Category Archives: Critical Thinking

Reassessing the Need for Soft Skills for Gifted Students

 

Soft skills – aka non-cognitive skills or social-emotional learning skills – can be categorized in many ways. In school, we consider communication skills, problem solving skills, critical thinking and concise writing. They also involve resilience, resourcefulness, integrity, ambition … habits that improve learning. Soft skills revolve around the realization that mastery is an ongoing process and not based on hard and fast rules. Soft skills can be applied in any circumstance one chooses to use them.

Considering that soft skills need to be taught even though hard to measure; skills such as self-regulation, flexibility when faced with new situations and motivation to get things done can all help students succeed. Career success must embody the adoption of soft skills such as dependability, adaptability, working on a team while maintaining positive relationships with others. Other invaluable skills include stress management, facilitation and leadership.  Advanced soft skills are necessary for career advancement; skills often needed earlier in life for GT students and include networking skills, negotiating skills, savvy self-promotion, and the skill of persuasion.

Academic expectations for GT students are extremely high throughout the school day … expected to be leaders, independent learners, team leaders, great communicators … all of which can lead to burnout. GT students and their teachers are mainly focused on academics and achievement; easily measurable expectations. Soft skills may be overlooked, but necessary for these students just as they are for all students. Many GT students struggle with interpersonal relationships, dealing with failure and perfectionism, working in class with age-peers. They need to be taught perseverance, flexibility, regulating emotions.

How do soft skills help our 2e kids to be successful? The very nature of twice-exceptional students – having needs to be met, but often misdiagnosed or mis-judged … calls for nurturing of soft skills in their everyday life. When 2e kids are given the tools to succeed; they can live a more fulfilled life without the stresses associated with social and emotional setbacks.

Soft skills need to be taught and well-prepared teachers are essential for this task. The most simple soft skills – reading social cues, socializing with age-peers, respecting others – are the foundation of a successful life. They can aid in self-confidence and emotional regulation.

Best practice for teaching soft skills begins in the realization that these skills aid in learning. Teachers who model excellent soft skills such as self-regulation, patience, and empathy will be the most successful. In teaching social skills, best practices values students’ voice and attitude towards education, school attendance, and behaviors. Student outcomes are dependent on more than test scores and achievements. Soft skills can be integrated into the curriculum through project and problem based learning, 20% time, and genius hour which encourage time-management, self-control and self-reflection on the educational process.

Parents of gifted students can reinforce soft skills outside the classroom by modeling these skills in their everyday life. Character building based programs can have wide ranging positive influence on their children. They can seek to build a positive relationship with their child’s teacher and school personnel. They can model the use of patience and perseverance in difficult relationships; seeking additional support when necessary. Parents who place value on soft skills are uniquely positioned to teach them at home as well and to focus on the benefits of future outcomes for success in their child’s life.

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 NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM 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.

 Lisa Conrad 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:

Study: Teaching Noncognitive Skills can Spur Better Long-term Student Outcomes

Understanding a Teacher’s Long-Term Impact

What Do Test Scores Miss? The Importance of Teacher Effects on Non-Test Score Outcomes (pdf)

Teaching for High Potential: A Focus on the Soft Skills (pdf)

No Mind Left Behind: Understanding and Fostering Executive Control–The Eight Essential Brain Skills Every Child Needs to Thrive (book bn)

Empathy at Work for High-Potential Young Leaders

Why You Need to Focus on Soft Skills

Four-Dimensional Education: The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed (book)

Four-Dimensional Education – The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed (YouTube 1:18)

Helping Gifted Culturally Diverse Students Cope with Socio-Emotional Concerns

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (book bn)

Gifted Children’s Bill of Rights

Beyond the Test: How Teaching Soft Skills Helps Students Succeed

The Turn-Around, Upside-Down Alphabet Book (book)

Hannah’s Collections (book bn)

The Most Magnificent Thing (book bn)

Should Schools Teach ‘Soft Skills?’ Many Say ‘Yes’

The Soft Skills College Students Need to Succeed Now and in the Future

Soft Skills List – 28 Skills to Working Smart

What It’s Really Like to Transition into Self-Management

Why Being Smart is Not Enough — The Social Skills and Structures of Tackling Complexity

Six Ways to Teach Social and Emotional Skills All Day

Mind Matters Podcast: True Grit – Fostering Tenacity and Resilience (Audio)

Cybraryman’s Soft Skills Page

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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Empowering Student Voice in Gifted Education

 

This week at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT on Twitter, we chatted about what a choice-driven classroom looks like and why is it important. A truly choice-driven classroom goes far being a choice of menu options – it’s empowering students to control their learning. Full stop. It values a student’s ability to choose while at the same time providing appropriate supports and guidance. Not all students … even GT … will adapt to this new way of learning easily. A choice-driven classroom gives voice to topics explored, grouping, scaffolding, assessment and final product expectations; and, it embodies the ideal that education is preparation for a life well lived and a civil right for all students; including GT.

“A choice driven classroom has students that are engaged because they are empowered to learn about what they like, how they like, and/or their input is valued in how they demonstrate knowledge and mastery.” ~ Amy RogersAdvanced Academics Coordinator for Willis ISD, TX

Gifted students need to be provided tangible ways to express their voice and have those sentiments respected if they are to take ownership of their own learning. They must have a viable option for submitting feedback on a regular basis and have it validated through time response in the classroom. Teachers need to be ready to relinquish control to some extent … motivation for GT students requires independence and developing leadership qualities in students with authenticity being the driver.

How do you incorporate student choice in the classroom? The Choose2Matter movement and Angela Maiers have great suggestions for incorporating student choice: good old-fashioned brainstorming, surveying student interests, debating topics, and voting as final affirmation. Outside the classroom resources can lend direction and authentic responses to student choice via conferences organized and led by students and positive participation on social media platforms. Teachers modeling the ‘process of choice’ can reduce the possibility of risk-aversion by making sure students understand choice works and affects their entire lives.

This topic begs the question, should students choose everything? Students do not control the classroom – they are participants and are subject to the same constraints there that are present in life … civility, available time, prior learning. Adapting to a choice-driven approach to learning still requires educators to provide guidance to their students. The idea of potentially limiting choices in a choice-driven classroom is not the antithesis of such but the validation that it is a ‘process’ and not a ‘result’. Guard rails as guide-rails suddenly makes sense.

How do you assess the learning if students are choosing to do such different things? Assessments must reflect the reality of choice-driven classrooms … students must have responsible influence in how their work is assessed. Authentic assessment includes self-reflection, peer assessment, response to personal inquiry. Choice-driven learning embodies personalized learning and this should include a modest level of one-on-one periodical engagement between teachers and students; again in validation of process. John Spencer suggests that switching to standards-based grading honors a mastery mindset, allows for mistakes and renewal – a good match for choice-driven classrooms.

Far too often, students become accustomed to being told what to do and what is expected of them. Providing choice is a risky undertaking for all stakeholders – gifted students know this and can assess the risk/benefit outcomes. Adults in the room can respect student voice and choice at the same time supporting those choices – ownership of learning increases engagement, critical thinking and ultimately student success. A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

 

At the beginning of 2019, the team from Global #gtchat Powered by #TAGT welcomes you all to the New Year!

 

 

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 NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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:

5 Tips for Getting Started with Student Choice

Ten Ways to Leverage Student Choice in Your Classroom

What happens when kids struggle with student choice?

Taking Choice Menus to the Next Level for Student Ownership

Student Voice: Inspiring & Empowering Students to Take Charge of their Education

Motivation, Engagement & Student Voice (pdf)

Activating Student Voice Empowers Learning (pdf)

Eight Ways to Encourage Student Voice

Deepening Student Voice and Empowerment

Guiding Students to Drive Their Curriculum

8 Ways to Empower Student Voice in your Classroom

Listening to Student Voice: Toward a More Holistic Approach to School Leadership

How Student Voice Can Inform Assessment for Learning in Schools

Cybraryman’s Student Voice Page

Cybraryman’s What Students Want Page

Extending Student Voice to Gifted Students

Student Voice: Listening to Gifted Learners

Student Voice Menus

What is an Innovation Class…and Why Do You Need One?

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

Embracing Multipotentiality in Gifted Students

gtchat 10112018 Multipotential

The textbook definition of multipotentiality is: an educational/psychological term referring to the ability and preference, particularly of strong intellectual or artistic curiosity; to excel in 2 or more different fields. A multipotentialite does not need to be an expert in any one field and may like to study diverse subjects. They are often referred to as a Jack-of-all-trades or Renaissance person.

Being a multipotentialite means having the potential to pursue many different passions and   be successful at many or all of them. They have a wide variety of career choices and the ability change from one to another if they wish.

Is there a downside to multipotentiality? A multipotentialite often finds it difficult to choose a single career or when they do; stick with it. Often they are never challenged until college when studies become difficult. It can lead to high stress levels, overscheduling, confusion and depression.

One can embrace their own multipotentiality by seeking inspiration from peers and  from mentors who can help a multipotentialite focus on their passions. Investigation, researching ideas, and trying things out can all help a multipotentialite gain a career focus.

How can parents guide their child’s response to being a multipotentialite? They can expose children throughout their lives to opportunities to work with peers, mentors and professionals. Parents can tune into their child’s passions and look for ways to help them explore ideas and potential careers.

Multipotentialites should embrace the philosophy of ‘variety is the spice of life’; it is no longer necessary to remain in a single career throughout one’s life. It’s acceptable to hold multiple part-time positions that blend passions. They should remain adaptable and be ready to change course when opportunities arise. 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 1 PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/1 AM 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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:

Refuse to be Boxed In: Embrace Your Multipotentiality

From Identification to Ivy League: Nurturing Multiple Interests and Multi-Potentiality in Gifted Students

Career Counseling for Gifted Students: Literature Review & Critique (pdf)

Multipotentiality Among the Intellectually Gifted: “It Was Never There and Already It’s Vanishing” (pdf)

Gifted Adrift? Career Counseling of the Gifted and Talented

A World of Possibilities: Career Development for Gifted Students

If You Still Don’t Believe You’re Gifted

Multipotentiality: Are You Overwhelmed By Your Too Muchness?

Let’s Get Real about Gifted Kids

What is a Multi-Potential?

Identity, Purpose, and Happiness: Helping High-Achieving Adolescents Find All Three

Counseling Concerns of Gifted and Talented Adolescents: Implications for School Counselors

Multipotentiality: When High Ability Leads to Too Many Options

When I Grow Up: Multipotentiality and Gifted Youth

Good at Too Many Things?

Cybraryman’s Multipotentiality Page

Multipotentiality Resources

Multipotentiality: When High Ability Leads to Too Many Options

Multipotentiality – Do You Have Too Many Tabs Open?

Image courtesy of Flickr  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Building Intentional Leadership in Gifted Learners

gtchat 10042018 Leadership

 

This week, our guest at #gtchat was Dr. Mary Christopher, Professor of Educational Studies and Gifted Education at Hardin-Simmons University and Program Director: Doctorate in Leadership. Dr. Christopher is a Past-President of TAGT and also does consulting in gifted education and leadership. She is the co-author of Leadership for Kids: Curriculum for Building Intentional Leadership in Gifted Learners from Prufrock Press.

The definition of leadership has been evolving in recent years. It now includes the ability to expect the unexpected and adapt quickly to change. Leaders today are seen as innovators and producers rather than simply consumers of someone else’s information or product. According to Robert Sternberg, gifted leaders possess creativity, intelligence and wisdom.

“Since the Marland Report, experts included leadership in definitions of giftedness and viewed leadership as integral to giftedness, but leadership remains the least served domain of giftedness. Gifted leaders may not be served within the gifted program.” ~ Dr. Mary Christopher

It is important for GT students to learn about leadership. Depending on their personal interests and goals, GT students often become future leaders and the quality of their leadership depends on understanding what makes a great (intentional) leader even better. Today more than ever, it’s important for GT students to see the value in moral and ethical behavior, clear communication with those they are working, motivating others through personal positive actions and providing inspiration.

“Gifted kids will often be ahead of the pack in some regard throughout their lives. Learning to achieve goals through teamwork whether they have formal authority or not is going to be crucial for a sense of satisfaction.” ~ Kate Arms

What characteristics, skills, and perspective of leadership are needed to become intentional leaders? Intentional leaders should be able to develop ideas to be studies, provide new solutions to existing problems, persuade others to assist in solving problems, and ensure implementation of those solutions. (Sternberg) They are willing to work with a diverse group of colleagues engaged in problem solving and seek to involve all stakeholders.

“It’s important that we balance students cognitive abilities with skills that allow them to be successful people in the world. It’s about challenging Ss to tap into the affective domain that will grow their capacity to bring positive change to society.” ~ Matt Cheek 

Educators can use many different strategies to incorporate leadership training into their curriculum. Students should be presented with opportunities for critical thinking, analysis and creative problem solving. For young gifted students, teachers can include biographies of great leaders in their LA curriculum to read and discuss.

Where can students find opportunities to develop leadership skills outside of the classroom? Finding mentors who are leaders in their community can help develop leadership skills and allow skills to develop naturally. Volunteering exposes students to opportunities to practice and model leadership skills while helping others.  Extracurricular activities can provide avenues for developing skills necessary to lead within group and team activities.

Below find curated resources from the chat and additional ones that can be used in and out of the classroom when teaching students about leadership. 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 1 PM NZDT/10 AM AEST/1 AM 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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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:

Leadership for Kids: Curriculum for Building Intentional Leadership in Gifted Learners (Prufrock Press)

Does Your Gifted Kid Have Leadership Characteristics?

Developing Leadership Goals for Gifted Learners (PP – pdf)

Eight Great Ways to Develop Youth Leaders

Developing Leadership Skills in Young Gifted Students (pdf)

Dare to Care: Teaching Leadership to Gifted Students (pdf)

Leadership Education for Gifted and Talented Youth: A Review of the Literature (pdf)

Intelligences Outside the Normal Curve: Co-Cognitive Factors that Contribute to the Creation of Social Capital and Leadership Skills in Young People (pdf)

Early Development and Leadership: Building the Next Generation of Leaders (CRC Press)

TEMPO: What the Research Says about Leadership Development of Gifted Students (pdf)

TEMPO: Understanding and Encouraging Leadership Giftedness (pdf)

The Most Important Leadership Competencies, According to Leaders around the World

The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness (bn)

How Great Leaders Think: The Art of Reframing (bn)

Leadership for Students: A Guide for Young Leaders (Prufrock Press)

The O Factor: Identifying and Developing Students Gifted in Leadership Ability (Google Books)

Leadership Lessons with Raina Penchansky

Boundless Leadership: Leadership Hacks by Scott Stein – Book Review

Boundless Leadership: Now is the perfect time to take on a personal quest

Building Everyday Leadership in All Kids (Free Spirit Publishing)

Changing Tomorrow 1: Leadership Curriculum for High-Ability Elementary Students (Prufrock)

The Leader in Me Program

Co-Active Leadership: Five Ways to Lead (bn)

Photo courtesy of Dr. Mary Christopher.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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