Q&A #487

Teaching methods for gifted children

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From: Marielouise (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Aug 22, 1998 at 15:55:32
Subject: Re: Teaching methods for gifted children

I spent most of my high school teaching career teaching above average as well as truly gifted students. Each year I was privileged to have some exceptional students. My belief is that truly gifted students get bored when material is developed slowly. They are better able to take material in large chunks. An example of this: when teaching geometry students the first night's assignment would be to read the entire chapter and write a basic outline of the materials showing the interrelationships. Subsequent to this would be to be involved in problem solving or proof development (in the geometry class) that paralleled what was being done in the text. I always believed that the text was something that the students could read and learn on their own. Homework assignments were from the text in an orderly fashion; however, class work activities would be all encompassing. I found that teaching gifted children was very open ended. I let the questions at the beginning of class determine the order and sometimes the focus of the classroom discussion. The difficulties in teaching gifted children is in finding appropriately rich problems to explore. My second focus in teaching gifted children is for personal development in being able to solve seemingly easy questions. I always was interested in their interpretation of the problem and the variation of approach to the solution. Hence, each week several problems, most frequently not related to the classroom work, were presented with expectations that the work was their own and well written/explained. These were always read and returned. Perhaps you, too, are aware that gifted and talented do not always go together. Talented students work at the development of their gifts: ability to generalize, ability to read or to write, to be artistic, etc. As a teacher it is part of our responsibility that students become talented. -Marielouise, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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