Teaching Gifted Students: A Guide for Students and Teachers Alike

Gifted Students in the Classroom

Gifted students are everywhere, in everyone's classroom pushing teachers to their maximum instructional and professional potential. The journey can be fun for both students and teachers if everyone understands that gifted students are exceptional in many ways, but still need a structure of learning that can motivate and challenge their academic potentials.

these students are eager learners who want to soak up every piece of information presented to them. The endless questions signify active listening, active processing, and active application of what they're hearing and understanding. They want to explore the world around them and use resources and the teacher to find the answers to their sometimes endless questions. They are on the move all of the time in exploring the classroom, their peers, the Principal's office, the school landscaping and exploring just about anything that piques their inquisitive minds.

Sometimes, gifted students can appear to be intellectually superior in one moment and emotionally inconsistent in another. It's like a seesaw of academic and behavioral activity. Some days it may appear like they are on top of the world one minute, but then act emotionally distraught the next. This can even happen within the same class period. For the teacher who is also dealing with the rest of the class, this seesaw can be disconcerting in providing the needed constructive interactions to help teach them how to balance the internal seesaw of their emotions. For the rest of the class, having these students in the mix can raise assessment scores and their own intellectual and academic curiosity, so teaching gifted students in a way that effects everyone positively, is essential.

A Survival Guide for Gifted Students and Teachers

For gifted students, a survival guide stuffed in the backpack is a necessary tool of learning and survival in the classroom

The Survival Guide

  • Gifted students ask a lot of questions and that's just fine. Learning is an active and verbal process, so teachers can provide multiple opportunities for students to verbalize their questions and journal others for future feedback.
  • Structure in the classroom is important for gifted students along with their peers. Consistent instruction and academic expectations provide a diversity of learning opportunities for gifted students to show what they know and ask questions beyond the learning.
  • Students have worries and anxieties about academic and expected behaviors in the classroom. Teacher talks and daily journaling can provide them with mediums to express their feelings in constructive ways.
  • Teachers can introduce relaxation techniques in the classroom which are especially beneficial for students who are oftentimes active in mind and body constantly throughout the day.
  • Students can sometimes be hypersensitive and intense in the classroom. Providing them with relationship building strategies and social/emotional tools can make the difference between a long day and an active learning experience.
  • Teachers should do frequent parent phone conferences or check-ins with both parent (s), guardians and their similiar children.
  • Gifted children should be appreciated for the challenge and vigor that they bring to the classroom.

These are just a few tips for teaching gifted students how to face their challenges and interact with their peers. After following this guide, teachers will greatly enjoy the unique experience of having exceptional or gifted students in the learning community.