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Challenging GT High School Students

What does ‘challenge’ look like in a high school classroom for GT students? Challenge takes on a new role at the high school level for GT students depending on levels of challenge offered in earlier years for the student and availability of services at the secondary level. Foundational skills – organizational skills, study skills, etc. – are a pre-requisite to meeting necessary challenges to insure forward and upward progress. Individualized academic plans beyond participation in AP/IB are a must. Challenge in high school is manifested in a student through the ability to face failure, learn from it and move on; a healthy amount of struggle; an insatiable appetite to learn more and go far beyond what’s required.

Secondary advanced classrooms are those with a higher concentration of G.T students than found in a regular general ed classroom, i.e., AP or IB classes in most high schools. This situation requires a high degree of differentiation. Strategies may include pre-assessment throughout the course with tailored instruction based on data derived from those assessments as new concepts/content are introduced or timed, performance-based tasks with options for immediate feedback (Brown, THP, August 2021) Further strategies include specific, individual feedback to encourage improvement; targeted, intentional homework with difficult concepts confronted in class; and extensive review and test practice near the end of the course (Brown, THP, August 2021).

Curiosity and creativity should be a primary goal of secondary gifted education. It can begin with providing opportunities for exploration; a four-year plan which integrates scope and sequence; and motivational strategies that inspire further exploration. Nurturing curiosity and creativity involves providing outlets for student to investigate their own creative thoughts which may begin with Socratic seminars or personal time to pursue individual interests. They can be enhanced through long-term (year-long or even multi-year) projects based on student choice. These can encourage students to ask inspiring questions; not just seek answers.

What strategies can teachers use to inspire confidence and independence in GT students? Inspiring confidence and independence in our GT students is a lofty goal for educators. It starts with passionate and compassionate teaching, high expectations, and explicit teaching of self-advocacy. Teachers can be instrumental in developing confidence and independence in GT students by relinquishing an authoritarian mindset and encouraging student voice and choice. Engaging stu dents in independent study is a great place to start. Specific strategies include instructional grouping with intellectual peers and modified grading which emphasizes self-evaluation and reflection.

How can schools implement a 4-year scaffolded experience for GT students? A vertically-aligned 4-year scaffolded program resembles those used at the college level. The first year strives to build basic skills upon which to build the remaining 3 years emphasis on executive functioning and addressing social-emotional learning. During the next 2 years, students engage with mentors and advisors, explore interests and passions, begin consideration of areas of research, and continue social-emotional learning. Finally, in their senior year, GT students create a capstone project involving research, production of a final product, and presentation of findings. (McClintock, 2021)

By the time students reach high school, parents often have the unenviable decision of how best to educate their child. Unfortunately, their choice may be dictated by financial considerations or simple geography. Parents today do have a myriad of choices: public charter, magnet, or residential schools; micro-schools; homeschooling or unschooling; cyber/online learning; dual-enrollment or early college; or private schools.

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/10AM 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 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:

Nurturing Excellence: A Case Study of High School Learning Environments for the Gifted

Nurturing Excellence: Maximizing the Agency, Curiosity, and Confidence of Gifted Secondary Learners (pdf) | McClintock WCGTC World Conference 2021  

What Works With Secondary Gifted Learners: A Qualitative Case Study of the Curriculum and Instructional Approaches of the North Carolina Governor’s School (pdf)

The Future of Secondary Gifted Education

Enriching Students Pays Off: Evidence from an Individualized Gifted and Talented Program in Secondary Education (pdf)

The Handbook of Secondary Gifted Education

A 21st-Century Model for Identifying Students for Gifted and Talented Programs in Light of National Conditions (pdf) | Gifted Child Today

Designing Services and Programs for High-Ability Learners: A Guidebook for Gifted Education (book)

Gifted Secondary School Students: The Perceived Relationship Between Enrichment and Achievement Orientation (pdf)

Modern Curriculum for Gifted and Advanced Academic Students 1st Edition (book)

Fundamentals of Gifted Education: Considering Multiple Perspectives 2nd Edition (book)

“Just Challenge Those High-Ability Learners and They’ll Be All Right!”. The Impact of Social Context and Challenging Instruction on the Affective Development of High-Ability Students | Journal of Advanced Academics

In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School (book)

Gifted Students’ Adjustment and Underachievement in University: An Exploration from the Self-determination Theory Perspective (pdf) | Gifted Child Quarterly

Paradigms of Gifted Education: A Guide for Theory-Based, Practice-Focused Research 1st Edition (book)

Honors Students’ Perceptions of Their High School Experiences: The Influence of Teachers on Student Motivation

How Students Conceptualize Grade-Based Acceleration in Inclusive Settings

A Study of Gifted High, Moderate, and Low Achievers in their Personal Characteristics and Attitudes toward School and Teachers

High Abilities/Giftedness: Social Skills Intervention with Students, Parents/Guardians and Teachers

Gifted Classroom Environments and the Creative Process: A Systematic Review | Journal for the Education of the Gifted

Content-Based Curriculum for High-Ability Learners 3rd Edition (book)

Advanced Placement Programs and Gifted Students (book)

Serving Gifted Students in General Ed Classrooms | Edutopia

ASCD: Six Strategies for Challenging Gifted Learners

Challenging Your Gifted Student

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Best Advice for Teachers New to Gifted Education

Roles and responsibilities of a GT teacher are a response to the school setting in which they find themselves. It makes a real difference if students are being served in the general ed classroom, during pull-out, or in a standalone program. Teachers, co-teachers, GT specialists, and resource teachers should all be responsible for understanding what it means to be identified as a GT student and be willing to advocate for their students’ education. GT teachers should be cognizant of the fact that their students know no bounds, are from every background (ethnically, socially, SES), and may potentially be twice-exceptional. Many, perhaps most, are outliers.

What differences exist between expectations and classroom realities for new GT teachers? When new GT teachers have had little exposure to gifted education or experience with GT students, it can be an eye-opening experience. Presumptions are often disposed of quickly in the classroom. Oftentimes, teachers’ new to gifted education expectations revolve around academic excellence which may be present or not. GT students may consider these expectations irrelevant. Not all are ‘teacher pleasers’. GT students need their teachers for guidance and as advocates. They will not always ‘make it on their own’. They need time with intellectual peers and mentors. They should not be used as teaching assistants. The GT student may be the class clown, an underachiever, or asleep in the back of the room. They may appear rude, argumentative, or the first to challenge authority. They may struggle with asynchronous development.

What do teachers new to gifted education need to know about 2E learners? First and foremost that they exist. Twice-exceptional learners are not lazy. They must confront both internal and external struggles that others – adults, age-peers, family members – may lack the ability to understand. Twice-exceptional learners are often difficult to identify; and when acknowledged, their deficits are considered more important than their strengths to be accommodated. Multiple approaches need to be utilized to best serve twice-exceptional kids. IEPs, GIEPs, AIG, and 504 plans should be used together when available; with gifted plans taking precedent.

Best practices should be used for ensuring equitable identification/programming for under-represented gifted populations. Assess every student. Use multiple types of assessments when necessary. Be aware of test bias. Schools should consider (with additional qualification) non-standard assessments such as teacher referrals, parent referrals, and even a student’s self-nomination. It is important to guard against not only test bias, but implicit bias of the person administering the test as well as cultural and gender bias.

What should new GT teachers know about differentiation, curriculum, assessment & instruction for gifted learners? In a word … everything. There is extensive literature dedicated to differentiation (see resources below). Specific GT curriculum, assessment and instruction which is research-based is essential for GT learners. Assessment and instruction, at times, may need to be highly personalized. Allowing GT students to take the lead in helping design instruction will take many educators out of their comfort zone, but be beneficial to the student. It’s also important to accept the fact that the student may actually know more about any given subject than their teacher. At this point, the role of educator may need to change to facilitator or coach.

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/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:

What to Expect When You’re Expected to Teach Gifted Students: A Guide to the Celebrations, Surprises, Quirks, and Questions in Your First Year Teaching Gifted Learners (book)

What to Expect When You’re Expected to Teach Gifted Students (Vimeo 50:35)

Teacher’s Survival Guide: Gifted Education: A First-Year Teacher’s Introduction to Gifted Learners 2nd Edition (book)

Gifted Education and Gifted Students: A Guide for Inservice and Preservice Teachers

Best Practices in Gifted Education: An Evidence-Based Guide

A Field Guide to Gifted Students: A Teacher’s Introduction to Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Gifted Learners

A Field Guide to Gifted Students: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Gifted Learners (Vimeo 59:43)

Six Strategies for Challenging Gifted Learners

Handbook of Giftedness in Children: Psychoeducational Theory, Research, and Best Practices (book)

Critical Issues and Practices in Gifted Education: What the Research Says 2nd Edition

Gifted Education 101: The Basics (pdf)

‘Twice Exceptional’ Students Miss Out on Gifted Classes

Even Gifted Educators Say Their Classes Don’t Reach All Who Need Them

Best Practices for Gifted Programming and Services

Building a Successful Gifted Program

A Strategy for Overcoming Equity Issues in Gifted Programs

Research on Giftedness and Gifted Education: Status of the Field and Considerations for the Future

Enhancing Gifted Education for Underrepresented Students: Promising Recruitment and Programming Strategies

Gifted/Talented Education (pdf)

Resources for Educators

Tips for Teachers: Successful Strategies for Teaching Gifted Learners

8 Essential Tips & Resources for Educators of Gifted Kids

Practical Recommendations and Interventions: Gifted Students (pdf)

Current Practices in the Education of Gifted and Advanced Learners in South Australian Schools | Australasian Journal of Gifted Education

Image courtesy of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Teachers’ Impact on GT Students’ Academic Success

How do teachers’ perceptions about intelligence and giftedness affect how they identify and teach diverse gifted students? Attitudes and perceptions can have a profound effect when deciding who and how to educate gifted students. With recent awareness being raised around the lack of diversity in gifted programs, it’s critical teachers understand the intricacies of intelligence and its relationship to learning as well as how giftedness is defined. How teachers perceive intelligence and giftedness affect their relationship with students and their parents.

Does exposure to undergraduate courses in gifted education or certification make an appreciable difference in how teachers approach gifted education? It seems so obvious – exposure to knowledge about gifted education whether as an undergrad or in PD can influence how it’s approached in the classroom. Without a solid foundation in gifted education, the influence of colleagues or even preconceived notions can negatively influence interactions with students. Some studies show that nothing can overcome entrenched personal beliefs. (E.M. Miller 2009) Certification can be an important way to foster a greater understanding of how to meet the needs of gifted children. For example, how to differentiate for gifted learners.

Are positive teacher-gifted student relationships predictive of higher levels of academic success? When teachers are secure in their belief in their own ability to teach gifted students, GT students are more motivated and enthusiastic about learning. Positive relationships between teachers and gifted students can lead to higher quality learning environments, This can increase the probability of higher levels of academic engagement and success. (Kenter et al,, 2008) Teachers can exert important influence on academic success of gifted students when they have a deep understanding of gifted students’ characteristics.

When schools do not have provisions for gifted education interventions such as ability grouping or acceleration, it may negatively impact teachers’ views of how to educate GT students. (Lassig, 2009) Lack of PD in gifted education can place teachers at a disadvantage in meeting academic and social-emotional needs of GT students. When administrators do not value gifted education, teachers may fail to gain expertise in identifying students as gifted or in differentiating instruction.

GT students may not exhibit any more or less signs of stress that age-peers, but this does not negate its existence in these students. Lack of motivation, underachievement, and habitual truancy are all red flags. Asynchronous development plays an important role in why it’s important to identify social-emotional stress in GT students. Too often, adult incorrectly assume that intellect is on par with social-emotional development. GT students can struggle with unrealistic expectations placed on them; both externally and internally. This can lead to academic failure and low self-esteem.

What strategies can teachers implement to mitigate perfectionism/underachievement and have a greater impact on GT students’ academic success? Acknowledging and taking seriously perfectionism and underachievement is a positive first step in developing strategies to mitigate these issues in GT students. Developing positive personal relationships with students, providing appropriate challenging materials, addressing social-emotional needs, allowing time to work with intellectual peers and differentiating instruction can all impact academic success.

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 1PM 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.

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:

Threat or Challenge? Teacher Beliefs about Gifted Students and their Relationship to Teacher Motivation | Gifted and Talented International Journal    

What it Means to Teach Gifted Learners Well | NAGC GIFTED

Factors That Promote/Inhibit Teaching Gifted Students in a Regular Class: Results from a Professional Development Program for Chemistry Teachers | Education Research International

The Effect of Training in Gifted Education on Elementary Classroom Teachers’ Theory Based Reasoning about the Concept of Giftedness (pdf) | Journal for the Education of the Gifted    

Teachers’ Perceptions of Supporting Gifted Learners in General Education Classes (pdf) Dissertation | Doctor of Education | Jennifer S. Williams | May 2019 (Carson-Newman University)

A Sample of Gifted and Talented Educators’ Attitudes About Academic Acceleration (pdf) | Journal of Advanced Academics

Teachers Say the Darndest Things (About Intelligence)

High School Teachers’ Perceptions of Giftedness, Gifted Education, and Talent Development | UNT Digital Library

Teacher Expectations and Self-Fulfilling Prophesies: Knowns and Unknowns, Resolved and Unresolved Controversies | Personality and Social Psychology Review

Fourth-Grade Teachers’ Perceptions of Giftedness: Implications for Identifying and Serving Diverse Gifted Students (pdf) | Journal for the Education of the Gifted

Perceptions of Preservice Teacher Candidates towards Gifted Education Training and Obtaining the Gifted Education Endorsement Certificate in Florida (pdf thesis)

Teacher Bias in Identifying Gifted and Talented Students (2000) | The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented

Teachers’ Negative Affect Toward Academically Gifted Students (Download) | Gifted Child Quarterly

Teacher Perspective on Differentiation for Gifted Students in the General Education Classroom (pdf thesis)

The Importance of Teachers | NAGC GIFTED

Knowledge and Skill Standards in Gifted Education for All Teachers | NAGC GIFTED

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

Impact of Gifted Programs From the Students’ Perspectives (pdf) | Gifted Child Quarterly

What do the Teachers Think about Gifted Students? (download) |Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences

How to Identify, Understand and Teach Gifted Children

Serving Gifted Students in General Ed Classrooms | Edutopia

How and Why Teachers Need to Support Gifted Students

Gifted Second-Graders’ Perceptions of Teachers’ Expectations (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Know Your Students Page

Discretion and Disproportionality: Explaining the Underrepresentation of High-Achieving Students of Color in Gifted Programs | American Educational Research Association

Perfectionism | NAGC

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Building Home-School Connections in Uncertain Times

We are living in an era where the home school relationship will determine the success of school reopenings and whether or not they stay open in the upcoming school year. It is already becoming apparent the gifted programs are being shelved to balance school budgets. GT parents and teachers must come together as advocates for their children & students. Now is the time to right the wrongs of the past and put in place policies to validate gifted education, take steps to ensure equitable placement for all students, and be smart in how we address individual needs.

Knowledge has always been the key to success in building strong parent-teacher relationships. Understanding the needs of the students and how to meet those needs can only be achieved when parents and teachers work together. Parents often do not realize how little coursework is available to teachers as undergraduates in the field of gifted education. This can be remedied by sharing information with their child’s teacher. Parents should realize how important it is to advocate for their school’s gifted programs and teachers when admins and school boards fail to realize their value as part of the entire school community.

GT and 2E students have a keen awareness of the relationship between their parents and teachers. It’s important that the adults in the room respect each other and display positive behaviors towards each other. GT and 2E students are the greatest beneficiaries of a strong parent-teacher relationship. It can make the difference between success and failure. It also lays the groundwork for future relationships post-Pandemic. Strong parent-teacher relationships can instill students with life skills which will benefit them throughout their entire lives by showing them how working together helps them achieve their goals.

Especially in the era of #COVID19, parents and teachers need to understand each other’s situation through honest conversations. Dialing back rhetoric once used to defend positions is a good place to start. Both parents and teachers should begin with the premise that everyone wants what is best for the student. When appropriate, students should be invited to join the conversation. Their input, often overlooked, can be invaluable. It’s extremely helpful for parents new to gifted education to learn and understand educational terminology when discussing their child’s educational plans. It will greatly improve outcomes as their child progresses through the school system.

As many schools transition to full-time virtual learning over the next few years, it’s important to provide a mechanism for feedback from families to determine ongoing needs. Establishing a ‘help desk’ is essential. Student’s needs are changing as they navigate learning online rather than ‘going’ to brick and mortar schools. They will need to learn time management skills and how to prioritize tasks to be successful. Asynchronous learning, where GT students can learn at their own pace, will need to be considered and accommodated. Many students have already realized the advantages of virtual learning.

As remote learning becomes a necessity if many parts of the world in the near future, it will be necessary to rethink the parent-teacher relationship. As parents work to keep their children engaged at home; they will need the support of teachers who can provide long-known strategies of what works best to keeping students on track.

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:

During Remote Learning, Parents Became My Co-Teachers —Now, I Want To Keep That Partnership Going

As Schools Debate Reopening, Parents are Called to be Partners

How to Build Relationships Virtually: The Ultimate Guide for Teachers

How to Do Virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences

LA Dept. of Education: Building Positive and Supportive Relationships in the Classroom and School for the 2020-2021 School Year (pdf)

AUS: Parental Engagement – Building a Strong Culture of Parent-School Engagement (pdf)

Teacher: ‘Parents need to go to work’ Does Not Stop Covid-19 at the School Entrance | WaPo

Pods, Microschools and Tutors: Can Parents Solve the Education Crisis on Their Own? | NYT

‘This is not working.’ Parents Juggling Jobs and Child Care under COVID-19 See No Good Solutions | PBS

Harvard Business Review Readers on Juggling Work and Kids… in a Pandemic

Education under Quarantine Creates Challenges and Opportunities

A Strategy for Building Productive Relationships with Parents | Edutopia

Achieving Equity through Teacher-Caregiver Relationships

How to Use Technology for Differentiation and Delivering Small Group Instruction

Parents Mobilize as Schools Wrestle with Tough Pandemic Decisions | EdWeek

How Educators Can Help Parents: 6 Remote Learning Tips | EdWeek

14 Ways Teachers Say Parents can Help as We Return to School in a Pandemic

How to Coach Parents Who Are Teaching at Home | Edutopia

Cybraryman’s Parents and Teachers Page

Druidawn: An RPG-Based Creative Writing Curriculum That Makes Writing Fun for Children!

Photo courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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