, parents can get involved with existing parent groups and network there. In states with gifted organizations, parents can go to their website for information. Many local groups are affiliated with state organizations. National organizations may also have contact information and how-to organize tips.

What are some ways to connect at gifted conferences? For conference attendees active on Twitter, Tweet Ups are great ways to connect during the conference; usually in the evening after scheduled activities. These can lead to life-long connections with annual opportunities. Another way to connect is to take the opportunity to network with other participants  and presenters who share your interests during and after sessions at the conference. Be sure to take business cards or similar for subsequent communication. While conferences are still online, it’s still possible to connect during sessions through conference apps and comments sections. Though not ideal, it is nice to connect with folks you know as well as with presenters.

In what ways have you connected during the pandemic which you’d like to continue? Online conferences have been a great way to connect. Without the need to travel, I have been able to take advantage of more conferences and connect with more people. I can also attend many more sessions on my own schedule. Using social media platforms responsibly (like Twitter chats!) is a renewed source for connecting. Having more spare time has allowed me to connect more often online.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/Midnight UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Resources:

GERRIC – Gifted Education | University of New South Wales (AU)

Connecting Your Students with the Virtual World (book) | Jerry Blumengarten

Cybraryman’s Gifted and Talented Page

A Smile Can Lift the Veil of Social Isolation | Dr. Nicole Tetreault

Parents of Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Kids | Facebook Group (Private)

The GHF Forum

GHF Dialogue

The Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education https://bit.ly/3ca3lYx

National Association for Gifted Children | NAGC

GHF Learners | GHF

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented | TAGT

World Council for Gifted and Talented Children | WCGTC

Support Emotional Needs of the Gifted | SENG

European Council for High Ability | ECHA

Potential Plus UK | PPUK

Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University | CTY

Institute for Educational Advancement | IEA

New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education

Intergifted

Gifted Support Network

Davidson Institute

Self-Identity and Global Connections

Connecting for High Potential

Gifted Online Communities | Hoagies Gifted

TAGT Leadership Conference March 23rd – June 15th

NAGC 2021 Leadership and Advocacy Conference March 22nd – 24th

WCGTC 2021 Virtual World Conference July 31st – August 1st and August 7th – 8th

SENG 2021 Online Annual Conference July 22nd – 25th

43rd Confratute Virtual Learning Experience July 12th – 14th | UCONN

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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