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Instructional Strategies to Support Gifted ELLs

This week, we welcomed the TAGT Equity Resource Committee to #gtchat – Tish Cawley, Matthew Fugate, and Javetta Roberson – to chat about instructional strategies to support gifted English Language Learners (ELLs).

Gifted ELLs have similar characteristics to other gifted students, but may exhibit them differently. Characteristics of gifted ELLs may be observed in the context of acquisition of a new language – the rate at which proficiency occurs, switching between languages, and accuracy of translation. Academic characteristics to look for in gifted ELL students include advanced reading, creativity, and problem solving abilities as well as above grade level math skills. Behavioral characteristics to look for in gifted ELL students include respect for their culture, social maturity, and an ability to display appropriate behaviors in both cultures.

What are some barriers to identifying English Learners & how can we overcome them? An initial barrier to identification of gifted ELLs is the observer’s inability to communicate with the student in their native language. Educator bias – consideration for gifted programs based on conventional markers and academic achievement only – can be countered by using an inclusive framework that goes beyond standardized tests & anti-bias training.

Once you identify English Learners, what does a culturally responsive GT curriculum look like? A culturally responsive GT curriculum addresses the need for a student’s culture to be recognized and valued. Multicultural literature and classroom discussions about a student’s culture are an effective way of responding to the needs of gifted ELL students. Maintaining a culturally responsive classroom after students are identified is an important role of teachers in supporting gifted ELLs.

How will a Talent Development model benefit English Learners? It will take into consideration a student’s interests and build on individual strengths. Talent Development models have used in Europe and have been very successful in meeting the needs of many diverse cultures.

Gifted ELLs should be supported through the use of linguistic accommodations and scaffolding in both English and their native language. They need to be provided opportunities to speak and interact with other students both in structured and informal conversation.

What are some resources for parents to help support English Learners at home? School can provide learning opportunities for parents on how to support their child at home to learn how to advocate for their child and how to form support groups. Parents should regularly be updated about resources, programs, and academic opportunities available to students related to their child’s interests and abilities.

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/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.

Resources:

How Do We Identify Gifted English Learners?

Recognizing the Gift: Identifying Gifted English Learners

FL: Assessing Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students for Eligibility for Gifted Programs (pdf)

Baltimore Students Learning English Say They Still Don’t Have a Fair Shot at the City’s Top Schools

Identifying Gifted and Talented English Language Learners: A Case Study (pdf) (Plucker, Rapp, Martinez)

Identifying and Serving Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Gifted Students

Teaching Culturally Diverse Gifted Students

Working With Gifted English Language Learners

Special Populations in Gifted Education: Understanding Our Most Able Students From Diverse Backgrounds

Effective Curriculum for Underserved Gifted Students

Identifying and Serving Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Gifted Students (pdf)

Identifying Gifted Children from Diverse Populations

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Gifted Students: Do They Fall through the Cracks (PPT)

Curriculum Approaches that Overcome Learning Gaps and Language Barriers for Diverse Gifted Students

Edutopia: Identifying and Supporting Gifted ELLs

Identifying Gifted and Talented English Language Learners Grades K-12 (pdf)

Gifted, But Still Learning English, Many Bright Students Get Overlooked

Identifying and Assessing Gifted and Talented Bilingual Hispanic Students

Start Seeing and Serving Underserved Gifted Students 50 Strategies for Equity and Excellence

Disclaimer: Some resources contain affiliate links.

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

How Schools Can Support GT Parents

The best ways to communicate with parents are those that are regular in nature ~ text/email updates, newsletters, or personal invitations to school activities or events. Sometimes, spending a little extra time at regularly scheduled school meetings (parent-teacher conferences, welcome back to school night, etc.) may be all that is needed.

What information do parents of GT students need most from schools? Parents of GT students should be made aware of all the options available for their child; the entire range of academic programs K-12. Options including social-emotional interventions, enrichment opportunities through the school and out of school, and possible accommodations for twice-exceptional students. Parents should be given an opportunity to review all assessments/test scores relating to their child and be able to participate in planning sessions for IEPs or ALPs (when available). They should be given information on ways they can support their child at home.

Schools can engage and involve parents in their gifted learner’s education by inviting them to volunteer to organize or chaperone field trips, become a coach for academic competitions, or participate in classroom activities. They can provide information sessions for parents about gifted issues, gifted education, and resources available to them from state and national organizations. They can also list information on their websites for parents about online resources, local support or advocacy groups, and upcoming conferences.

Teachers can assist parents of newly identified GT students by sharing information on the criteria used to identify their child as gifted. They may periodically ask parents if they believe their child’s needs are being met and what more they’d like to see as part of their child’s education plan. Also, teachers can encourage parents to form or participate in a parent advocacy group. Oftentimes, parents can advocate for gifted programs in ways school personnel cannot.

What should teachers know about gifted education to best support parents? The best way to support parents is to become educated about gifted education and then share that information and resources with parents. Teachers may need to seek out PD at both the local level or online and consider attending gifted conferences to learn about the latest developments/research in gifted education.

How can tensions between parents and school personnel be minimized? Open channels of communication can go a long way in easing tensions between home and school. This can prevent unnecessary surprises for all involved. Teachers can reassure parents that they have their child’s best interest at heart; becoming a trusted ally can promote positive relationships between schools 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/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.

Resources:

How Do You Teach Parents to Advocate for their Child?

10 Steps to a Better Parent-School Partnership: Pre-action, not Re-action

The Teacher-Parent Connection: Tips for Working with the Parents of a Gifted Student

14 Things Gifted Students Want Teachers to Know

The Survival Guide for Teachers of Gifted Kids: How to Plan, Manage, and Evaluate Programs for Gifted Youth K-12 (book preview with Teacher Survey template) (pdf )

The Survival Guide for Teachers of Gifted Kids: How to Plan, Manage, and Evaluate Programs for Gifted Youth K–12 (book)

Teacher’s Survival Guide: Gifted Education (book)

Tips for Teaching Gifted Students

TEMPO Issue 1 2016: Advocating for Gifted Learners (pdf)

15 Ways to Help Gifted Kids Thrive in School (pdf)

The Care and Feeding of Gifted Parent Groups: A Guide for Gifted Coordinators, Teachers, and Parent Advocates (pdf)

Trying to Make School Better for Gifted Kids

Disclaimer: Some resources in our resources have affiliate links.

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Building a Successful Gifted Program

Gifted programs should ensure a continuum of services throughout a GT student’s entire K-12 school career. They should include opportunities for all forms of acceleration, differentiation in the regular classroom, and alternative learning environments. All gifted programs need a social-emotional component to fully meet the needs of gifted students.

Best practices in gifted identification require a multifaceted approach. Reliance on only one measurement, such as IQ tests, will result in many students being missed. Out-of-level testing are essential to avoid inaccurate measurements. Because the best programs are tailored to student needs and not vice versa; universal testing as well as parent and teacher recommendations, should be utilized. Gifted identification should be culturally sensitive, linguistically appropriate, and take into account low-SES environmental factors such as lack of access to technology.

The best gifted programs provide challenge to all GT students include PG, twice-exceptional, and ELL. Curriculum should promote authentic experiential learning experiences and be conducive to exploration of student interests. A gifted curriculum should be more complex, provide in-depth study of key-concepts; and stress higher-level thinking, creativity, and problem solving. It can include enrichment and compacting as needed. Services may include standalone gifted classrooms; full-grade or subject acceleration; full or part day pull-out; independent study; early entrance/early out; dual enrollment in college classes; and counseling services.

Parents should be included in district planning and evaluation of gifted programs. Programs serve students and parents are often good judges of their child’s need. Their involvement can be a conduit for advocacy of gifted programs. As programs develop, parents need to be informed of identification criteria and procedures; and have access to application forms. Utilizing classroom tech, social media, and newsletters are all ways to stay connected. Forming a Parent Support or Advocacy group is a great way to build support for a school’s gifted programs. Parents can be invited to special information sessions at Parent Night events or engaged at regular monthly meetings.

Professional development is essential in a high quality gifted program. Few teachers receive any coursework in gifted education during their undergraduate years. PD should be often and on-going to be effective. Gifted endorsement is highly recommended. Most endorsements are attainable online. Many states require teachers of gifted students to receive continuing education credits in gifted education.

What criteria should be used for evaluating effectiveness of program options & design? Criteria for student products should high-level and exemplary. Student products should be comparable to those of professionals in the field, challenge existing ideas, and produce new ones. Criteria for evaluating a program’s success and effectiveness should rely on standardized, achievement, and performance-based assessments as well as program feedback from all stakeholders – students, teachers and parents. All students, including GT students, should demonstrate academic growth with special care identify areas of strength and weakness in order to modify existing programs to better meet students’ needs.

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/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.

Resources:

Gifted Program Development

Building an Exemplary Gifted Program

Elements of a Good School Gifted Program

South Carolina – Gifted and Talented Best Practices Guidelines: Identification (pdf)

Gifted Education in America is Finally Moving Past its Legacy of Inequality

Why School Districts Are Rethinking Gifted & Talented Programs

Why Grouping Kids Based on Ability Works

Duke TIP Study Finds Using Local Criteria Identifies More Students as ‘Gifted’

Featured California Schools for Gifted Learners

Top Four Things to Look for in Your Gifted Program

The Best Kind of Schools for Gifted Kids

TAGT: Program Evaluation

Program Evaluation in Gifted Education (Book)

Gifted Education Strategies

Developing Exemplary Gifted Developing Exemplary Gifted Programs: Programs: What does the research say? What does the research say? (pdf)

High-Potential Students Thrive when School Districts Develop Sustainable Gifted Services

Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students 2019 Final (pdf)

UK: What Works in Gifted Education? A Literature Review (pdf)

Is Gifted Education a Bright Idea? Assessing the Impact of Gifted and Talented Programs on Achievement and Behavior (pdf)

What Works in Gifted Education: Documenting the Effects of an Integrated Curricular/Instructional Model for Gifted Students

Gifted Education in China

State of the Nation in Gifted Education 2012 – 2013 (pdf)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Counseling GT Students through Relationships

Building rapport with gifted students starts with a basic understanding of the term ‘gifted’ without prejudice. Teachers, staff, and admins should consider professional development in the specific area of gifted education. Most gifted students will bristle at any attempt by adults to be disingenuous in their feelings towards them. Building rapport begins with building relationships.

Gifted students are always the benefactors of positive relationships between their teachers and parents; hopefully from the beginning they meet. Too often, negative first impressions are hard to get passed. Positive relationships can make for happy classroom experiences for all involved.

What strategies can teach gifted students in improving their communication and connection with others? Emphasizing that being gifted is about being “better at something, not better than someone” (Delisle) can substantially improve how GT students connect with other students. Teachers can engage gifted students in conversation about gifted characteristics and how asynchronous development affects their relationships with both age-peers and intellectual peers.

Stress management is an often overlooked, but crucial area which GT students need to be counseled in when confronting academic anxiety related to test taking, performance, and competition. GT students face real and perceived pressure from others to achieve and be successful that other students may not experience. This can create higher levels of anxiety. Gifted students can benefit from being taught relaxation techniques such as meditation and positive self-talk; engage in expressive writing; as well as, bibliotherapy and cinematherapy.

When should a gifted student or their family seek counseling outside of school? When stress and anxiety begin to affect a student’s life beyond the classroom, parents may need to seek outside counseling. When warning signs begin to cause concern such as difficulty sleeping, expressing thoughts of despair or even attempts at self-harm; an outside counselor should be considered.

How can teachers balance the need for positive student relationships with the reality and obligations of being an educator? All relationships benefit from boundaries and teacher-student relationships are no different. Most school districts delineate expectations of these relationships. Most educators must work with students who exhibit a wide range of abilities. Providing a positive educational experience for each student is the most primary concern. Relationships should always foster learning. 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/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.

Resources:

Counseling the Gifted and Talented (book)

Counseling Gifted and Talented Students (Neihart et al., 2002)

Counseling the Gifted

No Child Left Behind: Gifted Children and School Counselors (paywall)

How to Find the Right Counselor for Your Gifted Child

Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Students: What School Counselors Need to Know to Most Effectively Serve This Diverse Student Population

The Whole Gifted Child

The Whole Gifted Child Task Force Report to the Board of Directors (pdf March 2018)

Counseling Gifted and Talented Children: A Guide for Teachers, Counselors, and Parents (Creativity Research) (book)

Happiness Unpacked: Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction by Building Resilience

The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know? (2nd ed.)

Meeting the Guidance and Counseling Needs of Gifted Students in School Settings (pdf)

American School Counselor Association: The Professional School Counselor and Gifted and Talented School Programs (pdf p.25)

Being Gifted in School: An Introduction to Development, Guidance, and Teaching (2nd ed.)

Models of Counseling Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults

Addressing Counseling Needs of Gifted Students

Counseling Gifted Students: School-Based Considerations and Strategies (pdf)

Counselling Practices in Fostering Potentials among Gifted Students

The School Counselor and the Gifted Children Education

Psychological Issues and the Need for Counseling Services among Malaysian Gifted Students

Clinical and Mental Health Issues in Counseling the Gifted Individual (pdf)

Big Fish in Big Ponds: A Multilevel Analysis of Test Anxiety and Achievement in Special Gifted Classes

A Multicultural Competence Model for Counseling Gifted and Talented Children (pdf)

Performance Anxiety in Gifted Students

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (book)

Cybraryman’s Counseling Page

Cybraryman’s Coping Strategies Page

Cybraryman’s Building Relationships with Students and Parents Page

Cybraryman’s Body Language Page

With Hundreds of Students, School Counselors Just Try to ‘Stay Afloat’

Your Guide to Forest Bathing: Experience the Healing Power of Nature (book)

Sprite’s Site: The Dabrowski Dogs Make New Year Resolutions

Disclaimer: Resources from Prufrock Press include affiliate links.

Photo Courtesy of Heather Vaughn.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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