Do we always recognise the most able in our class?
Below is my quick synopsis of the six profiles of gifted and talented learners as set out by Betts and Neihart (1988). To read their full article click here:
Profiles of the gifted and talented
1) Successful Learners
Bright, motivated achievers. These children are teacher pleasers. They do not strive to develop their high abilities and are risk averse.
2) Challenging Learners
Bored, angry and/or frustrated. These children are rarely identified as gifted and talented. They question authority can be either overly sarcastic or play the class clown. They do not suffer fools gladly.
3) Underground Learners
Insecure, anxious with a strong need to belong. These children conceal their ability because they see it as a barrier to forming friendships. They may then also feel guilty for denying their gifts.
4) Disenfranchised Learners
Intellectually and emotionally divorced. These children can be depressed, withdrawn or angry and defensive. They have extremely low self-esteem.
5) Double-Labelled Learners
(Also called Twice Exceptional) Gifted children with a physical or emotional disability or a (non)specific learning difficulty. These children can become very frustrated if their teacher only focusses on their disability. They can also be confused about their ability.
6) Autonomous Learners
Independent, self directed learners. These children use the system to succeed. They are confident expressing their needs in a way that both teachers and peers accept.
We should all be aiming to become Autonomous Learners and helping our children to become so as well.
As teachers (and parents) we can do this by:
* Valuing and celebrating all talents equally
* Rewarding the right attitude to solving the problem rather than the right answer
* Setting expectations based on ability not disability
* Extending children with challenging, interesting and relevant work; not just longer work
* Allowing children to show you their understanding and skills in a variety of ways
* Rewarding resilience, determination and (appropriate) risk taking rather than perfectionism. ~ While perfectionism can be a positive trait, dysfunctional perfectionism can lead to paralysis of effort due to fear of failure. It also frustrates those who get the learning objective but who’s efforts are not recognised because their presentation is poor.
* Planning the occasional project or unit of work in a ‘flipped classroom’ paradigm. Focusing on end goals or learning objectives rather than always learning using auditory-sequential pedagogy. This will allow the holistic and divergent thinkers to shine.
* Modeling being a life-long, self directed learner. Share what you are working on, share your set backs and struggles and share how you solved problems as they arrived.
What helpful tips would you give to a new teacher to get more gifted learners to become autonomous and reach their potential? Add your suggestions to the comments below and share to reach more teachers.