In many school districts, the end of elementary school also signals the end of gifted programming as well. However, giftedness has been documented as existing across the lifespan. Mistakenly, too many in education have been slow to realize the significance of this or ignore it altogether.
What are the main obstacles to continuing GT programming at the secondary level? Most secondary GT programs are fed through existing primary programs; poor identification and lack of options weaken viability. GT programming must be supported by strong advocacy from faculty and administrators; sadly, something too often missing. Secondary scheduling, too, can be difficult for any student when so many factors are involved – available classes, faculty and facilities.
There are some innovative ways to include gifted classes in middle and high schools. Innovation needs to be based on acceptance that gifted classes should be demonstrably different from general education. Middle and high school GT classes reap the greatest benefit in standalone programming; both academically and social-emotionally.
How do you approach middle/high school students who weren’t challenged at elementary level? Teachers and parents shouldn’t shy away from providing remedial or special skills classes to catch up GT students in specific areas. Professional development should be offered to teachers on identifying underachievers and/or 2E students.
What gets included in a GT student’s schedule should balance academics with passions; including the Arts. Students, parents and school personnel can make the best decisions when lines of communication are fully open.
Academic competitions can supplement a GT student’s schedule, but shouldn’t be considered a replacement. Many GT students love and thrive in academic competitions with intellectual peers; but it isn’t GT programming. For some of these students who lack a competitive spirit, it isn’t an answer at all.
Mentorships, internships and research projects can enhance GT programming, but not sufficient as standalone options. GT HS students should be engaged in college-level pursuits with adequate supports to ensure success. A transcript of the chat may be found at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays 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 Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting the Needs of Gifted & Talented Students (Book Depository)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.