Strategies for Teaching Gifted and Talented Students

Each and every child can be considered exceptional in some way. It is up to the educator to ascertain the needs of each individual child. The following information should be used as guidelines for dealing with the exceptional child. These are only ideas, and not the final word on the subject. As you deal with each individual child, you will modify the existing ideas, and customize these guidelines to fit the needs of the individual child.

Children who are labelled gifted and talented may be the most difficult to teach out of all those students labelled exceptional. This is due in part to the fact that many educators do not feel knowledgeable enough to deal with a gifted child. Also, the gifted child may be left to fend for themselves. After all, they are gifted, they don’t need any help. Right? Wrong! Gifted children are children first. You don’t often find any child who is motivated enough to learn without encouragement.

Teaching Strategies

Modify the curriculum to meet the needs of the individual student. While it is impossible to create a separate curriculum for every student, it may be easier to modify the existing curriculum to meet the needs of the gifted student. Add enrichment activities to the pre-existing curriculum for the gifted student. For example, if a class is studying a unit on the solar system the teacher could have an enrichment activity where the gifted students plan a complete trip to another planet. They would have to decide best method of travel, distance, time, supplies they would need, and what type of life support system they would need when they get there.

Allow the students to do work that meets his or her mental capacity. For example, if you have a student that is exceptionally gifted in science, set up a program where the student works with the high school science teacher. This will allow the student to receive the mental stimulation they need, while not completely segregating them from their peers.

It is also important to encourage the students to be as creative as possible. Ask your students open ended questions and see where they take you. Have them take a favorite story or movie and rewrite it, or have them create a concept for a new video game, and if they are skilled in electronics, they can then build the game.

It is not a good idea students to skip too many grades. Often times, gifted students miss out on important aspects of social development. A 10 or 11 year old may be ready mentally for college, emotionally and physically, they should still be playing little league with their peers. If a gifted student does skip grades, extra efforts must be made to help them develop socially. Encourage them to participate in after school activities or join a boys/girls clubs, or scouting. They should be encouraged to do anything that will keep them in contact with their peers and allow them to develop social relationships.