Blog Archives

Successful Online Learning with Gifted Students

This week we welcomed Dr. Vicki Phelps to chat about teaching GT students online. Dr. Phelps is an Assistant Professor at Milligan University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate level coursework focused on teaching methods, instructional strategies, and literacy education. With over 20 years of experience in gifted education, Dr. Phelps is passionate about equitable practice and keenly focused on meeting the unique learning needs of gifted and high potential students. She applies her specialization in gifted motivation by focusing on deep levels of student engagement through innovative, research-based instructional strategies and personalized learning. Dr. Phelps regularly presents at state, national, and international gifted conferences and enjoys leading professional development addressing differentiation and collaborative practice for school districts and special groups (via Amazon.com).

The advent of universal online learning for all students during the early days of the Pandemic has fundamentally changed how it’s perceived, but also how it can be improved. For GT students, motivation and passion are key. For many GT and advanced learners, differentiation and faster pace may be all that is needed. However, for others, there is a need for opportunities to delve deeper into the content by experiencing greater depth and complexity. GT students are motivated when they are passionate not only by what they are learning, but by how they learn through critical thinking and creative problem-solving. It becomes incumbent on educators to seek out best practices in gifted pedagogy.

Educators can motivate students learning online by presenting them with consistent challenge and accelerated pace when warranted. GT students need the opportunity to work independently, but also with intellectual peers to improve social skills in groups settings. When successfully implemented in online environments, they can re-ignite motivation and a passion for learning. When teachers and parents support each other during online learning, students benefit from this partnership which can be a motivating factor in better learning.

Educators play a pivotal role in successful online learning. Teachers should have a robust understanding of how giftedness affects GT students’ academic performance, achievement, and their mental health. Successful engagement in online learning is predicated on student behaviors involving attendance, participation, and presence as well as how enjoyable and interesting they find the content presented (Ronksley-Pavia & Neumann, 2020). Communication is a key factor in the success of online learning. Progress monitoring, facilitation of building relationships with other students, and one-on-one communication are all important (Luna, 2022). Teachers can provide flexibility in online learning taking into consideration when and where learning takes place, student choice and voice, openness to self-directed learning, and personalization of content and instruction.

The past few years have been an intensive experiment on what works best in online learning due to the Pandemic. For far too many, it was like showing up at the School Science Fair having done your whole project the night before. What distinguishes great learning models online is how well they integrate tech; the availability of tech; and the competency of educators’ use of tech to facilitate learning. Online learning is a great place to provide enrichment, the blending of online with in-person instruction, and distance learning when appropriate.

An enrichment model is well-suited to online learning as it provides access to an expansive reservoir of information and resources. It can be used alone or in the classroom to supplement traditional learning or even during RTI sessions. Distance learning as an alternative to in-person instruction can be a great online learning model when students cannot be in class due to geographic location (of the student or place of learning) or physical limitations.

How can tech integration help GT & advanced learners to shine? Tech integration when done right can enhance, enrich, and differentiate learning for GT and advanced learners. It can showcase ability not always revealed in a traditional classroom setting. When GT and advanced students engage in online learning, they should have an opportunity to shine. It does little good to upload lessons normally taught in the classroom which aren’t enhanced through technology to improve learning. Educators need to constantly review their use of tech in online settings and insure that what they are doing for their GT students is providing opportunities to enhance critical thinking skills and ways to think more deeply about the content. Online learning needs to be engaging and make use of innovative approaches to tech which promotes higher order thinking and is purposeful in the lives of students.

Underachievement for GT and advanced learners in an online environment can be a real concern. This often happens when learning needs are not being met; followed by disengagement and ultimately, underachievement. Educators should look at a student’s behavioral, affective, social, and cognitive engagement which encompasses participation, attitude towards learning, involvement with peers & teachers, and self-regulation. Designing successful online learning experiences for GT and advanced learners which minimizes underachievement should consider the work of Betts & Neihart’s six gifted learner profiles and their guiding principles for each one.

Some key criteria which support GT students online include advanced content, depth & complexity, autonomous learning, active involvement, and creativity. A successful online learning experience will provide real-world connections for individual students, provide ample opportunities for feedback, and consider a student’s psychosocial skills (time management, reflection, collaboration). It allows GT students to learn at their own pace, have individual attention, prepare for college, gain time management skills, and become more independent.

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/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 Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

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:

Teaching Gifted Students Online: 5 Strategies to Enhance Remote Learning

Successful Online Learning with Gifted Students Designing Online and Blended Lessons for Gifted and Advanced Learners in Grades 5–8

Virtual Instruction for Gifted Students | UCONN Neag School of Education

Differentiating Technology for Gifted Learners | NAGC

The Benefits of Online Learning for Gifted Students | The Davidson Academy

Profoundly Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Virtual Classrooms | Gifted Child Quarterly

Helping Gifted Students Learn Online During COVID 19 (pdf)

Do Gifted and Accelerated Learners Flourish in an Online High School?

Impact of Internet Connection on Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Course Quality at an Online High School (pdf) | Boise State University (dissertation)  

The Perceived Appeal, Challenge, and Learning Choice for Gifted and Talented Students in Advanced Placement Mathematics Courses (pdf) | Pepperdine University (dissertation)

Distance Learning for Gifted Kids During the Quarantine

E-Learning Opens Doors for Gifted Students | Education Week

Gifted and Talented – Remote Learning Resources | NJ Department of Education

Distance Learning Programs | Hoagies Gifted

How Gifted Students Benefit From Online Learning

UK: Why Online School is Perfect for Gifted Students

Remote Learning through a Mobile Application in Gifted Education | Gifted Education International

5 Ways Gifted Students Can Benefit From Online High School

Teaching Gifted Learners During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Cybraryman’s Evaluating Information Page

Photo courtesy of Dr. Vicki Phelps.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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

Gifted Kid Burnout

This week’s chat topic was predicated on the ‘gifted kid burnout’ meme that’s been circulating on the Internet for several years; most recently on TikTok. The idea of gifted kids struggling with burnout goes back decades; researched as early as the 1980s. However, the term – gifted kid burnout – as coined on social media platforms is a more recent phenomenon. Users describe themselves as identified ‘gifted students’ in elementary school who face lifelong struggles with destructive perfectionism, low self-esteem, failure to live up to the expectations of others and mental health issues.

It’s important to recognize the signs of gifted kid burnout. It may manifest at an early age, but onset generally occurs during middle school or high school. It becomes consequential during college years. Gifted students report academic anxiety, panic attacks, imposter syndrome, an inability to interact with age peers and to control life outcomes. Students labelled gifted in elementary school can feel overwhelmed when they eventually confront challenging work at the secondary level. After years of high grades, test scores, and praise, they may have to contend with less than perfect.

What strategies can teachers use to minimize gifted kid burnout? First and foremost, teachers who interact with gifted students should be required to have coursework and or professional development in gifted education. This can enhance awareness of the needs of these students. Gifted students are more than their academic standing in school. Strategies should include SEL components. When evidenced, underachievement should be recognized and dealt with on an individual basis. Interventions should be considered when students begin to vocalize concerns over high expectations, mood and behavioral changes, or unexpected withdrawal from social interactions.

Gifted adults can begin the road to recovery by recognizing that their talents do not define who they are; they do. They should be aware that being labelled ‘gifted’ as a student was a means to an end rather than a diagnosis. Gifted adults may need to seek professional help if they feel recovery isn’t possible; if their daily lives or careers are adversely affected.

Parents of gifted children are in a unique position to observe and advocate for their child. They need to know and recognize the signs of burnout. Engaging in meaningful conversations with their child often is crucial. They should also realize the importance of fostering self-advocacy in their child by including them in the advocacy process. This can provide all stakeholders insight into the child’s level of pressure they are feeling. Parents know their child best. Seek help when necessary from a trusted source. Form alliances with other parents for support.

The idea of burnout is not new to the gifted community. Seeing it expressed on social media by so many young people not engaged in gifted organizations is new. It is extremely important for local, state and national organizations to share available resources and strategies with the general public, educators and parents.

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

Resources:

‘Gifted kid burnout’ is More than a Punchline

The Real Reason Gifted Kid Burnout TikToks Are Going Viral

Mindset Misconception? Comparing Mindsets, Perfectionism, and Attitudes of Achievement in Gifted, Advanced, and Typical Students (pdf)

Gifted Kid Burnout—Social Media Phenomenon or Mental Health Pandemic?

Gifted Kid Burnout Can Plague High Achievers

Gifted Kid Syndrome

The Truth Behind “Gifted Kid Burnout” Memes

When Bright Kids Become Disillusioned | NAGC

How Virtual Learning Has Contributed to Gifted Kid Burnout

Gifted Kid Burnout

Strategies to Avoid Experiencing A “Gifted Kid Burnout” Issue

What does it mean to be gifted?  

Bore-out: A Challenge for Unchallenged Gifted (young) Adults | SENG

Aptitude Sickness

Gifted Teen Offers Personal Perspective on What It’s Like to Be Gifted | NAGC

Gifted Kid Burnout: Breaking Free of “Smartness”

Why Potential is Paralyzing | Burnt-Out Gifted Kids Interview (YouTube 53:44)

Helping Gifted Students with Stress Management | Davidson Gifted

Purpose in Life among High Ability Adolescents

Burnout: The Gifted Student Epidemic

Challenging Your Gifted Child without Leading into Burnout

Stress and Burnout among Preadolescent and Early Adolescent Gifted Students: A Preliminary Investigation (1986 Abstract Only) | The Journal of Early Adolescence

Pressure, Stress, and the Gifted Student

Gifted Kid Burnout Things that No One seems to Talk About | Tumblr

How a Novel Can Unmake the Myth of Meritocracy

Helping Gifted Students with Stress Management

Cybraryman’s Yoga and Meditation Page

Cybraryman’s Coping Strategies Page

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

The Gifted Introvert

It’s no surprise that we would chat about introverts at #gtchat! Some characteristics of introverts include preferring to work on their own rather than in large groups; may have limited, but deep interests; and need time alone to recharge. Introverts may exhibit deep concentration and appear absorbed in their thoughts; are reserved, deliberate and prefer one-on-one communication; and can become irritated when they don’t have enough ‘alone time’. Introverts form strong (but few) relationships, are generally self-sufficient, self-actualizing, and high achievers.

There are many misconceptions about those who are introverts; it is a choice, it can be ‘fixed’, it is simply being shy. Introverts may appear bored, but are simply deep in thought. They may seem socially awkward, but are not interested in their surroundings. Others may view introverts as judgmental when they have no opinion about the situation or person.

What is the relationship between giftedness and being introverted? Gifted individuals can be introverts or extroverts. Some research suggests a higher proportion of the gifted population is introverted. (Gallagher, 1990; Hoehn & Birely, 1988)  Being identified as gifted and possibly being introverted is a relationship; the characteristics of thoughtfulness, introspection, deliberateness, reflection, hard work, and confidence compliment gifted individuals. Gifted introverts tend to think before they speak, consider who they are speaking to first, do not crave attention, ‘enjoy’ time alone, prefer quality rather than numerous friendships, and pay attention to others.

Gifted introverts tend to think before they speak, consider who they are speaking to first, do not crave attention, ‘enjoy’ time alone, prefer quality rather than numerous friendships, and pay attention to others. Strategies which support introverted students include allowing thinking time, flexible seating, providing personal space, allow students to work in small groups or pairs, or consider interest-based assignments. Additional strategies can include providing opportunities for self-paced learning, independent study, the option to provide responses in writing, or encourage self-reflection.

What strategies can teachers use for online learning for introverted students? It might seem that online learning would be ideal for introverted students, but this is not always the case. Being on ZOOM or Teams all day long may be just as overwhelming. Zoom fatigue can be a real problem. When introverted students are confronted with technical issues and disruptions in Internet connections can add to their anxiety. Teachers can allow for additional breaks for introverted students, permit students to be on mute during discussions, or allow them to turn off their cameras while online.

Parenting an introvert requires understanding that they aren’t going to change, need their personal space and quiet time (especially after a long day at school), and does not need to have a lot of friends to be happy. An introverted gifted child needs opportunities to extend learning beyond the classroom, work on projects of interest, and to make friends on their own terms.

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

Resources:

Companion Website to Susan Cain’s Book Quiet

The Quiet Personality Test (Sign-up required)

Introvert, Dear (Online Community of Introverts)  

Go Away; I’m Introverting

Introverts, Extroverts, and Social Distancing

The Anxieties of Introversion

Understanding the Gifted Introvert

Introversion: The Often Forgotten Factor Impacting the Gifted (pdf) | Center for Gifted Education – College of William and Mary

High Ability: The Gifted Introvert

Talent Development Resources: Introversion, Sensitivity, Shyness – Are They the Same?

The Happy Introvert: A Wild and Crazy Guide to Celebrating Your True Self (Kindle)

Make Your Class Cozy for Gifted Introverts

Gifted Introverts and Extroverts

Introvert Social Needs and Preferences

The Overlooked Significant Population – Introverts

Which One Is You?: 4 Types of Introverts and Self-Care Tips to Be Your Own Hero

Living a Quiet Life

Extroverts (and Introverts, too) Face Quarantine Challenges

The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World (book)

Building a Strong Relationship With Your Introverted Child

Here’s What You Need to Know If You’re the Parent of an Introvert

Responding to Introverted and Shy Students: Best Practice Guidelines for Educators and Advisors | Open Journal of Nursing

6 Informal Assessments to Engage Introverted Students: Creating Accessible Classrooms for Introverted Students, Online or In Person

5 Ways Virtual Classrooms Help Introverts

Teaching Introverted Students: A Guide for Educators and Parents

How to Understand and Work with Introverted Students

Introverts Aren’t Actually Better at Social Distancing

Chat: The Introvert’s Secret Remote Weapon – Leading by Typing during the Pandemic

Cybraryman’s Introverted Students Page

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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