written by: Saoirse OMara
• edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch
• updated: 8/2/2012
Do you have a special child in your class, a student who might be gifted, but you are not certain? Learn about signs for giftedness to help with identifying gifted students as early as possible.
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Knowing When to Watch
Are you a teacher wondering whether this child or that might be gifted? If so, he or she is most likely in need of special encouragement to develop his gift to the fullest potential. This article aims to help you with identifying gifted students by explaining certain behaviors that indicate the possibility of giftedness.
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Gifted children are often very curious. They ask lots of questions and show an interest in books or TV programs that are normally made for older children.
Many gifted children are early readers. That means they develop an interest in letters and books at a very young age and, with the right encouragement from their parents or their kindergarten teachers, learn reading and often writing, too, before entering school.
Reading books on more difficult topics for the sheer thirst for knowledge, being interested in foreign languages before they are taught at school, or wanting to experiment with chemicals all can be signs of a gifted child.
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Most times, teachers have a simple job with identifying gifted students. They are far ahead of the rest of the class, have a seemingly insatiable thirst for knowledge and show no problems at all in dealing with subject matters.
There are some gifted students, however, who show quite different signs. They are easily bored during lessons and start to interrupt the teacher and classmates. Perhaps you're famliar with the gifted student who becomes the classroom clown, thus annoying their teachers a lot. Others just stop participating in lessons. In both cases, the gifted students often get bad grades. When their teachers are not aware of this being a possible sign for gifted students, these students are mostly looked upon as lazy or stupid, although they are the opposite.
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Gifted students need special care. They need to be challenged at school so that they are able to show their full potential. The most difficult part about this is often the task of identifying gifted students as early as possible.
Whenever children show an interest in things that do not seem age appropriate, you have to question the reason for this sudden interest. Encourage the child to pursue his or her interest and offer help but do not push the child beyond their limits. As soon as voluntary studies change to duty, you have lost the child’s interest for sure.
As a teacher, you should give your students tasks which challenge each student to show his or her full potential. When you compare their work, you can easily spot students who show extraordinary results. Keep them in mind and try to challenge them as often as possible without asking too much of your other students.
If a student has received really bad grades, do not immediately label him or her as stupid. Instead, talk to the student to find out the reason for the bad grades. Maybe you will hear that lessons are boring. In that case, a test should clarify the matter. Sometimes, it is better to let gifted students advance into a higher grade where they are more challenged.