links for teachers

On this page you’ll find links to a whole heap of resources to help meet the needs of gifted learners in a regular classroom setting. There are articles looking at how gifted students learn, and even free personal development packages for you to browse. The needs of gifted students are often different to that of a regular student (if there is such a thing!), but the resources provided here will provide a wealth of information on how to best guide gifted learners. Additionally you may wish to look at information relating to what a gifted child may look like, and also the social and emotional needs of gifted children, particularly that of friendship and relationships with peers.

The Department of Education provides a free online personal development package for teachers who are interested in learning more about gifted students. The abstract for the PDP outlines:

In response to the findings of the 2001 Senate Employment, Workplace Relations, Small Business and Education References Committee Report, The Education of Gifted Students (which can be found by following the links at www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee, the Australian Government put in place a number of initiatives to improve the education of gifted students.  These included $2.3 million for the professional development of teachers in gifted education; grants of $10,000 each to assist teacher education faculties to acquire expertise in gifted education; and $550,000 for a series of workshops for parents of gifted children in rural and remote areas. 

As part of these initiatives, the Australian Government commissioned the Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre (GERRIC) at the University of New South Wales to develop the Gifted Education Professional Development Package.  

The Gifted Education Professional Learning Package consists of six modules to scaffold teachers’ learning over the course of a professional development programme.  The Package is designed to cover the most essential information every teacher needs to know to address the needs of gifted students. Click here to access the PD.

The Department also provides ideas on extending gifted children on their website. Suggested activities have been split into those appropriate for early childhood learning and those suited to middle childhood learners. Each phase of development is further sectioned according to the learning area the activity pertains to; cross curriculum, english, mathematics, science or society and development.

There are many myths surrounding the education of gifted children, and here the NAGC outline and explain the consequences of these myths. Gifted children often need differentiation within the normal classroom environment. Enrichment, as opposed to extension, can mean that they begin to lose focus from their learning. This is a short piece explaining differentiation in the classroom setting.

This article examines what can be done to challenge and enrich the education of academically talented students in the regular classroom. If a child has not previously received enough challenging material in the classroom, as is sometimes the case with gifted children, they can develop symptoms of anxiety. Here you can read more about how to identify and teach gifted students who suffer from anxiety. Also, check out the page on stress, anxiety and depression for further information on this subject.

Deborah Ruf is a specialist in gifted assessment, test interpretation, and guidance for the gifted. A 2007 recipient of the national Intellectual Benefits Award from the Mensa Education & Research Foundation, she was the National Gifted Children Program Coordinator for American Mensa from 2003 to 2008. Having been a parent, teacher, and administrator in elementary through graduate education, she writes and speaks about school issues and social and emotional adjustment of gifted children.This video is relevant to both teachers and parents.

Sometimes a gifted child may not look ‘gifted’ in the regular classroom at all. Stephanie Tolan’s article ‘Is it a Cheetah’ looks at why sometimes this may be the case, even with highly gifted students. Some gifted children have a learning disability; this may also make them invisible to teachers. Their giftedness masks the learning disability, often making them look average academically. For more information on this, look at twice exceptional students. Here you’ll find a comprehensive pdf. explaining all about 2E kids, children who are both gifted and learning disabled, and how to cater for them; it is written specifically for teachers. Additionally this pdf. offers teaching strategies for 2E children.

Teachers Pay Teachers is a fantastic resource that is great for teachers. It offers a free digital download which is an affective unit to help gifted students develop resiliency and understand their social and emotional needs. This resource includes free bundled lesson plans and heaps of information related to GATE students.  It ‘provides a series of lessons, each with a variety of group and independent activities, to assist teachers and specialists in gifted education in meeting the social and emotional needs of this special population of learners. Each lesson is centered around a common question of gifted students, such as “What is giftedness and what is it not?” and “How do I advocate for myself with teachers, principals, etc. when I’m bored?” Through the course of the unit, students also develop higher order thinking and research skills with a long-term project in which they investigate the life of a gifted individual of their choice’.

This article from the Davidson Institute provides some useful tips and strategies for effectively teaching gifted students.

The NSW Department of Education and Communities provides a website which looks at some issues which frequently crop up when teaching gifted students, including curriculum support and differentiation, and acceleration. Click here for further information.

Gifted students can often underachieve in the classroom. This article looks at ways to help motivate the gifted underachiever.

This presentation looks at factors that motivate the gifted learner. It includes the perspectives of 13 gifted children in Western Australia and examines rewards and their impact on motivation.

Finally, this article provides some ideas on how to best meet the needs of gifted learners in the regular classroom, and here you’ll find a report following a review on ways to improve the educational achievement of gifted and talented students.

Sir Ken Robinson provides much interesting information relating to how to engage children in the classroom and how to foster their curiosity. His work not only applies to nurturing gifted children but is extremely relevant to all kids. Please take the time to research his work relating to moving away from a standardised educational model and moving towards an educational culture that values creativity and encourages kids to flourish through engaging their individuality:

 

If you are a teacher and have looked at some of these resources, thank you for caring about gifted students. Gifted kids are not always the ones who shine academically and can even be at risk in the regular classroom, which can often cause social and emotional issues; these issues may be displayed at school, but sometimes the child is compliant at school and only displays such problems at home in an environment where they feel safe ‘acting out’. This is often a testament to their emotional maturity as they know that having emotional meltdowns at school is detrimental to other students and affects the way they may be perceived by others. Gifted kids have special needs and often need intervention in order to thrive. Thank you again for taking the time to help provide what these kids need at school in order for them to be happy and motivated to learn :) .