Category Archives: gifted and talented

Nurturing Brilliance at School and at Home

Brilliance (to me) is being exceptional at whatever you do. It can pertain to a specific talent or intelligence; highly-abled. It is that ‘spark’ you see in a child when they ‘get it’, but others may not. When we fail to nurture young brilliance, there’s the chance that the spark may dim over time or even fail to ignite at all. Nurturing brilliance can affect the direction a life takes; toward success or mediocrity. It’s important to ignite a child’s passion which is a great motivator. Failing to nurture brilliance unfortunately can lead to problematic behavior which can be a hindrance to success at best or debilitating at worst.

Nurturing brilliance is the essence of good teaching. Students should be encouraged to engage in intellectual risk-taking and to consider learning from mistakes rather than succumbing to failure. It’s important that one never assume a gifted student will ‘make it on their own’. They are in need of as much support and guidance as all students.

Parents and teachers can share strategies through home-school communication which encourage students to try their best and not be deterred by failure. They can identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses and then look for ways to use both to achieve academic goals. Parents and teachers can partner to develop a plan to provide early access to more challenging work and availability of extra support through intellectual peer networks and mentors.

Parents can support their child’s emotional and academic needs while taking into consideration their stress levels by encouraging participation in activities in which they delight; i.e., having fun together! It’s important for parents of gifted children to be reasonable with their expectations of their child’s abilities, not overschedule activities, and not view academic success as a competition with other parents.

Parents can nurture their gifted child at home by building thinking skills through the encouragement of observation, description, sequencing, classification, how things are alike and different, and analogy. Nurturing giftedness at home should encourage metacognition, flexible thinking, persistence, managing impulsivity, and finding ways to spark imagination. Parents should encourage their child to try things at which they aren’t necessarily good, avoid comparing them to siblings and age-peers, and provide the tools needed for success such as mentors and access to academic resources.

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 Noon NZST/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.

 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:

Nurturing Brilliance: Discovering and Developing Your Child’s Gifts (book)

Nurturing Brilliance: Discovering and Developing Gifts of Every Child (webinar)

8 Ways to Support Your Gifted Child

How to Nurture Your Gifted Child

The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives (book)

Want Your Child to Be a High Achiever? This 47-Year Study Reveals 7 Things You Can Do

The Joys and Challenges of Raising a Gifted Child

For gifted kids, better to be hands-on or -off?

Off the Charts: The Hidden Lives and Lessons of American Child Prodigies (book)

School Counselors and Gifted Kids: Respecting Both Cognitive and Affective

Counseling for Gifted Students: Implication for a Differentiated Approach

Shame and the Gifted: The Squandering of Potential

How do You Raise a Genius? Researchers Say They’ve Found the Secret to Successful Parenting

Gifted Children: Nurturing Genius

Nurturing Genius

Training Teachers to Nurture Gifted Students

Identification and Nurturing the Gifted from an International Perspective

APA: Opening New Vistas for Talented Kids – Psychologists are Working to Nurture Gifted and Talented Children

Nurturing Giftedness Among Highly Gifted Youth (pdf)

Nurturing Social Emotional Development of Gifted Children (Webb)

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Mindfulness

 

Mindfulness can mean different things to different people. It means being aware of the here and now; knowing and accepting your own abilities; and being able to respond to stress in a calm and reasoned manner. It is a willingness to be open, to consider the possibilities, and to engage in curiosity without judging (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). Two components of mindfulness are the ability to regulate your attention and to be open, accepting, and curious (Bishop et al., 2004).

How can GT students use mindfulness to cope with stress and anxiety? Mindfulness is the basis for many ancient practices … meditation, prayer … known to reduce stress and anxiety. In the classroom, it can help GT students become more self-aware, attentive, increase a sense of well-being; all things that can aid in reducing stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness can benefit teachers in developing caring and responsive classrooms. The same benefits gained by students can also be beneficial for teachers by alleviating daily stress. Mindfulness helps teachers be more attuned to the needs of students which can result in a more caring and responsive classroom.

What are some strategies for introducing mindfulness in the classroom? An emphasis on social-emotional learning (SEL) is one way to introduce mindfulness into the classroom environment. Classroom sessions dedicated to identifying stressors and ways to counter them can be a way to introduce mindfulness as well. Teachers can incorporate principles of mindfulness by cultivating inter-connectedness within the classroom, introducing movement and breathing techniques, and an appreciation for gratitude on all levels.

Teachers and parents can work together by sharing strategies to be implemented both at school and at home. This collaboration in itself will benefit GT kids. Parents of GT kids, as with all parenting strategies, must remain vigilant and be willing to consider developing sustainable ways to promote mindfulness at home.

Where can one find resources about mindfulness practices? There is an extraordinary number of resources both in print and online regarding mindfulness practices. We have included numerous resources here in this blog post. 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 Noon NZST/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.

 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:

Cybraryman’s Mindfulness Page

The Calm Schools Initiative (free app)

ClassDojo – Mindfulness

Listening, Thinking, Being Toward an Ethics of Attunement (Book)

Compassionate Critical Thinking: How Mindfulness, Creativity, Empathy and Socratic Questioning Can Transform Teaching (book)

5 Tips for Successfully Implementing a Mindfulness Program at Your School

Teachers: Use Mindfulness to Help Students’ Academics

Creating a Mindful Classroom Environment

Getting Started with Mindfulness

Using Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practices with Gifted Populations (pdf)

On the Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Children (book – aff link)

Mind Matters Podcast: Episode 13 – Regulating Emotions Through Mindfulness

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

Mindfulness on the Path of Gifted Development

Gifted Education Communicator: Implementing Mindfulness in the Classroom (Sisk)

ASCD: Mindfulness Resources

Gifted Mindfulness (website)

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

The Role of Mindful Parenting in Individual and Social Decision-Making in Children

What Gifted Kids Want Their Parents to Know

Mindfulness in the Classroom: Mindful Principles for Social and Emotional Learning (book: aff link)

Metacognition, Mindfulness, and Spiritual Well-being in Gifted High School Students (pdf)

MYmind: a Concurrent Group-Based Mindfulness Intervention for Youth with Autism and Their Parents

25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens (+Tips!)

Growing Up Mindful: Essential Practices to Help Children, Teens, and Families Find Balance, Calm, and Resilience (book)

Ohio Dept. of Education: Social and Emotional Learning Standards

APA: Mindfulness Resources

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.

Characteristics of Gifted Children

 

Characteristics need to go beyond simple checklists to determine the extent of a child’s giftedness. Observation is often the first step in deciding whether or not to begin the identification process. It’s important to know what you are looking for and why. Checklists aside, characteristics may include mastery of a particular discipline that begins much younger than in age-peers, more easily, and much faster. Gifted children may display ‘near obsessive’ interests which go well beyond those of age-mates. They may be drawn to others with similar approaches/interests.

Understanding what to look for when identifying a gifted child has implications for both teachers and parents. Teachers need to know how to modify learning environment and curriculum based on unique characteristics of their students. Parents need to understand characteristics of gifted children to inform parenting decisions that go beyond consideration of academic performance and also considers the importance of their child’s all around environment. They should understand that gifted children need to be nurtured with attention paid to their child’s gifted characteristics.

Incorrect diagnosis is often the result of professionals lacking information and experience about what it means to be gifted. It’s important for professionals to have foundational knowledge of gifted characteristics and parents should question anyone dealing with their child beforehand to determine if they are qualified to assess the child. Different abilities may mask each other making a diagnosis or determination more difficult; especially when identifying gifted children with learning differences.

How do Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities relate to characteristics of gifted children? Dąbrowski’s work did not originate in the area of giftedness, but has been subsequently recognized and applied to the study of gifted individuals. Although not originally posited for gifted individuals only, Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities were adopted by gifted advocates and academics as a way to explain many of the behaviors they saw in the gifted. Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities included Psychomotor, Sensual, Intellectual, Imaginational, and Emotional. Creative and gifted individuals appear to express OEs to a greater degree through increased intensity, awareness and sensitivity.

As a field, gifted education is often criticized for its lack of diversity in gifted programs; especially in public schools. What characteristics of GT children should we look for in underrepresented populations? Intelligence tests are notoriously biased both in fairness to diverse populations and the scope of which they test; in areas, such as, math or verbal reasoning. Skills and characteristics that can be overlooked in diverse populations (ethnicity, low SES) include a child’s ability to make intellectual connections far beyond age-peers or possessing a voracious curiosity.

Defining what it means to be gifted has evolved over the past few decades. Has this been reflected in what we look for as being gifted in the 21st century? Do preferred educational outcomes influence what is thought to be gifted characteristics? What one looks for influences the questions asked; take into consideration how assessments have changed to look beyond how quickly content/knowledge is acquired or remembered. In-demand skills such as the ability to think critically, creativity, collaboration, learning from failure, problem solve … these require rethinking how we see who is gifted. High achievers do not always meet the definition of gifted individuals. Today we look for a child who is able to assess their own strengths and weakness, determine their own learning goals, create learning objectives, and communicate what they know in novel ways.

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 Noon NZST/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.

 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:

What is Gifted and Talented?

Closing the Gifted Gap: Recognizing Characteristics of Giftedness in Underrepresented Populations (Vimeo 45:44)

Gifted Children: What to Look For? Why You Should Know? (YouTube 16:11)

Cognitive Characteristics of the Gifted – Reconceptualized in the Context of Inquiry Learning and Teaching

What is “Gifted” or “High Ability?”

Characteristics of High Ability Learners

Characteristics of Gifted Students: Age and Gender. Findings from Three Decades

The Curse of Genius

Giftedness 101 (Silverman)

Common Traits and Characteristics of Gifted Children

Common Characteristics of Gifted Individuals

50 Common Characteristics of Gifted Children (Slideshare)

Characteristics and Signs of Giftedness

Recognizing Gifted Students: A Practical Guide for Teachers (pdf)

New Zealand: Characteristics of the gifted – Ngā pūmanawa kia manawa tītī

Characteristics of Giftedness

How to Spot a Gifted Student

Giftedness and the Gifted: What’s It All About?

Kazimierz Dąbrowski Interview 5 – University of Alberta (YouTube 1:00)

Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 30: Beneath the Surface of Giftedness

A New Window for Looking at Gifted Children (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Gifted Identification Page

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 21: Opening Doors To Diversity In Gifted Education

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

 

Empathy and the GT Child

 

Empathy is an expression of emotional well-being which speaks to the social-emotional needs of gifted children. The definition of empathy has evolved over centuries from ‘feeling another’s emotions’ to being viewed as a ‘complex construct’. In “The Caring Child”, Christine shares 4 distinct processes – emotional sharing, emotional mimicry, mental imagining of another’s emotions and differentiating self and others.

Who is iGen and how do they differ from previous generations? The ‘iGen’ is the generation after Millennials – kids who began graduating from high school in 2013. They are the first ones to grow up with Smartphones. They are more vulnerable; isolated and lacking in social skills; and vastly unprepared for the responsibilities of adulthood. The iGen is super connected but unable to engage in ‘irl’ (in real life) experiences. It is the premise for a real-life dystopian future.

For gifted children, the very early years provide an opportunity to nurture empathy by teaching mindfulness and developing an ‘emotional vocabulary’. Young gifted children can be encouraged to become self-aware with an understanding of how they ‘fit’ in the world through stories and play experiences with others. They should have opportunities to express kindness in social settings as reflected in the actions of adults around them.

Empathy is a social skill that is developed through human interaction. When young gifted children experience positive relationships based on their ability to express empathy, their ability to face adversity, trauma, and pain (aka resilience) is enhanced.

The educational needs of iGen have radically changed the way schools look at how to teach this generation. Past pedagogical approaches do not suffice today. Teachers (educators, parents, adults) must be flexible, responsive to student voice, and be willing to embed SEL (social-emotional learning) into the curriculum. Education for the iGen needs to be individualized and involve the measured use of technology that empowers learning.

What are some strategies parents can use to build social-emotional learning skills? In ‘The Caring Child’, Christine delineates social-emotional learning skills as cognitive, social/relational, emotional, character and mindsets. Building social-emotional learning skills involve simple strategies sometimes overlooked by parents of gifted children as being ‘too simple’. Cognitive skills can be built through the use of puzzles, language-based games, or word searches. Bibliotherapy and cinematherapy help develop emotional skills. Role playing/improv improve social skills. 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 Noon NZST/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.

 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:

The Caring Child: Raising Empathetic and Emotionally Intelligent Children (Prufrock)

Teaching Empathy and Embracing Intensity

15 Ways to Help Kids Develop Empathy

The Neuroscience of Empathy, Compassion, and Self-Compassion (Amazon)

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy & Completely Unprepared for Adulthood & What That Means for the Rest of Us (Amazon)

The Social Neuroscience of Empathy (pdf)

Empathy and Compassion

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (Prufrock)

I’m Not Just Gifted: Social-Emotional Curriculum for Guiding Gifted Children (Prufrock)

The Neural Pathways, Development and Functions of Empathy (pdf)

Developing Compassionate Empathy in Gifted Children

“I feel your pain”: Empathy and the Gifted Child (.docx)

Teaching Empathy: Strategies for Building Emotional Intelligence in Today’s Students (Prufrock October 2019)

Try Something New With Your Kids: Focus on the 3 C’s

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 36: Empathy with Intensity – Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

Cybraryman’s SEL Pages and More

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

Disclaimer: Some resources include affiliate links.

Image courtesy of Dreamstime (Free photo 85156667 ©creativecommonsstockphotos (CC0))

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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