Monthly Archives: November 2021

Inspiring Engagement through GT Teacher-Student Relationships

Good teacher-student relationships matter because the positive results can cascade through the entire educational experience for both teacher and student as well as the classroom environment and enhance learning outcomes for all. Positive teacher-student relationships can reduce conflict, increase a student’s adjustment to school, and promote academic performance and success. It can increase student autonomy, self-directed learning, and student voice. Building quality teacher-student relationships as early as kindergarten can have lifelong impact including academic achievement and fewer behavioral issues.

Teachers of the gifted understand GT are often the first to recognize a student’s abilities. They facilitate accelerated pacing along with independent study, encourage divergent and original thinking, and make learning fun by challenging their students. Teachers who teach GT emphasize depth and complexity in their differentiated curriculum, promote collaboration of students’ intellectual peers, and create learner-centered classrooms. GT teachers understand the risks of perfectionism and seek to reduce stress and tension in the classroom. They help students who may be disorganized or have poor study habits.

Positive relationships between teachers and GT students can lead to higher quality learning environments. It begins with teachers being secure in their belief in their own ability to teach GT students. Teachers can have important influence on academic success of GT students when they have a deep understanding of their characteristics. TSRs can increase the probability of higher levels of academic engagement and success by motivating students’ enthusiasm for learning. (Kenter et al, 2008)

What strategies can be used to improve relationships with difficult students? Dealing with difficult students can be one of the hardest challenges because it usually affects an entire class or classroom. Rather than reacting to the behavior, it’s important to first understand the causes. Students do not always have full control over their behavior and may not understand the reasons behind them. The first step should be to talk with the student; focusing on open-ended questions to determine the root causes for disengagement. Insights learned from talking to a student can be used to increase the precision of one’s teaching; to address barriers to learning which may exist. These students may require more effort to develop and sustain a positive relationship.

How can TSRs be used in Teaching Through Interactions – emotional support, instructional support, classroom atmosphere – to build engagement? Emotional support involves encouraging students to do their best, being there for moral support in difficult situations, substituting discussion for direct instruction, and resisting judging the student’s behavior. Instructional support can mean encouraging students to think outside the box and explore personal passions; connecting the curriculum with real-life experiences; or even new ways to think about a topic of discussion. Classroom atmosphere revolves around behavior management, making sure the class is on task, that students feel they are in a safe environment, and that productive outcomes from learning are achievable.

How can we evaluate teacher-student relationships? Diagnostic tools can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses of the TSR including teacher observation, student reporting, and even having a younger student draw pictures. Even in the best relationships, difficulties can arise. This may require help from another teacher, school psychologist, or administrator who expresses support for efforts being made to improve TSRs.

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 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1AM 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:

Gifted Children’s Relationships with Teachers (pdf) | International Education Journal

Establishing Positive Relationships with Secondary Gifted Students and Students with Emotional/ Behavioral Disorders: Giving These Diverse Learners What They Need (pdf) | Australian Journal of Teacher Education

Gifted Students’ Engagement In A Middle School Research And Critical Thinking Course (pdf)

Show & Tell: A Video Column/Why Do Students Disengage? | ASCD

How Students Learn: History, Mathematics and Science in the Classroom (pdf)

Cognitive Challenges to Effective Teaching and Learning: Perspectives of Senior High School Teachers (2021) | International Journal of Innovative Research and Development

Students’ Perception of Teachers’ Two-way Feedback Interactions that Impact Learning | School Psychology of Education

Praise and Feedback in the Primary Classroom: Teachers’ and Students’ Perspectives (pdf) | Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology

Conceptualizing the Role and Influence of Student-Teacher Relationships on Children’s Social and Cognitive Development | Educational Psychologist

Engaging Students in Learning Activities: It Is Not Autonomy Support or Structure but Autonomy Support and Structure | Journal of Educational Psychology

Engaging Children in the Upper Elementary Grades: Unique Contributions of Teacher Self-Efficacy, Autonomy Support, and Student-Teacher Relationships | Journal of Research in Childhood Education

How Teacher Emotional Support Motivates Students: The Mediating Roles of Perceived Peer Relatedness, Autonomy Support, and Competence

The Dynamics of Learning Engagement and Its Relationship with Teachers’ Classroom Practices in Primary School | International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education

Internalization of Mastery Goals: The Differential Effect of Teachers’ Autonomy Support and Control | Frontiers in Psychology

Fostering Student Engagement with Motivating Teaching: An Observation Study of Teacher and Student Behaviours | Research Papers in Education

Effects of Teacher Framing on Student Engagement during Collaborative Reasoning Discussions (pdf) | Contemporary Educational Psychology

‘Now that’s the feedback I want!’ Students’ Reactions to Feedback on Graded Work and What They Do with It | Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education

Improving Students’ Relationships with Teachers to Provide Essential Supports for Learning | APA

Being a Good Teacher (YouTube :54)

A Matter of Trust: Connecting Teachers and Learners in the Early Childhood Classroom (book)

Teachers’ Impact on GT Students’ Academic Success

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Maybe We Should Talk? GT Parent-Teacher Communication

It’s fairly common for parents and teachers of GT students to develop relationships beyond those of general ed students. The key is to make them less adversarial and more productive to benefit the student. If states require an educational plan for GT students, developing and monitoring it require additional meetings. When academic goals are not being met, meetings may be in order. It’s important to schedule meetings when GT students experience social-emotional issues such as bullying, lack of academic challenge or opportunities, and resolving teacher-student relations.

Most schools offer parent-teacher meetings for all students, however including additional specialized teachers, staff, or admins can enhance meetings held specifically for a GT student. Many states include gifted education under the umbrella of special education which can serve as a model for GT parent-teacher meetings. An admin (LEA) can commit district resources in most cases and a gifted coordinator will be able to present relevant options. Both general ed and gifted ed teachers should be included as well as guidance counselors and appropriate staff (i.e., academic coach, TA’s assigned to gifted program, art/music teachers). Older students should also be included.

Parents should come prepared for all meetings with relevant info on their child and foreknowledge of state law and what they intend to request from the school. It also helps to learn the lingo used by educators to improve communication. Diplomacy on the part of all participants can greatly increase positive outcomes for GT parent-teacher meetings. Work for consensus but be sure the student’s needs are prioritized. Oftentimes, the best results of any parent-teacher meeting involve positive and sustained follow-up. Establishing lines of communication for ongoing interactions can increase the chances for the student’s success both in school and beyond.

What information should parents and teachers bring to the conversation? Teachers need to bring information regarding student assessments, test scores, teacher observations, and what services are available to meet the specific needs of the student. Parents should create a portfolio of their child’s work, interests, and accomplishments outside of school. If they have had outside testing or assessments done, this should be included. Both sides can contribute information concerning resources, programs, and options beyond the classroom (academic competitions, summer programs, Talent Searches) which may benefit the student.

When should formal mediation be considered? There are situations when parent-communications can break down. Some educators hold negative views of gifted education in general or have had negative experience with GT parents. Sometimes, parents may make demands for services which are unavailable. Where available, mediation may need to be considered. This is an interim step which can be taken to avoid legal interventions, such as, due process. Mediation may begin ‘in-house’ … talking to a GT coordinator, principal, or other administrator. If available, it may also be taken to a more formal setting at the state level with an official mediator.

It is possible to achieve positive results from parent-teacher meetings which insure an appropriate education for the student. Successful negotiated solutions are dependent on all stakeholders sharing responsibility for outcomes. Successful meetings will result in positive academic and social interventions on behalf of the GT student resulting in a challenging curriculum, opportunities for advancement, and positive relationships between parents, teachers, and student.

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 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1AM 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:

Improving GT Parent-Teacher Communications

Communicating Effectively with Your Gifted Child’s School | Davidson Gifted

Gifted and Talented Parent Support and Resources: Partnering With Parents | Poudre School District (CO)

Insightful Questions to Ask during Parent-Teacher Conferences

Kentucky Department of Education Gifted and Talented Coordinator Manual (pdf)

How Parents and Teachers Can Work Together for the Child’s Benefit

Perspectives of Teachers and Parents on Parent-Teacher Communication and Social Media Communication | Journal of Applied Technical and Educational Services

Why Mediation? (YouTube 39:42)

2018-2019 State of the States in Gifted Education | NAGC

Gifted Education in the U.S. – State Policy & Legislation | Davidson Gifted

Critical Issues and Practices in Gifted Education (book)

Policy, Legal Issues, and Trends in the Education of Gifted Students

Gifted Education: Frequently Asked Questions | VA Department of Education

Gifted State Regulations: Alabama | Cornell Law School: Legal Information Institute  

Collaboration Guide: Essential Tech for Family-School Communication (pdf)

How Do I Work with My Child’s School (pdf – Inman)

Six Tips for Communicating with your Gifted Child’s Teacher

Talking With Your Gifted Child’s Teacher

A Resource Kit for Teachers on Gifted Education: Tips for Teachers

Tips for Your Gifted Kid’s Parent-Teacher Conference

Parent-Teacher Conferences: Advocating for Your Gifted Child | Psychology Today

Additional Resources:

Gifted Education Due Process (PA)

Gifted Education Dispute Resolution (CO – pdf)

The Office of Dispute Resolution: Mediation (PA)

Monitoring and Complaint-Resolution System for Gifted Students (OH)

Gifted Education and Legal Issues (Preview)

Gifted Education Due Process Procedures Fact Sheet (pdf)

Gifted Education Legal Resources

Legal Update of Gifted Education (pdf)

Procedure for Disagreement – Dispute Resolution (p. 20 – pdf)  | Woodlin School District (CO)

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Effective Goal Setting for GIEPs

A GIEP is a Gifted Individualized Education Plan; aka, an Advanced Learning Plan (ALP). Although not required by most schools, they are a good tool for planning a GT student’s academic career and progress. It has long been recognized that gifted and talented students benefit from challenge. Although differentiated instruction is widely used, most students will require more than can be provided in the regular classroom. A Gifted Learning Plan can delineate student needs and propose ways to meet those needs. It can also hold students, teachers, and school districts accountable for insuring their needs are met appropriately and in a timely manner.

The stakeholders in a GIEP are the student, their parent/guardian, and the GIEP team. All have responsibilities to craft a document that will enhance learning opportunities for the student and to monitor progress toward achieving stated goals. The GIEP team should consist of a representative of the school who is authorized to speak for the school, teachers (gifted and regular classroom), school psychologists, and administrators responsible for implementing gifted education. As the focus of the GIEP, the student should be represented by a parent or guardian in the early years. As a student enters secondary education, they should be brought into the conversation and be a decision maker in the process.

Good planning and individualized attention contribute to a successful education plan. Using a template can be useful, but each student’s needs should be analyzed and addressed. This requires preliminary written report by the GIEP team. Before a GIEP is finalized, a student’s ability levels should be identified and documented, individual goals set, a menu of options decided upon, and suggested ways to monitor progress. It is important also to recognize what services are realistically available. It is impractical and does a disservice to the student to include programming options which the school is unable to provide.

GIEPs typically include Present Levels of Performance, Annual Goals, Short-term Learning Outcomes, Specifically Designed Instruction, Support Services, and dates for when services begin and their duration. Goals should strength-based, evidenced in present levels of performance, expected level of achievement for mastery of objectives, outline assessment procedures, and be specific. They may include specifically designed instruction, such as enrichment, acceleration, or independent study. It could also be mentoring and out-of-school activities. Twice-exceptional students may need supplemental aids and services.

State and national gifted organizations generally provide educators with resources for individual student plans on their website and at conferences. Online and local professional development can also provide resources for teachers considering using gifted IEPs for their GT students. Publishers specializing in gifted education also can be utilized. Please, also, check out the resources listed below which were shared during the chat.

Parents are an integral part of the GIEP process. In many cases, they are responsible for initiating the process, providing information on the student, knowing what options exist for gifted education, and attending meetings. In states which require a written education plan for GT students, parents also have legal rights regarding notifications, services offered, and compliance.

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/1AM 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:

Parent’s Unofficial Guide to Gifted IEPs and Gifted IEP Meetings | Hoagies Gifted

Frequently Asked Questions About Gifted Services (pdf)

Pennsylvania Chapter 16: GIEP

FAQs About Your Child’s Right to Gifted Education (Pennsylvania)

Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP) Meeting

Annotated Gifted Individualized Education Plan Sample (pdf)

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Education (pdf)

Sample Gifted Individualized Education Plan (pdf)

The GIEP: A Strength Based Document

Gifted Multidisciplinary Evaluation (GMDE)/GIEP/NORA Tracking https://bit.ly/3pXRGEI

Special Spices: GIEP vs Gifted Programming (PP)

Advanced Learning Plan (ALP)

Grades 2-5 Advanced Learning Plan

Annual Learning Plan (ALP) (pdf Sample Completed Form for a Secondary Teacher)

Timelines and Procedures

Gifted Education 5 Year Comprehensive Program Plan (CPP)

L.E.A.P. (Gifted and Talented)

L.E.A.P.: Learning Environment for Advanced Programming

GT Services Advanced Academics | Waxahachie ISD (TX)

Advanced Academic Programs (WI)

Image courtesy of Pixabay   Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

G/T/N Awareness Week

This week, we were proud to partner with Marc Smolowitz and The G Word Film team as they celebrated Gifted/Talented/Neurodiverse Awareness Week.

Autumn 2021 has brought us a greater awareness of gifted, talented, and neurodiverse individuals due in part to the continuing pandemic which has shed light on the myriad facets of what is considered neurotypical and neurodiverse. However, translating awareness to actionable measures languishes in the courts of public misperception. Anti-intellectualism is nothing new, but it has found new proponents in recent years to the detriment of gifted and highly-abled students. GT students from minority populations, low-SES communities, and rural areas are the most affected when gifted programs are curtailed or eliminated by the disingenuous argument that it will achieve equity in educational opportunities for all children.

Roughly once per generation, we see a groundswell of opposition to the idea of giftedness (and academic excellence in general). The last wave was in the early-mid 90s, so we were overdue. As others have noted, that wave is building, and we need to be proactive to stop it. As is often said, eliminating opportunity for all is a weird way to achieve equity. ~ Dr. Jonathan Plucker, NAGC President

Recognizing neurodiversity validates the nature of our humanity. Acceptance, commitment to affirming language, and proactive support are good first steps to ensuring wellness. Although we often talk about accommodations for neurodiverse k12 students, they are needed throughout life including during college and in flexible workplace policies which offer open and honest communication about addressing employee needs. Neurodiversity should be celebrated for its unique strengths which are often manifested in extraordinary cognitive ability, spatial and problem-solving skills, or exceptional memory.

How can we empower gifted & 2e students and adults on their journeys? Understanding that the gifted and 2e journey is a lifelong one is beginning of empowerment. It does not end at a graduation ceremony. There is no arbitrary cutoff point. At the same time, it’s important to identify gifted children early in order to nurture their first steps on the journey. Parents are usually at the forefront of this process and need support as well to empower their child’s growth. Throughout life, gifted and 2e students need federally mandated gifted education programs, SEL, expanded universal screening to improve diversity in programs, and intense advocacy to increase awareness of these students’ needs.

“When people are taught/trained to deny their identity, they become disillusioned by the loss of self and their personal story. When we learn to embrace differences as a positive identity instead of from a “misfit” or “disorder” view, we can embrace positive aspects!” ~ Dr. Nicole Tetreault, Neuroscientist and author

How do giftedness and identity intersect? Identity development begins early in life and continues throughout life. For intellectually gifted students it can be greatly influenced by their age-peers. Some gifted children attempt to hide or mask their abilities to ‘fit in’ with peer groups. This can affect their self-concept and acceptance of their abilities. Due to the influence of peer culture, it is important that gifted children be provide opportunities to interact with intellectual peers if they are to thrive and develop their talents and abilities.

It [trauma-informed learning] means contemplating the idea that every human learner is more likely than not to have some history of trauma in their background. Think of the complexity of the American experience in this century. Trauma is everywhere. We need to be honest about this fact.~ Marc Smolowitz, filmmaker, 13th Gen Film, The G Word Film

What is trauma-informed learning? It takes place when students feel safe to express themselves and believe they will be heard. Students are given choice and voice. Time is allotted for self-care. Learning which is trauma-sensitive begins with responsive relationships between student and teacher as well as with peers. A sense of caring and trust are prevalent in the classroom. Trauma-informed learning provides for collaboration, SEL strategies, positive behavior support, identifying and correcting potential behavioral triggers, and acknowledgement of cultural issues which may need to be addressed.

“To me it [trauma-informed learning] refers to the understanding that trauma has a significant impact on the brains and bodies of humans. Further, trauma is prevalent and can involve individual events and entire systems, being trauma informed is being aware that we all have a backstory that may impact how we show up in the world in many ways.” ~ Christine Fonseca, Author, Psychologist, Speaker, Coach

Celebrating all children as unique individuals while realizing the needs of gifted children can vastly improve how education is viewed by the wider community. Encouraging respect, contemplating what it means to be inclusive, and listening to all stakeholders seated at the table is the message needed to be sent.

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/1AM 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:

In the 21st century, Who Gets to be ‘Gifted’ in America and Why? | The ‘G’ Word Film

The G Word Blog

The G Word Impact Manifesto

The G Word Quarterly

The World Hope Project

Embracing Intensity: Happy 5th Anniversary and The G Word Film (podcast 49:42)

Institute for Education Innovation: Who Gets to be Gifted in America with Marc Smolowitz (podcast 47:05)

Adventures in Being Gifted: Episode 9 The G Word (Apple Podcast 45:00)

When Learning about Overexcitabilities Changes your Life! Meet Chris Wells (podcast 55:27)

Stealth Dyslexia | Davidson Gifted

12 Things I Wish I Had Known About My Young Gifted Kids

A Totally Anecdotal Unscientific Explanation of a Particular Variety of High Intelligence

The Ramifications Of Any Single Thought Are Endless — The Intensity Of Giftedness

Motivating and Engaging 2e Learners

Giftedness Integration Work and Gifted Coaching

The Importance of Intersectionality in Empowering Underrepresented Gifted Students: We Are More Than You Think We Are

Empowering Underrepresented Gifted Students Perspectives from the Field (book)

Unleash Monday: The Podcast for Bright and Quirky Adults

Are Gifted Programs Endangered in American Schools?

Parent Footprint with Dr. Dan (podcast)

How to Motivate and Engage Tomorrow’s Innovators

Engage Gifted or 2e Learners by Embracing Their Tendencies | Mensa for Kids

You Know You Have A Rainforest Mind When …

A Potential Future for Post-2020 Education (pdf)

Project North Star | Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented

Our Gifted Kids (podcast)

When Every Emotion Is Too Big and Too Loud (Fonseca) | Psychology Today

Supporting the Well-Being of Gifted Learners | SENG

Awareness Film Fest

7 Ways to Manage Stress and Improve Your Mental Health (Tetreault)

Helping Children Manage Intense Emotions (Fonseca) | Psychology Today

Cybraryman’s Mental and Emotional Health Page

Cybraryman’s SEL Pages and More Page https://bit.ly/3pTLr4B

Graphic courtesy of The G Word Film.

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