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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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