PRINCIPLES OF SUPPORTING GIFTEDNESS
Supporting giftedness is often seen as equivalent to high performance promotion. The latter is usually implemented by simply raising the quantity of school material, such as giving the student an additional book to read, more math problems to solve etc. These assignments are often set up in such a way that the student can do them without further assistance. Even though this will calm the gifted student, it does not aid him in unfolding his potential and developing important abilities, which may lead to later difficulties, for example at university.
Supporting giftedness therefore, must be tailored to the specific challenges and possibilities of the gifted and show clear differences to high performance promotion:
Supporting giftedness should include the following aspects:
- Since the brain of gifted people is very similar to those of ADHD patients in terms of associative and neurophysiological structures, the gifted need complex tasks that require and enable organizing and structuring processes. A gifted student does not just need more quantity, but also higher quality of learning material.
- The proposed assignments need to have a level of difficulty that enables the gifted student to solve them without being overexerted or frustrated, but also is difficult enough to require effort and facilitate learning something new in the process.
- This principle generally defines good learning processes and is also applicable to other students. This is the only way to achieve real progress and a sense of achievement in learning. This promotes the development of a growth-mind-set, motivation and a stable self-efficacy experience and self-confidence. It also provides highly gifted students with the often missing opportunity to acquire learning strategies and self-management skills such as persistence, frustration tolerance and self-motivation. Practically, this means that you need to first create a performance profile of the gifted student, which will serve as a basis for the arrangement of suitable assignments.
- Since many gifted people have difficulties with self-management and their inner and outer organization, the development of these skills may have to be directly trained and supported. It may help, for example, to practice keeping an agenda, executing routines and practices and supporting their emotional self-management skills. This can be practiced, for example, by learning ten-finger touch typing. For this purpose, you could use the free touch typing tutor tipp10, which allows you to observe your individual learning curve (www.Tipp10.com).
Another recommendation for developing inner structure is Sabine Fruth’s program “House of knowledge”.
A good way to teach children self-motivation is by using Ben Furmann’s “Kid’s Skills in Action” program.
- Gifted people should also be supported with respect to possible social challenges. This could mean training social competencies, if necessary (some need to learn how to handle their intense emotions in a socially acceptable manner, or how to avoid causing unwanted envy or rejection in others. Others need to learn how to set boundaries and not adapt too much to others). Also, communication with other gifted students should be made possible. This is how the gifted can experience themselves as normal, talk openly about their difficulties and particularities, experience support and understand that they are not wrong, but just different and that this can lead to problems. Here, it is more likely that a gifted student, who is normally more of an outsider, may find friends and feel integrated.
- It makes sense to support the gifted in finding stimulating and interesting tasks for themselves. This ability will help the gifted student in school and later in life. Gifted people may find and try out further education, for example, or think about how to get in touch with people whom they can learn from. The more the gifted are able to do this themselves, the less work their support will require of the teaching staff.
Many of these aspects can be trained and developed in gifted groups.
One such concept that requires astonishingly little effort can be found here.
Teaching material can be found here.
© Frauke Niehues