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Gifted students who fall behind don't have inspiring experiences in school. In fact, according to a study of 14 gifted and talented students who dropped out of school (Hansen & Toso, 2007), several school factors were described as the primary reasons for leaving school. Here are three of the most common:
- Lessons that don't engage their interests - Gifted and exceptional children crave exciting and challenging activities. Unfortunately, special education programs focus on all special students except the gifted. Usually, the curriculum is extended and lessons are restructured to suit the needs of academically challenged students. The gifted students, on the other hand, end up dealing with boredom, lack of motivation, and the disappointing realization that they don't belong in school.
- Lack of meaningful relationships with teachers - Trained teachers in special education tend to extend help towards struggling students and frequently ignore the gifted ones. But, similar to other students with special needs, gifted and talented students also wanted personal attention from their teachers. They seek inspiration from teachers. Many students who ended up dropping felt that their teachers don't care about them.
- Detachment from classmates - Some gifted students do not find it appealing to belong to the group of high achievers. They find that these supposedly high achievers are students who go through the boring busy work in order to please the teachers. Their teachers would frequently equate "intelligence" with conformity. As a result, these frustrated gifted students gravitate towards classmates who have been ostracized by the majority. This causes gifted and talented students are treated as deviants.
Gifted students that fall behind are not lost causes. The schools and the teachers can still take action in order to help these low-achieving students. The first important step is early identification of these gifted students. Then they should be enrolled in schools for gifted children or schools that have gifted programs. The programs should be constantly evaluated and modified while these students are monitored.
Although gifted children have above average intelligence, they are not immune to social and emotional issues. When warning signs such as absenteeism, under achievement, and disruptive behavior are observed, then there is a need to investigate and resolve the causes of such undesirable observations that contribute to unschooling the gifted.
Potential Problems Gifted Children May Face in School
This is a series of articles that describes the various factors that contribute to the academic failure of gifted and talented students. It also has an article that provides recommendations for teachers of gifted and exceptional children.