With gifted education becoming a permanent component of many school’s special education programs, more focus is being been put toward discovering the particular talents of these high-achieving students.
Kids who are gifted show certain creative and learning characteristics. For instance, they:
- Learn to read early. Many gifted kids already know how to read before they enter school. They “gather” and internalize vocabulary very quickly, and so they often are reading three or more grade levels above their peers. Their thirst for knowledge and their natural creativity makes them avid readers.
- Have many different interests and enjoy learning—but mostly on their own. It’s common for a student on the gifted scale to become bored with the way that subjects are traditionally taught in most schools. They prefer to learn at their own pace, or with a small group of other kids who have been identified as gifted.
- Like to talk to and hang around older kids and adults. These students feel most comfortable with others who have a similar vocabulary, who enjoy the same interests, and who read the same books.
- Enjoy stretching their critical thinking skills. Most gifted students learn to cull through the vast amounts of information that they gather, compare the similarities and differences, and then evaluate their conclusions.
Learning Styles for Gifted Children Are Key
These notable behaviors and characteristics create a challenge for teachers — either when gifted students are participating in a class with traditional learners or when they are learning in groups with other gifted children.
Teachers who have been trained to teaching gifted kids usually focus on their students’ advanced and diverse learning styles to ensure that they are properly guided by using a curriculum that incorporates their burgeoning interests.
Instead of using a SMART Board or learning from books, gifted students prefer:
- working in small groups with other gifted children
- choosing independent projects that match their particular interests
- working ahead in certain areas once they’ve mastered a particular concept
- finding similarities in two different subjects (like math and psychology, or science and social studies) and discovering how they influence each other
Teachers usually learn these educational theories and practices at the graduate level, and then can be placed as a school’s gifted education teacher. If you are interested in teaching gifted students, you can earn an online master’s degree in gifted education (grades Kindergarden-12) even as you continue your current teaching career. Contact Lindenwood University Online to learn more about their accredited graduate programs in gifted education today.